7.3/10
18,894
118 user 74 critic

House of Games (1987)

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A psychiatrist comes to the aid of a compulsive gambler and is led by a smooth-talking grifter into the shadowy but compelling world of stings, scams, and con men.

Director:

David Mamet

Writers:

David Mamet (screenplay), Jonathan Katz (story) | 1 more credit »
Nominated for 1 Golden Globe. Another 6 wins & 3 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Lindsay Crouse ... Margaret Ford
Joe Mantegna ... Mike
Mike Nussbaum ... Joey
Lilia Skala ... Dr. Littauer
J.T. Walsh ... The Businessman
Willo Hausman Willo Hausman ... Girl with Book
Karen Kohlhaas Karen Kohlhaas ... Prison Ward Patient
Steven Goldstein ... Billy Hahn (as Steve Goldstein)
Jack Wallace ... Bartender / House of Games
Ricky Jay ... George / Vegas Man
G. Roy Levin G. Roy Levin ... Poker Player
Bob Lumbra Bob Lumbra ... Poker Player
Andy Potok Andy Potok ... Poker Player
Allen Soule Allen Soule ... Poker Player
Ben Blakeman Ben Blakeman ... Bartender / Charlie's Tavern
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Storyline

A famous psychologist, Margaret Ford, decides to try to help one of her patients get out of a gambling debt. She visits the bar where Mike, to whom the debt is owed, runs poker games. He convinces her to help him in a game: her assignment is to look for "tells", or give-away body language. What seems easy to her becomes much more complex. Written by John J. Magee <magee@helix.mgh.harvard.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Where the game is never over. See more »

Genres:

Crime | Thriller

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Official Sites:

MGM

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

14 October 1987 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Tell See more »

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Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$116,677, 18 October 1987, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$2,585,639
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Filmhaus See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Actress Lindsay Crouse and writer-director David Mamet were married at the time this picture was made and first released. See more »

Goofs

Towards the end of the film, Margaret Ford returns to her private office and cuts herself. Several drops of blood fall on the cover label of a dossier lying on the desk. In subsequent shots, the blood stain jumps down the label and finally ends up on the back cover, leaving the label clean. See more »

Quotes

Mike: You're not miffed at us, are ya?
See more »

Connections

Referenced in David Mamet on 'House of Games' (2007) See more »

Soundtracks

Fugue from the Toccata in C Minor
(BWV 911)
by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performed by Warren Bernhardt, piano
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Regarding some idiots reviewing this brilliant film
4 September 2015 | by akademic78See all my reviews

(SPOILER FREE) Seen a couple reviews here, specifically one where the author claims "dreadful acting". Funnily enough, the same guys gave "QoS" a higher rating than Scorcese's "Casino". Couldn't resist but to put my two cents in, while laughing at clueless wannabe-critics like this.

This is one of Mamet's best. It's not for kids with ADD, much like the guy who claimed "dreadful acting". It's a relatively slow-paced, compact, but short and sweet con movie. Mamet's writing is delivered by a cast that understands very well what they're in for - a con movie.

Much like the protagonist, the viewer should focus on small psychological details - the way the characters speak, move, act, blink. All the clues are there, and yes, although it's somewhat predictable, as with any Mamet's film, the beauty comes from the writing. It's the little nuances with which he directs his cast that make the writing shine.

Don't listen to wannabe-critics, they're clueless. This is a well-written and well-acted film.


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