The Pawnbroker

United States, 1965

Image via TMDb

A powerful drama that focuses on Sol Nazerman (Rod Steiger), a middle-aged concentration camp survivor who lost his entire family to the Nazis and now runs a pawnshop in Harlem. His survival is a source of bewilderment and pain which has caused him to take refuge in misery and the condemnation of humanity. He is totally removed from the world of thieves and pimps that frequent his shop and displays no emotional vulnerability to the few people who try to penetrate his icy exterior. When his assistant Ortiz (Jaime Sanchez) sacrifices his own life for Sol during a robbery, the pawnbroker is finally confronted with the inherent goodness of the human spirit. Attacked at the time of its release for being anti-Semitic, anti-Black and pornographic, the film is also memorable for its innovative use of flashbacks to represent the disturbing flashes of Sol’s memory and the soundtrack composed by Quincy Jones. Also stars Geraldine Fitzgerald. Based on the novel by Edward Lewis Wallant.



Sidney Lumet


Phillip Langner

Roger Lewis

production company

Phoenix Films






Black and White

Please note: this archive is an ongoing body of work. Sometimes the credit information (director, year etc) isn’t available so these fields may be left blank; we are progressively filling these in with further research.

Cite this work on Wikipedia

If you would like to cite this item, please use the following template: {{cite web |url= |title=The Pawnbroker |author=Australian Centre for the Moving Image |access-date=11 April 2021 |publisher=Australian Centre for the Moving Image}}