King of the Gypsies (1978)




Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

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Not surprisingly, this fascinating dissection of Gypsy life in America was vilified by several ethnic special-interest groups, who'd previously delivered their mimeoed missives to novelist Peter Maas, on whose book the film was based. Sterling Hayden is the "king" of a New York-based gypsy tribe, who on his deathbed passes his crown to his reluctant grandson, Eric Roberts. Roberts' scuzzy father Judd Hirsch, envious that he's been passed over, begins plotting the demise of his own son. It appears at first that the boy, a thoroughly assimilated Manhattanite, would be more than willing to give up his invisible throne to Hirsch, but there's something about his heritage that always draws him back to his own people. Several genuine gypsies took part in the film as extras, bit players and technical advisers; reportedly, they also spent much of the shooting time trying to cadge a few dishonest dollars from cast and crew.
R (adult situations/language, violence)
Directed By:
Written By:
In Theaters:
Paramount Home Video

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Shelley Winters
as Queen Rachel
Annie Potts
as Persa
Brooke Shields
as Tita Stepanowicz
Sterling Hayden
as King Zharko Stepanowicz
Frederick Coffin
as Basketball Coach
Matthew Laborteaux
as Middle Dave
Judd Hirsch
as Groffo
Michael V. Gazzo
as Spiro Giorgio
Martin Rosenblatt
as Zharko's Lawyer
Tom Mason
as Policeman at Groffo's Death
Danielle Brisebois
as Young Tita
Roy Brocksmith
as Frinkuleschti
Marc Vahanian
as Young Groffo
Tom Quinn
as Jewelry Store Detective
Antonia Rey
as Danitza Giorgio
Macintyre Dixon
as Courthouse Reporter
Paul Sparer
as Dave's Doctor
Bernie McInerney
as Zharko's Doctor
Alice Drummond
as Zharko's Nurse
William Duell
as Funeral Home Director
Joe Zaloom
as Rui Ilanovitch
Anthony Holland
as Mr. Tomlin
Stephen Mendillo
as Adolf Mikel
Stephane Grappelli
as Gypsy Violinist
Harris Laskaway
as Man at Accident
David Rounds
as Mr. Kessler
Jon Oppenheim
as Gypsy Horsetrader
Scott Franklin
as Hallway Thug
Michael Vincente Gazzo
as Spiro Georgio
James Shannon
as Courthouse Photographer
Joe Maruzzo
as Waiter at Mamma Leone's
Lou Cevetillo
as Pete Stepanowicz
Kathi Moss
as Midwife
Jay Norman
as Hallway Thug
C.A.R. Smith
as Christening Priest
David Little
as Kessler's Lawyer
Harris Laskawy
as Man at Accident
Chris Manor
as Gypsy Horsetrader
Daniel Spira
as Zio Miller
Cory Einbinder
as Young Dave
Tiffany Bogart
as Young Rose
Glen Gianfrancisco
as Persa's Child
Mark Victor
as Courthouse Reporter
Thomas Quinn
as Jewelery Store Detective
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Critic Reviews for King of the Gypsies

All Critics (5)

King of the Gypsies is a fine wedding of craft and creativity.

Full Review… | January 27, 2004
Spirituality and Practice

A punches-pulled, non-exploration of the gypsy culture, and a bad Godfather B-movie rip-off, to boot. It's all surface play, with no resonance or understanding. And marginal performances don't help.

Full Review… | July 23, 2008

Quote not available.

November 1, 2005

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October 7, 2005
International Press Academy

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June 17, 2005

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July 28, 2004
Worcester Telegram & Gazette

Audience Reviews for King of the Gypsies


An all-star cast for a boring drama, which fails to bring an interesting subject to life. This movie could have been good, I could tell, but something was holding it back, I'm not sure what, maybe it was the director?

Aj V
Aj V

Super Reviewer

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