6.3/10
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17 user 15 critic

King of the Gypsies (1978)

In the criminal and violent world of modern-day Gypsies based in New York City, their 'king' Zharko Stepanowicz passes his leadership to his unwilling grandson, leaving the skipped father resentful.

Director:

Frank Pierson

Writers:

Peter Maas (book), Frank Pierson (written for the screen by)
Reviews
Nominated for 1 Golden Globe. Another 2 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Sterling Hayden ... King Zharko Stepanowicz
Shelley Winters ... Queen Rachel
Susan Sarandon ... Rose
Judd Hirsch ... Groffo
Eric Roberts ... Dave
Brooke Shields ... Tita
Annette O'Toole ... Sharon
Annie Potts ... Persa
Michael V. Gazzo ... Spiro Giorgio
Antonia Rey ... Danitza Giorgio
Stephen Mendillo ... Adolf
Daniel Spira Daniel Spira ... Zio Miller
Joe Zaloom ... Rui Ilanovitch
Lou Cevetillo Lou Cevetillo ... Pete Stepanowicz
Zvee Scooler ... Phuro (as Svee Scooler)
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Storyline

Eric Roberts makes an impressive screen debut as Dave, grandson of the aging King Zharko, who is chosen by him to lead the gypsy clan at his death. Dave's only inclination is to join the American mainstream, but he knows that the mantle of gypsy power cannot be taken lightly or denied. Written by Anonymous

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

HIS time is here and he must carry on the tradition of ruling with vengeance! See more »

Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

28 February 1979 (France) See more »

Also Known As:

El rey de los gitanos See more »

Filming Locations:

Hillside, New Jersey, USA See more »

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Box Office

Gross USA:

$7,325,177

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$7,325,177
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.78 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Rachel Ticotin's movie debut. See more »

Quotes

Dave: We live in a democracy. There are no kings.
See more »


Soundtracks

Be My Love
By Nicholas Brodszky and Sammy Cahn
Sung by Robert Jason
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Only The Gypsies Know
16 April 2010 | by bkoganbingSee all my reviews

You will get a wide and varying reaction as to the veracity of what Peter Maas wrote about the Romany culture in his non-fiction book, King Of The Gypsies. The information from that source yielded a screenplay with both Hamlet and Oedipal like qualities in it about the succession in leadership to a gypsy clan.

The title role in King Of The Gypsies is played by Sterling Hayden and he and his Queen Shelley Winters have as much responsibility to their clan as the Corleones do. But they've got a son in Judd Hirsch who has the worst qualities of Fredo and Sonny Corleone in one package. This is not a guy you want running the clan.

Hayden pins his hopes on his grandson Eric Roberts. But Roberts has walked away from gypsy life and now is even courting a nice all American girl in Annette O'Toole. He's a singing waiter at Mama Leone's which is no more.

Hirsch of course has no desire to be John of Gaunt in his family, son of one king and father of another. This sets up the conflict within the clan that goes active when Hayden dies.

Eric Roberts made his screen debut here and does fine, but the guy to really watch in this film is Judd Hirsch. You can hardly believe that the amiable Alex Reiger from Taxi is played by the same actor. Hirsch's part of Grozzo should be his career role. Had it been played by someone like Al Pacino and would have had King Of The Gypsies come to the screen some 15 to 20 years later it might have gotten an Oscar nomination. At this point Pacino would have been cast in the Roberts part. How Hirsch was overlooked is a mystery that only the gypsies know.

For an insight into a part of human society overlooked, King Of The Gypsies is highly recommended.


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