Sight and Sound - 03/01/1981
"...Lancaster's very presence, containing within it the ghost of a vanished swashbuckler, is -- like ATLANTIC CITY itself -- both elegiac and hearteningly affirmative..."
New York Times - 04/03/1981
"...One of the most romantic and perverse ghost stories ever filmed....A rich, gaudy cinema trip."
USA Today - 04/12/2005
"The greatest triumph of Burt Lancaster's late career got him his fourth and final Oscar nomination and a bushel of critics' awards."
The legalization of gambling in Atlantic City radically changes the life of Lou (Burt Lancaster), an aging small-time numbers runner. Infatuated with his waitress neighbor Sally (Susan Sarandon), Lou still holds on to the dream that he will one day be a high stakes player in organized crime. But when Sally's ex-husband turns up with a large amount of high quality cocaine in his possession, then is quickly murdered, Lou finally gets his chance to become involved with big money and the mob--getting closer to the woman of his dreams in the process. Louis Malle's heartfelt, character-driven drama, with a script by playwright John Guare (SIX DEGREES OF SEPARATION), is full of great performances.
A woman leaves her abusive, drug-selling husband, taking her pregnant sister with her. An ex-mobster, caring for the widow of an old crony, watches her. The husband returns with heroin and tries to enlist the ex-mobster's help in tracking her down, but the gang who are after the drug dealer close in on the estranged wife. The husband is eventually found and murdered by the gang who then go after the wife thinking she has hidden the heroin. The ex-mobster helps her by killing the men after her in a peculiar act of courage. She then takes off leaving her him behind to take up with the sister.
Character Study |
Love Story |
Organized Crime |
Theatrical Release |
French director Loius Malle but has made several films in America. Besides "Atlantic City," he also shot "Pretty Baby" in the States.
The film was shot around 1980 when Atlantic City was just being rebuilt as the glitzy gambling town it had once been. Before the casinos reopened, the city was run-down, well past its prime, infested with drugs and ghettos. The rebuilding refurbished the boardwalk area, but did little for much of the inner-city neighborhoods. The gangster/drug plot that is central to the film is drawn from both the gambling and the destitute parts of the town.
Film premiered at the 1980 Venice Film Festival.
Video sequence by Patrick Burns.
Andy Chmura and Larry Lynn served as assistant cameramen.
Additional cast: Moses Znaimer (Felix); Sean Sullivan (Buddy); Louis Del Grande (Mr. Shapiro); John McCurry (Fred); Eleanor Beecroft (Mrs. Reese); Vincent Glorioso (Young Doctor); Adele Chatfield-Taylor (Florist); Tony Angelo (Poker Player); Sis Clark (Toll Booth Operator); Gennaro Consalvo (Casino Guard); Lawrence McGuire (Pit Boss); Ann Burns, Marie Burns, & Jean Burns (Singers in Casino); Connie Collins (Connie Bishop); John Allmond (Police Commisioner); and John Burns (Anchorman).