Atlantic City (1980 film)

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The Atlantic Ocean was something then. You should have seen the Atlantic Ocean in those days.

Atlantic City is a 1980 film about a young Canadian woman, whose dream for a better life in the gambling business is interrupted by the return of the drug-dealing husband she had left behind, and an older man, a long time resident of Atlantic City, and how their lives interact and change, both for the better.

Directed by Louis Malle. Written by John Guare.
Where dreamers can be winners. (taglines)

Lou Pascal

  • [about Atlantic City in the old days] Yes, it used to be beautiful - what with the rackets, whoring, guns. Sometimes, sometimes, things would happen. I'd have to kill a few people....I'd feel bad for a while, but then I'd jump into the ocean, swim way out. Come back in feelin' nice and clean, start all over again....The Atlantic Ocean was somethin' then. Yes, you should have seen the Atlantic Ocean in those days....They used to call Atlantic City 'The Lungs of Philadelphia.
  • Don't touch the suit.

Sally Matthews

  • I am not going to get upset.
    • After her husband and her pregnant sister show up to stay with her.
  • [to Lou] You're playing with Dave's money. I'm owed it....You're buying me roses. I'm getting fired from my job, I'm supposed to sit here like some Vegas bimbo? Look Mister, I got hoods beatin' the shit out of me. If I'm gonna get beat up for money and drugs, I wanna have that money and drugs on me.

Grace Pinza

  • You work for me, Lou! The cigarettes you put in your mouth, I pay for. I ring this bell and you get down here.


  • Dave's got a much higher developed soul than either you or me. I mean, I've hardly been reincarnated at all, but Dave, wow, he can remember all the way back to ancient Egypt, building the pyramids and all of that. He's had some really hard lives. You know, I think he's due for a real big break in this one.
  • The only difference between Christianity and Hare Krishna is, Hare Krishna is real. If Jesus was alive today, he'd be very much into Hare Krishna.


  • [to Sally] You get your license to learn how to deal and the whole world will open up to you. It's not just cards, you know. It's your future. I want you to concentrate. I hate you going back to that oyster bar. The world should be your oyster...If you'd only stop being afraid. Deal with courage. You're, you're a little pearl produced by that oyster bar. Une petite perle.
  • In three weeks, you'll become dealers - and you'll learn a painful truth: Everybody hates you. You stand in the way of a million dollars, the player hates you. You know enough to cheat the casino, the casino hates you. The TV camera over your head tapes your every move, and yet you are alone. The players, the floor manager, the eye in the sky, they all watch you. You alone.


  • Fred O'Reilly: [to Lou] This is a family town....I only do business with the people I do business with. The people I do business with find out I do business with the people I don't do business with, I can't do business with you.


Sally: Teach me stuff.
Lou: Like what?
Sally: What you know.
Lou: You want information or wisdom?
Sally: Both.

Dave: Who's the old guy?
Fred: You mean Lou? He used run numbers for the dinosaurs.

Young Doctor: Mrs. Matthews, you can claim the body tomorrow.
Sally: [walking away to the exit] I don't want the body!

Sally: Why are you doing this for me?
Lou: Hey, it's nothing, Sinatra gives wings to hospitals. We all do what we can.

Lou: You shut up, Grace, you goddamned old lady.
Grace: If I'm an old lady, what does that make you?
Lou: I'm her lover.
Grace: Oh, ho, ho. You wanna know his nickname in the old days? Numb nuts! Men had names like 'Legs' and "Bullets' and 'Cookie.' His was 'Numb nuts!'

Grace: [to a pregnant Chrissie] You oughta fly home. I'll treat you to the ticket....If you can get a seat belt around that.
Chrissie: Oh, I never use seat belts. I don't believe in gravity.


  • Where dreamers can be winners.
  • She made him become what he always wanted to be — a lover, a hero, a rich man...and a killer!


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