7.5/10
7,212
60 user 59 critic

The Killing of a Chinese Bookie (1976)

Trailer
2:00 | Trailer

WAYS TO
WATCH:

See all
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.

Director:

Writer:

Reviews

Videos

Photos

Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Opening Night (1977)
Drama
    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)
Drama
    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)
Drama
    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
Drama
    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
Big Trouble (1986)
Comedy
    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
Crime | Drama
    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
Drama
    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
Pickpocket (1959)
Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  

Michel is released from jail after serving a sentence for thievery. His mother dies and he resorts to pickpocketing as a means of survival.

Director: Robert Bresson
Stars: Martin LaSalle, Marika Green, Jean Pélégri
Edit

Cast

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

Storyline

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 <jhailey@hotmail.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Crime | Drama | Thriller

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »
Edit

Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

8 October 1977 (Sweden)  »

Also Known As:

Mordet på en kinesisk bookmaker  »

Box Office

Gross:

SEK 1,298,042 (Sweden)
 »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (1978 Re-Release)

Sound Mix:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

Included among the "1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die", edited by Steven Schneider. See more »

Quotes

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

Connections

Referenced in Nothing in Los Angeles (2013) See more »

Soundtracks

Rainy Fields of Frost and Magic
Written by Bo Harwood
Played during the audition
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

"The most important thing in life is to be comfortable."
17 February 1999 | by (los angeles) – See all my reviews

I've shown this movie to baffled girlfriends and eye-rolling friends who've left the room after twenty minutes. The picture was essentially unreleased upon its completion in 1976, and is now available on video only because of the retrospectives of Cassavetes' work that followed his death. The movie is considered bewildering even by many Cassavetes champions, but for me it ranks among the greatest American movies. As Cosmo Vitelli, the strip-joint owner who's a clown who thinks he's a king, the sublimely reptilian Ben Gazzara leans into an offstage mike and tells the audience, "And if you have any complaints--any complaints at all--we'll throw you right out on your ass." Like Jake LaMotta, or Ferrara's Bad Lieutenant, Cosmo is a walking aria of male self-destruction. He finally pays off the shylocks he's in hock to for his place--the Crazy Horse West--and celebrates with a gambling spree that puts him right back where he started. To pay his debts, Cosmo agrees to murder a Chinese kingpin the L.A. mob has marked for death--but that only gives the barest indication of the strange, ecstatic poetry of Cassavetes' greatest and farthest-out-on-a-limb movie. The movie is a strangely crumpled form of film noir; a classic Cassavetes character portrait, with more than the usual romanticism and self-disgust; a super-subliminal essay on Vietnam and Watergate; and an example of a one-of-a-kind lyricism that's closer to 2001 than a gangster picture. With its odd rhythms, Warholish color and substance-altered performances, it's one of the rare movies for which there exists no point of comparison.


81 of 87 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:
?