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King of the Gypsies (1978)

Eric Roberts makes an impressive screen debut as Dave, grandson of the aging King Zharko, who is chosen by him to lead the gypsy clan at his death. Dave's only inclination is to join the ... See full summary »



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Nominated for 1 Golden Globe. Another 2 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Spiro Giorgio
Antonia Rey ...
Danitza Giorgio
Daniel Spira ...
Zio Miller
Rui Ilanovitch
Lou Cevetillo ...
Pete Stepanowicz
Zvee Scooler ...
Phuro (as Svee Scooler)


Eric Roberts makes an impressive screen debut as Dave, grandson of the aging King Zharko, who is chosen by him to lead the gypsy clan at his death. Dave's only inclination is to join the American mainstream, but he knows that the mantle of gypsy power cannot be taken lightly or denied. Written by Anonymous

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


They have their own language...Their own codes of sex, honor and vengeance...And their own way of choosing a king. See more »




R | See all certifications »




Release Date:

28 February 1979 (France)  »

Also Known As:

A cigányok királya  »

Filming Locations:


Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


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Aspect Ratio:

1.78 : 1
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Did You Know?


Patti LuPone's movie debut. See more »


By Pegasus and Rick Galaher
Performed by Pegasus
See more »

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User Reviews

I don't want a nurse I want a cigarette!
17 May 2009 | by (brooklyn NY) – See all my reviews

***SPOILERS*** 22 year old Eric Roberts tears up the screen in his film debut a Dave the heir apparent to take over his dying grandpa's King Zhavico Stepanowicz's, Sterling Hyden, title as the "King of the Gypsies". This doesn't go too well with Dave's dad Groffo, Judd Hirsh, who's gambling wife beating and all around incompetence as a Gypsie chieftain had him get disqualified, by his dad King Zhavico, for that long sought and coveted honor.

As for Dave he had since became disillusioned with his nomadic Gypsie life-style in him having an all-American girlfriend the milky white and strawberry blond Sharon, Annette O'Toole, as well as getting a job, against his family's advice, as a singing waiter at the famed Moma Leone's Restaurant in New York City. Dave now plans to go to California together with Sharon and start up his singing career by becoming, as a guest in a series of local and network armature night TV shows, the next American Idol. That's just how confident Dave is in his amazing, that had Sharon fall in love with him, crooning & singing abilities.

It's when Dave tries to save his 12 year-old sister Tita, Brooks Shields, form her being forced to marry this overstuffed an corn chip munching couch potato who's parents she was sold, by her dad Groffo, to be marry to that he took things into his own hands. Tita is deeply in loved with the cute and lovable Eli Marks, who from the sound of his name isn't a Gypsie, and is determined to marry him even if it ends up having her estranged from her family and people the Gypsies.

With King Zhavko handing over the leadership to Dave over his dad Groffo the battle-line was drawn for he epic and final conflict for Gypsie supremacy in all of New York Sate and parts Eastern Pennsylvania: The area that King Zhavko reigns over. All that's left for the fighting to begin is for the ailing King Zhavko to breath his last breath which, as he's lying in his hospital bed on life support, will come at any moment! Powerful and electrifying performance by Eric Roberts as Dave Stepanowicz lifts the movie "King of the Gypies" up to Academy Award levels. Even though newcomer Roberts has to compete with seasoned stage and movie veteran and Academy Award quality actors and actress like the aforementioned Sterling Hyden and Judd Hirsh. Roberts also more then hold his own against such top-flight actresses like Shelly winters, as Queen Racael his grandma, and Susan Sarandon, as Dave's mother Rose, as well as young 12 year-old sensation child model Brook Shields who plays his tragic and love sick-for non Gyspie Eli Marks-sister Tita.

***SPOILERS***Explosive final with Dave having it out with his vindictive dad Groffo, whom he replaced as the "King of the Gypsies", at the exclusive Gypise social club in midtown Manhattan. In the end Dave finally realizes that he can't escape his fate, in him being the "King of the Gypsies", he then reluctantly follow in his grandfathers footsteps knowing full well that that's the only life he was born into and will remain, like his Grandpa Zhavko, until his dying day.

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