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The Pawnbroker (1965)

Rod Steiger , Geraldine Fitzgerald , Sidney Lumet  |  Unrated |  DVD
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (52 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Rod Steiger, Geraldine Fitzgerald, Brock Peters, Jaime Sánchez, Thelma Oliver
  • Directors: Sidney Lumet
  • Writers: David Friedkin, Edward Lewis Wallant, Morton S. Fine
  • Producers: Joseph Manduke, Philip Langner, Roger Lewis, Worthington Miner
  • Format: Black & White, Closed-captioned, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: Unrated
  • Studio: Republic Pictures
  • DVD Release Date: December 16, 2003
  • Run Time: 116 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (52 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0000EYUES
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #28,826 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "The Pawnbroker" on IMDb

Special Features


Editorial Reviews

No Description Available.
Genre: Feature Film-Drama
Rating: UN
Release Date: 16-DEC-2003
Media Type: DVD

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
66 of 66 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Astounding performance October 15, 2003
Rod Steiger's performance in this film is the best of his career. Period. He was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Actor, 1965, and should easily have won--although he did not. In this powerful film, he plays Sol Nazerman, a seedy denizen of New York's Lower East Side who makes his living as a pawnbroker. Into his store come lowlifes of all sorts--hookers, junkies, thieves. Nazerman is a survivor of the Holocaust and carries enormous psychic scars that refuse to stop tearing at his soul.
As a vicious menacing crime figure, Brock Peters is also superb--the present-day reminder to Nazerman of how evil never dies. Other cast members include Geraldine Fitzgerald as a sympathetic caseworker and Jaime Sanchez as Nazerman's young Latino assistant who is of another generation and another culture, and cannot understand his boss' terrible anguish.
Director Sidney Lumet has done an outstanding job here conveying the lifelong suffering that horrific evil brings with it. This is not a graphic film, but one that delivers its message before the days of special effects via pure drama. It is a great thing to have this now available on DVD; this is a film that should be seen by those who treasure phenomenal acting and powerful emotion.
Very highly recommended; the best American film of 1965 and one of the best American films of the 20th century.
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35 of 36 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Steiger, Lumet & Q March 2, 2005
I saw this film in it's initial release. Lumet just received an Special Oscar, and this film should be at the top of his list of achievements. Steiger was never better, and Quincy Jones first film score was so very appropriate. The only Oscar recognition was for Rod Steiger's amazing performance, so complicated and profound...and so very complete. Missing of recognition was Jaime Sanchez' powerful supporting role, and that of the great Geraldine Fitzgerald, still magnificent after a long hiatus. Also, Brock Peters, after playing the sweet Tom Robinson in "To Kill a Mockingbird", shows great range as the bad guy.Steiger lost the Oscar to Lee Marvin in "Cat Ballou". Even though Marvin played dual roles, Jane Fonda was the center of that film. Steiger was in every frame of "The Pawnbroker". Makes you wonder about the credibility of the Academy, huh? And then there's Lumet, and those very complicated flashbacks of the Holocaust. Quite powerful. This is the first film score by the great Quincy Jones. It is so appropriate. (He was nominated the following year for "In Cold Blood"). Some say Steiger won the Oscar in '67 ("In the Heat of the Night") because he lost for this one. I think not. This was a period in Steiger's career when he was in touch with his material. Lumet, Jones and the late Steiger should be proud that this display of greatness is available for all to see.
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22 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars a cinematic masterpiece beyond criticism March 8, 2002
Format:VHS Tape|Verified Purchase
"the pawnbroker" is the best and most powerful film having to do with the holocaust that i have ever seen. rod steiger gives one of the best performances in the history of american movies, and the devastating implications of the events of WW2 for human beings is delivered here in full force. even the criminal steiger unwillingly works for seems to understand exactly what is going on in his wary employee's mind in his attempts to shut out all emotion as a result of his horrendous experience and in one unforgettable scene roars, "then that makes you NOTHING!" this is a picture of a broken man and an indifferent, evil world, both brutalized beyond redemption. absolutely magnificent and almost unbearably touching.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I Did Not Die...... January 22, 2005
This devastating film about a holocaust survivor living (or rather existing) in Spanish Harlem NY, was an important, controversial and courageous exercise in 1965, and it retains its power all these years later. With what is without doubt Rod Steiger's finest performance, this study of a man haunted by his memories, and so traumatized by survivor's guilt and grief that he has numbed his emotions beyond human touch, and isolated himself completely from the humanity surrounding him, might even stun and disturb today's cynical sophisticates.

The only thing Sol Nazerman, the Pawnbroker, hasn't lost is his life. Everything he loved has been taken from him, and the wall he has erected to separate himself from his pain has likewise enured him to any human emotion, even pity and compassion for the human flotsam that daily appears before him with their pathetic possessions to pawn. He has no longer the ability to love, hate, desire or despair. He simply transacts, without care or consideration. Rod Steiger could be a bombastic and over-the-top actor, so his restrained, thoughtful, carefully modulated performance here is a revelation and an acting masterpiece.

Filmed with gritty realism on location in black and white (absolutely correct for this piece), it is a very adult, mature, and somber work. It was controversial in its time for nudity and because the gangster that uses Nazerman's pawnshop to launder money is black. That, and an unflinching look at the Spanish Harlem of junkies, prostitutes and so on. Today, all of this seems completely appropriate.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars The Pawnbroker
I loved this movie when I first saw it on a regular network TV station in Chicago Heights. This movie is so powerfully compelling
to watch even after all these years. Read more
Published 2 months ago by George Gilchrest
5.0 out of 5 stars Exquisite horror
Plainly speaking, this is one of the best films ever made. Stirs, disturbs, exposes and rules. Decades before the Holocaust would become a leitmotif in films, this main character... Read more
Published 4 months ago by Squinancy
4.0 out of 5 stars Good but not complete.
This a very good dramatic film. The only complaint that I have is that it builds huge emotional intensity then leaves us without closure or resolution, either tragic or... Read more
Published 4 months ago by Citris1
5.0 out of 5 stars This is a "must see" movie.
I did not first see this movie until I was well into my 40's. It is one of the most powerful films ever made. It is NOT FOR MINORS. Read more
Published 5 months ago by Paulie
4.0 out of 5 stars The Pawnbroker
Sidney Lumet was one of my favourite american directors an The Pawbroker blew me away when I first saw it sat the cinema in the sixties. Read more
Published 8 months ago by juan lira
5.0 out of 5 stars DVD - The Pawnbroker
This excellent movie stars Rod Steiger in one of his best performances ever. I have liked this movie for many years and watch it time and again. Read more
Published 12 months ago by Jack S Dolejsi
4.0 out of 5 stars A Heavy Personal Story
A Jewish concentration camp survivor whose wife and kids were murdered barely exists outside of his daily pawn transactions with the desperate and criminals of Harlem. Read more
Published 16 months ago by mr. critic
5.0 out of 5 stars Great!
Excellent!! That's how to make a movie! Proud to have it in my collection of classic's.Rod Steiger is truly a great actor!
Published 16 months ago by clifton atkins
4.0 out of 5 stars The Pawnbroker
Rod Steiger is superb in this role as a victim of Nazi persecution.
A sad and moving film. Some great support roles as well. I commend this movie to any serious movie buff.
Published 17 months ago by Roscoe4311
5.0 out of 5 stars Learning to walk on water...
Some will have trouble watching a film like `The Pawnbroker'. If doesn't really seem to go much of anywhere. Read more
Published 19 months ago by Andrew Ellington
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