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Atlantic City

HD   R Closed Captioning

Louis Malle

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About the Movie

The people and the story are magnetic; the background is the city of dreams that almost came true. Atlantic City is revitalized as a resort when gambling is legalized. But the new industry also brings unsettling changes. For Lou (Burt Lancaster), 40 years a bodyguard-boyfriend to aging beauty queen Grace (Kate Reid), his numbers-running sideline escalates to mob involvement. A drug-related slaying leaves him with a small fortune, a new car and a new girl, Sally (Susan Sarandon), who is the perfect completion of his fantasy. This romantic thriller won the Golden Lion award for Best Film of 1980 at the Venice Film Festival.

Rotten Tomatoes Movie Reviews


  • Reviews Counted: 30
  • Fresh: 30
  • Rotten: 0
  • Average Rating: 8.6/10

Top Critics' Reviews

Fresh: [It] may be one of the most romantic and perverse ghost stories ever filmed, set not in a haunted castle but in a haunted city... – Vincent Canby, New York Times, Oct 7, 2012

Fresh: Film is blessed with a spare, intriguing script by Yank John Guare, which always skirts impending cliches and predictability by finding unusual facets in his characters and their actions. – Variety Staff, Variety, Oct 7, 2012

Fresh: "Atlantic City" is a sophisticated fairy tale, beautifully acted and beautiful to behold; it is as funny as it is touching. – Kevin Thomas, Los Angeles Times, Oct 7, 2012

Fresh: [Sarandon is] shirtless before she even has a name, but her desire to be ogled is granted dignity and power; gradually and unassumingly, she upstages a terrific Burt Lancaster. – Eric Hynes, Village Voice, Oct 7, 2012

Read More About This Movie On Rotten Tomatoes

Customer Reviews

Urban Decay at its Most Romantic

I had never even heard of this film until reading about it in a list of best movies of the 70's, took a chance based on all the positive reviews, and enjoyed every minute of it! Amazing casting and atmospherics. I was surprised at how technically sloppy the film was though: Color is just plain rancid and sound uneven. However, it more than makes up for these shortcomings with sheer escapism of watching fascinating characters, acting, and brilliant script unfold. If you liked Pretty Baby (another by Malle) you will love this one too.

A Real “Killer” B Movie (one of 237!)

This review is an excerpt from my book “Killer B’s: The 237 Best Movies On Video You’ve (Probably) Never Seen,” which is available as an ebook on iBooks. If you enjoy this review, there are 236 more like it in the book (plus a whole lot more). Check it out!
ATLANTIC CITY: Ever get the feeling they’re tearing down your past? Lou Pasco (Lancaster) does. He lives in delusions not of grandeur, but of a grand past, glorying in his alleged glory days. Demolition and construction, in an unceasing cycle, is the theme of this special film; demolition and construction of landmarks and of lives, the literal merely mirroring the inner rhythms of the restless characters.
Lancaster’s Lou is dapper but trapped in the past; to him, Sally (Sarandon) is “a regular Princess Grace,” attempting to deal her way into a Monte Carlo casino. Her hunger for wisdom and his chance for rejuvenation lead them into a May/December romance as tender and as curious as it is bittersweet.
The film starts out slowly, but picks up momentum exponentially, both in action and character development. And, in a final irony, everybody gets exactly what they wanted—whether they knew what they wanted or not. As Lou Pasco would say, they just don’t make ‘em like this anymore.

To "Mcain/ Palin08!!!"

Since you're an idiot, it makes sense that you haven't heard of this movie.