6.2/10
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71 user 40 critic

American Gigolo (1980)

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

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

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 <esutton@mindspring.com>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

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His business is pleasure! See more »


Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

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Details

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Release Date:

1 February 1980 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

An American Gigolo  »

Box Office

Budget:

$4,800,000 (estimated)
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Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

(Metrocolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Among common tropes in movies about prostitution are STDs, especially AIDS. However, in 1979, there was no public knowledge of AIDS when this film was made. There were unknowing people carrying the virus by then, but the medical community was still years away from identifying what this emerging virus actually is. See more »

Goofs

When Julian Kay is talking on the phone to Jill to see if he has any messages, he is told that Michelle has left him one, shortly after that, he says to Jill, "Tell her to meet me at Perinos," but instead of telling Jill to let Michelle know what to time to meet him there, he puts the phone down. (The shot then goes to Julian walking to Perinos in the evening to meet Anne and Michelle is seen at a table opposite). See more »

Quotes

Julian Kaye: I've got to go to the health club.
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Connections

Referenced in Wicked City: Pilot (2015) See more »

Soundtracks

The Love I Saw in You Is Just a Mirage
by Smokey Robinson (as W. Robinson) and Marvin Tarplin (as M. Tarplin)
Performed by Smokey Robinson and The Miracles
Courtesy of Motown Records
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

Gere is excellent in entertaining Schrader effort
23 June 2008 | by (prejudicemadeplausible.wordpress.com) – 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.

7/10


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