7.8/10
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The Pawnbroker (1964)

Approved | | Drama | 20 April 1965 (USA)
A Jewish pawnbroker, victim of Nazi persecution, loses all faith in his fellow man until he realizes too late the tragedy of his actions.

Director:

Writers:

(screenplay) (as Morton Fine), (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
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Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 6 wins & 8 nominations. See more awards »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
...
Rodriguez
Jaime Sánchez ...
Jesus Ortiz (as Jaime Sanchez)
Thelma Oliver ...
Ortiz' Girl
Marketa Kimbrell ...
Tessie
...
Mendel
...
Mr. Smith
Linda Geiser ...
Ruth Nazerman
Nancy R. Pollock ...
Bertha
...
Tangee
John McCurry ...
Buck
...
Robinson
...
Mrs. Ortiz
Warren Finnerty ...
Savarese
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Storyline

In a poor neighborhood of New York, the bitter and lonely Jewish pawnbroker Sol Nazerman is a survivor from Auschwitz that has no emotions or feelings. Sol lost his dearest family and friends in the war and his faith in God and belief in mankind. Now he only cares for money and is haunted by daydreams, actually flashbacks from the period of the concentration camp. Sol's assistant is the ambitious Latino Jesus Ortiz, who wants to learn with Sol how to run a business of his own. When Sol realizes that the obscure laundry business he has with the powerful gangster Rodriguez comes also from brothels, Sol recalls the fate of his beloved wife in the concentration camp and has a nervous breakdown. His attitude leads Jesus Ortiz to tragedy and Sol finds a way to cry. Written by Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

The Most Talked About Picture!

Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Details

Country:

Language:

| |

Release Date:

20 April 1965 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

El prestamista  »

Box Office

Budget:

$930,000 (estimated)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Heavily influenced by the French new wave of film-making. Sidney Lumet said that he was deeply inspired by two films by Alain Resnais: Hiroshima Mon Amour (1959) and Night and Fog (1956). See more »

Goofs

When the gun goes off, it is clearly aimed to Ortiz' side (toward the camera) and not at his stomach. See more »

Quotes

Jesus Ortiz: Say, how come you people come to business so naturally?
Sol Nazerman: You people? Oh, let's see. Yeah. I see. I see, you... you want to learn the secret of our success, is that right? Alright I'll teach you. First of all you start off with a period of several thousand years, during which you have nothing to sustain you but a great bearded legend. Oh my friend you have no land to call your own, to grow food on or to hunt. You have nothing. You're never in one place long enough to have a geography or an army ...
[...]
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Connections

Featured in Indie Sex: Censored (2007) See more »

Soundtracks

I Don't Wanna Be a Loser
(uncredited)
Written by Ben Raleigh and Mark Barkan
Performed by Lesley Gore
See more »

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User Reviews

 
An absolutely stunning film...
31 July 2001 | by (California) – See all my reviews

Although the supporting cast is uniformly excellent (Brock Peters especially so), they are really only believable props to what is, essentially, a one-man performance by Rod Steiger.

And what a performance it is! Steiger grabs your emotions, and maintains a hold long after the final credits roll. He sucks all the oxygen out of the room, and you're not able to draw a deep breath until it's over.

For some reason, this movie seems to have faded from public awareness, and isn't all that easy to find. I first saw it in 1965, and then again about 30 years later; it packed the same emotional wallop the second time around.

Both Steiger and director Sidney Lumet have done plenty of excellent work since The Pawnbroker, but this remains the highwater mark for both.

It is, unquestionably, one of the most powerful films ever made, and that's a might tough act to follow.


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