The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz

dir. Ted Kotcheff

TIFF Cinematheque - Canadian Open Vault

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Richard Dreyfuss had a breakthrough role as Mordecai Richler's hustler hero in this beloved Canadian classic.
One of the most revered of Canadian classics, Ted Kotcheff's adaptation of Mordecai Richler's novel (with a screenplay by Richler himself) retained all the vitality of its source, which remains one of the finest and funniest accounts of the Jewish experience in Canada. Richard Dreyfuss had a breakthrough performance as the hustler hero Duddy, who is at once boyishly appealing and utterly ruthless in his determination to make his landowning dreams a reality. While working at a summer camp, Duddy spots a piece of property he's sure will fit the bill; but getting hold of it may require him to cut a deal with a legendary local gangster, and hurt the people closest to him — including his girlfriend Julie (Micheline Lanctot) and his only real friend Virgil (Randy Quaid) — in the bargain. Wonderfully acted by the leads and the rest of the marvelous cast — which includes Jack Warden, Joseph Wiseman, Denholm Elliott and Joe Silver — The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz was the first bona fide commercial and critical hit made under the auspices of the fledgling funding body Telefilm Canada (then known as the Canadian Film Development Corporation), and remains one of the most important and best-loved Canadian films of its era.