Lou Pasco (Lancaster) is an aging small-time bookie in Atlantic City who fancies he was once a big mobster. He looks after Grace (Kate Reid), a woman who came to town long ago for a Betty Grable lookalike contest and married a real gangster who later died on the boardwalk partly due to Lou's negligence. Meanwhile, Lou's much younger neighbor Sally (Sarandon) wants to become a croupier to realize her dream of moving to Monte Carlo, but her ex shows up with drugs he stole from the Mafia and convinces Lou to sell the stuff. (Ex-hubby ran off with Sally's little sister, who's now pregnant.) The ex gets killed before Lou can give him the money, and the owners of the drugs show up and threaten to kill Sally. Despite the lurid plot outline, this is a lyrical, character-driven story, with the May-December romance between Sally and Lou taking center stage in a tale of moldering desperation and foolish dreams (parts of Atlantic City were being demolished during filming, and director Louis Malle worked that in). The two leads are fantastic, and there are cameos by Robert Goulet as a singer and Wallace Shawn as a waiter. This 1980 picture received five Oscar nominations, including best picture, director, screenplay, actor, and actress.
The review of this Movie prepared by David Loftus