Atlantic City

Watch Atlantic City

"She made him become what he always wanted to be - a lover, a hero, a rich man...and a killer!"
  • R
  • 1980
  • 1 hr 44 min
  • 7.3  (17,791)
  • 85

Atlantic City is a romantic crime drama movie from 1980 directed by Louis Malle, and it is considered one of the most iconic films of its era. It stars the impeccable Burt Lancaster as Lou, a small-time aging gangster who is trying to survive in a failing Atlantic City in the late 1970s. Susan Sarandon plays Sally, a young and beautiful waitress with a dream of becoming a legendary casino dealer in Vegas. Kate Reid plays Grace, Lou’s long-time girlfriend, who is fed up with Lou’s failure to grow up and has given up on him.

The film opens with a stunning panoramic view of Atlantic City, its iconic boardwalk, and the vast ocean, which sets the mood for the rest of the movie. Lou is an aging man who lives a solitary life in his small apartment in Atlantic City. He is addicted to horse races and spends most of his time either watching them or talking to the TV set. He seems to have little purpose in life and is waiting for something to happen to him.

One day, Sally shows up at his doorsteps, claiming to be the grandniece of Grace, Lou’s longtime girlfriend. Sally is on the run from her husband, a small-time criminal who is in trouble with the mob. Sally needs a place to stay, and Lou reluctantly invites her in. Sally has a contagious enthusiasm that captivates Lou, and he becomes infatuated with her. He sees in her his last chance to find some purpose in his life.

The main plot of the movie revolves around Lou's involvement in the criminal world, which Sally inadvertently pulls him into. She starts working as a casino dealer, and her boss offers her a deal she can't refuse. He wants her to help him smuggle a consignment of cocaine from Canada, and Sally agrees to it. When one of the dealers she works with gets cold feet, Lou steps in to help, and the two of them find themselves hopelessly entangled in the criminal underworld.

Atlantic City is a movie of moments, and it's difficult to describe the film as a whole. It's a delicate masterpiece that transports its audiences to a different time and place, a nostalgic and romanticized portrayal of a bygone era. The movie is a reflection of Lou's experiences and feelings, and as such, it's a film about reminiscing and missed opportunities. There are moments of love, lust, brutality, and redemption, but they all serve Lou's story of personal growth and acceptance.

The chemistry between Burt Lancaster and Susan Sarandon is immaculate. They both deliver powerhouse performances, masterfully portraying the complexities of their respective characters. Lancaster's Lou is charming, pathetic, and calculating, all at once. He brings depth and nuance to a character that could have easily been portrayed as a caricature. Sarandon's Sally is the beating heart of the movie, a character full of ambition, charisma, and emotional vulnerability. She is the spark that ignites Lou's dormant dreams, and Sarandon captures that energy perfectly.

The film's setting is an essential part of its charm. Atlantic City is portrayed as a decaying, surrealistic landscape where dreams go to die. The boardwalk, the beach, and the imperfect architecture all add to the film's atmosphere, immersing the viewer in a world that has long since disappeared. The film's score is also an integral component of its allure. Composed by Michel Legrand, the music is nostalgic, dreamy, and wistful. It's the perfect complement to the visuals, enhancing the movie's sense of longing and melancholia.

In conclusion, Atlantic City is a breathtakingly beautiful movie that defies categorization. It's a romantic crime drama that is also a character study, a nostalgic homage to a place and time that no longer exists. The film is a feast for the eyes and the ears, and it features some of the finest performances of Burt Lancaster and Susan Sarandon's careers. It's a film that leaves a lasting impression, a testament to the power of storytelling and the magic of the movies.

Atlantic City is a 1980 crime movie with a runtime of 1 hour and 44 minutes. It has received mostly positive reviews from critics and viewers, who have given it an IMDb score of 7.3 and a MetaScore of 85.

Atlantic City
Where to Watch Atlantic City
Atlantic City is available to watch free on Kanopy. It's also available to stream, download and buy on demand at Apple TV, Amazon, Google Play, YouTube VOD and Vudu. Some platforms allow you to rent Atlantic City for a limited time or purchase the movie and download it to your device.
  • Release Date
  • MPAA Rating
  • Runtime
    1 hr 44 min
  • Language
  • IMDB Rating
    7.3  (17,791)
  • Metascore