7.5/10
9,042
62 user 65 critic

The Killing of a Chinese Bookie (1976)

Trailer
2:00 | Trailer

Watch Now

From $3.99 (HD) on Prime Video

ON DISC
A proud strip club owner is forced to come to terms with himself as a man, when his gambling addiction gets him in hot water with the mob, who offer him only one alternative.

Director:

John Cassavetes

Writer:

John Cassavetes
Reviews

Videos

Photos

Learn more

More Like This 

Opening Night (1977)
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  

An actress suffers an emotional uproar in her personal life after a fan dies trying to see her.

Director: John Cassavetes
Stars: Gena Rowlands, John Cassavetes, Ben Gazzara
Faces I (1968)
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

A middle-aged man leaves his wife for a younger woman. Shortly after, his ex-wife also begins a relationship with a younger partner. The film follows their struggles to find love amongst each other.

Director: John Cassavetes
Stars: John Marley, Gena Rowlands, Lynn Carlin
Husbands (1970)
Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

A common friend's sudden death brings three men, married with children, to reconsider their lives and ultimately leave together. But mindless enthusiasm for regained freedom will be ... See full summary »

Director: John Cassavetes
Stars: Ben Gazzara, Peter Falk, John Cassavetes
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 X  

Mabel, a wife and mother, is loved by her husband Nick but her mental illness proves to be a problem in the marriage.

Director: John Cassavetes
Stars: Gena Rowlands, Peter Falk, Fred Draper
Shadows (1958)
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

Cassavetes' jazz-scored improvisational film explores interracial friendships and relationships in Beat-Era (1950s) New York City.

Director: John Cassavetes
Stars: Ben Carruthers, Lelia Goldoni, Hugh Hurd
Love Streams (1984)
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

Two closely bound, emotionally wounded siblings reunite after years apart.

Director: John Cassavetes
Stars: Gena Rowlands, John Cassavetes, Diahnne Abbott
Certificate: GP Comedy | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

A museum curator falls in love with a crazy parking attendant.

Director: John Cassavetes
Stars: Gena Rowlands, Seymour Cassel, Val Avery
Gloria (1980)
Crime | Drama | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

When a young boy's family is killed by the mob, their tough neighbor Gloria becomes his reluctant guardian. In possession of a book that the gangsters want, the pair go on the run in New York.

Director: John Cassavetes
Stars: Gena Rowlands, Buck Henry, Julie Carmen
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

Ghost is an ideological musician who would rather play his blues in the park to the birds than compromise himself. However, when he meets and falls in love with beautiful singer Jess ... See full summary »

Director: John Cassavetes
Stars: Bobby Darin, Stella Stevens, Everett Chambers
Big Trouble (1986)
Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.2/10 X  

Insurance agent plots with client to kill her nutty husband.

Director: John Cassavetes
Stars: Peter Falk, Alan Arkin, Beverly D'Angelo
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

Psychologist Dr. Matthew Clark is the head of the Crawthorne State Training Institute, one of the first boarding schools for developmentally challenged children. Dr. Clark is sympathetic ... See full summary »

Director: John Cassavetes
Stars: Burt Lancaster, Judy Garland, Gena Rowlands
Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

In Philadelphia, a small-time bookie who stole mob money is in hiding and he begs a childhood friend to help him evade the hit-man who's on his trail.

Director: Elaine May
Stars: Peter Falk, John Cassavetes, Ned Beatty
Edit

Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Ben Gazzara ... Cosmo Vittelli
Timothy Carey ... Flo (as Timothy Agoglia Carey)
Seymour Cassel ... Mort Weil
Robert Phillips ... Phil
Morgan Woodward ... The Boss
John Kullers John Kullers ... The Accountant (as John Red Kullers)
Al Ruban Al Ruban ... Marty Reitz
Azizi Johari Azizi Johari ... Rachel
Virginia Carrington Virginia Carrington ... Mama
Meade Roberts Meade Roberts ... Mr. Sophistication
Alice Friedland Alice Friedland ... Sherry
Donna Gordon Donna Gordon ... Margo Donnar (as Donna Marie Gordon)
Haji ... Haji
Carol Warren Carol Warren ... Carol
Derna Wong Davis Derna Wong Davis ... Derna
Edit

Storyline

Cosmo Vitelli owns the Crazy Horse West, a strip joint in California. He's laconic, a Korean War vet, and a gambler. When we meet him, he's making his last payment on a gambling debt. Then, he promptly loses $23,000 playing poker at an illegal local casino. The guys he owes this time aren't so friendly, pressuring him for immediate payment. Then they suggest that he kill a Chinese bookie to wipe off the debt. Vitelli and the film move back and forth between the double-crossing, murderous insincerity of the gamblers and the friendships, sweetness, and even love among Vitelli, the dancers, a dancer's mother, and the club's singer, Mr. Sophistication. Written by <jhailey@hotmail.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Crime | Drama | Thriller

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »
Edit

Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

8 October 1977 (Sweden) See more »

Also Known As:

Mordet på en kinesisk bookmaker See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Faces Distribution See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (1978 Re-Release)

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

The shorter 108 minute John Cassavetes 1978, referred to on the DVD as the Director's Cut, has scenes in it not in the 1976 original 135 minute cut. The scenes in the later version also have different edits and different orders. See more »

Quotes

Cosmo Vitelli: My mother was very funny. Had a great sense of humor. Yeah, that's right. She was so funny, she ran off with this big, fat butcher.
See more »

Alternate Versions

The original version runs 135 minutes. Two years after the release director John Cassavetes prepared a different theatrical cut with a running time of 108 minutes, both adding and removing scenes resulting in a different film. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Meurtre d'un broutemécouilles chinois (1998) See more »

Soundtracks

After the Ball
(uncredited)
Written by Charles Harris
Performed by Meade Roberts and others
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

John Cassavetes: a fearless filmmaker
22 August 2003 | by terry_caulfieldSee all my reviews

John Cassavetes is widely regarded as being the father of American independent film. Using his fees as an actor in films such as "The Killers" (1964) and "Rosemary's Baby" (1968, he funded his own films away from the interference of Hollywood. In this film, Ben Gazzara plays Cosmo Vitelli, a nightclub owner who lives way beyond his means and manages to get into a massive gambling debt with the mob. This leads to the gangsters putting heavy pressure on Cosmo to perform a hit for them in order that he pays back the debt. The film deals with Cosmo's attempts to extricate himself from these proceedings whilst still keeping his integrity, not to mention his life intact.

The film can be seen as having parables with Cassavetes own dealings with Hollywood studios and his attempts, not unlike those of the films protagonist to keep his integrity and his artistic vision intact. The film is a classic example of 70's American cinema when the old studio system had collapsed and filmmakers had the freedom to make whatever films they liked no matter how personal or non commercial they might seem. This is a truly great film.


18 of 22 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 62 user reviews »

Contribute to This Page

Stream Trending TV Series With Prime Video

Explore popular and recently added TV series available to stream now with Prime Video.

Start your free trial



Recently Viewed