6.6/10
4,282
49 user 28 critic

The King of Marvin Gardens (1972)

R | | Drama | 26 April 1973 (France)
A daydreamer convinces his radio personality brother to help fund one of his get-rich-quick schemes.

Director:

Bob Rafelson

Writers:

Jacob Brackman (screenplay), Bob Rafelson (story) | 1 more credit »
Reviews

Watch Now

From $2.99 (SD) on Prime Video

ON DISC

Photos

Learn more

More Like This 

A Safe Place (1971)
Certificate: GP Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.3/10 X  

A strange young woman lives in a fantasy world where she can never grow up.

Director: Henry Jaglom
Stars: Tuesday Weld, Orson Welles, Jack Nicholson
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

A dropout from upper-class America picks up work along the way on oil rigs when his life isn't spent in a squalid succession of bars, motels, and other points of interest.

Director: Bob Rafelson
Stars: Jack Nicholson, Karen Black, Billy Green Bush
The Fortune (1975)
Comedy | Crime | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.7/10 X  

Two bumbling hustlers in the 1920s attempt to gain the fortune of an heiress. Nothing will stop them, not even murder.

Director: Mike Nichols
Stars: Stockard Channing, Jack Nicholson, Warren Beatty
Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

Two Navy men are ordered to bring a young offender to prison, but decide to show him one last good time along the way.

Director: Hal Ashby
Stars: Jack Nicholson, Randy Quaid, Otis Young
Head (1968)
Comedy | Fantasy | Musical
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  

The Monkees are tossed about in a psychedelic, surrealist, plotless, circular bit of fun fluff.

Director: Bob Rafelson
Stars: Peter Tork, Davy Jones, Micky Dolenz
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

Chronicling the lifelong sexual development of two men who meet and befriend one another in college.

Director: Mike Nichols
Stars: Jack Nicholson, Candice Bergen, Ann-Margret
Comedy | Drama | Sport
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.9/10 X  

Hector is a star basketball player for the College basketball team he plays for, the Leopards. His girlfriend, Olive, doesn't know whether to stay with him or leave him. And his friend, ... See full summary »

Director: Jack Nicholson
Stars: William Tepper, Karen Black, Michael Margotta
Stay Hungry (1976)
Drama | Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.7/10 X  

A syndicate wants to buy a whole district to rebuild it. They've bought every house except the small gym "Olympic", where Mr. Austria Joe Santo prepares for the Mr. Universum championships ... See full summary »

Director: Bob Rafelson
Stars: Jeff Bridges, Sally Field, Arnold Schwarzenegger
The Border (1982)
Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  

A corrupt border Agent decides to clean up his act when an impoverished woman's baby is put up for sale on the black market.

Director: Tony Richardson
Stars: Jack Nicholson, Harvey Keitel, Valerie Perrine
Goin' South (1978)
Comedy | Crime | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.3/10 X  

Due to the lack of men after the Civil War, a small western town allows a bachelorette with ulterior motives to save a horse thief from the gallows by marrying him. They must deal with his old gang, the Sheriff, the bank, and each other.

Director: Jack Nicholson
Stars: Jack Nicholson, Mary Steenburgen, Christopher Lloyd
The Shooting (1966)
Western
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

A mysterious woman persuades two cowboys to help her in a revenge scheme.

Director: Monte Hellman
Stars: Millie Perkins, Jack Nicholson, Will Hutchins
Crime | Drama | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6/10 X  

A man who has failed as a father and husband commits a heist to make money for his fledging business, but things become complicated when his wife interferes.

Director: Bob Rafelson
Stars: Jack Nicholson, Michael Caine, Stephen Dorff
Edit

Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Jack Nicholson ... David Staebler
Bruce Dern ... Jason Staebler
Ellen Burstyn ... Sally
Julia Anne Robinson Julia Anne Robinson ... Jessica
Scatman Crothers ... Lewis (as Benjamin 'Scatman' Crothers)
Charles LaVine Charles LaVine ... Grandfather
Arnold Williams ... Rosko
John P. Ryan ... Surtees (as John Ryan)
Sully Boyar Sully Boyar ... Lebowitz
Josh Mostel ... Frank
William Pabst William Pabst ... Bidlack
Garry Goodrow Garry Goodrow ... Nervous Man (as Gary Goodrow)
Imogene Bliss Imogene Bliss ... Magda
Ann Thomas Ann Thomas ... Bambi
Tom Overton Tom Overton ... Spot Operator
Edit

Storyline

'It's Monopoly out there'. Jason Staebler, The King of Marvin Gardens, has gone directly to jail, lives on the Boardwalk and fronts for the local mob in Atlantic City. He is also a dreamer who asks his brother, David, a radio personality from Philadelphia to help him build a paradise on a Pacific Island - asking him to believe in yet another of his dreams, yet another of his get-rich-quick schemes. But luck is against them both and the game ends badly - real life reduced to radio drama. Written by Dave Cook <cookd@mcmail.cis.mcmaster.ca>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
Edit

Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English | Japanese

Release Date:

26 April 1973 (France) See more »

Also Known As:

The Philosopher King See more »

Filming Locations:

Atlantic City, New Jersey, USA See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color (Eastmancolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

Jack Nicholson and Scatman Crothers appeared in The Fortune (1975), One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest (1975), and The Shining (1980). See more »

Goofs

David listens to tape recording he made but during close-up of tape recorder, none of the buttons that would allow it to play are depressed. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
David Staebler: I promised that I would tell you... why I never eat fish. When we all moved into my grandfather's house... it somehow fell to me to keep the old man's mind off of things. We would play casino over an old card table. He never let me win. One time he put one of those tiny model trains... into my hamburger. He was a practical joker. I broke my tooth on it. On Friday evenings we had fish at our house. Every Friday. Not on religious grounds, but because... Grandpa was a fish enthusiast....
[...]
See more »

Crazy Credits

The Columbia Pictures logo does not appear on this film. See more »

Connections

Referenced in People I Know (2002) See more »

Soundtracks

I Could Have Danced All Night
(uncredited)
Music by Frederick Loewe
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

 
about as low-key as 70s movies get (that's a compliment)
29 September 2006 | by MisterWhiplashSee all my reviews

The King of Marvin Gardens was Bob Rafelson's experiment at doing a film where the leads are switched around- the actors playing them, anyway. You rarely get to see Jack Nicholson in the role of the quiet, observant, and really more intuitive characters in any film, and to see it in his prime in-between doing films like Carnal Knowledge and The Last Detail is a revelation. Every once in a while he pulls out a performance that is attuned to a sensibility that is surprising, even if the film is not. One of those that worked best was About Schmidt. But this time in Rafelson's vision, he plays second fiddle to the more personable, idealistic, talkative, pushy, and far more conflicted brother played by Bruce Dern. For Dern this is also a somewhat different role, as he often could play roles with a good deal of dialog well, though with also a lowered guard. Here he plays a guy with lots of ideas, and those of which he really wants to impress upon his more detached but not too unresponsive brother. It's a mix that works, though it's very understandable why I've only seen it once, and not only do I not really desire to see it again, it's not too much of a wonder why its still one of the real underrated films of the 70s.

Keep in mind it's not just the men to see here, but Ellen Burstyn too, in one of her other great parts of her real prime, as she plays Dern's depressed, loopy, over-the-top girlfriend. She has her counterpart too in Julie Anne Robinson. Her character is maybe a little more like Nicholson's, though not really as withdrawn. These are all characters who are estranged, if not from themselves then from each other, and amid the big plans in the (correctly chosen) sights of dreary Atlantic City they're cast against a glow that just poses a kind of nothingness for them. And in the end, when tragedy strikes, it finally comes when the emotional cork gets pulled completely off. And bookending the film are Nicholson's monologues on the airwaves to his listeners, whomever they may be, and they're some of my favorite scenes I still remember from the film. If it's less than really memorable and affecting like the best of 70s subversive cinema, it's because its content in its low-key ways. It's a smart movie that isn't really at the heights of Five Easy Pieces- Rafelson's masterpiece that's also low-key in its way but reaches higher in psychological hang-ups- but it does come as close as anything the director's done since. Most noteworthy is the challenge of reversing the roles for Nicholson and Dern pays off in that independent-film way. Look for Shining co-star Scatman Crothers in some scenes late in the picture.


18 of 24 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 49 user reviews »

Contribute to This Page

Stream Popular Action and Adventure Titles With Prime Video

Explore popular action and adventure titles available to stream with Prime Video.

Start your free trial



Recently Viewed