King of the Gypsies (1978) - Rotten Tomatoes

King of the Gypsies (1978)




Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

Movie Info

Not surprisingly, this fascinating dissection of Gypsy life in America was vilified by several ethnic special-interest groups, who'd previously delivered their mimeoed missives to novelist Peter Maas, on whose book the film was based. Sterling Hayden is the "king" of a New York-based gypsy tribe, who on his deathbed passes his crown to his reluctant grandson, Eric Roberts. Roberts' scuzzy father Judd Hirsch, envious that he's been passed over, begins plotting the demise of his own son. It appears at first that the boy, a thoroughly assimilated Manhattanite, would be more than willing to give up his invisible throne to Hirsch, but there's something about his heritage that always draws him back to his own people. Several genuine gypsies took part in the film as extras, bit players and technical advisers; reportedly, they also spent much of the shooting time trying to cadge a few dishonest dollars from cast and crew.

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Sterling Hayden
as King Zharko Stepanowicz
Shelley Winters
as Queen Rachel
Brooke Shields
as Tita Stepanowicz
Michael V. Gazzo
as Spiro Giorgio
Antonia Rey
as Danitza Giorgio
Stephen Mendillo
as Adolf Mikel
Joe Zaloom
as Rui Ilanovitch
Lou Cevetillo
as Pete Stepanowicz
David Rounds
as Mr. Kessler
Daniel Spira
as Zio Miller
Thomas Quinn
as Jewelery Store Detective
Frederick Coffin
as Basketball Coach
Paul Sparer
as Dave's Doctor
William Duell
as Funeral Home Director
Harris Laskawy
as Man at Accident
Alice Drummond
as Zharko's Nurse
Cory Einbinder
as Young Dave
Matthew Laborteaux
as Middle Dave
Anthony Holland
as Mr. Tomlin
Tiffany Bogart
as Young Rose
Harris Laskaway
as Man at Accident
Marc Vahanian
as Young Groffo
Stephane Grappelli
as Gypsy Violinist
Roy Brocksmith
as Frinkuleschti
Glen Gianfrancisco
as Persa's Child
Jay Norman
as Hallway Thug
Tom Quinn
as Jewelry Store Detective
David Little
as Kessler's Lawyer
Joe Maruzzo
as Waiter at Mamma Leone's
Martin Rosenblatt
as Zharko's Lawyer
C.A.R. Smith
as Christening Priest
Scott Franklin
as Hallway Thug
James Shannon
as Courthouse Photographer
Macintyre Dixon
as Courthouse Reporter
Mark Victor
as Courthouse Reporter
Kathi Moss
as Midwife
Chris Manor
as Gypsy Horsetrader
Jon Oppenheim
as Gypsy Horsetrader
Bernie McInerney
as Zharko's Doctor
Tom Mason
as Policeman at Groffo's Death
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Critic Reviews for King of the Gypsies

All Critics (8)

It's the kind of movie where the blood spatters out in big slowmotion gobs when the bad guy gets his. It's also a relief when the credits finally roll by.

December 28, 2020 | Full Review…

A noteworthy scrapbook of the cinematic period.

October 20, 2020 | Rating: 3/5 | Full Review…

Eric Roberts' debut performance is impressive.

May 27, 2020 | Full Review…

King of the Gypsies is a fine wedding of craft and creativity.

January 27, 2004 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for King of the Gypsies


An all-star cast for a boring drama, which fails to bring an interesting subject to life. This movie could have been good, I could tell, but something was holding it back, I'm not sure what, maybe it was the director?

Aj V
Aj V

Super Reviewer

King of the Gypsies Quotes

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