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The Pawnbroker (1964)

Approved | | Drama | 20 April 1965 (USA)
A Jewish pawnbroker, victim of Nazi persecution, loses all faith in his fellow man until he realizes too late the tragedy of his actions.

Director:

Sidney Lumet

Writers:

Morton S. Fine (screenplay) (as Morton Fine), David Friedkin (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
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Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 6 wins & 8 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Rod Steiger ... Sol Nazerman
Geraldine Fitzgerald ... Marilyn Birchfield
Brock Peters ... Rodriguez
Jaime Sánchez ... Jesus Ortiz (as Jaime Sanchez)
Thelma Oliver Thelma Oliver ... Ortiz' Girl
Marketa Kimbrell ... Tessie
Baruch Lumet ... Mendel
Juano Hernandez ... Mr. Smith
Linda Geiser ... Ruth Nazerman
Nancy R. Pollock Nancy R. Pollock ... Bertha
Raymond St. Jacques ... Tangee
John McCurry John McCurry ... Buck
Charles Dierkop ... Robinson
Eusebia Cosme ... Mrs. Ortiz
Warren Finnerty ... Savarese
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Storyline

In a poor neighborhood of New York, the bitter and lonely Jewish pawnbroker Sol Nazerman is a survivor from Auschwitz that has no emotions or feelings. Sol lost his dearest family and friends in the war and his faith in God and belief in mankind. Now he only cares for money and is haunted by daydreams, actually flashbacks from the period of the concentration camp. Sol's assistant is the ambitious Latino Jesus Ortiz, who wants to learn with Sol how to run a business of his own. When Sol realizes that the obscure laundry business he has with the powerful gangster Rodriguez comes also from brothels, Sol recalls the fate of his beloved wife in the concentration camp and has a nervous breakdown. His attitude leads Jesus Ortiz to tragedy and Sol finds a way to cry. Written by Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

The Most Talked About Picture!

Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English | Spanish | German

Release Date:

20 April 1965 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

El prestamista See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$930,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Rod Steiger shaved his head to play the lead character. See more »

Goofs

As Jesus runs down the street, his shirt changes from a V-neck to a turtle neck, and then back again. See more »

Quotes

Jesus Ortiz: Say, how come you people come to business so naturally?
Sol Nazerman: You people? Oh, let's see. Yeah. I see. I see, you... you want to learn the secret of our success, is that right? Alright I'll teach you. First of all you start off with a period of several thousand years, during which you have nothing to sustain you but a great bearded legend. Oh my friend you have no land to call your own, to grow food on or to hunt. You have nothing. You're never in one place long enough to have a geography or an army ...
[...]
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Frozen Assets (1992) See more »

Soundtracks

Soul Bossa Nova
(uncredited)
Written by Quincy Jones
Performed by Quincy Jones and His Orchestra
Courtesy of Mercury Records, Inc.
See more »

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User Reviews

Is Diane Arbus somewhere around here?
26 December 2005 | by futures-1See all my reviews

"The Pawnbroker" (1964): Directed by Sidney Lumet, scored by Quincy Jones, and starring Rod Steiger. This is one of the most powerful character studies in all of film history. It's up there with "Lawrence of Arabia" and "Taxi Driver". Shot in some of the most beautiful, gritty, black and white photography, set in Harlem, often using the real environment and passersby, this work has the feel of anti-Hollywood, which is completely appropriate for the story of a Jew tortured by the memories of the Holocaust, and the environment of pawn brokering. There's not a single moment of comedy, and many moments that feel like Diane Arbus could be seen lingering nearby. Steiger's ability to express withheld expression – anger and pain trying to burst from his impenetrable shell - is awe inspiring. When I first saw this film in the 60's, I knew I wanted to see everything this man did.


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