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The Gambler (1974)

 -  Crime | Drama  -  October 1974 (USA)
7.2
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Ratings: 7.2/10 from 1,673 users  
Reviews: 34 user | 6 critic

Alex Freed is a literature professor. He has the gambling vice. When he has lost all his money, he borrows from his girlfriend, then his mother and finally some bad guys that chase his. Despite of all this he cannot stop gambling.

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Title: The Gambler (1974)

The Gambler (1974) on IMDb 7.2/10

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Nominated for 1 Golden Globe. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Axel Freed
...
Hips
...
Billie
Morris Carnovsky ...
A.R. Lowenthal
Jacqueline Brookes ...
Naomi Freed
...
Carmine
Carmine Caridi ...
Jimmy
...
One
Steven Keats ...
Howie
London Lee ...
Monkey
...
Las Vegas Gambler
...
Bank Officer
Carl W. Crudup ...
Spencer
...
Bernie
...
Cowboy
Edit

Storyline

Alex Freed is a literature professor. He has the gambling vice. When he has lost all his money, he borrows from his girlfriend, then his mother and finally some bad guys that chase his. Despite of all this he cannot stop gambling.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

For $10,000 they break your arms. For $20,000 they break your legs. Axel Freed owes $44,000.

Genres:

Crime | Drama

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

October 1974 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Spieler ohne Skrupel  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

(Eastmancolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Quotes

Axel Freed: [dealer goes to reveal card] Hold it!
Billie: You're crazy.
Axel Freed: Blessed.
Axel Freed: Double it.
Las Vegas Dealer: You want to double on eighteen sir?
Axel Freed: Yes.
[pauses]
Axel Freed: Gimme the three.
See more »

Connections

Remade as The Gambler (2015) See more »

Soundtracks

Una furtiva lagrima
Sung by Enrico Caruso
Courtesy RCA Records
See more »

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User Reviews

Toback's existential macho, Gulf & Western style
5 August 1999 | by (los angeles) – See all my reviews

It suggests what TAXI DRIVER would have been if Paul Schrader had gotten his wish--a "Tiffany director" and the studio red carpet. In other words, Paul Schrader would never have become Paul Schrader--he would have become James Toback, an interesting eccentric who derailed a promising start in a would-be-Dostoevskyan pileup of poontang, shylock debts, and deli-clerk assignments for Warren Beatty.

As always, Toback's schtik is existential macho, filtered through Dostoevsky and through Rojack, his near-namesake, the Raskolnikov-like antihero of Mailer's AN AMERICAN DREAM. In FINGERS, Toback's one true-blue masterpiece, the Tobackian alter ego is a young turk driven nutty by a split parentage: dad's a fading gangster, mom's a wacko concert pianist. In THE GAMBLER, the hero is an unironically intended caricature of a Jewish prince: an English professor at Columbia with a loving, unshrewish mom, a gangster-turned-tycoon grandfather, and a horsy shiksa by his side. (This being 1974, the horsy shiksa is inevitably Lauren Hutton.) Mini-Toback (James Caan) is into his bookie (Paul Sorvino, playing ditzy less well than his daughter) for forty-five grand--and every time he gets close to get out of harm's way and making it back, he lays it on the line again. "Ya know how all gambling addicts are alike?" asks dizzy Sorvino. "Yeah! They all wanna lose," sighs Mini-Toback.

Directed by Karel Reisz in the undistinguished and expensive-looking manner of prestige studio movies of the seventies--the seventies movies we DON'T remember--the movie bakes out most of Toback's aromatic screwiness. But when Mini-Toback really gets in hot water, the filmmakers know how to tighten the screws and produce a churning, nauseating tension. (Abel Ferrara used this plot almost twenty years later, but there's not the same anxiety in BAD LIEUTENANT--you know Harvey's goin' down.) Caan isn't bad --he's less his usual grinning, cocksure self than usual, and his teaching scenes aren't half bad. THE GAMBLER and FINGERS, for all Toback's posturing, are pretty gripping diagnoses of male pathology--so where did Toback go? What made this guy plummet from crazy young man to dirty old man in such an awful hurry?


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$44,000 in 1974 is worth $208,530.81 today. foxboro27
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