7.3/10
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299 user 128 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.

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3,502 ( 93)
1 win & 1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
... Mike McDermott
... Jo
... Teddy KGB
Paul Cicero ... Russian Thug
... Kenny
... Joey Knish
Merwin Goldsmith ... Sy
Sonny Zito ... Tony
... Zagosh
... Irving
... Savino
Peter Yoshida ... Henry Lin
Jay Boryea ... Russian Thug #2
... Moogie
... Abe Petrovsky
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Storyline

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.

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

In The Game Of Life... Play The Cards You're Dealt 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:

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Details

Official Sites:

Official Facebook | Official site

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Release Date:

11 September 1998 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Apuesta final  »

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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:

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

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Color:

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Matt Damon's character "Mike McDermott" is based on singer/songwriter Michael McDermott. The film was also written by Michael's friends. See more »

Goofs

During the judges game, Dowling refers to Judge Kaplan as "Carroll," the last name of his real name. See more »

Quotes

Professor Petrovsky: [seeing Mike after he knocked on the door] Oh, Michael. You got some things for me?
Mike McDermott: [while carrying file folders] Yes, I do.
Professor Petrovsky: Put them on the desk, it's all right
Judge Marinacci: Kid, is he paying you for this late night shift?
Mike McDermott: Oh, well, knowledge is my reward, sir.
Judge Marinacci: Let me tell you, it ain't worth it. Why don't you become a jockey, do something useful.
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Connections

Referenced in Scream 3 (2000) See more »

Soundtracks

I Hate Myself For Loving You
Written by Joan Jett & Desmond Child
Performed by Joan Jett & The Blackhearts
Courtesy of Blackheart Records
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
Well made but eventually a bit thin for anyone not a poker fan
25 May 2013 | by See all my reviews

Rounders (1998)

A charming idea, almost romanticized: if you are young, clever, good looking, and savvy at playing poker you can be ultra cool and maybe even wealthy. That makes for a pretty good movie, if not a very accurate reality. It isn't quite enough to keep two hours going, however, and so the big picture here is to enjoy what it has.

A quick comparison might be made to "The Hustler" and related pool shark movies. And like that classic, "Rounders" is about charming deceit. Matt Damon is the main man here, an ex-poker champ who has "gone straight" until his former partner in crime, Ed Norton, gets out of jail and ropes him back into the thrills and malevolence. Like the pool movies, and like the glitzier and more ambitious "Oceans" movies, personalities matter most. The setting, the glint of money, and most of all the plots matter less than you'd think.

So everything is pretty good along those lines, partly because Damon is fun to be with and Norton is simply terrific. An embarrassing appearance in the beginning and end of the movie by an overacting John Malkovich gets in the way of Damon's performance, however. And the general attempt at creating a bunch of bad guys behind the scenes is filled with thin clichés and mediocre acting.

This is the result of having to make more of the story that was ever there. The main idea--that the two leads get into money trouble and have to earn a ton of cash in a few days of wild poker games--is eventually actually a bit of a bore. The gamesmanship is always interesting, of course, but the impetus behind it grows old. The addition of Martin Landau as a Jewish lawyer who gives Damon a mitzvah as a kind of honor paid to continue a favor once given him is a touching part of the larger plot, making you wish there was more of this somehow, more of something genuine and a bit different.

It might not have helped that I recently saw "Croupier" with a young Clive Owen as a poker dealer, because that movie, whatever its simplicity and other limitations, actually made the poker scenes more real for me. In fact, one problem with "Rounders" is you never get to actually sense the betting itself, and the cards--the playing and the strategies of playing--are glossed over with some tossing of chips and flipping of cards, all in a vague muddle.

I did enjoy watching overall, but it left me a little disappointed and restless.


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