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Family Business (1989)

 -  Comedy | Crime | Drama  -  15 December 1989 (USA)
5.6
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Ratings: 5.6/10 from 8,434 users  
Reviews: 33 user | 18 critic

Jessie is an ageing career criminal who has been in more jails, fights, schemes, and lineups than just about anyone else. His son Vito, while currently on the straight and narrow, has had a... See full summary »

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Title: Family Business (1989)

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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Elaine (as Rosana DeSoto)
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Victoria Jackson ...
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Marilyn Cooper ...
Salem Ludwig ...
Nat
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Judge (as James S. Tolkan)
Marilyn Sokol ...
Thomas A. Carlin ...
Tony DiBenedetto ...
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Storyline

Jessie is an ageing career criminal who has been in more jails, fights, schemes, and lineups than just about anyone else. His son Vito, while currently on the straight and narrow, has had a fairly shady past and is indeed no stranger to illegal activity. They both have great hope for Adam, Vito's son and Jessie's grandson, who is bright, good-looking, and without a criminal past. So when Adam approaches Jessie with a scheme for a burglary he's shocked, but not necessarily disinterested.... Written by Murray Chapman <muzzle@cs.uq.oz.au>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

There's nothing like a good robbery... to bring a family together.

Genres:

Comedy | Crime | Drama

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

15 December 1989 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Negocios de familia  »

Box Office

Gross:

$12,195,695 (USA)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Sean Connery is only seven years older than Dustin Hoffman, but plays his father. See more »

Goofs

When Vito leaves the lawyer's office in the parking lot he asks the attendant if he saw a Cadillac Fleetwood leaving. The car they were driving was actually an Eldorado. See more »

Quotes

Jessie: Hey, you bald-headed prick! Don't you ever get caught on the take. Because if you wind up in any joint I'm in, you'll leave feet first.
See more »

Connections

Featured in The 77th Annual Academy Awards (2005) See more »

Soundtracks

Almost Like Being in Love
Written by Alan Jay Lerner and Frederick Loewe
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User Reviews

 
Decent and Thought-Provoking
11 July 2013 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

As far as directorial work, this movie is a mixed bag; the pacing borders on terrible and there are some elements that are either wasted, or are the movie version of a non-sequitor. On the other hand, it has a few really good shots in it, too, and comes across as having some emotional honesty to every character that gives it value. It has funny moments but it's not a comedy, but more a drama. I'm writing this review mostly because the different moralities at play give people very subjective interpretations as to what this entire story is actually about. The three stars each have something to say that comes out garbled in the film's message. Connery is the grandfather, Hoffman the father, Broderick the son.

The real action is within the dynamics between Broderick and Hoffman, the son and his father who cannot see the other's point of view clearly; Hoffman has renounced crime to do well-paying grunt work for the rest of his life to care for his family, pressuring Broderick into a conventionally successful career that the kid doesn't want. But the thing is, Hoffman dislikes his life, and Broderick, as Connery points out, can smell the dishonesty; the boy resents the pressure placed on him to make good on his father's self-sacrificing investment. Hoffman's character, in bourgeoisie fashion, places way too much emphasis on status at the expense of intimacy, and there is a price.

This is one of those situations that bedevils families in the real world all the time, just exaggerated. If you don't have a taste for what the world considers the right way, then do you suck it up and pay it forward to the next generation? Do you deny yourself to create a more conventional environment for your kid? Even if it basically costs you a sense of identity that the kid might not respect you for losing? Or do you go your own way, accept the risks, and take your lumps? Sometimes, self-sacrifice is the best thing to do in the bigger calculation; sometimes, it's just stupid, a chip turning into a huge burden maintained by delusional self-righteousness.

There's an interesting, and thoughtful, code of ethics going on here. Connery's criminal morals are interesting: the risk, for him, makes crime honest, like any other business venture. As an economist and one who understands enough about the ethics behind property rights to know how fuzzy all this is, I can understand. It's not exactly inaccurate, and I share Connery's disdain for the idea that the law defines morality. So the movie raises some interesting questions, and that I like. Call it a C+, verging on B-.


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