Cinema: Mad Fantasy

THE GAMBLER

Directed by KAREL REISZ Screenplay by JAMES TOBACK

One of the inescapable commonplaces of popular psychology is the belief that compulsive gambling, like alcoholism, is a disease and its victims are more to be pitied than censured. Clinically speaking, that view makes good sense. But dramatically it is something of a downer.

So step right up and meet Axel (James Caan), the gambler as existential hero, a man determined to risk not only money but the love of family, a good woman (Lauren Hutton) and self. Why?

Because, it would seem, he has read too much Dostoyevsky. From literature's most famous betting freak...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now

Subscribe
Subscribe

Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on TIME.com

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!