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American Gigolo (1980)

R  |   |  Crime, Drama, Mystery  |  1 February 1980 (USA)
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Ratings: 6.2/10 from 15,094 users  
Reviews: 67 user | 38 critic

A Los Angeles male escort, who mostly caters to an older female clientèle, is accused of a murder which he did not commit.



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Nominated for 2 Golden Globes. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Nina van Pallandt ...
Anne (as Nina Van Pallandt)
Charles Stratton
Lisa Williams
Tom Stewart ...
Mr. Rheiman
Patricia Carr ...
Judy Rheiman (as Patti Carr)
David Cryer ...
Lt. Curtis
Mrs. Dobrun
Mrs. Sloan
Frances Bergen ...
Mrs. Laudner
Macdonald Carey ...
Hollywood Actor (as MacDonald Carey)
William Dozier ...
Michelle's Lawyer


Julian makes a lucrative living as an escort to older women in the Los Angeles area. He begins a relationship with Michelle, a local politician's wife, without expecting any pay. One of his clients is murdered and Detective Sunday begins pumping him for details on his different clients, something he is reluctant to do considering the nature of his work. Julian begins to suspect he's being framed. Meanwhile Michelle begins to fall in love with him. Written by Ed Sutton <>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


He's the highest paid lover in Beverly Hills. He leaves women feeling more alive than they've ever felt before. Except one. See more »


R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





| |

Release Date:

1 February 1980 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

An American Gigolo  »

Box Office


$4,800,000 (estimated)

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Paul Schrader wanted Lauren Hutton for the role of Michelle Stratton, but the studio wanted a bigger name and chose to go with Jessica Lange. In the end however, the decision was taken out of their hands when Lange turned down the role as being "too dark", and Hutton was cast. See more »


At Perino's, when Julian and Anne are talking, Julian says to Anne, "Excuse me, I'll be back in a second," but his lip movements don't match what he's saying. See more »


Anne: Julie, I made you! I taught you everything you know! How to dress, table manners, how to move, how to make love...
See more »


References Pickpocket (1959) See more »


Take Off Your Uniform
Written and Performed by John Hiatt
Courtesy of MCA, Inc. Records
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

Gere is excellent in entertaining Schrader effort
23 June 2008 | by ( – See all my reviews

"American Gigolo" really is slick and stylish. As slick and stylish as any film could be, so you really wonder whether this is Schrader's film or Jerry Bruckheimer's? If you look solely at the screenplay, it almost fits into the typical Schrader exploration of any given 'seedy underworld'. You could even argue that Julian and Michelle are in a way similar to Travis and Betty. Looking at the final product, however, I see a slick Hollywood mystery-thriller that's actually far more interesting for its romantic sub-plot than for any of the suspense parts.

Don't get me wrong, in places "American Gigolo" is a quality character study, and the romance is as well-written as you could ever expect from a major, mainstream Hollywood production, but the suspense thriller portion is just so banal, expected, and predictable that it really takes away from an otherwise very good film. Perhaps most worthy of praise here is Richard Gere who gives one of his best performances here, and I certainly cannot even begin to imagine John Travolta in the lead role.

It sounds like I'm criticizing how stylish this film is, I'm really not. It's pulled off pretty darn well in comparison to how many films of this sort have ended up, and you have to admit Gere's wardrobe is impressive. The film is well-shot and well-acted and for the most part quite well-written (although this is far, far from Paul Schrader's best work as a screenwriter). My comments on the film's slickness are really just a natural reaction to this film coming right after "Hardcore". Indeed, it seems like this film is a signpost for the early 80's (the dud of a score proves it) where in Hollywood even homicide cases with a Gigolo as the main suspect are glamorous rather than gritty.

A lot of people hate this film, but it has also gained a large cult following and a respectable following from film critics and aficionados, even landing a spot on the 'They Shoot Pictures, Don't They?' top 1000 list, and I can't really understand why anyone would have such extreme feelings about a film that is just watchable and entertaining. I don't think Schrader did his best work here, but it's not his worst either and the film as a whole is so unimposing and forgettable that I find it hard to believe it has so many fans and so many detractors.


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