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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
Eric Roberts as an American Gypsy who resists being "King of the Gypsies"
Released in 1978, "King of the Gypsies" chronicles the life of an American gypsy (Eric Roberts in his debut) who resists being made the king of his clan by his grandfather (Sterling Hayden). Meanwhile his villainous father (Judd Hirsch) resents that he was passed up and hostilities mount. Susan Sarandon plays the mother, Shelley Winters the grandmother, Brooke Shields the young sister and Annette O'Toole & Annie Potts the potential girlfriends.
The movie plays like a less-epic and lower-budgeted version of 1972's "The Godfather," albeit about Gypsies rather than a Mafia family. The cast and acting are superlative and the tone is gritty realistic. The screenplay was based on Peter Maas' true-life book. The story covers three generations of a Gypsy family from the 40s into the 70s and is narrated by Robert's character, which provides an interesting continuity. It's not great, but it's good enough and provides a window into this unconventional culture, their traveling lifestyle, interactions, work (including "fortune telling"), schemes, music, dancing and misadventures.
The film runs 112 minutes and was shot in New York/New Jersey area.
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