The Pawnbroker ()

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A Jewish pawnbroker, victim of Nazi persecution, loses all faith in his fellow man until he realizes too late the tragedy of his actions.

  • Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 6 wins & 8 nominations.
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Cast verified as complete

Sol Nazerman
Marilyn Birchfield
Jesus Ortiz (as Jaime Sanchez)
Thelma Oliver ...
Ortiz' Girl
Mr. Smith
Ruth Nazerman
Nancy R. Pollock ...
John McCurry ...
Mrs. Ortiz
Jack Ader ...
Ed Morehouse ...
Oratory Award
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Marc Alexander ...
Rubin (uncredited)
Robert Dahdah ...
Jew in Cage (uncredited)
Man on Street (uncredited)
Hilda Haynes ...
Mrs. Harmon (uncredited)
E.M. Margolese ...
Papa (uncredited)
Donnie Melvin ...
David Nazerman (uncredited)
Junkie Selling Radio (uncredited)

Directed by

Sidney Lumet

Written by

Morton S. Fine ... (screenplay) (as Morton Fine) &
David Friedkin ... (screenplay)
Edward Lewis Wallant ... (novel)

Produced by

Philip Langner ... producer
Roger H. Lewis ... producer (as Roger Lewis)
Joseph Manduke ... associate producer
Worthington Miner ... executive producer

Music by

Quincy Jones

Cinematography by

Boris Kaufman ... director of photography

Film Editing by

Ralph Rosenblum

Editorial Department

Sheila Bakerman ... assistant editor

Casting By

Jessica Levy

Production Design by

Richard Sylbert

Costume Design by

Anna Hill Johnstone

Makeup Department

Ed Callaghan ... hair stylist
Bill Herman ... makeup artist

Production Management

Ulu Grosbard ... unit manager
Mel Howard ... assistant production manager
Al Markim ... executive in charge of production (as Alfred Markim)

Second Unit Director or Assistant Director

Dan Eriksen ... assistant director

Art Department

Albert Brenner ... assistant art director (as Al Brenner)
Jack Flaherty ... set dresser
Ken Thompson ... construction chief
Thomas Wright ... chief props (as Tom Wright)

Sound Department

Jack Fitzstephens ... sound editor
James A. Gleason ... sound mixer (as James Gleason)
Alan Heim ... sound editor
Dennis Maitland ... sound
James Perdue ... sound (uncredited)

Camera and Electrical Department

Joseph F. Coffey ... camera operator (as Joseph Coffee)
Howard Fortune ... chief electrician (as Buddy Fortune)
Edward Knott ... chief grip (as Eddie Knott)
Peter Norman ... first assistant camera (uncredited)

Costume and Wardrobe Department

George Newman ... wardrobe
Marilyn Putnam ... wardrobe

Location Management

Harold Reidman ... location manager (uncredited)

Music Department

Billy Byers ... orchestrator (as William Byers)
Quincy Jones ... orchestrator
Richard Hazard ... orchestrator (uncredited)
Carol Kaye ... musician: bass (uncredited)
Jack Sheldon ... musician: trumpet (uncredited)

Other crew

Belle Iacobellis ... production secretary
Maggie James ... script supervisor
Ely A. Landau ... presenter (as Ely Landau)
Dana Steadley ... production secretary
Herbert R. Steinmann ... presenter
Crew verified as complete

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Plot Summary

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 Keywords
Taglines The Most Talked About Picture! See more »
Parents Guide View content advisory »

Additional Details

Also Known As
  • Le prêteur sur gages (France)
  • El prestamista (Spain)
  • Shichiya (Japan)
  • O Homem do Prego (Brazil)
  • A zálogos (Hungary)
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  • 116 min
Aspect Ratio
Sound Mix
Filming Locations

Box Office

Budget $930,000 (estimated)

Did You Know?

Trivia After the filmmakers appealed to the MPAA's appeals board to oppose censoring the film, it became the first U.S. film to show a nude woman from the waist up and be granted a Production Code Seal. It was the first of a series of confrontations between filmmakers and the MPAA in the 1960s, that would lead to the abandonment of the Code within five years, in favor of a ratings system. 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 »
Movie Connections Featured in The Hot Spot/Mr. Destiny/Memphis Belle/Welcome Home, Roxy Carmichael (1990). See more »
Soundtracks I Don't Wanna Be a Loser 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 or a land myth. All you have is a little brain. A little brain and a great bearded legend to sustain you and convince you that you are special, even in poverty. But this little brain, that's the real key you see. With this little brain you go out and you buy a piece of cloth and you cut that cloth in two and you go and sell it for a penny more than you paid for it. Then you run right out and buy another piece of cloth, cut it into three pieces and sell it for three pennies profit. But, my friend, during that time you must never succumb to buying an extra piece of bread for the table or a toy for a child, no. You must immediately run out and get yourself a still larger piece cloth and so you repeat this process over and over and suddenly you discover something. You have no longer any desire, any temptation to dig into the Earth to grow food or to gaze at a limitless land and call it your own, no, no. You just go on and on and on repeating this process over the centuries over and over and suddenly you make a grand discovery. You have a mercantile heritage! You are a merchant. You are known as a usurer, a man with secret resources, a witch, a pawnbroker, a sheenie, a makie and a kike!
Jesus Ortiz: [long pause] You really some teacher, Mr. Nazerman. You really, really 's the greatest.
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