California Split
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The most narratively loose of Robert Altman's '70s films, California Split details the haphazard lives of two compulsive gamblers searching for that ever-elusive big score. Newly single and soon-to-be-unemployed Bill (George Segal) joins live-wire pal Charlie (Elliott Gould), as the pair moves from Fruit Loops with Charlie's hooker roommates Sue (Gwen Welles) and Barbara (Ann Prentiss) to bets on horses, backroom card games, boxing, and basketball. They make it to Reno, but Bill comes to realize that even the big score may not be the answer to the meaning (or meaninglessness) of… More

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Rotten Tomatoes Score: 92%

Critic Reviews from Rotten Tomatoes

"Sold as a comedy, the film scans more like American-century Dostoyevsky, with comp cocktails."
‑ Michael Atkinson, Village Voice
"Altman feels rather than thinks his way into a subject, with a special interest in how people relate to one another in moments of crisis."
‑ Joshua Rothkopf, Time Out
"The Odd Couple of poker films"
‑ Dan Jardine, Cinemania
"A film such as this, which is essentially a series of comic vignettes without a plot, depends upon its performances, and both Gould and Segal are in top form."
‑ , TV Guide's Movie Guide
"he two actors' inventive, improvized banter is a treat, and they are ably supported by Prentiss and Welles, both given room and encouragement to make their mark by the director."
‑ , Film4
"Robert Altman's masterful 1974 study of the psychology of the compulsive gambler."
‑ Don Druker, Chicago Reader
"A fascinating, vivid movie, not quite comparable to any other movie that I can immediately think of. Nor is it easily categorized."
‑ Vincent Canby, New York Times
"Funny as hell."
‑ Dennis Schwartz, Ozus' World Movie Reviews
"...the big thing holding back American movies is that they aren't more like California Split."
‑ Tom Block,
"The film is technically and physically handsome, all the more so for being mostly location work, but lacks a cohesive and reinforced sense of story direction."
‑ Variety Staff, Variety
"What Altman comes up with is sometimes almost a documentary feel; at the end of California Split we know something about organized gambling in this country we didn't know before."
‑ Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times
"Nothing enhances Altman's visual-aural density like the bustle of poker circles, race tracks, boxing rings"
‑ Fernando F. Croce, CinePassion
"Adding emphasis on the homo-ness of their lucrative bond are the repeated instances where the interference of women breaks both their concentration and their hot streaks."
‑ Eric Henderson, Slant Magazine
More reviews for California Split on Rotten Tomatoes