House of Games

Synopsis: A famous psychologist, Margaret Ford, decides to try to help one of her patients get out of a gambling debt. She visits the bar where Mike, to whom the debt is owed, runs poker games. He convinces her to help him in a game: her assignment is to look for "tells", or give-away body language. What seems easy to her becomes much more complex.
Genre: Crime, Thriller
Director(s): David Mamet
Production: HBO Video
  Nominated for 1 Golden Globe. Another 6 wins & 3 nominations.
Rotten Tomatoes:
102 min

Excuse me.

Excuse me!

Are you Doctor Margaret Ford?


Could I ask you, would you sign my book?

Yes, of course.

I recognised you from your picture.

- I hope I'm not inconveniencing you.

- Not at all.

It's for a friend.

It's the second one I bought.

Then I'm doubly pleased.

Thank you for buying it.

You've helped me very much.

I'm very glad I have.

Thank you.


And I saw the face of an animal.

And I said that we all try

to run from experience -

from experience, do you understand me? -

but that it will seek us out.

You think that you're exempt?

I'm talking to you.

Do you think that you're exempt?

Do I think that I'm exempt?

That I'm exempt from what?

- Experience.

- No, I don't think that I'm exempt.

Well, you'd better be assured you're not.

- What is the animal?

- The animal?

You said in your dream,

you saw the face of an animal.

- I don't know how to say it. It was...

- Yes?

It was a... I...

I want to say...

I don't know how to say it.

- I'm so sorry I'm late.

- That's OK.

You've eaten. Good.

- How are you today, Maggie?

- I'm fine.

Listen to this.

In her dream, she saw a foreign animal.

"What is the animal?"

She cannot think of the name.

The animal is saying

"I am only trying to do good. "

I say "What name comes up

when you think of this animal?"

- She says...

- Yes?

"It is a lurg. It is called a lurg. "

If we invert "lurg", a "lurg" is a "girl".

So she is the animal and she is saying

"I'm just trying to do good. "

And now someone has hurt her.

Good, Maggie.

Good for you. Good work.

- And now, what are you going to eat?

- I don't have time.

It's so beautiful.

It's old and it's heavy.

It looks like someone gave it to you.

- I think the only pressures in my life...

- The only what?

- I'm sorry?

- You said "the only pressures".

- Pleasures. I said "pleasures".

- No. What you said was "pressures".

This is what I'm telling you.

Many things that should

be pleasures are not.

Your book is a best seller,

your income jumps up.

People think of you differently perhaps.

This is confusing.

Listen to me. Slow down.

Try to enjoy your success.

Give yourself all the rewards

you would like to have.

You see a beautiful gold lighter.

Buy one for yourself.

Your friend asks you to lunch.

Go and eat lunch with her.

- Do you forgive me?

- No.


Go work.

- A sort of a...

- A what?

I don't know.

A feeling of nothingness.

- What does that make you think of?

- Leave me alone, for Christ's sake.

What does it matter? It's in my head

or not, it doesn't make a difference.

- Billy...

- What? I'm entitled to my feelings?

What the hell does it matter?

It matters if you're going to cure yourself.

If I'm going to cure myself?

- And what do I do now?

- What do you do now?

No, what do I do today?

What do I do tomorrow?

Today and tomorrow, you say this:

"I am a compulsive gambler.

The reasons for this are in the past. "

Oh, man. I don't know.

What am I doing here?

You're here to take control of your life.

You wanna know something?

What the hell do you care?

You're rich. You're comfortable.

You got your goddamn book you wrote.

All the time you wanna help me,

you don't do dick, man.

You and your goddamn book, it's talk.

It's just talk.

The whole thing is a con game.

You do nothing.

This doesn't help me.

You want to help me?

You want to help me?

Help me with this.

Help me with this if you can.

Because if not, I gotta use it.

- To use it for what?

- Aren't you gonna ask me, is it loaded?

- To use it for what?

- To use it to kill myself, or...

- Why would you wanna kill yourself?

- What do you think this is? Some dream?

Man, you're living in the dream.

Your questions!

- Cos there is a real world.

- What happened to you in that world?

- What happened to you?

- What difference does it make?

You say you want to help. You can't cos,

babe, you don't know what trouble is.

Give me the gun... and I will help you.


Billy. I swear to you.

You give me the gun,

and I will help you.

I just lost $25,000 that I do not have.

And if I do not pay it by tomorrow,

they are going to kill me.

Now, what kind of help

is your damn promise now?

- Can I help you?

- Yeah. I need a match.

- You want a partner to play something?

- I'm looking for Mike.

- Who's Mike?

- Would you get him for me?

- I don't think Mike is here.

- Why don't you go take a look?

What the f*** is it?

I'm looking for Mike.

Mike isn't here. What do you want?

- A friend of mine...

- Cut to the chase. I'm very busy.

- Why do you want Mike?

- I'm telling you and you're Mike.

- You threatened to kill a friend of mine...

- Is that what I did?

That's exactly what you did, Mike.

That behaviour doesn't go.

Whether you mean it or not,

and it's irrelevant to me,

cos you aren't going to do it.

This is a sick kid.

He's a compulsive gambler...

Wait. What is this?

What are you gonna do to me?

If I'm this bad dude, why don't I take out

some gun and blow you to bits?

I'll tell you why.

I think you're just a bully.

"Just a bully"?

What? You're not gonna

let me carry your books?

- Aren't you a caution?

- Let's talk turkey, pal.

One, you threatened to kill my friend.

You aren't going to do that.

Cos if you do, you're going away for life.

Two is the money. He hasn't got it.

- Who is this friend?

- Billy Hahn.

- Billy Hahn. He lost how much to me?

Rate this script:5.0 / 2 votes

David Mamet

David Alan Mamet is an American playwright, essayist, screenwriter, and film director. As a playwright, Mamet has won a Pulitzer Prize and received Tony nominations for Glengarry Glen Ross and Speed-the-Plow. more…

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Submitted on August 05, 2018

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