The Game (1997)

 ●  English ● 2 hrs 9 mins

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Nicholas Van Orton (Michael Douglas) is a successful banker who keeps mostly to himself. When his estranged brother Conrad (Sean Penn) returns on his birthday with an odd gift -- participation in a personalized, real-life game -- Nicholas reluctantly accepts. Initially harmless, the game grows increasingly personal, and Orton begins to fear for his life as he eludes agents from the mysterious game's organizers. With no one left to trust and his money gone, Orton must find answers for himself.

Cast: Deborah Kara Unger, Michael Douglas, Sean Penn

Crew: David Fincher (Director), Harris Savides (Director of Photography), Howard Shore (Music Director)

Rating: M (Australia)

Genres: Drama, Mystery, Thriller

Release Dates: 12 Sep 1997 (India)

Tagline: The Game...You Just Lost

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Did you know? Deborah Kara Unger fractured a bone in her foot and jumped into a dumpster infested with real rats while working on this film. Read More
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as Christine
as Nicholas Van Orton
as Conrad Van Orton
as City Club Waiter
as Alex Fisher
as Heart Attack Performer
as Elizabeth
as Anson Baer
as Tubercular Commuter
as Assassin Kartmann
as Paramedic Graves
as Maggie
as Ilsa
as CRS Guard
as Nicholas' Father
as Detective Boyle
as Ambulance EMT
as Daniel Schorr
as Assassin Brodi
as Paramedic Stern
as Nicholas' Mother
as Sheraton Manager
as New Member Ted
as Ankles
as Obsequious Executive
as Nikko Hotel Bellhop
as Lieutenant Sullivan
as James The Bartender
as Jim Feingold
as New Member Victor
as Teen Thug
as Triage Doctor
as Officer Walker
as CRS Data Collating Technician
as Power Executive
as Man in Airport
as U.S. Embassy Counselor
as Kaleigh Baer
as Rattle Gatherer
as Officer Hicks
as Cynthia, CRS Receptionist
as New Moon Cafe Manager
as Christine's Roomate Amy
as City Club Waiter
as Shady Private Investigator
as Michael Fisher
as Airbag EMT Galliano
as Pickpocket
as Mr. Garcia
as Samuel Sutherland
as Nikko Hotel Maid
as Sheraton Desk Clerk
as Rachel
as Young Nicholas
as Paramedic Kirkland
as Assassin Rankin
as Airbag EMT Beltran
as Mel
as Tammy Fisher
as Solicitor / Taxi Driver
as Hot Waitress
as Assassin Mobubbi
as Leonard
as Nikko Hotel Manager


First Assistant Director
Second Assistant Director


Executive Producer
Production Supervisor
Unit Production Manager


Screenplay Writer
Script Supervisor

Camera and Electrical

Director of Photography
Still Photographer
Key Grip


Music Director


Sound Designer
Foley Artist
Sound Re-recording Mixer
Sound Effects Editor
Sound Mixer
Boom Operator


Production Designer
Set Designer
Set Decorator
Prop Master
Storyboard Artist


Casting Director
Casting Assistant
Extras Casting

Costume and Wardrobe

Costume Designer
Costume Supervisor


First Assistant Editor

Makeup and Hair

Makeup Artist

Post Production

Post Production Head
Post Production Supervisor

Special Effects

Special Effects Coordinator
Special Effects Technician


Stunt Coordinator
Stunt Double

Visual Effects

Visual Effects Supervisor
Visual Effects Producer
Visual Effects Artist
Film Type:
Spoken Languages:
Cantonese, German
Colour Info:
Sound Mix:
Dolby Digital, DTS, Sony Dynamic Digital Sound
Panavision Panaflex
Frame Rate:
24 fps
Aspect Ratio:
2.35:1, 2.39:1 (Scope)
The Game...You Just Lost
It's simple, Play or be Played
Players Wanted.
Are you ready to play?
The object of the game is to discover the object of.... The Game
What do you get for the man who has everything?
You don't play it, it plays you
John 9;25: "I was blind, but now I see."
There are no rules in The Game.
Audio/Video Mismatch
Nicholas' lips don't move when he apologizes to Christine after everyone runs away at the fake hospital.

Audio/Video Mismatch
Christine's lips are not moving when she delivers one of her lines as she discusses the possible consequences of the "Game" with Nicholas in the car.

Character Error
While speaking to his ex-wife on the telephone, Michael Douglas makes the mistake of pronouncing the word "nuclear" as the incorrect "noo-kyoo-ler". (A mistake he also makes in The China Syndrome.)

Character Error
The sign on the gate to Nicholas Van Orton's house says for auction due to "forclosure" - should be spelled "foreclosure".

At the airport, Nicholas gets ink on his shirt. When trying to clean it, it's a different shirt.

When the detective guy follows Nicholas from the hotel, you can sometimes see two people in the car.

A man appears out of nowhere outside of Nicholas's house, giving him a good scare. In a second shot it is revealed to be Sean Penn's Conrad character, but in the first shot a different actor is used.

Factual Mistake
In the end credits, rigging grip Michael Santoro's name is spelled "Micheal".

Revealing Mistakes
Nicholas Van Orten's birthday is in October, but in one of the scenes as the car goes by a Hallmark Store it clearly is advertising "FATHER'S DAY" (which is in June).

Revealing Mistakes
During the in-car shots in the sequence where Nicolas is being followed by the P.I., the speedometer of the BMW stays at zero.

Revealing Mistakes
When Van Orton and 'Christine' leave from his office in separate taxis, Christine's cab stops just off-camera - the reflection of the brake lights from the cab can clearly be seen in the bumper of the remaining taxi.

Revealing Mistakes
When Nicholas in on the bus in Mexico an 'emergency exit' sign printed in English is visible on the inside of the bus.
Deborah Kara Unger fractured a bone in her foot and jumped into a dumpster infested with real rats while working on this film.

Jodie Foster was originally signed to play Michael Douglas's sibling in the film. However, Foster changed her mind and wanted to appear as Douglas's daughter instead. Douglas and director David Fincher were very opposed to this change so the part went to Sean Penn instead. Foster promptly sued PolyGram to the tune of $54.5 million - even though her Egg Pictures was one of the film's production companies. The matter was fortunately settled out of court. Douglas - who is a personal friend of Foster - said that it didn't seem right for him to play Foster's father, given that there is only 17 years age difference between the two. Ironically, Douglas HAS already played Foster's father - he did so in the Disney film Napoleon and Samantha (1972) at the start of both of their careers.

Nicholas's "San Francisco" home was actually the historic Filoli Mansion, 25 miles south of San Francisco in Woodside, California. The plain gravel forecourt of the mansion was made to look more like a wrap-around driveway by the addition of the fountain, which was constructed of lightweight foam. The interior shots of the kitchen were made in the original time-worn kitchen, which is displayed on tours but no longer used. The kitchen's state of repair is not good, which partially accounts for the very dim lighting used in the kitchen scenes. The scenes in which the walls were defaced with graffiti was done by tacking up lightweight graffiti-painted foamcore boards over the wood paneling. All of the scenes at the mansion were completed in one day.

Jeff Bridges was offered the role of Conrad Van Orton after Jodie Foster dropped out of the part and it was rewritten as a male character.

David Fincher claimed in an interview, in UK film magazine Empire, that there is a can of haggis in every scene of the movie. This was done as a joke, because "Haggis" is the nickname of cinematographer Harris Savides.

In searching for a perfect engine sound for Nicholas' 7 series BMW, one member of the sound editing team located in Sausalito, CA actually borrowed his high school friend's Dinan modified BMW 540 for half day.

Among the tests that Nicholas is asked to take when he interviews at CRS is the MMPI. This is the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory which is one of the most commonly used personality tests in mental health. The test is used by trained professionals to assist in identifying personality structure and psychopathology.

Jonathan Mostow was originally set to direct the film in 1993 with Kyle MacLachlan as Nicholas Van Orton and Bridget Fonda as Christine.

Andrew Kevin Walker was one of the uncredited writers.

The hands which appear under the door in the bathroom were the hands of DP Harris Savides.