[[caption-width-right:350:''"What do you get for the man who has... everything?"'']]
->''"I don't care about the money. I'm pulling back the curtain. I want to meet the wizard."''
-->-- '''Nicholas van Orton'''

''The Game'' is a Creator/DavidFincher directed movie, released on September 12th, 1997.

It centers around Nicholas van Orton (Creator/MichaelDouglas), a bored, disillusioned businessman who spends his days in his office. So well-ordered he has driven out all romantic prospects, Nicholas soon receives a gift certificate from his brother Conrad (Creator/SeanPenn), which involves participating in a potentially-dangerous game, courtesy of a group called [[SuperFunHappyThingOfDoom Consumer Recreation Services]]. Not long after signing up things soon get bizarre and the line between the game and reality [[ParanoiaFuel begins to blur.]]

Now has a character page in desperate need of expansion.

'''This film runs on various twists and turns. You will learn them if you read any further. Administrivia/YouHaveBeenWarned.'''
!!''The Game'' contains examples of:
* AllIsWellThatEndsWell
* AndAllIGotWasThisLousyTShirt: "I was drugged and left for dead in Mexico - and all I got was this stupid T-shirt".
* ATeamFiring: Inverted in the cafeteria scene. The guards really don't give a damn who gets killed.
* BookSafe: Nicholas keeps a revolver hidden in a copy of ''Literature/ToKillAMockingbird''. Which CRS knew about and loaded with blanks.
* BreakTheHaughty: The entire point, with the end goal being [[CatharsisFactor for Nicholas to achieve catharsis by willingly committing "suicide"]] and emerge from the game a happier man.
* ChekhovsArmy: A major theme in the film, revealed in the cafeteria scene in which every extra is revealed to have been a part of the game.
* CrazyPrepared: Might as well be CRS's company motto. The amount of planning, foresight, preparation and improvisation that's necessary to successfully run the schemes they do is mind-boggling, and next to impossible to pull off in RealLife.
* DisproportionateRetribution: When Nicholas destroys the smoke detector in Christine's apartment, CRS agents immediately start lighting them up with high-powered silenced machine guns.
* DrivenToSuicide: Possibly Nicholas's father. Later in the movie the trope is subverted with Nicholas himself. He tries to commit suicide, but instead harmlessly falls into a dome of breakaway glass and a safety mattress.
* TheEndingChangesEverything: The ending reveals the entire thing was a fake game.
* EpiphanyTherapy: The game is designed based on the player's profile to shake things up and give him a dose of whatever he needs.
* FailedASpotCheck: Literally - there's no way in hell Nicholas couldn't have spotted the huge white cross on the even bigger safety mattress below him when he jumps off the roof in the finale.
* {{Foreshadowing}}: After despairing to Nicholas, sobbing and crying, Conrad has a huge grin on his face when Nicholas leaves, which is a hint that the game is just that, a harmless game.
* FriendlyScheming: Everything was just a game; Nicholas' brother Conrad and a number of his friends and colleagues were in on it.
* FunWithAcronyms: CRS stands for Consumer Recreation Services. And a few other things... all of which are manifestations of the same company.
* {{Gaslighting}}: The ''modus operandi'' of CRS is to put Nicholas in ever more insane situations and drive him into a paranoid frenzy, until finally he tries to commit suicide - and instead is caught by a safety mattress, literally dropping in on his own surprise party.
* GambitRoulette and/ or XanatosSpeedChess: Consumer Recreation Services' business model is one or both of these.
** On the roulette side-TheProtagonist's game involves hacking the TV channels when he's watching TV, marooning him in another country, and pretending to blow people away with high caliber weapons. They must hire exceptionally good actors / roleplayers / grifters.
** On the speedchess side-there is no way in hell that CRS could account for every single contingency, so it's quite possible they improvised for the ones they couldn't handle. The scheme could be pulled off with one or two really good improvisers, e.g. Christine and the CRS rep, to steer him, and the rest of the cast as regular actors (not to demean real-life actors, who must have good improvisational skills). This could explain why Christine alone had to leave for the next gig at the end.
-->"[[NightmareFuel Thank God you jumped, 'cause otherwise I was supposed to throw you off!]]"
* GenerationXerox: The goal of "The Game" is apparently to get Nicholas to commit suicide by jumping from a great height at a birthday party - which is exactly what his father did.
* GoingCommando / SkirtsAndLadders: When [[UncomfortableElevatorMoment Trapped In An Elevator]] with waitress Christine, Nicholas asks her to crawl out the roof hatch. An embarrassed Christine reveals she's reluctant to do this because she's not wearing anything under her short skirt. Given what happens later, this is likely deliberate so as to [[DistractedByTheSexy mess with the protagonist's head]].
* ImNotADoctorButIPlayOneOnTV: Douglas discovers the CRS representative is an actor when he sees him doing a drug commercial on TV.
* KickTheDog: "Like my father before me, I choose eternal sleep." "Said" by a ''clown''. ''Jesus''.
* LampshadeHanging: "What have you seen, Nicholas? What have you ''really'' seen? Special effects. Blanks. Squibs."
* MassiveMultiplayerScam: Douglas spends most of the movie trying to figure out if it's a scam. Averted as it isn't.
* MindScrew: CRS drives the screw deeper into Douglas' head with each new baffling scenario.
* MonsterClown: The CRS sends Nicholas a creepy clown doll. This is especially cruel because there were clowns at one of Nicholas's boyhood birthday parties - the one at which his father killed himself.
* MuggingTheMonster: Even the most effete rich guy can be dangerous if he's pushed to the brink of his sanity and you try to carjack him.
* NotMyDriver: Douglas steps into a cab that's subsequently driven into water.
* NewscasterCameo: A ''very'' unusual example with Daniel Schorr.
* OnlySaneMan: Nicholas, until the pressure of "The Game" ''really'' [[SanitySlippage starts to get to him]]. And after that, his ex-wife Elizabeth ("You're the only person I can trust").
* ThePictureCameWithTheFrame: Suspecting that Christine is a CRS plant, Nicholas opens the picture frames on the walls of her apartment, and finds the pictures are cut from magazines.
* PleasureIsland: Until the very end.
* PoliceAreUseless: Massive shootouts with automatic weapons in the city center, even with silenced ones, should have the cops all over the place within minutes, but they never show up to lend a hand. [[FridgeHorror Makes you wonder how deep CRS's connections really run.]]
* PrivateMilitaryContractors: The security guards at CRS are no rent-a-cops.
* RedHerring: Of ''all'' the characters and extras in the story, Van Orton's attorney and Anson Baer were the only ones who knew nothing of the scheme (save the invitation they received for the finale). In the end, they thought Nicholas organised the entire thing himself. Unfortunately, that also means he ''did'' [[HumiliationConga genuinely embarrass himself and act like a madman in front of both earlier]].
* RuleOfSymbolism: When Nicholas takes Jim Feingold hostage with a gun, Feingold is with his children in front of the albino tigers at the San Francisco Zoo. By this point, Nicholas does feel like [[BullyingADragon "a tiger in a cage."]]
* ScarySurpriseParty: Many twists and turns finally lead to a surprise party (and a hefty bill).
* ShockinglyExpensiveBill: Just to give you the rough size of the bill... look at the movie's budget. It's $ 50 Million.
* ShoutOut:
** "I don't care about the money. I'm pulling back the curtain. I want to meet the wizard." to ''Film/TheWizardOfOz'' (when Dorothy finds out that the god-like ruler of Emerald City is a mere human behind a curtain).
** Also to ''Literature/AliceInWonderland,'' perhaps referring to the "rabbit hole" that CRS sends Nicholas further and further down.
* SoftGlass: It's breakable, but can still cut.
* StagedShooting: The climax and its roof jump are filmed because it's a party.
* StealthPun:
** The book ''Literature/ToKillAMockingbird'' contains the device which makes it possible to kill an actual mockingbird; a gun.
** In the finale, Nicholas [[spoiler:literally drops in on his own surprise party, crashing through a dome of breakaway glass and landing on a safety mattress.]]
* TrappedInASinkingCar: Invoked. Michael Douglas's car is plunged off a pier as part of the super-scary "game" to make his life more exciting.
* TheUnreveal: It's never revealed how much the game cost. We just see Nick and Conrad stunned over the cost at the very end, with Nick offering to split the bill.
->''[[Music/JeffersonAirplane ♫ One pill makes you larger\\
And one pill makes you small\\
And the ones that mother gives you\\
Don't do anything at all, go ask Alice when she's ten feet tall... ♫]]''