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Leaving Las Vegas [DVD] [1996]

Price: £6.67 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over £10. Details
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Product details

  • Actors: Nicolas Cage, Elisabeth Shue, Julian Sands, Richard Lewis, Steven Weber
  • Directors: Mike Figgis
  • Writers: Mike Figgis, John O'Brien
  • Producers: Stuart Regen, Annie Stewart, Lila Cazès, Marc S. Fischer, Paige Simpson
  • Format: PAL
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 2 (This DVD may not be viewable outside Europe. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 4:3 - 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: 18
  • Studio: Eiv
  • DVD Release Date: 31 Jan. 2000
  • Run Time: 107 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (43 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00004D365
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 26,712 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)


Product Description

An alcoholic (Nicolas Cage) decides to travel to Las Vegas to drink himself to death, but when he arrives he embarks on a strange love affair with a prostitute (Elisabeth Shue). He never asks her to change her profession whilst she never asks him to stop drinking. When his health deteriorates, however, she begs him to see a doctor. He refuses and leaves her, putting both their lives on a downward spiral. Nicolas Cage won an Academy Award for Best Actor.


One of the most critically acclaimed films of 1995, this wrenchingly sad but extraordinarily moving drama provides an authentic, superbly acted portrait of two people whose lives intersect just as they've reached their lowest depths of despair. Ben (Nicolas Cage, in an Oscar-winning performance) is a former movie executive who's lost his wife and family in a sea of alcoholic self-destruction. He's come to Las Vegas literally to drink himself to death, and that's when he meets Sera (Elisabeth Shue), a prostitute who falls in love with him--and he with her--despite their mutual dead-end existence. They accept each other as they are, with no attempts by one to change the other, and this unconditional love turns Leaving Las Vegas into a sombre yet quietly beautiful love story. Earning Oscar nominations for Best Director (Mike Figgis), Best Adapted Screenplay (Figgis, from John O'Brien's novel) and Best Actress (Shue), the film may strike some as relentlessly bleak and glacially paced, but attentive viewers will readily discover the richness of these tragic characters and the exceptional performances that bring them to life. (In a sad echo of his own fiction, novelist John O'Brien committed suicide while this film was in production.) --Jeff Shannon

Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

30 of 30 people found the following review helpful By Michael Crane on 6 Sept. 2003
Format: DVD
"Leaving Las Vegas" is a dark and tragic film that shows you how low you can fall and just how bad things can get. It portrays a dead-on picture of alcoholism and what exactly one goes through when they've hit rock bottom. As tragic as it is, this is a very beautiful and well-done film that keeps your attention to the bitter end.
Ben Sanderson (Nicholas Cage) is an alcoholic who has nothing left to live for but the very booze that seems to be the only happiness he can find. His friends want nothing to do with him and women are disgusted by him. After being let go from his job, Ben burns all of his possessions and moves to Las Vegas, where his only plan is to drink himself to death. In a short amount of time he meets Sera (Elisabeth Shue), a lonely hooker who has been through it all. An unexpected bond is formed between the two and love falls upon them that can only end in tragedy.
Boy, was this a hard movie to watch, but it was so well-done and executed. You are able to sympathize with both Ben and Sera, despite the paths they have chosen. Nicholas Cage was amazing and brilliant. No wonder why he won an Academy Award for his performance. You really buy into the fact that he is this sad character who wants nothing more but to destroy himself by the only thing that can bring him some sense of false happiness. Shue is also terrific in her role and should be applauded as well. The two are explosive as a team and can really bring the house down.
"Leaving Las Vegas" is drama at its best. It's heartbreaking, but at the same time is satisfying. It's emotionally charged from start to finish. The writing is poetic, the acting is electric, and the directing is fantastic. Be warned, this is not a "feel-good" movie. It's a portrait of harsh reality and it doesn't go easy on you for a second. If you want a powerhouse drama that will keep you emotionally involved, this is the one for you. A terrific and amazing film on every front.
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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 26 April 2003
Format: DVD
Mike Figgis brought this touching ode to the night to the screen, imbuing it with the transient and tragic nature of those seduced and then swallowed up by it. The director of Stormy Monday perfectly captures the sad yet often poetic beauty found in the shared loneliness of the night two souls in despair can find. On the surface it is a simple story of a man drinking himself to death and a prostitute on the streets of Las Vegas. But it is really a story of love and loss with a foreign film atmosphere and quality, giving it that rare depth where the film becomes more than the sum of its parts.
Nicholas Cage gives a haunting performance as Ben Sanderson, a man who has lost everything and come to Las Vegas to drink himself to death. On his way down he meets a prostitute named Sera and in their spiraling despair they discover love. One of the most poignant moments in the film comes when Cage is on the streets of Las Vegas seeking human contact and can’t remember whether he lost everything because of his drinking or started drinking because he lost everything. Cage’s performance rings absolutely true and deservedly won him the Oscar. He shows with great tenderness the sad realism of being an alcoholic.
Matching Cage scene for scene is Elizabeth Shue in a brilliantly realized role that should have won an Oscar. As this working girl begins to care about Ben she discovers she is not dead inside, like some, and can still love. But when Ben finally pushes her away in order to save her she realizes that if she lets him, she may very well lose this power to love and her connection to being human. Going back, however, may be more than her heart can bare.
Figgis has made a mesmerizing film of almost overwhelming sadness.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By John Peter O'connor VINE VOICE on 29 July 2000
Format: DVD
I found this film very hard to watch. Not because it is a bad film but because of the material with which it deals and the strength of the portrayal of that material.
Nicolas Cage plays Ben, a man who is on the way down and who knows it. He loses his family and his job and the only thing that he has left is drinking. Finally, destroying everything that remains of his old life, he takes his severance pay and sets off for Las Vegas with the simple intention of drinking himself to death.
There he has a chance encounter with prostitute Sera (Elisabeth Shue) and they are drawn together. All that Ben needs is a person who will not reject him because he is a drunk and who will not try to get him off the bottle. Sera needs Ben too. She needs a man who wants her for more than just sex or the money that it makes.
Oddly, for a relationship involving a prostitute, sex hardly enters into things. The reason is simple. Alcohol is deadening Ben to the extent that he is not sexually interested in Sera. This is the one thing that strains their relationship. Ben never asks Sera to stop working but he makes sure that she knows that he does not like it. Sera cannot understand how Ben can want to be with her but not want her sexually.
Finally, Sera realises something about Ben. When he told her that he intended to drink hiumself to death, he was being more serious than with anything else. She asks him to seek help. This precipitates a string of events that breaks them up but they are reunited for a tragic finale in which both finally get what they wanted.
Cage puts in a truely outstanding performance as Ben. Watching him gave me the same feelings that I have had when watching a friend get too drunk, too often. He really is totally convincing.
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