121 minutes – Comedy/Drama
Release date (Canada): April 11, 1974
Release date (U.S.): July 14, 1974
US distributor: Paramount Pictures
Based on the novel by Mordecai Richler, Duddy Kravitz is an 18-year-old kid growing up in the Jewish ghetto of Montreal in 1948. He looks at those around him and he knows he wants more. His mother is dead and his father drives a cab and does a little pimping on the side to pay the bills and send Duddy`s older brother to medical school. Duddy takes to heart the advice of his “zeyde,” his grandfather, who says that a man is nothing without land. But land costs money. Duddy, in an excellent portrayal by Richard Dreyfuss, takes a job at a Jewish resort in the Laurentian Mountains north of the city. There he falls for a chambermaid and with her help he embarks on a plan to buy land. Duddy wants to build a lakeside community and give his grandfather the farm he has always dreamed of. So Duddy does everything and anything in an amost frantric rush trying to strike it rich. The book, published in 1959, caused a stir in the Jewish community and many thought the story contained negative depictions of Jewish people. The character of Duddy Kravitz is bursting with chutzpah, and in most respects is perfectly adorable. But there is another side, and Duddy is quite able to exploit others in his drive to succeed. While it is possible to see many negative stereotypes in the character, there is both comedy and tragedy in the story and ultimately most viewers feel a need to root for Duddy and his dreams. The film was honoured with the Golden Bear Award at the Berlin International Film Festival and was named Film of the Year at the Canadian Film Awards. Mordecai Richler & Lionel Chetwynd shared the Writers Guild of America Award for Best Comedy Adapted from Another Medium. It was also nominated for an Academy Award for Adapted Screenplay, and was nominated for a Golden Globe for Best Foreign Film. In 1987 The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz was adapted into a musical for the New York stage.
The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz was identified as a “culturally significant film” by the AV Preservation Trust through the 2002 Masterworks programme.
Read a review of The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz