House of Games (1987)




Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

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Movie Info

Playwright David Mamet's directorial debut House of Games is a tense psychological thriller about a uptight psychiatrist (Lindsay Crouse) who falls prey to a smooth-talking con-man (Joe Mantegna), and then proceeds to turn the tables on him.
Drama , Mystery & Suspense
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Written By:
In Theaters:
HBO Video

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Lindsay Crouse
as Margaret Ford
Lilia Skala
as Dr. Littauer
Steve Goldstein
as Billy Hahn
J.T. Walsh
as Businessman
Willo Hausman
as Girl With Book
Karen Kohlhaas
as Prison Ward Patient
Jack Wallace
as Bartender, `House of Games'
Ricky Jay
as George/Vegas Man
Ben Blakeman
as Bartender, `Charlie's Tavern'
Scott Zigler
as Western Union Clerk
William H. Macy
as Sgt. Moran
John Pritchett
as Hotel Desk Clerk
Meshach Taylor
as Mr. Dean
Roberta Magure
as Restaurant Hostess
Johnny S.B. Willis
as Hotel Doorman
Josh Conescu
as Garage Attendant
Julie Mendenhall
as Late Student
Jaqueline dela Chaume
as Woman with Lighter
Rachel Cline
as Student
Patricia Wolff
as Patient, Dr. Ford's Office
Paul Walsh
as Man in Restaurant
Roberta Maguire
as Restaurant Hostess
Jaqueline de la Chaume
as Woman with Lighter
G. Roy Levin
as Poker Player
Bob Lumbra
as Poker Player
Andy Potok
as Poker Player
Allen Soule
as Poker Player
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Critic Reviews for House of Games

All Critics (25) | Top Critics (1)

David Mamet's sometimes baffling, never less than fascinating glimpse into the dark underbelly of this world where it turns out that winning games of chance involve more skill (and con artistry) than luck.

Full Review… | May 3, 2013

O roteiro é mais previsível do que Mamet desejaria e seu primeiro trabalho na direção exibe uma teatralidade que ele gradualmente superaria, mas, apesar disso, a complexidade de seus personagens e a dinâmica de seus diálogos são admiráveis.

January 4, 2008
Cinema em Cena

Since it would be unfair to spoil a moment of this perfectly-plotted masterpiece, all you need to know is that it landed on this critic's Best Movies of the Millennium List in 2000.

Full Review… | August 24, 2007

A conceptual film about con artists, Mamet's feature debut is a deadpan, deviously comic melodrama that proceeds with twists and reversals and builds like a poker game in which the stakes are higher and higher.

Full Review… | December 6, 2006

fiendishly clever

February 6, 2005
Shadows on the Wall

A top-notch psychological thriller about sexual politics, trust and betrayal.

Full Review… | August 27, 2004
Spirituality and Practice

Audience Reviews for House of Games

Cheesy, dated and more of a film made for tv, yet, there was something quite interesting about this film, that left me enjoying it.

Lady D'arbanville
Lady D'arbanville

Super Reviewer


Lindsay Crouse is an eminent psychologist who is desperate for adventure. One day she'll meet Joe Mantegna's character, a swindler that will provide her a few tricks to reach a little excitement in her life. There will be, of course, a few bumps on their way. A tight and thoughtful writing and direction along with Juan Ruiz Anchia's stylish photographic work, construct a rich and atmospheric hitchcockian tour de force with no room for gratuitousness, not even in Mamet's notorious use of coarse words. David Mamet's first and easily best film.

Pierluigi Puccini
Pierluigi Puccini

Super Reviewer

Okay, so could Lindsay Crouse be any more awful? I know pretty much everyone hates her in this movie but Jesus Christ, that was a dull performance. I don't know if she was attempting sociopathy by way of emotional stunting, but what she really accomplished was sheer tedium. Joe Mantegna wasn't too much better, playing some unctuous cipher for the real star of the movie - the con. Mamet's a pretty damn good writer, lack of range and self-indulgent style notwithstanding, and here he has developed a screenplay that starts out riveting but becomes predictable and floppy. I had the entire half hour of the movie mapped out before it even started; how's that for a disappointing ending? I think we can blame Lindsay Crouse for that too. God, she was bad. But yeah, the first and most of the second act are this great psychological clash between a woman and a man, both of whom make their living working out the human brain in very different ways. The cons themselves are a lot of fun to watch...just not that last one because you know what's coming. I don't know if it's a product of the movie's age or just straight-out simplicity, but it was a bust. Not a bad movie per se, but the payoff was a mess.

Drew Smith
Drew Smith

Super Reviewer

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