7.5/10
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297 user 103 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
1,482 ( 127)

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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 »

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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

Author John O'Brien, on whose novel this movie is based, committed suicide two weeks after the movie went into production. Director Mike Figgis contemplated abandoning the project, but decided the film would make a good memorial for O'Brien. See more »

Goofs

Out at the pool at the desert motel, when Sera picks up the bottle and walks over to sit on Ben, the alcohol in the bottle goes from about half full as Sera is sitting, to three quarters full as she sits and drinks. Also, the label on the bottle is facing away as she starts to sit, yet is facing the viewer as she completes her sit. As she sits with her hands apart, arms spread wide, holding the bottle in one hand, it would be quite difficult for her to spin the bottle 180 degrees in the second or two it takes her so sit. See more »

Quotes

Sera: I know a cool place in the desert.
See more »

Crazy Credits

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

Connections

Referenced in Drawn to the Flame (1997) See more »

Soundtracks

Ben And Sera Theme
(uncredited)
Written by Anthony Marinelli & Mike Figgis
Performed by Anthony Marinelli & Mike Figgis
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

Powerful Film About Loneliness And Acceptance
15 May 2005 | by flipgirl38See all my reviews

Remarkable. Touching. Riveting. Leaving Las Vegas is all of these and then some. I have not seen a film of this magnitude about loneliness and acceptance in such a while that I was in tears for much of the run time.

Nicholas Cage is Ben, a man who has lost his wife and child, throws his job away, and takes all of his remaining money to buy as much liquor as possible and "drink himself to death" in the city of Las Vegas. He has given up all hope, with no wish to live, but for one reason or another, wants a companion to share in his misery, but not try to save him. He finds this companion in a hooker, Sera, played by Elizabeth Shue. They immediately form a strong relationship based on one night of talking about their lives. Sera in particular quickly grows attached to Ben, for no other reason than she has been alone her whole life and wants nothing more than to feel that want and need by someone.

Cage won his first Oscar for his role as Ben, and how deserved it was. He was astounding, perfection, down to every single tick, the volume of his voice, the pain and tragedy buried in his eyes. I could not believe the extent of his role, the dedication and time he invested in bringing this character to life. Same goes for Elizabeth Shue, who with a simple glance at a person, she reveals her entire self, and no one even dares to notice except for Ben. This neediness is apparent, she wants to hold onto this relationship so badly, yet what makes their relationship work is total and complete acceptance of their respective decisions. He will not tell her to stop being a hooker, and she in return can never ask him to stop drinking. And it is in that factor that makes this film worth watching. To be totally accepted by those around them, to open themselves up to such an extreme.

Leaving Las Vegas is a sobering film about connections, loneliness, acceptance, and a small little island of hope that is Ben and Sera. They are two good people, depicted in a world full of sorrows and misdeeds, who latch onto each other and never let go. They were nothing but ghosts, till that chance encounter, and became each others worlds. Cage and Shue bring these good people to life in such an extraordinary way, making Leaving Las Vegas a film to be treasured and remembered for years to come. I highly recommend this film.


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