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Reviews & Ratings for
F.I.S.T. More at IMDbPro »F.I.S.T (original title)

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32 out of 37 people found the following review useful:

A glimpse of what Sly could have been

10/10
Author: robert-turner-1 from United Kingdom
18 November 2004

This is a real hidden gem of a film. Thought provoking, intelligent and times indignant, without resorting to sentimentality.

Contrast this,with the commercially lucrative but artistically meaningless "Crash, Bang, Wallop" movies that Stallone became synonymous with in the 1980s.

Stallone can act when he wants to, and FIST amply demonstrates this wasted potential.

Based (very loosely) on the life of the Teamsters boss, Jimmy Hoffa, FIST charts the rise and fall of a Trade Union leader. A cautionary tale of how noble causes can be sullied by ambition and hubris.

I highly recommend it, if only to convince others that Stallone occasionally turned in a credible performance without the promise of a big pay day.

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22 out of 26 people found the following review useful:

Stallone's Sleeper Best Performance

8/10
Author: enviro from Pacific Northwest
5 February 1999

You cannot judge Stallone's acting career without seeing this movie. The movie was made during the height of Rocky-mania, and I don't recall it getting much attention on its first run.

Sly plays a blue-collar grunt at the pre-dawn of the organized labor movement in the US. I think the film does a commendable job showing the audience what conditions were like before the work force was unionized. Indeed it depicts what what drove workers to form the original labor unions. Federated Inter-State Truckers or FIST is the union that Stallone's character reluctantly helps organize and lead through the early dark years of violent strikes and lockouts to the later years of labor successes breading union corruption.

I am not a fan of the Rocky series, but did enjoy First Blood 1. I found FIST to be the best film of his career.

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14 out of 16 people found the following review useful:

Stallone's finest acting is seen here...

10/10
Author: qkill007 from London, England
3 May 2006

Stallone, known for physique, bulging biceps, droopy eyes and slurred speech has proved audiences that he is one of the finest actors. Personally, he is one of my favourite actors since I was a kid and movies like Rocky, Copland, First-Blood (rambo), Lock-Up, Nighthawks, Oscar and Asassins have also proved the same. F.I.S.T begins with the story of a struggling blue collar worker back in the 1930s of USA. He tries to live the American dream, but is only betrayed, kicked and disgusted with life around him. His character Johnny Kovak moves to become an organiser for Labour Unions in the first half of the movie. The second half shows him becoming older as president of the Trucking Labour Unions and the dirty deals he is forced to undertake to ensure welfare of the workers. The film is based on the lines of Rocky as a struggling man trying to cope, added with a realistic ending. A must see for Stallone fans and people who like Drama movies. Bill Conti's score is moving and Norman Jewison's direction is amazing. A satisfactory story line combined with some powerful performances will impress you. I am quite surprised as to why this film is so underrated !

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14 out of 18 people found the following review useful:

Well-made.

7/10
Author: gridoon
31 March 2001

For the most part, this is a good, solid (pseudo)biography of a charismatic labor leader, but towards the end it runs out of steam and loses the clarity and effectiveness of the early sequences. Still, it's worth seeing, with Stallone getting one of his most atypical roles and handling it satisfyingly. (**1/2)

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9 out of 10 people found the following review useful:

Very nice!

Author: Knox_King from Sweden
11 February 2000

This is one of Stallone's best performances as an actor! In all the following movies in the 80's and 90's he is more appreciated for his 'presence' and strength as a person, but in this one he portrays a lifestory of a union worker that rose to greatest fame. Don't lose heart if you feel bored in the beginning of the movie, it gets better and in the second half, when many years have past, it gets really good. It is a grand movie-story and definitely a recommendation for anyone who likes movies about the fate of others.

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12 out of 16 people found the following review useful:

One of my personal all-time favorites.

10/10
Author: Lou Rugani (x779@webtv.net) from United States
1 December 1999

The Federation of InterState Truckers, or F.I.S.T., is a struggling little labor union in the depths of the Depression. Johnny Kovak signs on as an organizer, and the Cleveland local begins to grow, as Johnny moves up the leadership ladder. But Johnny early on reluctantly makes shady alliances, to get "the push" (his term for influence) for his union, and it returns to haunt him and his men. Unforgettable scenes abound in this masterpiece. The interplay between Johnny and nemesis Babe Milano - Kovak's stumbling efforts at courtship, contrasting with his stony demands at early opponent Consolidated Trucking, and the owners' icy reticence - a violence-torn strike - and then we see Kovak's rise to national union leadership, his growing list of powerful enemies, and his inevitable demise, shrouded in mystery and legend. It's a film to see again and again. The sweeping, epic score by Bill Conti accentuates the ever-unfolding saga, but keeps the audience reminded of the early roots of Johnny Kovak and his colleagues and those he has grown to love and hate. Despite Sylvester Stallone's riveting virtuoso performances in "F.I.S.T." and the following "Paradise Alley", the lukewarm box-office response to this multi-shaded side of his acting abilities soon led to the more commercial, and less-dimensional, roles that he is best known for now. I think his finest work ever is seen in this wonderful film. Highly recommended to all.

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7 out of 7 people found the following review useful:

Rise and fall of a Trade Union leader well performed by Stallone and professionally directed by Norman Jewison

7/10
Author: ma-cortes
10 November 2011

One of the best Stallone films set in the 1930s in which gives a good performance as a worker who joins the Teamsters trade-union in a local factory and being accompanied by a fine supporting cast . It deals with a love between a man, a country, the people he led and the woman he loved . Johnny Kovak (Sylvester Stallone) is an employee who works his way up as organizer and leader of Federation Interstate Truckers . Meanwhile he falls in love and marries a worker (Melinda Dillon) . As he climbs higher and higher thanks his connection with the Mob (Tony LoBianco). As his methods become more corrupt and ultimately senator Madison (Rod Steiger ) begins a campaign to discover the truth about his allegedly greedy practices .

This poignant film packs emotion , thrills , a love story political events and being quite entertaining though contains some ,predictable moments and cliché-ridden . The picture details biographic events about an Union leader , Jimmy Hoffa-lookalike, from his starts until his fall . Jewison cast some largely known actors as Sylvester Stallone , Melinda Dillon , Peter Boyle and a remarkable support cast as Richard Herd , Tony LoBianco , Peter Donat , Kevin Conway, Cassie Yates , Richard Herd and the veteran Henry Wilcoxon and several others . Stallone , also screenwriter along with Eszterhas creates an even more interesting character than Rocky Balboa . Atmospheric musical score including moving sounds by Bill Conti and appropriate cinematography by excellent cameraman Laszlo Kovacs.

The motion picture is well produced and directed by Norman Jewison . He is a prestigious and veteran filmmaker, his greatest film is of course Jesus Christ Superstar . He directed successful movies as Fiddler on the roof , Agnes of God , Moonstruck , Thomas Crown and Cinncinati Kid . However , he also got some flops as Bogus, In country , Only you and Other's people money and his last picture titled The statement . He considers The Hurricane (1999) the last in a trilogy of racial bigotry movies he's realized, the first two being In the Heat of the Night (1967) and A Soldier's Story (1984). Rating : Good, worthwhile seeing for its epic moments and thought-provoking issues .

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9 out of 11 people found the following review useful:

Good, epic story

Author: Russell Dodd (ye5.man@tesco.net) from Essex, UK
11 September 2000

This is an unappreciated film, mostly because it's star doesn't exactly have a good reputation as an 'actor'. This film is definately worth catching and it is worthy of repeated viewings. The music too is perfect for the film. It charts the rise of a Union leader from his humble beginnings to his fame. The story sustains the attention of the viewer throughout the picture. Stallone is better in the earlier scenes as a young Johny Kovak. His acting limitations come about as we see him as an older man. All he does his makes his voice a little husky and the make up on him (and other members of the cast) is ineffective. Early in his career, kovak has the dilema of bringing in the mob for help after an unsuccessful strike which results in one of his best men being killed. If he brings them in, he can enforce his will on the big companies and make the union very strong. Without them, he has little chance of the union growing. To the dismay of his best friend, he takes them in. His decision comes back to haunt him. Stallone tailored the script so he can play the good guy, originally Kovak wasn't a nice man. There is a nice scene with him and Brian Dehenny who later would turn up as Rambo's nemesis in first blood. I would certainly recommend fans and non fans of Stallone to catch this movie.

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14 out of 21 people found the following review useful:

One of Stallone's best

8/10
Author: mm-39 from Winnipeg
28 October 2001

This film is done on a very low budget, and its a great film. Some times, low budget film compensate with good acting. The script, probably has some real life experiences in it, with a few of the scenes, especialy with the apple boxes, and the double cross part in the film. After watching this film, I thought this film is great, and I am happy I spent my time watching a true gem.

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2 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

A Great History of American Labor and Capital

8/10
Author: Martin Onassis from United States
13 January 2010

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

FIST is a fictional biopic of a fictional organized labor leader, played by Sylvester Stallone.

The movie is split into two, with the first half following the rise of a food-packer named Kovacs (Stallone), to trucking local union organizer in the pre-war midwest, ostensibly Cleveland. The second half follows the growth of the union into a national behemoth in a post-war period of organized crime involvement and congressional investigation.

This is a very convincing, beautifully shot period film, from the factories to the clothes to beautiful examples of period vehicles. Stallone's character delivers textbook instruction on how to motivate a crowd, strike, and hardball negotiate.

Kovacs grows into middle-age and the compromises he's made earlier with the mob come back to bite him, attracting the attention of an anti-mafia senator, played coolly but fiercely by the great Rod Steiger in a role reminiscent of Robert Kennedy's time as attorney general.

FIST is a great film which condenses decades of American history into two hours, and gives a balanced overview of the battle between labor and capital. The first half is totally sympathetic to labor, and makes management look purely evil, but the second half shows the corruption from within of the labor movement, and of any movement that succeeds. It shows how the leaders who scrapped together in the streets eventually are forced to turn on each other. At the start, the enemies are the factory-owners, later the enemies are the associates who were let in the back door. Of course, 30 years later, FIST has a different reference, almost as a period piece when labor had any power whatsoever.

FIST was made four years after Godfather II, and 12 years before Goodfellas, which closely share its biopic rise and fall structure.

FIST is a great movie in the tradition of classic Hollywood, a huge time-spanning spectacle that is tightly written, shot, and acted. Equally importantly, FIST gets to the core and contradictions of being a worker, a leader, or a boss, and the many conflicts therein.

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