Axel 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 him. Despite all of this he cannot stop gambling.
Axel Freed, a college professor and very successful at his job, is addicted to gambling, who wins big, but loses it all just as fast. He borrowed from his girlfriend, his wealthy mother, and last but not least a loan shark. It just gets worse for him because he can't stop. But when his girlfriend decides to leave him, his mom decides to disown him, and the mob wants to kill him, Axel decides to make a big score to win big and pay off everyone to stay alive and keep his dignity and come out ahead. Written by
Robert Evans was keen to produce the film as his first credited production at Paramount, but Irwin Winkler, according to writer James Toback, wouldn't bow out despite attempts by the studio to give him other projects. Evans went on to make Chinatown (1974) instead. See more »
[following the big college basketball game, in which Spencer Lewis has shaved points for the Mafia to pay off Axel's gambling debt]
... Okay, we're in the clear. In fact, you might just have a couple of favors coming your way.
How's that? What do you mean?
What are you, naive? This Lewis kid's got maybe a year or two left before he makes the NBA. You think my friends are gonna let him just slip through their fingers, after a night like this?
He did it for ME. He won't do it again.
Ah, quit lying...
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A searing film, stunning, intense, with the best ending in modern film.
This is a film that must be seen to be believed.
Caan is extraordinary; the emotional truth of this film penetrates each line, each scene...The most searing and intense and exact ending in modern film. The straight-forward telling of a professor with a gambling problem does not prepare one for the scale and price of betrayal and redemption of human emtions that are portrayed. A stunning film.
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