7.3/10
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41 user 21 critic

The Gambler (1974)

Axel Freed is a literature professor. He has the gambling vice. When he has lost all of his money, he borrows from his girlfriend, then his mother, and finally some bad guys that chase him. Despite all of this, he cannot stop gambling.

Director:

Karel Reisz

Writer:

James Toback
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ON DISC
Nominated for 1 Golden Globe. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
James Caan ... Axel Freed
Paul Sorvino ... Hips
Lauren Hutton ... Billie
Morris Carnovsky ... A.R. Lowenthal
Jacqueline Brookes ... Naomi Freed
Burt Young ... Carmine
Carmine Caridi ... Jimmy
Vic Tayback ... One
Steven Keats Steven Keats ... Howie
London Lee London Lee ... Monkey
M. Emmet Walsh ... Las Vegas Gambler
James Woods ... Bank Officer
Carl W. Crudup ... Spencer
Allan Rich ... Bernie
Stuart Margolin ... Cowboy
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Storyline

Axel Freed, a college professor and very successful at his job, is addicted to gambling, who wins big, but loses it all just as fast. He borrowed from his girlfriend, his wealthy mother, and last but not least a loan shark. It just gets worse for him because he can't stop. But when his girlfriend decides to leave him, his mom decides to disown him, and the mob wants to kill him, Axel decides to make a big score to win big and pay off everyone to stay alive and keep his dignity and come out ahead. Written by Wesley Benton

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

For $10,000 they break your arms. For $20,000 they break your legs. Axel Freed owes $44,000.

Genres:

Crime | Drama

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

17 February 1975 (Denmark) See more »

Also Known As:

Spieler ohne Skrupel See more »

Filming Locations:

Tucson, Arizona, USA See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Paramount Pictures See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color (Eastmancolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The stock footage shot of the passenger jet flying against a sunset was also used in Futureworld (1976). See more »

Quotes

Axel Freed: I'm not going to lose it. I'm going to gamble it.
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Soundtracks

Una furtiva lagrima
from the opera L'elisir d'amore"
by Gaetano Donizetti
Sung by Enrico Caruso
Courtesy of RCA Records
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User Reviews

Greatest movie about gambling addiction
20 November 2006 | by casablancanSee all my reviews

I have reviewed this before with the following passage but have seen many others, who have also liked this movie, feel unhappy with the ending.

-- "This film is for the initiated. If you have no knowledge of gambling then it might well be meaningless though I think an intelligent person will understand the torment from the point of view of the secondary characters.

James Caan puts in a brilliant performance. The cast is quite strong and they don't get up to fantastic things. This is a real movie and the moral of the story isn't friendly.

A must for any gambler." --

NOW if you are not one who has experienced what Axel goes through then you can still live through his pain vicariously. What he feels after getting out of trouble and then back into it, trashing his career and his mother's trust, is absolute disgust. He has a desperate desire to defile himself and punish himself to the point where he can put his guilt away or have his life ended for him. He can't kill himself!

If he gets through it, the experience will put his wrong doings back into perspective and life can still go on.


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