Family Business

Synopsis: 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.
Genre: Crime, Drama
Director(s): Sidney Lumet
Production: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
Rotten Tomatoes:
110 min

$24 for a cab ride to the Bronx.

I can't believe it.

Come to my parents' for Passover

once a year without complaining, Vito.

Wait a minute, honey, let me help you.

- Will Adam be here?

- I don't know...

...but if he is, be nice.

It's a Seder, okay?

Don't worry, don't worry.

- Hi, Mom.

- Hello, darling.

- Adam. Hi, darling.

- Hi.

Come a little late like always.

Papa, hello, darling.

Traffic. There are so many Jews

headed for Seder, Mama.

- Good day, sir.

- Hiya, Nat.

I thought people were

cutting down on meat.

How come the material

gets more expensive every year?

Please, don't worry yourself.

I know the face, now.

The face... The face looks familiar.

- Hey, Pop.

- Adam, how are you?

Hey, who'd you get this year?

I got Bernard Karlinski.

Let me see here.

"The bar mitzvah of Owen Zuckerbrot."

Nat, Owen Zuckerbrot?

He brings the yarmulkes home

from shul. You know, the extras.

You want it to say

"Vito McMullen," you have to convert.

- Why not?

- Not yet.

Did you see how Adam remembers

his Hebrew? With a mind like that.

- Ma.

- What did I say?

It's a shande to me that

a boy with such a head...

...drops out of school six months

before a master's degree.

- Drops out? Drops out of school?

- Six months before.

- Three months.

- Can we drop it?

We're not allowed to ask? You're back

since January. I haven't seen you.

- I came here for a Seder.

- Adam looks marvelous.

- We're glad you're here.

- He's become a man.

- Look how beautifully he eats.

- Ma, please. He's gonna be 23.

Stop bragging about how he gets

all the food in his mouth.

- You try to kvell over your grandson.

- I won't complain.

- After 24 years, it's still rough.

- 23.

Forgot the year your goy son-in-law

wasn't allowed up here.

- Time to let the angel in.

- Nat, how come the angel...

...gets a bigger glass?

- Your material is getting stale.

Better leave the chain on.

This is the Bronx.

Instead of Elijah, some mugger

is gonna charge through the door.

- Adam's right.

- When you two gonna move out?

- You're too old to survive here.

- How old are you, Grandpa?

- Nobody kept records. No one knows.

- They'll never tell. Crazy superstition.

Not so crazy. You don't tempt God

by bragging about your age. Sit.

Forty-two years here,

the neighborhood is not so bad.

Then why can't I drive my

Cadillac to your Seder? Nat...

...there are places in Flushing.

If it's a matter of money...

...I can chip in a few bucks.

- They wanna be the last.

We'll chisel it on your stone

after the mugging.

"Nat and Rose Gruden, last Jews

on Davidson Avenue."

Gruden residence.

Hi, Jessie.

Well, what time do you think

you'll be out?

Okay, no problem.

Yeah, don't worry about it.

All right. Take care, Jessie.

- Your grandfather?

- What was that about, Adam?

Jessie wanted to wish us

a happy Passover.

- Vito, your father knows our number?

- Yeah, how come?

Well, the unexpected.

Jessie doesn't change, huh?

No, he sure doesn't.

Take care, Nat.

Vito, see if you can get a cab,

I'll be right out.

- So when are you moving, Grandma?

- We don't take from our children.

You're like a couple of turkeys

in these streets.

This neighborhood's a jungle.

I'm not coming to the next Seder

unless you're living somewhere else.

Did you hear what your grandson said?

Well, what did he want?

Jessie wanted to wish us

a happy Passover.

Come on, Adam, stop the crap.

Your old man needs bail money.

I'm gonna go down there.

- And he calls you.

- Yeah.

You been talking to my father while you

been ducking me since you got back?

All right. Is it serious?

It's a bar fight. But it's

an off-duty cop he whacked.

He whacked a cop?

Is the guy hurt?

Well, Grandpa says he

"kicked the bull's ass...

...the length of the bar

and halfway down 10th Ave."

When is he gonna let up?

Oh, Christ.

Well, what the hell, it's nice

to know I have strong genes.

Hope I'm getting pinched

for bar fights in my 60s.

Just remember, Adam,

along with those strong genes... father passes on a lot

of other crap to go with it.

- So stay away from him.

- He's not looking to hurt me.

No, he's not, but it'll happen anyway.

He'll spend the night in the can.

Fine with me.

- Lend me $800.

- Forget it.

I stood bail for him three years ago.

I haven't heard from him since.

- I don't stand bail for Jessie anymore.

- You're not.

I'm borrowing the money.

I've got $200, I'd like 800 more.

- So it's for you?

- Right.

Adam, the last year

my mother was alive...

...I was 7 years old. Okay?

Jessie took me along Christmas Eve

to buy a tree, right?

Near midnight we're passing an

Esso station up near Riverdale...

...and right on top of the garage is

a perfect, all lit-up Christmas tree.

So Jessie hits the brakes and he says,

"Wow, what a score, it's even got lights."

Wait a minute.

I'm standing lookout, I was 7 years old,

while he climbs up the drainpipe...

...and pulls down the tree,

lights and all.

What's so funny?

I got a dozen stories like that.

Like helping him rob Lionel trains

out of Macy's when I was 12 years old.

He's working there, I had to cut school

because he decided... take a box of engines out.

Thought he'd get money for it.

- What happened?

- It doesn't matter what happened.

- Just know who you're dealing with.

- All right, all right.

- That's eight.

- Thanks.

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Vincent Patrick

Vincent Patrick is the author of the cult crime novels The Pope of Greenwich Village and Family Business. He adapted both novels for the screen. The Pope of Greenwich Village, directed by Stuart Rosenberg and starring Eric Roberts, Mickey Rourke and Daryl Hannah, was released in 1984. Family Business, directed by Sidney Lumet and starring Sean Connery, Dustin Hoffman and Matthew Broderick, was released in 1989. Patrick also served as a screenwriter on many movies, including Beverly Hills Cop, The Godfather Part III, and The Devil's Own. more…

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Submitted on August 05, 2018

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