California Split (1974)



Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

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Movie Info

With a free-flowing storyline, much improvisation, and a multi-channel soundtrack, filmmaker Robert Altman creates a challenging, not always successful portrait of two different gamblers united by their compulsion for gaming. Much of the story centers on brief, widely varied episodes from their lives.
Classics , Comedy , Drama
Directed By:
Written By:
In Theaters:
Columbia Pictures

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George Segal
as Bill Denny
Elliott Gould
as Charlie Waters
Ann Prentiss
as Barbara Miller
Gwen Welles
as Susan Peters
Ed Walsh
as Lew
Joseph Walsh
as Sparkie
Bert Remsen
as Helen Brown
Vincent Palmieri
as First Bartender
Barbara London
as Lady on Bus
Barbara Ruick
as Reno Barmaid
Jay Fletcher
as Robber
Jeff Goldblum
as Lloyd Harris
Barbara Colby
as Receptionist
Vince Palmieri
as Bartender
Jack Riley
as Bartender
Alyce Passman
as Go-Go Girl
Sierra Bandit
as Woman at Bar
John Considine
as Man at Bar
Richard Kennedy
as Used Car Salesman
Mike Greene
as Reno Dealer
Sharon Compton
as Nugie's Wife
Arnold Herzatein
as California Club Poker Player
Marc Cavell
as California Club Poker Player
Alvin Weissman
as California Club Poker Player
Mickey Fox
as California Club Poker Player
Carolyn Lohmann
as California Club Poker Player
Winston Lee
as Reno Poker Player
Harry Drackett
as Reno Poker Player
Thomas Hal Phillips
as Reno Poker Player
Ted Say
as Reno Poker Player
A.J. Hood
as Reno Poker Player
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Critic Reviews for California Split

All Critics (14) | Top Critics (7)

California Split has never been heralded as one of the key Altmans. But the few things it does - friendship and disappointment and the drab and desperate thrill of the gambler's life - it does superbly.

Full Review… | December 9, 2014
Village Voice
Top Critic

Sold as a comedy, the film scans more like American-century Dostoyevsky, with comp cocktails.

March 25, 2008
Village Voice
Top Critic

Robert Altman's masterful 1974 study of the psychology of the compulsive gambler.

Full Review… | March 25, 2008
Chicago Reader
Top Critic

The film is technically and physically handsome, all the more so for being mostly location work, but lacks a cohesive and reinforced sense of story direction.

Full Review… | March 25, 2008
Top Critic

Altman feels rather than thinks his way into a subject, with a special interest in how people relate to one another in moments of crisis.

February 8, 2006
Time Out
Top Critic

A fascinating, vivid movie, not quite comparable to any other movie that I can immediately think of. Nor is it easily categorized.

Full Review… | May 8, 2005
New York Times
Top Critic

Audience Reviews for California Split


Altman's hilarious look at compulsive gambling is perhaps his most underrated film.

Graham Jones
Graham Jones

Super Reviewer

An amusing and completely uncategorizable film that captures the mood of its period, an atmosphere long gone by now where the low life and unstable compulsive gamblers round up looking for little green papers to pass through the week or more hopefully to heal their wounds. As some other works by its director, it feels over talky, anarchic, scattered, erratic, but he always gets the best out of his cast, giving them time to improvise and take it to the wildest, in the case of Elliot Gould. He and George Segal were perfect for the job, the chemistry is real, un rehearsed. Although the story doesn't take much chances, the reliance on its actors' charm is what makes it quite enjoyable.

Pierluigi Puccini
Pierluigi Puccini

Super Reviewer

a stellar tragicomic buddy film about compulsive gamblers. extremely natural, even by altman standards. elliott gould at his manic peak

Stella Dallas
Stella Dallas

Super Reviewer

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