Characters / The Game

Spoilers follow.

    Nicholas Van Orton 
Portrayed By: Michael Douglas, Scott Hunter McGuire (as a child)

I don't care about the money, I'm pulling back the curtain - I want to meet the wizard.


  • And Your Reward Is Clothes: At the denouement, he gets a t-shirt which reads: "I was drugged and left for dead in Mexico, and all I got was this stupid t-shirt.
  • Book Safe: He keeps a revolver stashed away in a copy on To Kill a Mockingbird, which CRS knew about and loaded with blanks.
  • Dark and Troubled Past: Witnessed although from afar his father's suicide.
  • Driven to Suicide: Subverted. Believing he killed Conrad, he jumps into a glass-paned roof, only to be caught in a blanket.
  • Jerkass: He's snarky and aloof towards everyone around him, and often ignores the well-being of others less fortunate than him.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: After Character Development sets in, he starts to care more about others and less about his wealth, but he's clearly unhinged.
  • No Social Skills: He admits to being detached from society, and it shows. He can't even spit out an apology to Anson when he finds out he's innocent of any wrongdoing.
  • Not My Driver
  • Pet the Dog: Nicholas feels bad about getting Christine fired, so he offers to help find her a new job. She declines, but it's definitely a step up from his behavior earlier on in the movie.
  • Properly Paranoid: What Nicholas thinks he is by the end of the film, but he's still not paranoid enough to see through the last layers of deception.
  • Scary Surprise Party: Right after attempting suicide, then dropping into the dining hall where his surprise party takes place - not to mention the fact that his brother that he just shot (albeit with blanks) is presenting him with his birthday present.
  • Took a Level in Badass: Putting it mildly.
  • Took a Level in Kindness: Over the course of the movie, he learns a thing or two about being a nicer person and appears to have hung onto these lessons by the end.

    Conrad Van Orton 
Portrayed By: Sean Penn

Call that number. They make your life fun.


  • Cluster F-Bomb: "They just fuck you and they fuck you and they fuck you, and then just when you think it's all over, that's when the real fucking starts!"

    Christine 
Portrayed By: Deborah Kara Unger

Where'd you all go, you motherfucking fratboys?


    Jim Feingold 
Portrayed By: James Rebhorn

The game is tailored specifically to each participant. Think of it as a great vacation, except you don't go to it, it comes to you.


  • I'm Not a Doctor, but I Play One on TV: Nicholas discovers the CRS representative is an actor when he sees him doing a drug commercial on TV. Which is Hilarious in Hindsight, since the actor who plays the actor playing the rep (James Rebhorn) is frequently a source of Hey, It's That Guy! in real life, most recently on White Collar.

    Anson Baer 
Portrayed By: Armin Mueller Stahl

There is no Baer/Grant Pubishing without Anson Baer.


  • The Man Behind the Man: What Nicholas thinks Anson is after the incident with the briefcase and the Polaroids at the hotel.

    Samuel Sutherland 
Portrayed By: Peter Donat

When Mr. Van Orton boards his plane on the morrow, he will have every contract, side agreement and addendum, the complete closing package, flawlessly revised.


  • The Mole: Subverted brilliantly when Christine plays on the paranoia the Game has engendered in Nicholas.

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