Atlantic City (1980) - Crime, Drama, Romance

Hohum Score



In a corrupt city, a small-time gangster and the estranged wife of a pot dealer find themselves thrown together in an escapade of love, money, drugs and danger.

IMDB: 7.3
Director: Louis Malle
Stars: Burt Lancaster, Susan Sarandon
Length: 104 Minutes
PG Rating: R
Reviews: 7 out of 71 found boring (9.85%)

One-line Reviews (33)

Louis Malle delivers one of the most understated directorial turns working with a delightfully witty script (that has many great lines, like the one above) and a great cast (Lancaster perfect in a comeback role, Sarandon stunning in one of her early great performances).

This is the tale of two aging old friends and their unexpected relationship with the young generation.

In the mid-'70s, Malle embarked upon a decade-long visit to America where, after 'Pretty Baby,' a sensitive but finally tedious look at child prostitution in 1971 New Orleans, he makes 'Atlantic City', in which an aging small-time mobster sees his romanticized memories of villainy become reality when he acts as father confessor, protector and, finally, lover to a lonely young croupier...

Malle achieves directorial power through camera work that is near-objective and not judgmental, similar to his far-more-disturbing (but definitely worth watching) Pretty Baby.

As a result, I did not feel for the characters, I did not get engaged by the events in the film, and I found it rather plain and dull.

Today, in 2019, big casinos that take up entire blocks sit empty - entire blocks where the history of Atlantic City was once celebrated and where local residents once provided for their families.

I don't know if this is the masterpiece of filmmaking its biggest fans make it out to be, but as a character study of people you wouldn't want to be but who are nonetheless fascinating for the way they approach they same dreams and ambitions we all have, this is the standard bearer (along with "Local Hero", probably the only character play of the 80's better than this one).

Everyone in the picture, placed affectionately in an evocative Atlantic City devolving from tasteful faded glory to tasteless refurbished glitter, dreams of getting ahead.

In order to tell his very sad but compelling story, Director Louis Malle brilliantly used the backdrop of a crumbling, decadent city that had been given false hope on a massive, monumental scale.

It's just solid film-making all-around, and few people could play intense characters, young or old, as well as Lancaster.

But it doesn't matter, it's all in the expression in Lou's face, something is fascinating him in this woman and somewhat his gazing is indirectly turned to the present she represents.

Nonetheless, it's a worthy and fascinating little piece of work.

wow, THAT'S entertaining.

Empty Promises .

The plot is easy to follow, very simple and very absorbing, very good written (the sequence of Dave's death is one of the most planned moments in film history with a thrilling chase through a car elevator).

However it's entertaining and rewarding, thanks to the great cast, Joy, another memorable standout, Reid, the biggest, while the always ever smiling Al Waxman, was a likable card playing hood (he was the pudgy detective in Class Of 1984) and only appears briefly here in a couple of scenes.

It's like a Robert Altman movie except that it has a fascinating narrative that draws us in.

This one is old fashioned, slow and little convincing.

Great Performances and a Compelling Story .

Fascinating study in different characters in crumbling Atlantic City.

That's about all that carries this boring film that to me is only notable for some fine filming depictions of the elegant Atlantic City.

An entertaining send off, which bridges some gaps between the golden age and the modern, both in the story and in cinema.

"Atlantic City" is well written and skilfully balances the poignancy of its story with some moments of humour and a very unexpected ending.

While there are a couple of exciting action sequences (most memorable is Lancaster's killing of two hoods/drug dealers, his first 'hit' which makes him giddy with delight and finally proud of himself, after having spent his life spinning tall tales of his stature in the underworld!

Slow moving stories like this always have some big life meaning lurking behind it's characters, which is very true of this piece.

The greatness of a film can often be evaluated by how fascinating the secondary characters are.

The end of the film gives a deep and emotionally satisfying feeling of closure to what can be considered a fascinating character study served by two tremendous and nuanced performances.

Sally Matthews (Susan Sarandon) is an ambitious young woman who left her drab life in Canada to look for something better in Atlantic City.

Against a vivid backdrop of decaying splendor and shallow glamour the film gathers together several odd, unrelated characters in an unpredictable series of stories involving an aging petty gangster, an aspiring young casino croupier, two hippies on the run with a stolen roll of cocaine, and sundry other killers, dreamers, and fortune hunters.

When the taxpayers of New Jersey approved the legalization of gambling in 1976, they were showered with empty promises of how a vision of gleaming Atlantic City casinos would substantially subsidize the state's very inefficient and wasteful public education system.

" Near Sally's tattered domicile (Sally would use that word, rather than the mundane "apartment") Lou waits gallantly on Grace (Kate Reid), a former beauty queen and mobster's moll reduced by time and Lou's lack of discipline to a state of kitschy caterwaul.

You've got four or five ordinary people, all living drab lives, who, in their interactions ...

Susan Sarandon as Sally kept up with the old master every step of the way, and she looked stunning.