7.5/10
109,319
319 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
1,542 ( 41)
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

In the film, Ben says "I'm not sure if I lost my wife because of my drinking, or if I'm drinking because I lost my wife." In the novel, it is clearly stated that his wife left him because of his drinking. See more »

Goofs

When Ben is driving to Las Vegas he is alternately wearing a shirt with cuffs and a cardigan-type zip up jumper with no cuffs. See more »

Quotes

[last lines]
Sera: I think the thing is, we both realized that we didn't have that much time. And I accepted him for who he was, and I didn't expect him to change, and I think he felt that for me, too. I liked his drama, and he needed me. And I loved him. I really loved him.
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 »

Connections

Referenced in Hamlet 2 (2008) See more »

Soundtracks

My One and Only Love
Lyrics by Robert Mellin
Composed by Guy Wood
Performed by Sting
Courtesy of A&M Records, Inc.
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
Unconditional love in an alcoholic haze.
17 June 2009 | by hitchcockthelegendSee all my reviews

Ben Sanderson is an alcoholic, who after getting released from his well paid screen writing position, heads to Vegas with his severance pay. Where he seriously plans to drink himself to death. But whilst cruising down the strip he meets Sera, a nicely turned out prostitute, and both troubled souls come together in an unlikely romance.

Based around the semi-autobiographical novel by John O'Brien, an alcoholic who committed suicide before the film made it to the screen, this is a sad, dark and deeply upsetting picture. Sanderson and his plight has no motive, we are not fed reasons for his nihilistic behaviour. We find him at the beginning of the film joyously hurtling thru a liquor market isle, promptly filling his shopping cart with bottles of liquor. From here on in we know that this is no ordinary film about an alcoholic trying to get off the booze, we are on a train to Bleakville, stops at Love and Liberation seem a very long way away.

Enter Sera, the sweet and wholesome prostitute, who having escaped the abusive and borderline psycho pimp, Yuri, is herself in need of liberation. But can she carry the burden of both as this unlikely and almost certainly doomed romance starts to become significant? Nicholas Cage as Sanderson is terrific, very compelling, realistic and segueing from zany wired comedy to the desolation of Sanderson's death wish descent within a heart beat. Elisabeth Shue as Sera is also incredibly potent, if perhaps guilty of looking too pristine, and prompting questions of why she would be drawn to Ben's world anyway?

Shue none the less works her socks off to make Sera sensitive and believable. Directed by Mike Figgis, who shot it beautifully in Super 16 film, the film won a Best Actor Academy Award for Cage, and garnered nominations for Best Actress {Shue} & Best Director and Best Adapted Screenplay {both Figgis}. Massively popular and praised on release, it has lost none of the impact that it had back then. 8/10


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