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Atlantic City (1981)

Burt Lancaster , Susan Sarandon , Louis Malle  |  R |  DVD
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (76 customer reviews)

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Atlantic City (1981) Atlantic City (1981) 4.3 out of 5 stars (76)
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Product Details

  • Actors: Burt Lancaster, Susan Sarandon, Kate Reid, Michel Piccoli, Hollis McLaren
  • Directors: Louis Malle
  • Writers: John Guare
  • Producers: Denis Héroux, Gabriel Boustiani, Jean-Serge Breton, John Kemeny, Joseph Beaubien
  • Format: Anamorphic, Closed-captioned, Color, Subtitled, Widescreen, NTSC
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono)
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: R (Restricted)
  • Studio: Paramount
  • DVD Release Date: May 14, 2002
  • Run Time: 104 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (76 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000062UHA
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #119,737 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Atlantic City" on IMDb

Special Features

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Editorial Reviews

The story of the changes encountered by people when gambling is legalized in Atlantic City. Lancaster stars as a bodyguard to an aging beauty queen.
Genre: Feature Film-Drama
Rating: R
Release Date: 1-MAR-2004
Media Type: DVD

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
56 of 58 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A gem September 12, 2002
Format:VHS Tape
Europeans have always delighted in introducing America to itself. (I am thinking of de Tocqueville and Nabokov.) There is something very valuable about seeing ourselves through the eyes of others. In Atlantic City, assumptions about the American way of life, the American dream and the America reality, circa 1978, are examined through the artistry of master French film director, Louis Malle (Murmur of the Heart (1971), Pretty Baby (1978), Au Revoir Les Enfants (1987), etc.)

The film begins with a shot of Sallie Matthews (Susan Sarandon at 34) at the kitchen sink of her apartment squeezing lemons and rubbing them on her arms, her neck, her face as Lou Pasco (Burt Lancaster at 68) watches unbeknownst to her from across the way, the window of his apartment looking into hers. She works at a clam bar in a casino on the boardwalk, which is why she smells like fish, which is why she is squeezing lemon on herself to get rid of the smell. She is taking classes to be a blackjack dealer. Her dream is to go to Monaco and deal blackjack in one of resort casinos and perhaps catch a glimpse of Princess Grace. She listens to French tapes and achieves...an amusing accent. He is a has-been who never was, a pathetic old numbers runner well past any dream of his prime, pretending to be a "fancy man" as he picks up a few extra bucks waiting on an invalid woman.

Enter a hippy couple with all their belongings on their backs. It turns out that he is Sallie's estranged husband, a deceitful little guy who has found a bag of cocaine that he intends to cut and sell; and she is Sallie's not too bright sister, very pregnant. They need a place to stay and have the gall to impose on her.
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29 of 29 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Portrait of an Old Lion and a Tired City March 9, 2004
Format:DVD
For whatever reasons, this film never has received the recognition and appreciation I think it deserves. It was directed by Louis Malle and stars Burt Lancaster as Lou. (In Atlantic City, first names are all you need to know about those around you.) Malle carefully develops three different story lines: Lou's long-term affair with Grace (Kate Reid), a mobster's widow; Lou's relationship with Sally (Susan Sarandon) to whom he feels both a paternal and romantic attraction; and his symbiotic relationship with Atlantic City. Both he and the city seem long past their prime. During the course of the film, Sally also becomes a widow. Credit Malle and his excellent cast as well as cinematographer Richard Ciupka for creating and then sustaining an atmosphere of deterioration and menace. Special note should also be made of John Guare's screenplay. He, Malle, Lancaster, Sarandon, and the film were all nominated for an Academy Award. (FYI, The respective winners in 1980 were Bo Goldman for Melvin and Howard, Robert Redford for Ordinary People, Robert De Niro for Raging Bull, Sissy Spacek for Coal Miner's Daughter, and Ordinary People.) Toward the end of his career, Lancaster accepted a series of roles (including this one) which enabled him to explore and reveal subtle nuances of character and personality which much earlier roles neither permitted nor required. My own opinion is that his performance as Lou is his greatest achievement as an actor.
However, in certain respects, Atlantic City itself really is the dominant character. I recall brief visits to it in the 1970s. The city then bore little resemblance to what it has since become, at least in the casino area. Of course the city then bore little resemblance, also, to the elegant seaside resort it once was 75 years earlier.
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18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars City of dreams. July 29, 2002
By A Customer
Format:DVD
A thorough pleasure. First and foremost, *Atlantic City* is about Burt Lancaster -- a more congenial subject than most, to be sure. The movie caters to sentimental feelings toward the actor and by extension his era, and there's nothing wrong with that. Lancaster's Lou tells a new acquaintance, a scuzzy young drug-dealer, all about the Good Old Days, back when they danced the "Floogie" and the "Floy Floy". Dreamily, he says, "Atlantic City was something in those days", and adds a sublime codicil: "The Atlantic OCEAN was something in those days." But playwright John Guare makes a point of infusing Lou with a dose of cynicism that acts as a healthy balance against his Old-Man sentimental nostalgia. He gripes about the "new" Atlantic City, with its Howard Johnson casinos and gentrified new boardwalk. "Too wholesome," he says with disdain. The old, seedy Atlantic City was a better match for old, seedy Lou, who is currently a penny-ante numbers runner, operating in the poor black neighborhoods, taking 50-cent bets. He lives alone in old apartment that's on schedule for demolition. His fellow tenants include a 1940's-era beauty queen (Kate Reid, who was the epileptic grouch in *The Andromeda Strain*), now widowed, who he once served as bodyguard and still takes care of (he even walks her poodle, since she's confined by hypochondria to her room) . . . and an aspiring blackjack dealer played by Susan Sarandon. The latter turns out to be the ex-wife of the scuzzy drug-dealer, and Lou ends up enmeshed in a petty Mob underworld in which -- despite his basic decrepitude -- he stands out as a sort of old-fashioned Man of the World. His involvement with this new breed of thugs culminates in his first "hit". (Don't worry; the two hoods he offs won't be missed. Read more ›
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Classic
Excellent cast and storyline, though a little brutal at times
Never appreciated Burt Lancaster until this movie, and
Susan Sarandon never disappoints

Movie... Read more
Published 3 days ago by Patricia
5.0 out of 5 stars One of Lancaster's later and Greater Films
Lancaster plays the elderly man part to perfection! He is seeking to redeem his past. Watch this fine movie to see how he does it. Priced right and You'll love it. So buy it!
Published 12 days ago by Bob Wolter
3.0 out of 5 stars Unique and enjoyable
Atlantic City is a little goofy but it's an old movie so it's a pass. The story is fun, and humourous. Read more
Published 15 days ago by MegaPrimeBleach
4.0 out of 5 stars Burt Lancaster Is Synonymous with Class.
Viewed: 3/14
Rate: 8

3/14: What's surprising about the film Atlantic City is that the city doesn't look much different to this day after 34 years and is still the... Read more
Published 26 days ago by Austin Somlo
5.0 out of 5 stars CLASSIC!
This is one of Burt Lancaster's last films and he is BRILLANT! You'll also see a very young Susan Sarandon and she's also so terrific in this film. Read more
Published 3 months ago by S. Tyrrell
5.0 out of 5 stars This is a one of a kind film
No bones about it: This is an excellent film, one of Burt Lancaster's last. Written by playwright John Guare for which he was nominated for an Oscar. Read more
Published 3 months ago by Dangerman
4.0 out of 5 stars Gritty, sometimes hard to watch, but recommended
Just about anything Burt Lancaster did was good, and Atlantic City does not disappoint. His and Susan Sarandon's characters are well drawn out, and all of the actors give good... Read more
Published 3 months ago by tomwoodsv
1.0 out of 5 stars This felt like a farce in some places...and not on purpose!
This felt like a farce in some places...and not on purpose! Very surprised that Susan Sarandon and Burt Lancaster were nominated for their roles. Read more
Published 5 months ago by tami
4.0 out of 5 stars Burt Lancaster and Susan Sarandon create a beautifully jaded side of...
This film is clearly a wonderful vehicle at the end of Lancaster's stellar career. A young Sarandon plays charismatically to the seasoned actor as fresh beauty captivating the... Read more
Published 5 months ago by Chy
5.0 out of 5 stars It just flows…
This nicely paced and tightly constructed little film follows an unlikely pair as they discover themselves through their sudden friendship and surprising link. Read more
Published 6 months ago by Andrew Ellington
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