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The Gambler (1974)

R  |   |  Crime, Drama  |  October 1974 (USA)
7.4
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Ratings: 7.4/10 from 2,484 users  
Reviews: 38 user | 17 critic

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.

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Title: The Gambler (1974)

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Nominated for 1 Golden Globe. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
Hips
...
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

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.

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 »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

October 1974 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

El jugador  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

(Eastmancolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

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 »

Quotes

Jimmy: They don't give out no prizes at the half-time Axel.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Family Ties: The Gambler (1984) See more »

Soundtracks

Una furtiva lagrima
from the opera L'elisir d'amore"
by Gaetano Donizetti
Sung by Enrico Caruso
Courtesy of RCA Records
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Am I the only one who understands the underlying theme?
8 September 2009 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Just about everyone who has posted a reply about the shocking ending was simply left too much in the dark to realize that it tied together a different root demise of Axel Freed than gambling.

Just as a compulsive behavior leads to compulsive gambling, the root evil of Axel Freed was that he had a masochist behavior. When you look a little closer at all the scenes where he acts out this kind of behavior, it makes more sense. The problem lies in that the casual observer is only looking at the problem gambling aspect. There is more to this guy than just that.

The ways he handles his relationships with his mother, girlfriend, grandfather and feelings at the end towards the basketball player ALL indicate there is masochist behavior involved. These are more than just selfish acts. There is some actual self hatred going on as well. Without giving away the final scene, this scene further accentuates the point by sending himself into that situation. The final scene was a conscious act, not something resulting from random chance or risk.

So despite the movie having some gambling theme to it, this really wasn't necessarily about gambling addiction. It was about the nature of Axel Freed. If the movie had no gambling scenes in it at all this point would be more readily identifiable.

The only real oddity in the final scene is the placement of the final scene. If this scene was placed somewhere in the middle of the movie, the underlying theme of his masochist pattern of behavior would have been more easily identified with. Because the movie started with a gambling scene, we all assumed it was just about gambling. Wrong!

Its a tricky concept to catch the first time. Watch this movie again with this concept in mind and the movie will make more sense.


10 of 12 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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