The Gambler

1974

Action / Crime / Drama

18
Rotten Tomatoes Critics - Certified Fresh 82% · 11 reviews
Rotten Tomatoes Audience - Upright 77% · 1K ratings
IMDb Rating 7.1/10 10 6622 6.6K

Director

Top cast

Burt Young as Carmine
James Caan as Axel Freed
James Woods as Bank Officer
M. Emmet Walsh as Las Vegas Gambler
720p.BLU 1080p.BLU 720p.WEB 1080p.WEB
1019.74 MB
1280*720
English 2.0
NR
Subtitles us  
23.976 fps
1 hr 50 min
Seeds 6
1.85 GB
1904*1072
English 2.0
NR
Subtitles us  
23.976 fps
1 hr 50 min
Seeds 9
1018.87 MB
1280*720
English 2.0
NR
Subtitles us  
23.976 fps
1 hr 50 min
Seeds 1
1.85 GB
1904*1072
English 2.0
NR
Subtitles us  
23.976 fps
1 hr 50 min
Seeds ...

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by TheFearmakers 6 / 10

A Forgotten Mainstream Character-Study or Neglected Cult Film?

In pop culture, before you had to "know when to walk away, know when to run," THE GAMBLER was synonymous with a Fyodor Dostoevsky novel and transcended into this 1970's film written by James Toback, directed by Karel Reisz and starring James Caan as university professor Axel Freed...

But Axel's real story isn't his job, but his vice, practically a religion: that of gutsy yet brainless gambling...

An addiction making him the user/loser of other people's money, including his own mother (more of a flirtatious step sister). But, while it's great seeing Caan facing the dark side of human nature, there's a lot to be desired when, for instance, he gets in over his head... and then some...

Shady characters come and go and sometimes return, ranging from Burt Young to Paul Sorvino, but their threats aren't all that... threatening. And while each performance is fitfully capable, it's as if the bookies, along with the audience, are passive observers to Axel's reckless and often ridiculous impulses.

Scenes with an extremely patient girlfriend/ingenue Lauren Hutton are overlong and distracting; her part feels tacked-on, mostly. And inside the classroom, as lecturer, Caan doesn't seem completely legit; he pulls off the roguish gambling addict better than a member of such a prestigious academia (plus he's an author), looking more like a tough guy football coach doubling as teacher...

Meanwhile, sporadic and strategic illegal backroom gambling sequences (filled with mafioso-looking inhabitants) lack the kind of severely desperate tension that these grungy locations aesthetically promise...

With so much to lose in each hand or roll of the dice or turn of the wheel, we should be biting our nails, and so should he... although a quick trip to Las Vegas does up the ante, injecting a needed dose of existential suspense into the otherwise languid visual prose.

Overall, Caan's steely reactions to the bottom continuously falling out are a standout... albeit kind of a shame since he often slips out of trouble faster than it takes to maintain an edgy pulse throughout; it's like watching a diver swim with toothless sharks...

And yet, if you're a fan of the infectiously likeable square-jawed actor (a perfectly equal hybrid of cult and mainstream cinema) this is definitely an intriguing two-hour melodrama that actually gets better with each viewing. What initially seems rather mundane becomes a voyeuristic character-study with subtle yet calculating finesse...

And given the ensemble-friendly era, there are a host of recognizable actors like one perturbed bookie, Jimmy, played by Carmine Caridi (who Francis Ford Coppola originally had in mind for what became Caan's game-changing role as Sonny Corleone in THE GODFATHER: then switched to a killer cameo in the sequel): He rules a memorable scene providing a deeper glimpse into Axel's addiction, and what might be the consequences...

Then there are future TV-fixtures Antonio Fargas, Lawrence Hilton-Jacobs, Stuart Margolin and Vic Tayback. M. Emmett Walsh also turns up and as a weenie banker is another James... Woods...

Specifically, when playing on cable, Time Warner Cable's top-of-the-screen index description states very simply: "James Caan in a study in self-destruction." And, well... that's pretty much that...

What sets out to be a proverbial X-ray of the soul winds up merely exposing bones. Then again, THE GAMBLER leaves most of the fleshing-out for an impartial and ambiguous audience. Which isn't so bad either.

Reviewed by mikel weisser 9 / 10

excellent character study, caan can act

a shocker in the 70s james toback's take on Dostoevskyan's fate, caan actually seems to act instead of react and gives a far more compelling performance than say, Thief 7 yrs. later. The Gambler is James toback's career making debut and has some of the most intense scenes toback would ever film despite numerous strong films later on. the ending is monumental. watch it build and be amazed. 9 of 10.

Reviewed by sol- 7 / 10

My brief review of the film

A gritty, realistic film about addiction, it has a bit of haunting atmosphere to it, and although awfully dreary and a touch too harrowing for its own good, the film still packs a punch. Caan has a very interesting character, one who understands his own addiction yet still deceives himself, and he gives off a very solid performance, even though his character does come off rather cold and a bit hard to relate to. What the film shows us and what happens is quite predictable, but that does not prevent it from still having potency, and the ending certainly is not predictable, and is actually rather fascinating. The film's music score fits the project perfectly, and the driving sequences depict the character's feelings very well. Certainly this worth checking out, even if it is no cinema masterpiece.

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