7.3/10
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322 user 110 critic

Rounders (1998)

Trailer
0:33 | Trailer
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
Reviews
Popularity
4,012 ( 77)
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 ... 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:

Trust everyone... but always cut the cards 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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Did You Know?

Trivia

It is said in the movie that Matt Damons characters favourite actor is Clint Eastwood, Eastwood later directed Damon in Hereafter released in 2011. See more »

Goofs

The baseball cap jumps on and off the bed when Mike is talking to his girlfriend after the judges' game. See more »

Quotes

Mike McDermott: [talking privately in one of the corners of the Russian and Turkish bathhouse] What can you do for me? I mean five hundred isn't even enough to get me started
Joey Knish: Five hundred won't help, what's two grand going to do? What kind of trouble you in?
Mike McDermott: With the worst kind, with the worst guy
Joey Knish: KGB?
Mike McDermott: Yeah
Joey Knish: [referring to Worm] Didn't I tell you? Never let that guy ahold of you?
Mike McDermott: You told me a lot of things
Joey Knish: Yeah I did, and you don't listen, I tell you to play within your means, you risk your whole bank roll, I tell you ...
[...]
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Soundtracks

Tuxedo Junction
Written by Erskine Hawkins, William Johnson, Julian Dash & Buddy Feyne
Performed by Gene Krupa
Courtesy of Columbia Records
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User Reviews

 
One of the most widely underrated movies of our time
5 January 2005 | by ironman0304manutdSee all my reviews

Rounders is I believe, one of the most widely underrated movies of our time.

I first saw this movie as it was a 'bonus DVD' thrown in for free with my DVD player back in 2000, so naturally I didn't expect much (as the other bonus DVD's were very mediocre), but what I found was a very enjoyable movie.

At that stage in my life, I had only played a little poker as a child growing up, and never 'Texas Hold'em' so to be honest, a lot of the terminology went 'over my head', but even so, the film became an instant favorite of mine purely because of the performances.

The film has so much star power, and yet none of the fine actors try to 'steal' scenes. Damon, Norton, Malkovich, Landau ... and then the fine supporting cast of Turturro, Jansen, and Mol.

In fact, there is a scene with Martin Landau and Matt Damon that is perhaps one of the most beautiful performances I have seen in a long time between two very fine actors.

So even if you're not a poker player, the story is tighter than a lot of Hollywood 'pop fluff' and the performances alone can sell the film as an enjoyable movie capable of multiple viewings.

But ... if you start playing poker and get really into what they are talking about, and reading about poker theory (like Doyle Brunson's book Super System) then the movie moves up to a whole different level.

A lot of the time, Hollywood will attempt to cover a specialized error, and usually fail, or at best only partially succeed, whereas Rounders managed to get everything 'spot on', just look at the US DVD, it has a commentary track from 4 World Champion Poker players, if that's not a stamp of approval then I don't know what is.

When you factor in how the film can be enjoyed by someone who has little to no idea about Poker (as I did when I first saw the film) just because of the tight story and stellar performances and also be 'immortalized' by poker enthusiasts as the best movie ever made on the subject (and truth be told, a big reason why the World Series of Poker has been doubling it's entries year after year) ... what you have here is a true gem that works on so many levels and what I believe is, as I said initially, one of the most widely underrated movies of our time.


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Frequently Asked Questions

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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:

Rounders See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$12,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$8,459,126, 13 September 1998

Gross USA:

$22,912,409

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$22,912,409
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
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