The King of Marvin Gardens

Watch The King of Marvin Gardens

  • R
  • 1972
  • 1 hr 43 min
  • 6.5  (6,014)

The King of Marvin Gardens is a dramatic film released in 1972, directed by Bob Rafelson and starring Jack Nicholson, Bruce Dern, and Ellen Burstyn. The movie revolves around two brothers, David and Jason Staebler, who meet after a long time, leading to a series of painful and shocking revelations. Jack Nicholson plays the role of David, a down-on-his-luck radio personality who lives in a small house in Philadelphia. He receives a call from his brother, Jason (Bruce Dern), who lives in Atlantic City, inviting him to visit. David agrees, hoping that the visit might change his fortunes.

On arrival, David discovers Jason's life is not as it seems. Jason is a small-time hustler, who is always looking for the next big deal. He has a grand vision to build a casino in Hawaii and wants David to invest in his plan. The two embark on a road trip to a deserted island where Jason has allegedly secured the land to build the dream resort.

As they travel, the film takes on a surreal quality, with dreamlike sequences and conversations that blur the line between reality and fantasy. Their journey is underpinned by deeply introspective dialogues on the nature of familial relationships, masculinity, and identity.

Ellen Burstyn appears as Sally, a woman who Jason claims to be his girlfriend. Sally joins the brothers on their road trip, but her mysterious nature and erratic behavior add to the feeling of unease permeating the film.

As the journey progresses, the tensions between the two brothers reach boiling point, and the cracks in their relationship are exposed. Jason's dream of building a casino in Hawaii appears to be nothing more than a mirage, and as the reality of the situation dawns on David, it seems that all hope is lost.

The King of Marvin Gardens is a slow-burn movie, and it takes time to reveal its full intentions. It is a portrait of a fractured family, with Jack Nicholson and Bruce Dern delivering powerhouse performances. Throughout the film, we see the brothers' unique dynamic, as they are polar opposites in every way, and their relationship is complicated by past resentments.

The film's setting, Atlantic City in the early 1970s, gives the film nostalgia and style, with its beautiful shot of the boardwalk and the old-fashioned casinos. The cinematography is stunning, with the movie's director spending much of his time capturing the nuances of the characters' emotions.

Overall, The King of Marvin Gardens is an engaging and provocative film. With its brooding atmosphere and complex characters, it delves deep into themes of identity, disillusionment, and the perils of the American Dream. It's a film that has stood the test of time, largely thanks to the sublime performances by the talented cast.

The King of Marvin Gardens is a 1972 drama with a runtime of 1 hour and 43 minutes. It has received mostly positive reviews from critics and viewers, who have given it an IMDb score of 6.5.

The King of Marvin Gardens
Where to Watch The King of Marvin Gardens
The King of Marvin Gardens is available to watch free on Tubi TV. It's also available to stream, download and buy on demand at Apple TV, Amazon, Google Play and Vudu. Some platforms allow you to rent The King of Marvin Gardens for a limited time or purchase the movie and download it to your device.
  • Release Date
  • MPAA Rating
  • Runtime
    1 hr 43 min
  • Language
  • IMDB Rating
    6.5  (6,014)