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Family Business (1989)

R  |   |  Comedy, Crime, Drama  |  15 December 1989 (USA)
5.6
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Ratings: 5.6/10 from 8,906 users  
Reviews: 36 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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After Duke Anderson is released from prison after ten years for taking the rap for a scion of a Mafia family, he cashes in a debt of honor with the mob to bankroll a caper.

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Stars: Sean Connery, Dyan Cannon, Martin Balsam
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Cast

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

The camera shot at the end of the film is in reverse from the shot at the beginning. See more »

Goofs

Adam said he went to college on a Westinghouse Scholarship, one of only 6 students to win one. The Westinghouse Science Talent Search selects 10 students per year, not 6. First prize is a $20,000 scholarship; second and third prize is $15,000. Needless to say, the prizes do not pay for the student's entire 4 years of college. See more »

Quotes

Jessie: Come on. Let's pay our respects to the grieving widow before she falls flat on her face, drunk.
See more »

Connections

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

Soundtracks

The Tenement Symphony
Written by Hal Borne and Sid Kuller
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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.


9 of 11 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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