Up 3,177 this week

The Killing of a Chinese Bookie (1976)

R  |   |  Crime, Drama  |  8 October 1977 (Sweden)
Your rating:
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 -/10 X  
Ratings: 7.5/10 from 7,002 users  
Reviews: 60 user | 56 critic

A proud strip club owner is forced to come to terms with himself as a man, when his gambling addiction gets him in hot water with the mob, who offer him only one alternative.



Watch Trailer
0Check in

Watch Now

From $2.99 on Amazon Video


10 Best Action Heroes

We consulted IMDb's Highest-Rated Action-Family Films to came up with 10 scene-stealing action figures your kids can relate to, look up to, and be inspired by.

Visit our Family Entertainment Guide

Related News

On the Hunt: The Films of James B. Harris
New on Video: ‘Love Streams’
| SoundOnSight

User Lists

Related lists from IMDb users

a list of 47 titles
created 18 Jul 2011
a list of 21 titles
created 12 Nov 2011
a list of 35 titles
created 04 Feb 2014
a list of 27 titles
created 6 months ago
a list of 25 titles
created 6 months ago

Related Items

Connect with IMDb

Share this Rating

Title: The Killing of a Chinese Bookie (1976)

The Killing of a Chinese Bookie (1976) on IMDb 7.5/10

Want to share IMDb's rating on your own site? Use the HTML below.

Take The Quiz!

Test your knowledge of The Killing of a Chinese Bookie.



Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Opening Night (1977)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  

An actress suffers an emotional uproar in her personal life after a fan dies trying to see her.

Director: John Cassavetes
Stars: Gena Rowlands, John Cassavetes, Ben Gazzara
Faces I (1968)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

An old married man leaves his wife for a younger woman. Shortly after, his ex-wife also begins a relationship with a younger partner. The film follows their struggles to find love amongst each other.

Director: John Cassavetes
Stars: John Marley, Gena Rowlands, Lynn Carlin
Shadows (1959)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

Cassavetes' jazz-scored improvisational film explores interracial friendships and relationships in Beat-Era (1950s) New York City.

Director: John Cassavetes
Stars: Ben Carruthers, Lelia Goldoni, Hugh Hurd
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 X  

Mabel, a wife and mother, is loved by her husband Nick but her madness proves to be a problem in the marriage. The film transpires to a positive role of madness in the family, challenging conventional representations of madness in cinema.

Director: John Cassavetes
Stars: Gena Rowlands, Peter Falk, Fred Draper
Husbands (1970)
Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

A common friend's sudden death brings three men, married with children, to reconsider their lives and ultimately leave together. But mindless enthusiasm for regained freedom will be ... See full summary »

Director: John Cassavetes
Stars: Ben Gazzara, Peter Falk, John Cassavetes
Love Streams (1984)
Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  

Two closely bound, emotionally wounded siblings reunite after years apart.

Director: John Cassavetes
Stars: Gena Rowlands, John Cassavetes, Diahnne Abbott
Certificate: GP Comedy | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

A museum curator falls in love with a crazy parking attendant.

Director: John Cassavetes
Stars: Gena Rowlands, Seymour Cassel, Val Avery
Gloria (1980)
Crime | Drama | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

When a young boy's family is killed by the mob, their tough neighbor Gloria becomes his reluctant guardian. In possession of a book that the gangsters want, the pair go on the run in New York.

Director: John Cassavetes
Stars: Gena Rowlands, Buck Henry, Julie Carmen
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

Ghost is an idealogical musician who would rather play his blues in the park to the birds than compromise himself. However, when he meets and falls in love with beautiful singer, Jess ... See full summary »

Director: John Cassavetes
Stars: Bobby Darin, Stella Stevens, Everett Chambers
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

Psychologist Dr. Matthew Clark is the head of the Crawthorne State Training Institute, one of the first boarding schools for developmentally challenged children. Dr. Clark is sympathetic ... See full summary »

Director: John Cassavetes
Stars: Burt Lancaster, Judy Garland, Gena Rowlands
Big Trouble (1986)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.2/10 X  

Insurance agent plots with client to kill her nutty husband.

Director: John Cassavetes
Stars: Peter Falk, Alan Arkin, Beverly D'Angelo
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

Nick is desperate, holed up in a cheap hotel, suffering from an ulcer and convinced that a local mobster wants him killed. He calls Mikey, his friend since childhood, but when Mikey arrives... See full summary »

Director: Elaine May
Stars: Peter Falk, John Cassavetes, Ned Beatty


Cast overview, first billed only:
Flo (as Timothy Agoglia Carey)
Mort Weil
Robert Phillips ...
The Boss
John Kullers ...
The Accountant (as John Red Kullers)
Al Ruban ...
Marty Reitz
Azizi Johari ...
Virginia Carrington ...
Meade Roberts ...
Alice Friedland ...
Margo Donnar (as Donna Marie Gordon)
Haji ...
Carol Warren ...
Derna Wong Davis ...


Cosmo Vitelli owns the Crazy Horse West, a strip joint in California. He's laconic, a Korean War vet, and a gambler. When we meet him, he's making his last payment on a gambling debt. Then, he promptly loses $23,000 playing poker at an illegal local casino. The guys he owes this time aren't so friendly, pressuring him for immediate payment. Then they suggest that he kill a Chinese bookie to wipe off the debt. Vitelli and the film move back and forth between the double-crossing, murderous insincerity of the gamblers and the friendships, sweetness, and even love among Vitelli, the dancers, a dancer's mother, and the club's singer, Mr. Sophistication. Written by <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Crime | Drama


R | See all certifications »




Release Date:

8 October 1977 (Sweden)  »

Also Known As:

Mordet på en kinesisk bookmaker  »

Box Office


SEK 1,298,042 (Sweden)

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


| (1978 Re-Release)

Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Lead actor Ben Gazzara has said that he hated the film's original 135 minute cut as it was too long. See more »


Cosmo Vitelli: I'm a club owner. I deal in girls.
See more »


Spoofed in South Park: Imaginationland (2007) See more »


I Can't Give You Anything but Love
Music by Jimmy McHugh
Lyrics by Dorothy Fields
Performed by Meade Roberts and others
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

Murky Realism
2 March 2009 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

THE KILLING OF A Chinese BOOKIE is John Cassavetes fascinating look into the world of Cosmo Vitelli, owner of the Crazy Horse West, a California strip club. Cosmo, played by Ben Gazzara, owes a fortune in gambling debts, and agrees to commit a murder to payoff the loan. It's a set-up from the get go because the mob never believed he could pull it off, and was hoping that he would be killed, and then they would inherit his club. Cassavetes creates an homage to The French New Wave by employing surreal settings and improvisational dialog to create a Dadaist framework for the tale. Many scenes begin in near blackness, and abruptly, LA sunlight streams into the murky darkness while actors lines ricochet and overlap. The entertainment at the club is not the standard "Bump and Grind", but a strange 'Theater of The Absurd' where Cosmo orchestrates the action, or "he'll throw you out on your ass". Where Martin Scorsese used high energy rock'n'roll to highlight this same gangster demimonde, Cassavetes employs a more idiosyncratic soundtrack to heighten the psychological dimensions of the piece. Ben Gazzara provides an unforgettable portrait of a man grappling with a life that is beyond his ability to control. Also, Seymour Cassel puts in a wonderful performance as a mobbed up club owner. All of Cassavetes's films are noteworthy, and THE KILLING OF A Chinese BOOKIE is one of his finest.

6 of 8 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
Favorite version? mrthefink
Why is Cosmo's hand wet with blood at the end? jazzest
Favorite Scene? noelartm
what's the difference between the two versions? tmason9278
Which version should I watch first? MOVIEBUF-32
David Bowie? filmsnob-6
Discuss The Killing of a Chinese Bookie (1976) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for: