The Pawnbroker (1964)

SIDNEY LUMET

Bil’s rating (out of 5):  BBBB

USA, 1964.  , .  Screenplay by , , based on the novel by .  Cinematography by .  Produced by , .  Music by .  Production Design by .  Costume Design by .  Film Editing by .  

A Holocaust survivor (Rod Steiger), the only member of his family to escape from the camps alive, now lives in 1960s New York and owns a pawn shop. The many difficulties of facing the rough life of downtown New York City are constantly exacerbated by his inability to escape his memories. Only the friendship of a kind woman he meets in a park (Geraldine Fitzgerald) seems to help, but even then it’s difficult for him to reach out to her. This excellent drama, one of the first to truly address the survivor guilt of those who managed to outlive the horrors of the Third Reich, is kept entirely together by the fascinating, subtle performance by Steiger, who was probably never better.

Academy Award Nomination:  Best Actor (Rod Steiger)

Golden Globe Award Nomination:  Best Actor-Drama (Rod Steiger)

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