7.8/10
7,115
78 user 55 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 »
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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

Sidney Lumet had approached Sir Laurence Olivier, Kirk Douglas, and Burl Ives to play the title role. See more »

Goofs

In the park, while sitting on the bench, Sol is in slightly different positions between shots. See more »

Quotes

Marilyn Birchfield: What happened?
Sol Nazerman: 'Happened'?
Marilyn Birchfield: Yes.
Sol Nazerman: I didn't die. Everything that I loved... was taken away from me, and... I did not die.
Marilyn Birchfield: Mr. Nazerman!
Sol Nazerman: There was... nothing I could do. Nothing. Strange, I could do nothing. No, there was nothing I could do.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Dinner for Five: Episode #1.4 (2002) See more »

Soundtracks

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

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User Reviews

 
An absolutely stunning film...
31 July 2001 | by turtlewaxSee all my reviews

Although the supporting cast is uniformly excellent (Brock Peters especially so), they are really only believable props to what is, essentially, a one-man performance by Rod Steiger.

And what a performance it is! Steiger grabs your emotions, and maintains a hold long after the final credits roll. He sucks all the oxygen out of the room, and you're not able to draw a deep breath until it's over.

For some reason, this movie seems to have faded from public awareness, and isn't all that easy to find. I first saw it in 1965, and then again about 30 years later; it packed the same emotional wallop the second time around.

Both Steiger and director Sidney Lumet have done plenty of excellent work since The Pawnbroker, but this remains the highwater mark for both.

It is, unquestionably, one of the most powerful films ever made, and that's a might tough act to follow.


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