The Pawnbroker

Watch The Pawnbroker

"The Most Talked About Picture!"
  • Approved
  • 1964
  • 1 hr 56 min
  • 7.7  (10,324)
  • 69

The Pawnbroker is a powerful and gritty drama film from 1964, directed by Sidney Lumet and starring Rod Steiger, Geraldine Fitzgerald, and Brock Peters. The film tells the story of Sol Nazerman (Steiger), a Jewish pawnbroker who survived the Holocaust but is now emotionally dead, cut off from the world around him and struggling to come to terms with his traumatic past.

Sol runs a pawn shop in Harlem, New York, where he spends his days dealing with desperate people who come to him to pawn their belongings in order to make ends meet. He treats his customers with cold detachment, until a young Puerto Rican woman named Jesusa (Juano Hernandez) comes into his shop seeking help. Though Sol initially turns her away, he ultimately takes pity on her and offers her a job in the shop.

As Jesusa begins to draw Sol out of his shell and humanize him, the two of them are gradually drawn into the larger world of Harlem's African American and Puerto Rican communities, where they encounter poverty, injustice, and racism at every turn. Sol is haunted by memories of his past in a Nazi concentration camp, and his feelings of guilt and survivor's guilt become overwhelming as he is forced to confront the reality of the suffering and oppression around him.

Meanwhile, Sol's estranged wife Marilyn (Fitzgerald) and sister-in-law Tessie (Marketa Kimbrell) try to reach out to him and help him overcome his personal demons, but Sol remains stubbornly resistant to their efforts. And when Sol's assistant Rodriguez (Peters) becomes involved in a dangerous criminal enterprise, Sol finds himself drawn into a violent and tragic confrontation that threatens to destroy everything he has been struggling to hold onto.

The Pawnbroker is a deeply moving and emotionally intense film that explores themes of trauma and memory, guilt and redemption, and the enduring legacy of personal and historical trauma. The film is characterized by its stark black-and-white cinematography, its brilliant performances from the cast (including Rod Steiger's unforgettable turn as Sol), and its unflinching commitment to portraying the harsh realities of life in Harlem during the Civil Rights era.

Despite its difficult subject matter and unrelenting bleakness, The Pawnbroker is ultimately a deeply humanistic and compassionate film, one that offers a powerful message of hope and resilience in the face of adversity. It is a testament to the power of cinema to explore the most difficult aspects of the human experience with honesty, depth, and sensitivity.

The Pawnbroker is a 1964 crime movie with a runtime of 1 hour and 56 minutes. It has received mostly positive reviews from critics and viewers, who have given it an IMDb score of 7.7 and a MetaScore of 69.

The Pawnbroker
Where to Watch The Pawnbroker
The Pawnbroker is available to watch free on Kanopy. It's also available to stream, download and buy on demand at Apple TV, Amazon, Google Play and YouTube VOD. Some platforms allow you to rent The Pawnbroker for a limited time or purchase the movie and download it to your device.
  • Release Date
  • MPAA Rating
  • Runtime
    1 hr 56 min
  • Language
  • IMDB Rating
    7.7  (10,324)
  • Metascore