Born to Win

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Born to Win
Dvd Born to Win.jpg
Directed by Ivan Passer
Produced by Philip Langner
Written by David Scott Milton (story)
Ivan Passer
Starring George Segal
Paula Prentiss
Karen Black
Hector Elizondo
Jay Fletcher
Robert De Niro
Ed Madsen
Music by William S. Fisher
Cinematography Richard C. Kratina
Jack Priestley
Edited by Ralph Rosenblum
Distributed by United Artists
Release date
  • December 1, 1971 (1971-12-01)
Running time
88 minutes
Country United Statesilming
Language English

Born to Win is a 1971 black comedy film directed by Ivan Passer and starring George Segal, Karen Black, Paula Prentiss, Hector Elizondo and Robert De Niro. Filming locations were in Manhattan and specifically Times Square.


The film follows Jay Jay (Segal), a former hair dresser who has become a drug addict. He lives his new life by doing deals for Vivian (Elizondo) from time to time. One day he meets Parm (Black), a free spirited girl. The two fall in love. Jay Jay's drug habit grows, and he soon resorts to robbery. On the threat of arrest, he works alongside two dirty policemen by becoming a narc, and reports on his former fellow junkies. Yet, as the movie continues, Jay Jay sinks deeper into turmoil with feelings of self-hatred.


Actor Role
George Segal J
Karen Black Parm
Paula Prentiss Veronica
Hector Elizondo Vivian
Jay Fletcher Billy Dynamite
Robert De Niro Danny
Ed Madsen Detective


Born to Win received primarily mediocre reviews but many critics did make note that there was a form of brilliance within it. Chicago Sun-Times film critic Roger Ebert said of the film, "...a good-bad movie that doesn't always work but has some really brilliant scenes."[1] Roger Greenspun of New York Times wrote, " only Passer's second movie, and it is a dreadful disappointment — but not without its reasons, and not, I think, without some honor."[2]


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