Compelling character study, revolving around Jack Flowers (Ben Gazzara), an American hustler trying to make his fortune in 1970s Singapore in small time pimping. He dreams of building a ... See full summary »



(screenplay), (screenplay) | 2 more credits »
Nominated for 1 BAFTA Film Award. Another 1 win. See more awards »
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Cast overview, first billed only:
Mark Kingston ...
Mrs. Yates
Monika Subramaniam ...
Judy Lim ...
Eddie Schuman
Joseph Noël ...
Kian Bee Ong ...
Yan Meng Tan ...
Little Hing
Andrew Chua ...


Compelling character study, revolving around Jack Flowers (Ben Gazzara), an American hustler trying to make his fortune in 1970s Singapore in small time pimping. He dreams of building a fortune by running a brothel himself and returning to the States to lead a life of luxury. Savvy but not unsavory he strikes up a friendship with William Leigh (Denholm Elliot), a genial and decent auditor who travels to Singapore every year. Ultimately, the background of the Vietnam War comes into the picture as Jack is offered the opportunity by the CIA to run a brothel for the R&R activities of U.S. soldiers on leave in Singapore. Written by alfiehitchie

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


"People make love for so many crazy reasons-- why shouldn't money be one of them?" - The Gospel According To Saint Jack




R | See all certifications »




Release Date:

5 December 1979 (France)  »

Also Known As:

Jack el magnífico  »

Box Office


$1,000,000 (estimated)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


According to Peter Bogdanovich in his collaborative book "This is Orson Welles", Bogdanovich wanted Welles to direct this film as a comeback for his mentor, and Welles was set to do so, but then, with some pressure from the studio, and his steady girlfriend Cybill Shepard, Bogdanovich ended up directing it himself. This led to a falling-out between the two friends, Bogdanovich and Welles, that wasn't completely resolved for nearly a decade, shortly before Welles's death. See more »


William Leigh: You're a ponce, aren't you?
Jack Flowers: Hard to say what anyone is.
William Leigh: I only mention it because, personally, I could never bring myself to pay.
Jack Flowers: William, people make love for so many crazy reasons, why shouldn't money be one of them?
See more »

Crazy Credits

We thank the people of the Republic of Singapore, on whose island this picture was filmed. See more »


Referenced in By Bogdanovich (2011) See more »


Sunday Mornin' Comin' Down
Written by Kris Kristofferson
Sung by Johnny Cash
See more »

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User Reviews

Bogdanovich at his best
8 May 2009 | by (Belgrade, Serbia) – See all my reviews

In my opinion this is the best film by Peter Bogdanovich, to this day. It packs so much witty humor, charm and deep characterizations, and yet it looks so simple, which is the essential ingredient of any great film.

Ben Gazzara mastered the roles of strayed pimps, with a heart, most notably in Cassavetes's "The killing of a Chinese bookie", and he's on his own terrain in "Saint Jack", playing the role with ease. Supporting cast helps a lot, and most of them are probably not professional actors, which gave the more credit to Bogdanovich's directing, who, by the way, plays a great role of entrepreneurial CIA operative. It's a shame that this movie is released on DVD only in Australia, but if you look hard you can track it down, and every film lover definitely should.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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