James Caan My Estranged Wife's Ruining My Career

EXCLUSIVE

0104-james-linda-caan-getty-01James Caan says his estranged wife is hammering him for money to the point he has to take crappy roles just to make enough money to feed the beast.

Caan just filed legal docs in his divorce case, claiming he wants to retire but estranged wife Linda Caan is blowing through his savings and he's forced to keep working to pay the bills.

Caan, who has started in epic movies including "The Godfather," says he has medical issues and at 75 wants to hang it up. 

What he says is particularly galling is that he feels she's forcing him to sully his reputation, saying, "I am no longer willing to take parts in films and/or television shows which detract from the 50 years I have spent building my reputation."

Caan says just this past summer, he was forced to do a film called, "Sicilian Vampire." He says it was humiliating ... the premiere was in NYC and only 50 people showed.

As for what he's currently paying ... $13,000 a month in child support for their 2 children. It appears she's asking for more money and he's filed these documents in response.

Caan tells TMZ he harbors no ill will, saying, "Linda is a beautiful woman who gave me 2 beautiful sons which helped enrich my life tremendously, and I'll always be indebted to her for that."