7.7/10
8,271
84 user 57 critic

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 »
Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 6 wins & 8 nominations. See more awards »

Photos

Edit

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
Edit

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:

Full Length! Uncut! Don't Miss It! See more »

Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

Rod Steiger was paid $50,000 for his work on the film. This was significantly lower than his usual fee but he was heavily invested in the material and also wanted to work with Sidney Lumet. See more »

Goofs

In the very last scene of the film, Sol pushes his hand down on a bill spike, although it's not seen, only a close up of his face, He's seen lifting his hand up with blood pouring from the back of it but the bill spike is still on the desk top instead of being impaled in his hand. See more »

Quotes

Jesus Ortiz: That's all life is about?
Sol Nazerman: That's *all* life is about!
Jesus Ortiz: You mean... money is the whole thing?
Sol Nazerman: Money is the whole thing!
See more »

Connections

References The L-Shaped Room (1962) See more »

Soundtracks

I Don't Wanna Be a Loser
(uncredited)
Written by Ben Raleigh and Mark Barkan
Performed by Lesley Gore
See more »

User Reviews

Disturbing but a great Steiger performance...
10 October 2004 | by tksayssoSee all my reviews

The Pawnbroker is a very disturbing film. The title character, Sol Nazerman,

played by Rod Steiger, is an aging Holocaust concentration camp survivor

running a pawnshop in New York. A young hispanic man who works in the

pawnshop looks up to Steiger's character, hoping to learn from the older man's years of experience and expertise in both financial and other business matters.

Steiger's character is emotionally closed throughout the entire length of the film. Jarrring flashbacks to the time when Nazerman was happy with his wife and two small children become increasingly menacing and tragic as the Nazi

domination and cruelty become more dominant. Steiger's character survives his family. The guilt attached to that survival haunts Nazerman as he numbly

proceeds throughout the present-day portions of the film.

This movie takes a huge risk even in it's premise because the title character is never really likable. You certainly have empathy for what Nazerman has

experienced in his life, but the harsh and dismissive way in which he treats both people close to him and the tragic figures who frequent his pawnshop leave you little choice but to have mixed feelings about this man.

Rod Steiger is excellent. It's incredible to think that less than three years later after playing this character, an elderly Jewish concentration camp survivor,

Steiger won an Oscar for his portraying southern bigoted police chief Bill

Gillespie in Norman Jewison's In the Heat of the Night.

Sidney Lumet's direction is excellent. The photography is a starkly shot black and white with a grainy almost documentary-type feel to it. The score by Quincy Jones is somewhat uneven, with inappropriate upbeat instrumentation intruding in to somber scenes.

All in all, a very good film, but definitely excruciatingly somber in tone.


31 of 32 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 84 user reviews »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.
Edit

Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English | Spanish | German

Release Date:

20 April 1965 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Pawnbroker See more »

Edit

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 »

Contribute to This Page



Recently Viewed