Richard Dreyfuss put himself on the map with his performance in this movie about how ambition and greed can drive someone at the expense of his own happiness.
Duddy Kravitz (Dreyfuss) is an 18-year-old Jewish kid from Montreal whose mother is dead, and whose 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 has bigger dreams, and he does everything from producing films of bar mitzvahs to attempting to buy real estate to (unknowingly) smuggling heroin in order to strike it rich.
Along the way, however, he alienates his girlfriend, drives his grandfather to despair, loses all his friends, and even paralyzes his best employee, while making himself more and more miserable.
Duddy's desire to be a success is easy to understand, which makes this potentially unlikable character forgivable, and the film's gallery of details and characters adds realism and energy to the story.