IMDb > King of the Gypsies (1978)
King of the Gypsies
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King of the Gypsies (1978) More at IMDbPro »

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King of the Gypsies -- 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.


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Down 3% in popularity this week. See why on IMDbPro.
Peter Maas (book)
Frank Pierson (written for the screen by)
View company contact information for King of the Gypsies on IMDbPro.
Release Date:
28 February 1979 (France) See more »
They have their own language...Their own codes of sex, honor and vengeance...And their own way of choosing a king. See more »
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... See more » | Add synopsis »
Nominated for Golden Globe. See more »
(13 articles)
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User Reviews:
Eric Roberts as an American Gypsy who resists being "King of the Gypsies" See more (15 total) »


  (in credits order)

Sterling Hayden ... King Zharko Stepanowicz

Shelley Winters ... Queen Rachel

Susan Sarandon ... Rose

Judd Hirsch ... Groffo

Eric Roberts ... Dave

Brooke Shields ... Tita

Annette O'Toole ... Sharon

Annie Potts ... Persa

Michael V. Gazzo ... Spiro Giorgio
Antonia Rey ... Danitza Giorgio

Stephen Mendillo ... Adolf
Daniel Spira ... Zio Miller

Joe Zaloom ... Rui Ilanovitch
Lou Cevetillo ... Pete Stepanowicz
Zvee Scooler ... Phuro (as Svee Scooler)
Cory Einbinder ... Young Dave (as Corey Einbinder)

Matthew Labyorteaux ... Middle Dave (as Matthew Laborteaux)

Danielle Brisebois ... Young Tita (as Danielle Brisbois)
Tiffany Bogart ... Young Rose
Marc Vahanian ... Young Groffo
Chris Manor ... Gypsy Horsetrader
John Oppenheim ... Gypsy Horsetrader
C.A.R. Smith ... Christening Priest
Kathi Moss ... Midwife
Mary Louise Wilson ... Ivy
David Rounds ... Mr. Kessler
Anthony Holland ... Mr. Tomlin
Tom Quinn ... Jewelry Store Detective
David Little ... Kessler's Lawyer
Martin Rosenblatt ... Zharko's Lawyer
Frederick Coffin ... Basketball Coach (as Fred Coffin)
Michael Higgins ... Traffic Court Judge
MacIntyre Dixon ... Courthouse Reporter
Marc Victor ... Courthouse Reporter
James Shannon ... Courthouse Photographer
Paul Sparer ... Dave's Doctor
Mark Weston ... Insurance Adjuster

Joe Maruzzo ... Waiter at Mamma Leone's

Alice Drummond ... Zharko's Nurse
Bernie McInerney ... Zharko's Doctor
Franklin Scott ... Hallway Thug
Jay Norman ... Hallway Thug
Artie Cavallo ... Persa's Child
Glen Gianfrancisco ... Persa's Child
William Duell ... Funeral Home Director
Roy Brocksmith ... Frinkuleschti
Blake Brocksmith ... Frinkuleschti's Son
Harris Laskawy ... Man at Accident
Tom Mason ... Policeman at Groffo's Death
Stéphane Grappelli ... Gypsy Musician - violin
rest of cast listed alphabetically:
John Carlini ... Gypsy Musician - guitar
Julio R. Ceasar ... Gypsy Dancer
Mara Coehn ... Gypsy Dancer
Tony Constantine ... Gypsy Dancer
Diz Disley ... Gypsy Musician - guitar
Dee Dee Friedman ... Gypsy Dancer (as Dee-Dee Friedman)
Matt Glaser ... Gypsy Musician - violin
David Grisman ... Gypsy Musician - mandolin
Hason Harfouche ... Gypsy Dancer
Ed Henkel ... Gypsy Dancer
Pamela Khoury ... Gypsy Dancer

Jos Laniado ... Bodyguard
Thomas Quinn ... Jewelery store detective (as Tom Quinn)
Elisha Rapson ... Rose's Daughter
Manola Rivera ... Gypsy Dancer
Dom Um Romao ... Gypsy Musician - percussion
John Sowinski ... Gypsy Dancer
Andy Statman ... Gypsy Musician - mandolin

Rachel Ticotin ... Gypsy Dancer
Alison Contreras Woodstock ... Gypsy Dancer
Sandy Alexander ... Bodyguard (uncredited)
Black-Eyed Susan ... (uncredited)

Ken Butler ... Marconi (uncredited)
Matteo Cafiso ... (uncredited)

Sam Coppola ... (uncredited)
Randy Danson ... (uncredited)
Rebecca Darke ... (uncredited)
John Del Ragno ... (uncredited)
Aristedes Philip DuVal ... Gypsy Camp Dweller (uncredited)
Robert Garcia ... (uncredited)
Julie Garfield ... (uncredited)
Robert Gerringer ... (uncredited)
Sands Hall ... (uncredited)
Leonard Jackson ... (uncredited)

Patti LuPone ... (uncredited)
Kate Manheim ... (uncredited)
Linda Manz ... (uncredited)
Joe Ramezani ... (uncredited)
Cecile Santos ... (uncredited)
William Thomas Jr. ... (uncredited)
Richard Valladeres ... (uncredited)
Bliss Verdon ... (uncredited)
Mary Wynn ... (uncredited)
Jamil Zakkai ... (uncredited)

Directed by
Frank Pierson 
Writing credits
(in alphabetical order)
Peter Maas  book
Frank Pierson  written for the screen by

Produced by
Dino De Laurentiis .... executive producer
Federico De Laurentiis .... producer
Anna Gross .... associate producer
Original Music by
David Grisman 
Cinematography by
Sven Nykvist 
Film Editing by
Paul Hirsch 
Casting by
Scott Rudin 
Joel Thurm 
Production Design by
Gene Callahan 
Art Direction by
John Jay Moore  (as Jay Moore)
Set Decoration by
Robert Drumheller 
John Godfrey 
Costume Design by
Anna Hill Johnstone 
Makeup Department
Giannetto De Rossi .... makeup artist
Mirella De Rossi .... hair stylist
Carl Fullerton .... makeup artist
Bob Grimaldi .... hair stylist (as Robert Grimaldi)
Allen Weisinger .... makeup artist (as Alan Weisinger)
Production Management
Fred C. Caruso .... executive in charge of production
John H. Starke .... unit manager
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
Laurie B. Eichengreen .... second assistant director
Bruce Greenfield .... dga trainee
Alan Hopkins .... assistant director (as J. Alan Hopkins)
Art Department
Edward Garzero .... master scenic artist (as Ed Garzero)
Mentor Huebner .... illustrator
Edward Merrifield .... props: gypsy medallions
Carlos Quiles .... chief carpenter (as Carlos Quiles Sr)
Jimmy Raitt .... prop master (as James Rait)
Tom Jung .... poster designer (uncredited)
Sound Department
Dennis Maitland .... production sound mixer
Theodore Soderberg .... sound re-recording mixer
Ross Taylor .... sound effects editor
Paul Wells .... sound re-recording mixer
Douglas O. Williams .... sound re-recording mixer
Jack Woods .... dialogue editor
Special Effects by
Edward Drohan .... special effects (as Ed Drohan)
Frank Ferrara .... stunt performer
Sonny Landham .... stunts
Victor Magnotta .... stunts
Glenn R. Wilder .... stunt coordinator
Camera and Electrical Department
James Finnerty .... key grip
Bob Greene .... still photographer
Edward Lachman .... collaborating director of photography
Lars Looschen .... special photography
Sal Martorano .... best boy
Willie Meyerhoff .... gaffer (as Willi Meyerhoff)
Tibor Sands .... first assistant cameraman
Fred Schuler .... camera operator
Joe Williams .... grip: construction
Casting Department
Sylvia Fay .... extras casting
Barbara King .... casting coordinator
Margery Simkin .... child casting
Costume and Wardrobe Department
John Boyt .... assistant costume designer
Ed Brennan .... wardrobe (as Edward Brennan)
Yvonne David .... wardrobe
George Newman .... wardrobe
Marilyn Putnam .... wardrobe
Editorial Department
Maria Iano .... assistant editor
Pamela Malouf .... assistant editor
Music Department
John Carlini .... composer: additional music
John Carlini .... conductor
John Carlini .... music arranger
Stéphane Grappelli .... musician: violin
Kenneth Hall .... music editor (as Ken Hall)
Jimmie Haskell .... composer: additional music
Jimmie Haskell .... conductor
Jimmie Haskell .... music arranger
Arthur Leigh .... music editor
Bill Wolf .... music supervisor
Mike Marshall .... composer: additional music (uncredited)
Transportation Department
James Giblin .... transportation captain
Other crew
Julie Arenal .... choreographer
Kay Chapin .... script supervisor
Saul Cooper .... unit publicist
Eddie Coyne .... technical consultant
John De Stefano .... production assistant
Sam Goldrich .... production auditor
Alex Ho .... location coordinator
Deborah Kocourek .... production auditor
Kyle McCarthy .... production assistant
Susan Danzig McMahon .... production office coordinator
Anne Page .... assistant: to Mr. Pierson
Bruce Patterson .... production assistant
Peter Puleston .... location coordinator
Steve Shahol .... technical consultant
Lyn Smith .... researcher
David Streit .... location manager
Patrizia Van Brandenstein .... researcher
Hector Freeman .... production staff (uncredited)

Production CompaniesDistributorsOther Companies

Additional Details

Also Known As:
112 min
Color (Technicolor)
Aspect Ratio:
1.78 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:
Finland:K-16 | UK:AA (theatrical rating) (cut) | USA:R
Filming Locations:

Did You Know?

Patti LuPone's movie debut.See more »
Ridin'See more »


This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.
Eric Roberts as an American Gypsy who resists being "King of the Gypsies", 8 June 2015
Author: Wuchak from Ohio/PA border

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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