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Billy Galvin (1986)

PG  |   |  Drama  |  24 February 1988 (USA)
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Ratings: 6.4/10 from 74 users  
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Conflict arises between a steelworker and his son. The father wants the boy to have a chance to make more of himself than he did, but the son wants to follow in his father's footsteps and become a steel-worker himself.



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Jack Galvin
Billy Galvin (as Lenny Von Dohlen)
Mae Galvin
Toni Kalem ...
Alan North ...
Barton Heyman ...
Lynne Charnay ...
Margaret The Bingo Queen
Diner Owner
Maryann Stackpole ...
Nurse (as Mary Ann Stackpole)
David M. Brezniak ...
Cop (as David Brezniak)
Mara Clark ...
Denis O'Gorman ...
Lead Singer At The Cemetery
Daybreak ...


Conflict arises between a steelworker and his son. The father wants the boy to have a chance to make more of himself than he did, but the son wants to follow in his father's footsteps and become a steel-worker himself.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis








Release Date:

24 February 1988 (USA)  »

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Did You Know?


Movie was named after the Billy Galvin (William Galvin) of San Francisco. Based on true events from his life. See more »


Edited into American Playhouse: Billy Galvin (1988) See more »

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User Reviews

Galvin family values
6 March 2015 | by (Buffalo, New York) – See all my reviews

Independent film maker John Gray came out of the box a winner with this heart warming true to life tale of a working class feuding father and son in Boston. Lenny Von Dohlen plays the title role and Karl Malden is the father who does not want his son in the construction trade.

Billy Galvin and his dad live in Boston and Malden's been working for over 30 years at the building trade and his son loves and respects him and wants to do the same thing. But Malden is having none of it and in fact Von Dohlen gives some indication of may be not having the right stuff for the job. Malden's dream is to be the one who designs the big buildings that crowd the Boston landscape and he never made it. Now the dream transfers to Von Dohlen.

Billy Galvin the film is mild on plot, but long on character development for its two protagonists. Malden if not Irish does come from a working class background and has a proper feel for the part. Von Dohlen who comes the South and not South Boston developed quite a good ear for the speech patterns of the locale. They do make you feel as Joyce Van Patten that you are in the living room of the Galvin home watching a family quarrel.

As it turns out I know someone who knows John Gray and he's not from Boston, but from the Bay Ridge section of Brooklyn where he met a whole lot of people that you see featured here. Von Dohlen's best friend played by Keith Szarabajka is based in fact on someone Gray knew who did in fact lace his breakfast cereal with spirits instead of milk. WC Fields would have been proud. That particular character is something of an urban legend in Brooklyn.

The film could also have been shot in the most Irish area of South Buffalo and maybe someone will see that possibility and bring a production here. Until then you can't go wrong with Billy Galvin.

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