7.5/10
104,620
301 user 104 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
1,875 ( 22)

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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:

Adiós a Las Vegas See more »

Filming Locations:

California, USA See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$3,600,000 (estimated)

Gross USA:

$31,968,347
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

The only non-Best Picture nominee for the year to be nominated for Best Adapted Screenplay. See more »

Goofs

Yuri is supposed to be swearing in Latvian on the phone. In fact, he speaks gibberish. See more »

Quotes

Ben Sanderson: [when asked who he's speaking to by a woman at the bar] Little brown-nosed gnomes with a sling-shot.
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 Psych: Lights, Camera... Homicidio (2008) See more »

Soundtracks

Lonely Teardrops
Written by Berry Gordy, 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

Viva Greek Tragedies
5 January 2004 | by hlcepedaSee all my reviews

Not unlike John Huston's Under The Volcano, Leaving Las Vegas borrows from Greek mythology, obliquely mirroring the tragedy and pathos of Orpheus' failed attempt to rescue his dead wife, Eurydice, from Hades. Mike Figgis obliges us with a helpful hint in the scene where Nicolas Cage gives Elizabeth Shue a present of earrings: Greek cameos.

As in the ancient tale, love challenges the inevitability of death, although, in the case of LLV, roles are upended and sometimes blurred, and Orphean references are either thinly disguised, or non-specific to the point of being thoroughly sublimated. Academic, to be sure, but completely acceptable as long as LLV can sustain itself and remain engaging. And it surely does, thanks to Figgis' intelligent script and direction, Cage's role as a down-and-out writer and his protracted self-destruction, and Shue's portrayal of a lonely hooker, lifting that old bromide beyond what could have been routine, to a level not seen since Jane Fonda's character in Klute. Excellent performances all around.

With all that said, this film is not for everyone (in particular those who only respond to gratuitous sex, car chases, and mindless pyrotechnics). The lurid depictions of despair, self-loathing, and violence could put off even the most hardened social worker. In my mind's eye, I could see psychiatrists amongst the theater audiences, furiously jotting down their observations. Understandable; the two principal characters are, in the common parlance, screwed up. One cannot cope with failure, so decides to opt out, while the other does cope, but only barely, existing along the ragged edges of what passes for society in Nevada Hell. These details, though, tend to outline and, indeed, strengthen the true heart of this film: Sacrifice and Unconditional Love.

If this film is not for everyone, then who is it for? Those with real life experience and the maturity gained thereby. Those with strong emotional constitutions. Anyone appreciative of impassioned performances. Freudians. Alcoholics, recovering and otherwise. Pimps. Priests. Classicists. Petty whiners in need of perspective. And, more than anyone else, couples who plan on breaking up. In sickness and in health, 'til death do us part. 9.5 out of 10.


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