The Pawnbroker

Critics Consensus

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82%

TOMATOMETER

Total Count: 17

87%

Audience Score

User Ratings: 2,398

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Movie Info

Based on the novel by Edward Lewis Wallant, this drama focuses on former professor Sol Nazerman (Rod Steiger), the survivor of a German concentration camp who now runs a pawn shop in East Harlem. Having witnessed his family's death at the hands of the Nazis, he is embittered toward humanity and pushes away anyone around him, including his young Puerto Rican employee, Jesus (Jaime Sanchez). As Nazerman contends with his internal conflicts, the harsh realities of the city affect his life as well.

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Critic Reviews for The Pawnbroker

  • [The Pawnbroker] is a brilliant cinema achievement. Directed with sharp eye by Sidney Lumet, this is a film that holds you by the throat for its full two-hour running time, and a film you will not long forget.

    September 2, 2020 | Full Review…
  • One of Lumet's best films, presented with a powerful performance from Rod Steiger. [Full review in Spanish]

    October 1, 2020 | Rating: 8/10 | Full Review…
  • The rare film that's Important with a capital "I" as well as Great with a capital "G."

    June 23, 2020 | Rating: 9/10 | Full Review…
  • Lumet seems to me something of a puzzle. While some instinct leads him to undertake tremendously promising projects, he brings to those projects only a stunning literal-mindedness.

    March 2, 2020 | Full Review…
  • It is our statement that Nazerman is as much Lumet's creation as Steigers: mood and visuals combine with the performance to present a screen creation wholly worthy of Emil Janning's work with Von Sternberg in Blue Angel.

    February 5, 2020 | Full Review…
  • The Pawnbroker seemed to me a bore and a phony, a vulgarization of a serious theme, an exploitation of cinematic "effects" used without taste or intelligence.

    August 14, 2019 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for The Pawnbroker

  • Feb 08, 2014
    Perhaps one of the few films about the legacy of the Holocaust, that is entirely focused on despair and emptiness . . . that being said, I get the feeling that Lumet was a little too into the French New Wave when he made this. I don't mean to belittle that movement, but it doesn't completely works for this kind of narrative.
    Alec B Super Reviewer
  • Feb 03, 2014
    Steiger is wonderful as an emotional (and physical) survivor attempting some degree of normal after being through horror. A hit for Lumet.
    John B Super Reviewer
  • Aug 16, 2010
    A dramatic, remarkable, worthy directorial successor to 12 Angry Men from Sidney Lumet and Rodney Steiger in one of the greatest performances of all time. 100/100
    Simeon D Super Reviewer
  • Jan 23, 2010
    Fine work from Lumet, but even finer work from Steiger
    Marcus W Super Reviewer

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