7.3/10
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301 user 130 critic

Rounders (1998)

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A young, reformed gambler must return to playing big stakes poker to help a friend pay off loan sharks, while balancing his relationship with his girlfriend and his commitments to law school.

Director:

John Dahl
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Popularity
2,939 ( 681)
1 win & 1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Matt Damon ... Mike McDermott
Gretchen Mol ... Jo
John Malkovich ... Teddy KGB
Paul Cicero Paul Cicero ... Russian Thug
Ray Iannicelli ... Kenny
John Turturro ... Joey Knish
Merwin Goldsmith Merwin Goldsmith ... Sy
Sonny Zito Sonny Zito ... Tony
Josh Mostel ... Zagosh
Mal Z. Lawrence ... Irving
Lenny Clarke ... Savino
Peter Yoshida Peter Yoshida ... Henry Lin
Jay Boryea Jay Boryea ... Russian Thug #2
Lenny Venito ... Moogie
Martin Landau ... Abe Petrovsky
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Storyline

John Dahl directed this exploration of New York private clubs devoted to high-stakes poker, with first-person narration from the film's central figure, law student Mike McDermott (Matt Damon), who loses his entire savings to Russian club owner Teddy KGB (John Malkovich). Mike then turns away from cards, devoting his attentions to his law studies and his live-in girlfriend Jo (Gretchen Mol), who's concerned when Mike's former gambling buddy Worm (Edward Norton) is released from prison. She has good reason to worry, since it takes Worm only a matter of minutes to draw Mike back into poker action. When she learns Mike has returned to the poker clubs, she moves out, and Mike begins to lose interest in his studies. Worm has a prison debt, and the threatening Grama (Michael Rispoli) wants the money. Mike not only indulges the irresponsible Worm, he gets involved in Worm's debts. When Grama demands $15,000 on a five-day deadline, the two buddies go into high gear with a non-stop, no-sleep ...

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

In the poker game of life women are the rake See more »

Genres:

Crime | Drama

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for pervasive strong language, some sexuality and brief drug use | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Official Sites:

Official Facebook | Official site

Country:

USA

Language:

English | Hebrew | Russian

Release Date:

11 September 1998 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Apuesta final See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$12,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$8,459,126, 13 September 1998, Wide Release

Gross USA:

$22,905,674, 8 November 1998
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Miramax,Spanky Pictures See more »
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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital | SDDS

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The chips used in both KGB's place and the Chesterfield Club were made by Atlantic Standard Molding (ASM) which makes custom chips for casinos and home games. See more »

Goofs

The card player sitting across from Worm in jail removes a cigarette from his ear twice. See more »

Quotes

Mike McDermott: [Narrating] The amazing thing is, in this collection of great legal minds, there isn't a single real card player
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Connections

Referenced in Poolhall Junkies (2002) See more »

Soundtracks

Baby, I'm A Big Star Now
Written by Adam Duritz (as Adam F. Duritz)
Performed by Counting Crows
Courtesy of Geffen Records, Inc.
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
Very underrated character piece, although not without its flaws
1 April 2005 | by MovieAddict2016See all my reviews

"Rounders" is about a straight-flying legal student (Matt Damon) who leaves behind his gambling habits to satisfy his moralistic girlfriend. However when his best friend "Worm" (Edward Norton) is released from jail, the two embark on a cards-journey that leads them from success to misfortune after Worm is caught cheating and the man who caught him (John Malkovich) wants his money back.

Whereas Ben Affleck continues to go downhill after "Good Will Hunting," Matt Damon has striven uphill, taking on daring productions such as "The Talented Mr. Ripley," "The Bourne Identity" series, and of course "Rounders," which features one of his best performances. Damon has become typecast as some sort of bad actor in the league of Affleck, but he's much better than his pal, and films like this prove it.

Norton is once again superb as one of his characters you love to hate. He's got the character of Worm down pat, and it really elevates the acting (along with Damon) to a level of greatness.

The film is directed and written very well, offering realistic dialog and gritty environments. However the flaws of the movie are its long running time (two hours exactly), which could have been shortened, and probably the fact that its card playing is sometimes a bit alienating to the audience.

That said, this is still a very underrated movie featuring outstanding performances and a unique spin on gambling flicks. Worth watching at least once in a lifetime.


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