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The Pawnbroker


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DVD 1-Disc Version
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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 H. 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: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (67 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0000EYUES
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #73,289 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "The Pawnbroker" on IMDb

Special Features

None.

Editorial Reviews

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

Customer Reviews

Plainly speaking, this is one of the best films ever made.
Squinancy
The pawnbroker, Nazerman, having survived the camps, has decided he has felt enough pain in his life and refuses to feel anything for anyone again.
theatreslave
Filmed with gritty realism on location in black and white (absolutely correct for this piece), it is a very adult, mature, and somber work.
Archmaker

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

72 of 73 people found the following review helpful By LGwriter on October 15, 2003
Format: DVD
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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40 of 42 people found the following review helpful By R. Gawlitta on March 2, 2005
Format: DVD
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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25 of 26 people found the following review helpful By J from NY VINE VOICE on 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 By "lazzz" on December 3, 2000
Format: VHS Tape
This is one of my favorite films. Rod Steiger, the most underrated artist alive, in my opinion, plays a Jewish pawnbroker who struggles with memories of the war, loss of his family and the apathetic shell his life has become. When he finally realizes that the people around him need his concern and without it, they can't survive, it's too late. A young Quincy Jones composed the tremendous Jazz score that gives every scene depth and punch. The film is in black and white which makes the characters seem more shady, sad and poignant. It is filmed on location in Hell's kitchen, at that time, a derelict New York neighborhood. This gives the film an atmosphere of desperation, fear, foreboding and regret. It is a sensitive, complex film that stirs the emotions on so many levels. See it if you can.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Tom Tigani on March 16, 2000
Format: VHS Tape
In some ways, more powerful and moving than "Schindler's List" as it examines the holocaust's devastating impact on one survivor. Sol tries to reconcile his past with his current (and equally bleak) situation as a pawnbroker in Harlem. The movie chronicles his ongoing struggles in trying to reconnect with his emotional self. The flashback images of the Holocaust still packs a punch - the one image that sticks out for me is the scene that has the camera pan across a row of upstretched arms and hands, pressed against barbed wire as Nazi's reach across the wires and pluck the valuable rings from the victim's fingers.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Robert Morris HALL OF FAMETOP 100 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on July 2, 2003
Format: VHS Tape
This is one of only a few films in which there are certain scenes which, for various reasons, I find almost unbearable to watch again. The others include the scene at the train station when Sophie must make her choice, the sequence of murders in In Cold Blood, the burning of the church in The Patriot, the multiple hangings in The Ox-Bow Incident, and the evisceration of William Wallace in Braveheart.

Brilliantly directed by Sidney Lumet, with equally brilliant cinematography by Boris Kaufman (both of whom should have at least been nominated for an Academy Award), this is among the first films to dramatize with high levels of seriousness and sensitivity the essential evil of the Holocaust. Sol Nazerman is the central character, played by Rod Steiger who was nominated for an Academy Award for best actor. Lee Marvin received that award for his role in Cat Ballou. (I thoroughly enjoyed Marvin's performance but still think Steiger deserved the award. To his credit, so did Marvin and said so.) Nazerman is a pawnbroker in New York City, having long ago lost (or so it seems) his ability to have any feelings for anyone else...or even for himself. His mind may be especially alert but his heart seems numb after so much emotional pain.

In terms of plot, not much happens. Most of the the film focuses is on Nazerman's dysfunctional interactions with other people, notably with Marilyn Birchfield (played by Geraldine Fitzgerald) and Jose Ortiz (Jaime Sanchez) who works for Nazerman. What's Nazerman's problem? With meticulous care, Lumet gradually reveals the past from which he emerged but, in certain respects, from which he has not survived. His "problem" is that he has lost his will to live but not to exist.
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