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The Last Tycoon (1976)

F. Scott Fitzgerald's novel is brought to life in this story of a movie producer slowly working himself to death.


Elia Kazan


F. Scott Fitzgerald (novel), Harold Pinter (screenplay)
Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 2 wins & 3 nominations. See more awards »


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Cast overview, first billed only:
Robert De Niro ... Monroe Stahr
Tony Curtis ... Rodriguez
Robert Mitchum ... Pat Brady
Jeanne Moreau ... Didi
Jack Nicholson ... Brimmer
Donald Pleasence ... Boxley
Ray Milland ... Fleishacker
Dana Andrews ... Red Ridingwood
Ingrid Boulting ... Kathleen Moore
Peter Strauss ... Wylie
Theresa Russell ... Cecilia Brady
Tige Andrews ... Popolos
Morgan Farley ... Marcus
John Carradine ... Tour Guide
Jeff Corey ... Doctor


Young film producer, Monroe Stahr, is a rising star in 1930's Hollywood due to his ability to get anything he envisions done even if it means breaking a few rules. The latest film he's working on stars two popular actors, Rodriguez and Didi, and everyone is sure it'll be a smashing hit when it's done. The times are changing however, since the first guilds and unions are being formed in Hollywood, but Stahr is still sticking to his old ways of doing things in spite of that. His main opponent becomes a union organizer, Brimmer, but Stahr finds ways to deal with him as well. However, in his hubris, Stahr crosses one red line too many when he falls for a young troubled engaged woman called Kathleen Moore and neglects Cecilia Brady, the young daughter of studio executive and Stahr's boss, Pat Brady. Pat becomes furious over this as well as Stahr's other misbehavings and makes it his mission to take Stahr down. Due to all the pressure, Stahr's health starts failing as well. The film is ...

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


He has the power to make anyone's dream come true... except his own.


Drama | Romance


PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Release Date:

19 November 1976 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Der letzte Tycoon See more »


Box Office


$5,500,000 (estimated)

Gross USA:


Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Black and White | Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


Robert Mitchum was bemused by Robert De Niro's habit of remaining in character all day, and nicknamed the young Method actor "Kid Monroe". Mitchum also recalled that Ray Milland gave anyone with hair a hard time. See more »


Ingrid Boulting's hairstyle changes between the scene with the performing seal and the scene at Monroe's uncompleted beach house. See more »


Monroe Stahr: I don't want to lose you.
See more »


Referenced in Yes Man (2008) See more »


Out of Nowhere
Music by Johnny Green (as John Green)
Lyrics by Edward Heyman
See more »

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User Reviews

veers towards being TOO subtle and stuffy, but remains a good view into coldness of 1930s Hollywood
20 March 2008 | by Quinoa1984See all my reviews

For a little while as I watched the Last Tycoon, I thought I could understand what the critics said of this film when it first came out (the majority of them I mean). The screenplay, written by Harold Pinter from what is supposedly a much richer (albeit incomplete) text from F. Scott Fitzgerald, stages many scenes like how one would see on a theater stage, with only one or two little directional differences with Elia Kazan's take on the material. This, plus its slightly 'dry' style (i.e. very little musical score, limited camera movement, performances kept without much, if at all, improvisation), makes things seem almost too much in the realm of the naturalistic, of drama kept to a minimum of interaction.

But as the film went along like this, I started to notice something: the sort of coldness, almost a loneliness, with the character of Monroe Stahr, is what actually makes a lot of the movie work for all its intents and purposes. It has the veneer of being a little distanced, of not having the full driving force of drama and comedy (although it does have both of those in bits and pieces, more as little familial or romantic drama or one-line throwaways) like an 8 1/2 or the Player with dealing in the problems of a professional in the film industry. But because of Stahr's method of practices, of being as Mitchum's character describes "like a priest or a rabbi, 'this is how it will be'", when he's told 'no' it shatters him. As a film about loss, and the very calculated realization that his code in business spills over into the personal, the Last Tycoon does work.

Maybe not very well, but work it does, as storytelling and as a character piece. Sure, it might not be De Niro's best, but he does deliver subtle like it's as second nature as breathing (kind of a twist on his other 1976 character, Travis Bickle, whom he played subtle but also crazy, where as here it's subtle and empty), and he's got plenty of backup. There was some critical flack for the actress Ingrid Boutling, playing the nearly obscure object of Monroe's desire-cum-demand, but she too is better than she was given credit for, at least within the range she's allowed to work in (which, granted, isn't as much as one might think, but she's seen not as a fully-fleshed person but as someone with hints of a reality she needs and a fantasy world of movies she doesn't).

Then there's Nicholson, showing up in the final reels for a couple of amazing scenes sparring with De Niro, barely ever raising voices for a low-key one-on-one as a movie exec and communist writer organizer. Not to forget Mitchum, in maybe his last good performance, and Theresa Russell in also an underrated turn as a woman grown up way past her years. Did I mention Jeanne Moreau? She's Moreau, that's about it, playing a completely self-absorbed star for all its one dimension is worth. Only Tony Curtis, with his libido problems isn't par for the course, and Donald Pleasance has a shaky (if darkly funny) scene as a scorned writer.

Does the Last Tycoon have some problems as feeling like compelling historical drama? Sure. But does it somehow get into the atmosphere of its character in the context of his profession, revealing all that's absent for him every day coming home to his Asian butler? Absolutely. It's a mix and match that will disappoint some, and for those who want to take the chance on a somewhat forgotten 70s film- Kazan's last and Spiegel's final ego-tickler- might be even more impressed than I was. 7.5/10

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