Despite its Watergate scars, F.I.S.T., with its marches on Washington and its attacks on conspiracy and monopoly, is a striking reaffirmation of traditional populism. Stallone, the all-American auteur/contender of Rocky (and how much of this film too?), plays an industrial worker in Depression Ohio who makes good as the boss of the (thinly disguised) Teamsters Union. With few exceptions, Hollywood has proved consistently unwilling to treat questions of labour, and the political drama here remains substantially conventional, anchoring the issues in violence, romance and righteous individualism. Stallone's performance is a superb blend of stubborn-jawed gravity and ironic hamming as he heads, Godfather-like, for a confrontation with the Senate. It, and a curious historical leap in the narrative from 1930 to 1960, together push the film beyond the point where it can supply a traditional conclusion or a sufficient hero. The climactic murder of the Union boss by his Mafia backers is a puzzled attempt to resolve the contradiction between individualist demands (Law & Order, enterprise: Capital) and social needs (subsistence, justice: Labour).