5.6/10
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37 user 19 critic

Family Business (1989)

Jessie is an aging 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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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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Elaine (as Rosana DeSoto)
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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 aging 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 uninterested. 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:

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

Jesse McMullen is 60 years old (Sean Connery was 58 during the filming), Vito McMullen is 43 (Dustin Hoffman was 51) and Adam McMullen is 23 (Matthew Broderick was 26). 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: That's the whole show?
Adam: Yes, unless you want to tell the Pee Wee Grogan story again.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Parker Lewis Can't Lose: Jerry's First Date (1991) See more »

Soundtracks

Danny Boy
Written by Frederick Edward Weatherly (as Frederick E. Weatherly)
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User Reviews

 
Nasty, but brilliant
14 July 2010 | by (Canada) – See all my reviews

When I see this film reviewed, over and over, as a comedy, I don't know whether to laugh or to cry. This is one of the most brutally cynical, agonizingly tragic films I've ever seen - the story of a family caught up in the romance of crime, trying to help at least the youngest generation escape its inevitable fate.

Perhaps it helps to know Sidney Lumet's other work, especially his previous bitterly brilliant collaborations with Sean Connery: The Hill, and The Offense. Family Business is a similarly scathing attack on preconceptions. Lumet takes what looks like a tame little 'heist comedy' scenario and shows just how poisonously evil it really is. He gives us the charming scoundrel (Connery), and shows how destructive his devil-may-care attitude can be.

One might as well criticize Othello or Macbeth for having no laughs. This film is, in fact, Shakespearian in its tragic dimensions. Connery starts out with the classic Tragic Flaw, and must pay for it in the end. (There is a heroic dimension in his ultimate realization, at least.)

I can easily understand that many people won't enjoy this film. It's a nasty, venomous, painful piece of work. But it's also quite brilliant. If you want easy answers, by all means, rent Ocean's Eleven. But if you're up for a challenge, don't overlook Family Business.


13 of 16 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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