7.2/10
38,355
163 user 74 critic

Hard Eight (1996)

Sydney (original title)
Trailer
1:43 | Trailer
Professional gambler Sydney teaches John the tricks of the trade. John does well until he falls for cocktail waitress Clementine.
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4,681 ( 560)
2 wins & 8 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Philip Baker Hall ... Sydney
John C. Reilly ... John
Gwyneth Paltrow ... Clementine
Samuel L. Jackson ... Jimmy
F. William Parker ... Hostage
Philip Seymour Hoffman ... Young Craps Player (as Phillip Seymour Hoffman)
Nathanael Cooper Nathanael Cooper ... Restroom Attendant
Wynn White Wynn White ... Waitress
Robert Ridgely ... Keno Bar Manager
Kathleen Campbell Kathleen Campbell ... Keno Girl
Michael J. Rowe Michael J. Rowe ... Pit Boss
Peter D'Allesandro Peter D'Allesandro ... Bartender
Steve Blane Steve Blane ... Stickman
Xaleese Xaleese ... Cocktail Waitress
Melora Walters ... Jimmy's Girl
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Storyline

John has lost all his money. He sits outside a diner in the desert when Sydney happens along, buys him coffee, then takes him to Reno and shows him how to get a free room without losing much money. Under Sydney's fatherly tutelage, John becomes a successful small-time professional gambler, and all is well, until he falls for Clementine, a cocktail waitress and sometimes hooker. Written by Jon Reeves <jreeves@imdb.com>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

If you stay in the game long enough, you'll see everything, win everything, and lose everything. See more »

Genres:

Crime | Drama

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for strong language, some violence and sexuality | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

28 February 1997 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Hard Eight See more »

Filming Locations:

Sparks, Nevada, USA See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$3,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$69,486, 2 March 1997

Gross USA:

$222,559

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$222,559
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

2.39 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Paul Thomas Anderson's original title for this film was "Sydney". Since it was his first film, and he had basically no control over it (much less final cut, like he's had on his other features since), Rysher Entertainment re-cut the film and retitled it "Hard Eight". This enraged Anderson, and through many talks and deals, he convinced the studio to let him release his cut, but with the new title "Hard Eight". Anderson later said this experience taught him that doing your best to make the best possible movie was only "half the job" when being a director. The other half was dealing with all of the egos involved. See more »

Goofs

At 30: The craps table that Sydney walks by shows players cheering, but the cover (lid) and count slip are on top. If it were a real game there would be no cover. See more »

Quotes

Sydney: [to Jimmy] I have the money to give you right now, in this moment. I will give you all that I have. Maybe before you were gonna kill me. Maybe. I don't know. I know John, and I love him like he was my own child. But I can tell you this: I don't want to die. I killed his father. I can tell you what it was. This is not an excuse. I'm not begging for clemency. All that matters, I do not wish to sacrifice my life for John's well-being. But I will sacrifice this money for mine because you have asked ...
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Connections

Referenced in That Moment: Magnolia Diary (2000) See more »

Soundtracks

Christmas Medley
(The First Noel / O Little Town of Bethlehem / Silent Night)
Written by traditional / Phillips Brooks and Lewis H. Redner / Franz Xaver Gruber and Joseph Mohr
Performed by Frankie Avalon
Courtesy of Chancellor Records, Inc.
By Arrangement with Celebrity Licensing Inc.
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Beautiful!
26 August 2002 | by Julia2See all my reviews

Philip Baker Hall's Sidney kept me riveted from the first scene to the last. He play the mesmerizing, enigmatic title character with rare mastery and grace. The supporting characters are no slouches either. John C. Reilly is marvelous as Sidney's sweet, if somewhat slow witted protege. Samuel Jackson could have easily coasted on this one, simply repeating a performance from any of a number of previous tough guy types. Instead he creates an entirely new character, one with a reptilian quality not seen in his usual thugs. Even Gwenyth Paltrow is unusually strong as Clem, the waitress who wants it understood that, even if she sometimes sleeps with men for money, she is definitely NOT a prostitute.

I've been a fan of PT Anderson for a while now, and this film gave me new insight into why it is I like him so much. Anderson is that great rarity in modern filmmaking, an actor's director. He gathers terrific actors and inspires them to career-topping performances. There's no fiendishly complex plot here, no nailbiting suspense, no big payoff at the end. Just marvelous actors making the most of an excellent script.


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