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Saint Jack (Peter Bogdanovich, USA, 1979)

Sometimes a character in a movie inhabits his world so freely, so easily, that he creates it for us as well. Ben Gazzara does that in Saint Jack ... and what a revelation it is .... here everything is right again. Everything.”
— Roger Ebert

Ben Gazzara stars as Jack Flowers, an American hustler trying to make his fortune in 1970s Singapore in small time pimping. He dreams of building a fortune by running a brothel himself and returning to the States to lead a life of luxury. Savvy but not unsavory he strikes up a friendship with William Leigh (Denholm Elliot), a genial and decent auditor who travels to Singapore every year. 

Based on the novel by Paul Theroux and shot on location in Singapore, Saint Jack is suitably grubby and low-key - while Ben Gazzara is simply brilliant in his portrayal of a low(ish) life struggling to altenately nurture and bury a conscience.