7.5/10
108,802
314 user 108 critic

Leaving Las Vegas (1995)

Ben Sanderson, a Hollywood screenwriter who lost everything because of his alcoholism, arrives in Las Vegas to drink himself to death. There, he meets and forms an uneasy friendship and non-interference pact with prostitute Sera..

Director:

Mike Figgis

Writers:

John O'Brien (based upon the novel by), Mike Figgis (screenplay by)
Reviews
Popularity
2,140 ( 67)
Won 1 Oscar. Another 31 wins & 28 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Nicolas Cage ... Ben Sanderson
Elisabeth Shue ... Sera
Julian Sands ... Yuri
Richard Lewis ... Peter
Steven Weber ... Marc Nussbaum
Kim Adams Kim Adams ... Sheila
Emily Procter ... Debbie
Stuart Regen Stuart Regen ... Man at Bar
Valeria Golino ... Terri
Graham Beckel ... L.A. Bartender
Albert Henderson Albert Henderson ... Man at Strip Bar (as Al Henderson)
Shashi Bhatia Shashi Bhatia ... Hispanic Prostitute
Carey Lowell ... Bank Teller
Anne Lange Anne Lange ... Business Colleague
Thomas Kopache ... Mr. Simpson
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Storyline

Because his wife left him and took his son with her, screenwriter Ben Sanderson has started drinking, a lot. He's getting more and more isolated and he troubles women in bars because he wants to have sex with them. When he gets fired, he decides to leave everything behind and move to Las Vegas and drink himself to death. In Las Vegas he meets Sera, a prostitute with some problems as well who he moves in with. Written by Marco van Hoof <k_luifje7@hotmail.com>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Genres:

Drama | Romance

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for strong sexuality and language, violence and pervasive alcohol abuse | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Official Sites:

MGM [United States]

Country:

France | UK | USA

Language:

English | Russian

Release Date:

9 February 1996 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Leaving Las Vegas See more »

Filming Locations:

California, USA See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$3,600,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$70,864, 29 October 1995

Gross USA:

$32,029,928

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$32,029,928
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Stereo (Digital)

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

All of the solo scenes of Elisabeth Shue's character, Sera, speaking either to herself, an unindentified person or possibly a therapist (the film doesn't specify) are actually Shue's wardrobe, hair and make-up tests that were shot prior to production. Director Mike Figgis utilised them during the edit because he felt they strengthened the narrative of the film, against the initial wishes of the producers. This means that Shue is potentially the only actress ever to be Oscar-nominated for her wardrobe tests. See more »

Goofs

When Sera is performing oral sex on Ben in his motel room after he first meets her; you can clearly see her back visible with no scars on it. There's another scene with the two of them in bed after Ben's drunken rage at the casino - where he slides up her top to see the scar on her back (Which is not possible to be there at this spot). See more »

Quotes

Ben Sanderson: Giving you money makes me want to come.
Sera: Then come.
See more »

Crazy Credits

The opening credits do not appear until fifteen minutes into the film. See more »

Alternate Versions

LaserDisc version is unrated and contains more sexually explicit footage. First pressings of the VHS versions also contained this footage but later pressings did not. The Unrated Edition has also been released on DVD and runs 112 min. See more »


Soundtracks

Lonely Teardrops
Written by Berry Gordy, Gwen Gordy Fuqua (as Gwen Gordy) and Billy Davis
Performed by Michael McDonald
Courtesy of Giant Records
By Arrangement with Warner Special Products
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
Leaving My Senses perhaps . . . but there's more here than meets the eye.
7 June 2005 | by WCS02See all my reviews

I've seen this film 5 or 6 times. It occurred to me on the last viewing that it could be the ultimate Touched by an Angel – Ben's time in Las Vegas, that is. I believe author John O'Brien thought he was living through a hallucination in the final throes of his diseased life.

The possibility rises out of several conspicuous dynamics in the film.

First, that Ben's life was invested developing Hollywood drama prior to being dismissed by his boss, who will clearly miss his talent and personality in the office, a talent singularly broken by the ravages of alcoholism. He is good at inventing and developing "story". If his occupation had been Investment Banking or Teaching, I'd feel differently. But John O'Brien bore him with a Hollywood mind. That lit the flame for me.

That Ben repeatedly calls Sera his angel during his demise - as he enjoys the best of - and endures the worst of - Las Vegas living. It is possible that all of it is a hallucination during the final pathetic act of his life. The invention of Sera makes his passing bearable, doable, a possible goal for him.

That Sera endures the college team horrors, discuses her relationship with the off-camera therapist to whom she confesses her soul-deep love for Ben ... even the problems with her pimp and landlord constitute deep back story in the mind of a man with a talent for such invention, desperate to flesh out the reasons why this angel will escort him to the next world. In my last analysis, she is an angel divined in his fertile mind to embody all of the good people and events in his life (the wealth flashback memories, e.g.). Sera has come to take him out while steeling the love in his heart. She sees him for what he is, because that's what responsible angels do.

This is a work with metaphor far beyond the veneer of the surface dialog. It's a film demanding to be viewed more than once. Or perhaps, I'm just going nuts, have lost it and I'm hallucinating in my own right.

Either way, enjoy. 10 out of 10.


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