Test yourself on mankind. It is something that makes the doubter doubt, the believer believe.

Franz Kafka

Family Business - description

Family Business is a 1989 film directed by Sidney Lumet with a screenplay by Vincent Patrick, based on his novel. It stars Sean Connery, Dustin Hoffman and Matthew Broderick.

Jessie McMullen (Sean Connery) is a widower, a tough guy and proud of his past as a career criminal (now semi-retired). He raised his son Vito (Dustin Hoffman) to follow in his footsteps, but Vito went straight once he had a son of his own, Adam.

Over the years, Vito became ashamed of his family's criminal past. He went into a legitimate business and has tried to raise his son right, which in his mind means keeping young Adam (Matthew Broderick) away from his deadbeat grandfather. Little does Vito know that this strategy has backfired; the mystery surrounding Jessie has caused Adam to idolize him.

Now that Adam is grown, he is in college with a scientific grant and has a bright future. So when he approaches Jessie with a scheme for a burglary, Vito is shocked and disappointed. He warns his son not to pursue this crime and even slaps his face to drive home the point. This pushes Adam even closer to his grandfather, who can't wait to take a shot at a million-dollar payday.

Vito is distressed, but not uninterested. The more he hears about the scheme, the more tempted he becomes to have three generations of McMullens embark on one great criminal adventure. And, in the process, he can watch out for Adam along the way.

The plan to steal valuable scientific research from a lab backfires horribly when Adam dashes back into the building to retrieve an important ledger, setting off an alarm on his way out. Vito and Jessie can only watch helplessly from afar as Adam is captured by the police.

The only way for Vito to get his son's sentence reduced or suspended is to inform on his own father. Vito's wife instructs him to do exactly that -- and, if necessary, go to jail himself as well.

Vito and Jessie hire an expensive lawyer. Discovering that the vials contained nothing but water and that the scientific research they stole had been faked, Jessie tracks down Adam's accomplice from the lab and makes him pay.

A judge finds all three McMullens to be at fault, but after generously placing both Vito and his son on probation, he throws the book at Jessie, tantamount to a life sentence.

Adam visits his grandfather devotedly in jail while banning Vito from his life. Vito's explanations that he did what he did for Adam's own good fall on deaf ears.

Jessie dies in prison, Vito arriving minutes too late to say a last goodbye. He agrees with Adam that the most fun they have had as a family was the robbery. Together they give Jessie a grand sendoff.







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