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I do not know why this is not remembered...everytime I watch it I see parts of "The Godfather," and the basis of a great American rise-fall-struggle story. I am so happy this is on DVD and I pray people will discover the great film (plot, dialoge, acting, production) that this until now forgotten gem really is.
In only one scene do we see encounter any off-beat Balboa-isms, the scene in which he exchanges romantic glances with Melinda Dillon. Perhaps his most powerful scene occurs in Washington, DC, as he refuses to back-down in a National contract conference. This time, the guy-from-the-streets-turned-Union Leader, overplays his hand, and the whole game begins to break down.
It all comes apart with a shattering thud: his terrible judgement in believing in bad people, believing that some illegality was acceptable if it meant supporting his Union - just an uncomfortable sacrifice on his part; in ways revealing (to the viewer, not the character) his own flaw as an individual capable of violence.
Tony Lo Bianco gives an amazing career performance, as his "outside help", who becomes a bottomless pit of helping himself to the fruits of the labor of many blue-collar workers.
Rod Steiger and Peter Boyle, like Sly and Tony, also deliver performances one might describe as drammatically over-the-top.
Good attention period detail.
I won't rehash the plot here, you can read about that in Amazon's description. What I will say is that if Sly had continued in the direction of films like this, I think he'd be perceived today as being a much better actor. When he opens his heart to a role, and truly gives of himself to a character, he is capable of great things. "Rocky" and "Copland" are great examples of this. "F.I.S.T." isn't quite on a par with "Copland", and it doesn't pack the emotional weight of "Rocky", but it still deserves to be listed amoungst those films as examples of what Sly can do when he lets his guard down.
If, on the other hand, you want to see Sly's work when his guard is up and he's totally closed his inner self off to a role, go watch "Cobra" or "Rambo III". Yes, "Rambo III" has its merits, but Sly so often hid his inner gifts from the camera's eye, and that's just not what acting's about.
This is a film in which Sly truly invested himself. His performance is strong, and I hope that Hollywood gives him a chance to flex his acting muscles again sometime soon. "Rocky Balboa" is soon to be released, directed and written by Stallone. Hopefully it will remind the movie moguls that this man is has his gifts. If you'd like to see Stallone showing some of his dramatic talents, watch this film.
And Mr. Stallone, if you are reading this, please consider a film version of "Death of a Salesman". You'd be perfect for it, and you already got a standing ovation for it when you were still a young man and contemplating being an actor.Read more ›
I recall watching this movie in the 80s. At that time, the movie contained footage prior to the main opening which included the death of Johnny Kovack's father and the employer's lack of benefits as the result of his death. This scene is missing.
Another missing scene is Johnny Kovack meeting his board members, specifically telling them to stop spending money " no more bahamas in Winter!".
I don't know if anyone else knows what I mean by these two scenes, but knowing that they existed makes me disappointed that with each release (VHS, DVD, Bluray), this movie is STILL NOT COMPLETE.
Despite the missing scenes, this is still a great movie and definitely not one to be missed, particularly if you are a Sylvester Stallone fan. Other movies around this time that were great he was in were The Lords of Flatbush and Capone. Don't miss these movies either.
The film is powerfully acted by Stallone, as the fictional union leader Johnny Kovak. Stallone gives perhaps his best performance after Rocky. The supporting players include Rod Steiger, as Senator Madison, who investigates possible mafia ties between Kovak and Babe Milano, played by Tony LoBianco. This is based on the Hoffa Kennedy fued in the late fifties that lasted well into the Kennedy presidency where Senator Bobby Kennedy soon to become Attorney General never let up on his efforts to get Hoffa at whatever cost.
FIST begins in 1937 where Johnny Kovak working in a warehouse begins to witness the abuse by the bosses against the workers, including working longer hours, docking pay and no compensation. This leads to Kovak and his friend Abe Belkin, played with compassion and courage by David Huffman, one of our most underrated actors, to join the Federation of Interstate Truckers (F.I.S.T.). The next 20 years in the film follows Johnny's rise to the presidency of the union and his relationship with mafia boss Anthony "Babe" Milano. Melinda Dillon plays Anna, Johnny's love interest throughout the film.
The opening credits are the largest I have ever seen in a film. They fill the screen obliterating most of the background behind them. Bill Conti's music evokes the grandeur and tragedy of power in robust swelling fashion.
author of Mourning Doves After The Fire
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Love that's all I can say customer service is excellent receive the movie everything is excellentPublished 10 days ago by Amazon Customer
I do not like Sylvester Stallone. The only reason I purchased this is because Barry Atwater is in it.Published 5 months ago by Desiree'
Excellent movie, good story line. Picture quality, sound were superb.Published 6 months ago by David J Clardy
An overlooked movie. I am giving this one four stars because Stallone only gave it three stars if not two and that is the gist of my review. Read morePublished 6 months ago by That's Life
Good Sylvester Stallone vehicle, based on rise and fall of Jimmy Hoffa.Published 8 months ago by David L. Hartzog