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Honor Thy Father

Based on Gay Talese's account of the '60s Mafia war between the Organisation and recalcitrant member Joe 'Bananas' Bonanno, Wendkos' film (actually made for TV) compares favourably with the more ambitious but superficial The Godfather. Against the familiar settings of anonymous rooms, city backlots, and streets at night, a feeling of futility erodes the Mafia assumptions of honour. An archetypal slob of a gunman giggles his way through old gangster movies, yet reads Sartre's Being and Nothingness. For all the shootings, the two most graphic deaths are natural: heart attack and cancer. Above all, there's the bewilderment of Bonanno's daughter-in-law (Vaccaro). Already a nervous wreck, her patience snaps when two more gangsters turn up expecting to eat. Apart from a weak ending and a plot that both needs and uses a narrator, an altogether intelligent film.

Release details

Duration: 92 mins

Cast and crew

Director: Paul Wendkos
Screenwriter: Lewis John Carlino
Cast: Joseph Bologna
Raf Vallone
Brenda Vaccaro
Richard S Castellano
Joe De Santis
Marc Lawrence
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