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Leaving Las Vegas

7.51 h 51 min1996X-RayR
Ben Sanderson, an alcoholic Hollywood screenwriter who lost everything because of his drinking, arrives in Las Vegas to drink himself to death. There, he meets and forms an uneasy friendship and non-interference pact with prostitute Sera.
Nicolas CageElisabeth ShueJulian Sands
English [CC]
Audio languages
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Lila CazesAnnie Stewart
Crowd Pleasers
R (Restricted)
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4.4 out of 5 stars

1760 global ratings

  1. 74% of reviews have 5 stars
  2. 10% of reviews have 4 stars
  3. 8% of reviews have 3 stars
  4. 3% of reviews have 2 stars
  5. 5% of reviews have 1 stars
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Top reviews from the United States

ZbossReviewed in the United States on August 10, 2016
5.0 out of 5 stars
End Stage Alcoholism
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Not for kids unless they drink booze. This movie shows the progression of alcoholism. It starts impacting your life and you lose your job. You keep drinking even more now that you don't work. Your hands shake. You get sick when you don't get enough. You plan your day around having enough to drink. And then you decide to drink yourself to death even after a beautiful woman befriends you and cares for you. You fall in love with her but your body loves alcohol more. Guess who wins! 5 stars for being real and maybe a movie that will save a few lives.
73 people found this helpful
Tina WalkerReviewed in the United States on July 1, 2018
5.0 out of 5 stars
Wow what a deep movie
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I love this movie, plain and simple. If you don't understand alcoholism and self destructive behavior, then you will have some real insight after watching this film. Both actors are truly fantastic in these roles. I can't imagine anyone other actors in this film giving such a believable performance.
This was a film that was made for Nicholas Cage, before he started being so weird and over the top. His character is meant to be over the top so he really does it justice.
The film is heartbreaking, but authentic. Worth the watch.
28 people found this helpful
Frank DogheartyReviewed in the United States on August 9, 2020
1.0 out of 5 stars
Contrived piece of amorilization
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Warning: you might find traces of the plot/cast here. If that bothers you, you might want to read this review after you watched or stopped watching the movie.

For one, two of the three sentences that have been in just about every movie since 1981, two are recurring here.

(1)"Oh, my God!" from people who do not believe in God.

(2) "Are you all right?" seems to be a seal of approval for/from the powers that allow movies to appear through distribution. Strangely, the third sentence,

(3) "Everything's gonna be all right" is missing. But what the heck.

The protagonist, the actor who owned six islands near New Zealand well before the hype among the uber-rich, is supposed to represent an "alcoholic" (well, there is no stable definition for that), who wants to drink himself to death in four weeks. I am from a place where LOTS of people drank themselves to death, but it took them at least 10 years and, most of the time, 20.

So, you are supposed to feel sorry for the drunk, who is probably too sorry for himself to remember the reason why he is drinking, and a streetwalker who, as opposed to the real world where more than half of them are bought/traded/forced, could have walked out of her lifestyle.

If your life is already in ruins and are feeling sorry for yourself, this might work as a tearjerker, although it does not offer you a way out or any form of consolation.

Well, good luck to enjoying this sorry piece of goodness-knows-what.

The sad thing is that this was a critically highly-acclaimed piece at the time and, it looks like, it still is.
11 people found this helpful
Wyatt EdwardsReviewed in the United States on January 27, 2019
5.0 out of 5 stars
Nicholas Cage is Brilliant
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I saw a video yesterday regarding the acting style of Nicholas Cage, and this was one of the titles which they mentioned and said was particularly worth watching. I have, until now, only really seen his newer stuff where, while he may be a high-energy, intense character, it is not at the hilarious levels of campy character which he plays in this film. Be warned, it does deal with alcoholism and prostitution, so it would not be appropriate for certain people. I am amazed by Nick Cage's performance in this because he really does capture the words, actions, behaviors, and very essence of that of an alcoholic. He also had a guy who was an alcoholic live with him for awhile so he could study him and craft his character around his example. It certainly shows. As someone who has dealt with alcoholism of loved ones, while there are still parts that are difficult to watch. However, the fact that Nick Cage takes the basic character of a joe schmoe alcoholic, then adds all of the Nicholas-Cage-style eccentricity to create his character, Ben, is amazing to see. I highly recommend this film. It is one of those that you have to watch at least once, although I could see myself coming back to it later and rewatching it.
13 people found this helpful
Cato5Reviewed in the United States on September 4, 2021
1.0 out of 5 stars
A depraved story that was hard to watch
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I blame myself for watching this because I knew what it was about. I only watched it because I like the actors. But, it was as bad as I feared and then some.

But, putting aside the depraved story, there was nothing good about the writing. The actions and interactions of the characters made no sense. Nobody frolics with someone who is committing suicide. You don't say things like, "Maybe when I get home tonight we can watch some tv." The issue of suicide and impending death would never leave. There would be no joking around. There would be no normal conversation. The elephant in the room would always be there.

Ben is committing suicide because he lost his job and his family. Of course, a lot of people lose their jobs. Most people don't even like their jobs. They only do them because they get paid. So, losing his family was a more plausible reason to commit suicide than losing his job. But, even that wasn't done well because it's not like family got killed in an accident. His wife left him becaues of his alcoholism. He still had a son, and presumably, if he cleaned himself up, he could have forged a relationship with him. It would have been better writing if his family had been killed. Ben is presented as a sympathetic character; he is always kind to Sera (which is not how alcoholics are) but to me, he wasn't likeable at all. I suppose the idea was that since most men beat her up, and Ben didn't do that, it was kismet.

Sera's character is imponderable. Why is she a prostitute? She sounds intelligent, and she's not a drug addict. It's not like she has a thousand dollar a day habit that she can't finance except by turning tricks. And considering the frequency of violence that she experiences, why does she do it? Why does she have no other options? Her going along with the four young thugs to have sex with all of them, how, after all that she experienced, could she not see the extreme danger in that? It goes badly, but it would have taken a miracle for it not to go badly. It was like a mack truck barreling at her that she didn't see. Again, if she were a drug addict needing a fix, it might have made sense. They tried to rationalize his self-destructiveness, but what about hers?

While the whole story is twisted and depraved, there is an overlay of old jazz standards, that is, modern renderings of old jazz standards. They probably had to pay a lot of money to use those songs. But, there was nothing fitting about it. To me, since I recognized the songs, it just distracted from the story.

What was the message supposed to be? That love and friendship can blossom anywhere? Was it supposed to be like Joe Buck and Ratzo in Midnight Cowboy?

Why all the accolades for this repulsive film? The reason I think is that it's so shocking. It shocks people out of the boredom of their lives. But, this story is not art. Just as noise isn't music, this story shouldn't strike a chord with anybody.. It says nothing about life. It couldn't happen in real life. There may be some Bens out there, but there are definitely no Seras.

I'm not opposed to showing the dark side of life in films, but this movie goes too far. If anyone thinks that underneath all the horror that there is a sweet spot or a silver lining, they are mistaken. There is nothing there but repulsiveness.
3 people found this helpful
Karen K McColloughReviewed in the United States on July 23, 2019
5.0 out of 5 stars
So heartbreakingly well done
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It's one of those movies that's come to mind repeatedly in my life since I saw it. It's sad and I'm sensitive. I also feel like it was daring about some basic boring things that people didn't want to dramatize. Having Las Vegas in the title might make you think that it is a non-stop party. But it's very different. And I respect that there are a lot of Las Vegans who aren't vegan but I digress... a lot of Las Vegans who are not part of the addiction scene at all, and those who have gotten through it or work with those going through it (relapse/recovery cycle). This movie also says a lot about friendship, in that who's-still-with-you-when-you're-at-your-worst kind of way... Might bring everyone down but the sentiment of that kind of love, attachment and affection (so questionably real because of the alcohol abuse etc) for another person is so profoundly displayed in this film, hidden inside so many mundane moments that it catches you well off-guard. I can't believe it's been so long since this movie came out & I still think about it several times a year. Thank you for making it available.
8 people found this helpful
Chris IrvingReviewed in the United States on July 3, 2019
5.0 out of 5 stars
More an open nerve than a film...
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I didn't see this film for at least 10 years until after it came out, and even then it was because I had traveled to Las Vegas for the first time. It was a strangely fascinating town, much the same in 2005 as it was depicted in the film. Everything is bright and splashy, yet surrounded by the low and desperate. In many ways, that dichotomy explains the relationship of these two characters, Ben and Sera. Neither is complete without the other, and both are so hopelessly lost in the extremes of their own words, that the only light they can see out is with each other's smile. This movie is far from perfect, but it doesn't much matter. Sometimes cinema need only concern itself with genuine human frailty, rather than some kind of pompous attempt to present reality. Despite the efforts of the writers, director, and even the stars to create something more than what it is on occasion, they can't put the cork back in the genie bottle. This movie is like a excellent rendition of an old song that speaks some of the truest possible words about the human condition.
10 people found this helpful
joel wingReviewed in the United States on July 1, 2021
4.0 out of 5 stars
Alcoholic and prostitute make perfect dysfunctional couple
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Nicholas Cage plays a down on his luck alcoholic who decides to move to Las Vegas which appears to be the worst thing he could do given his addiction. The role allows the Crazy Cage to come out but in a different way than usual because it’s about the insanity that liquor brings out in him. In Vegas he meets a prostitute Elisabeth Shue who is just as messed up as he is making them a perfect dysfunctional couple. Shue gets to do a running commentary about their relationship. You can really feel the emotions she has for Cage. The dilemma of the film is whether the two will destroy each other or will they find a way to heal? I think it’s one of the best movies the two appeared in.
2 people found this helpful
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