Family Business’ Family/Business Balance: Looking Back on 2008’s Pride and Glory (Spoilers Ahead)

Family businesses have great pride, great glory and great tradition. Family businesses also have great pride, great glory and great tradition.

All of the above aren’t great for personal initiative, as Edward Norton’s Officer Ray Tierney  discovers confronts police corruption and family intervention in director/co-screenwriter’s Gavin O’Connor’s 2008 feature film, Pride and Glory.


(from left to right) Star Edward Norton and director/co-screenwriter Gavin O’Connor at an event for their 2008 feature film, Pride and Glory, at the 2008 Toronto International Film Festival ( Photo and Caption)

Over the course of 2008’s Pride and Glory, director/co-screenwriter Gavin O’Connor makes the that professional and familial responsibilities are often at odds with each other (à la Ray’s investigation being restricted by Jon Voight’s Francis Tierney Sr’s demands for loyalty which lead to his, ‘we protect our own, Ray. That’s all’ conversation with Ray near the film’s end).

Separately, that professional moral failure is hard to live down (as seen by John Ortiz’s Sandy’s confession to Maximiliano Hernández’s Carlos that, ‘the pride that I felt, fuckin’ glory (on being a police officer), we let it all out from under us’ before killing himself in Carlos’ car).

In a similar vein, that morality is more likely to exist in large organisations as opposed to smaller bands of individuals (as seen by Colin Farrell’s Jimmy Egan’s violent interrogation of Manny Perez’ Coco Dominguez which lead up to, ‘you tip Angel off, I’m going to make it even worse’).

Again – and much like director Edward Zwick’s 1996 film, Courage Under Fire – pursuing the truth is always difficult to find and share (as experienced by Ray when asking Noah Emmerich’s Francis Tierney Jr about Sandy, when defending his investigation to Francis Sr and his evasiveness to share the truth about Ramon Rodriguez’s Angel Tezo’s death with the police).


(from left to right) Star Lake Bell, director/co-screenwriter Gavin O’Connor and stars Colin Farrell, Noah Emmerich and John Ortiz at the New York City premiere of 2008’s Pride and Glory ( Photo and Caption)

The above being said, director O’Connor, and Ray, repeatedly make the point that Ray’s family responsibilities conflict with his duty to the police, as shown in Francis Sr’s ‘anything that makes cops look culpable is no good, Raymond!’ conversation with Ray which leads to his ‘this is not just about the department (…) this is family!’ confrontation with Ray near the film’s end.

The longevity of moral failure is further reinforced by Francis Jr confronting Jimmy over their actions – ‘what we’ve doen does not get forgiven, Jimmy’ – and confessing his feelings over the same to his wife, Jennifer Ehle’s Abby – ‘and I am really fucking scared’.

As attested to by Sandy’s ‘we sold our shields off’ and ‘I can’t undo it now. There’s no atonin” conversation with Carlos, Jimmy, Kenny, Eddie and Sandy’s drugs-related operation was amoral. Jimmy went so far as to threaten to burn Angel’s child’s face with an iron whilst interrogating him.

Ray’s reluctant search for and admission of the truth – starting with Francis Sr’s encouragement to ‘no matter what we have forsaken of ourselves, we can’t forsake them (the killed police officers)’ and leading to Ray’s confrontation with Internal Affairs that, ‘I know what you guys want me to say, but it’s not going to happen’ – is a long and difficult road, culminating in the film’s cliffhanger ending in the courthouse.


(from left to right) Stars Noah Emmerich and Edward Norton and director/co-screenwriter Gavin O’Connor at an event for 2008’s Pride and Glory at the 2008 Toronto Film Festival ( Photo and Caption)

Very simplistically, and in the vein of his 2007 feature film, Miracle, director/co-screenwriter, Gavin O’Connor’s 2008 feature film, Pride and Glory, takes an hour to get going but is hard to tune out of when it gets into gear.

The cool colour tone, tension-proportionate handheld camerawork and electronic score are all becoming hallmarks of director O’Connor’s work. This makes 2008’s Pride and Glory an excellent entrypoint into his filmography for newcomers.


(from left to right) Producer/co-screenwriter Gregory O’Connor with director/co-screenwriter Gavin O’Connor at the New York City premiere’s after party ( Photo and Caption)

Director Gavin O’Connor’s Trademarks in 2008’s Pride and Glory:

  1. The family as a focus: The Tierney family – Francis Sr and Jr, Ray and Jimmy – contains most of the film’s primary characters and conflicts.
  2. A stern father figure: Ray has to struggle against Francis Sr’s attempts to control his career.
  3. Brothers at odds with each other: Ray starts the film at odds with Francis Jr and Jimmy although the film ends with Ray and Francis Jr against Jimmy.

(Whilst the opinions and observations cited above are, unless stated otherwise, the author’s own, the following sources were used for information:

The Reverse-Screenwriters’ Club (Spoilers Ensue):

Plot: a trio of generational policemen deal with issues of loyalty to their family and their ideals.

Prologue: Ray, Francis Jr and Jimmy attend and/or participate in the NYPD football game.

Act 1: Francis Jr decides to receive the call; Francis Jr decides to head to the crime scene.

Act 2: Francis Jr decides to inspect the crime scene; Jimmy decides to head to the crime scene.

Act 3: Francis Jr decides to brief Francis Sr up to speed on the incident; Francis Jr decides to visit the police in the hospital.

Act 4: Ray decides to speak to Francis Sr in the bathroom; Ray decides to accept Francis Sr’s offer to join the investigative task force.

Act 5: Ray decides to investigate the surroundings of the crime scene; Ray decides to collect the nearby discarded mobile phone.

Act 6: Ray decides to attend the task force meeting outside the crime scene; Ray decides to interview the nearby shopkeepers.

Act 7: Ray decides to interview the shopkeepers’ son; Jimmy decides to track down the surviving gangsters.

Act 8: Jimmy decides to burn the getaway car; Ray decides to resume his investigation of the killings.

Act 9: Ray decides to ask Polk for more information; Ray decides to visit Tasha’s house.

Act 10: Francis Jr, Francis Sr, Jimmy and Ray decide to celebrate Christmas at the Tierney home; Jimmy and Francis Jr decide to confer discreetly.

Act 11: Ray decides to investigate the Tezo murders; Ray decides to interview the surviving witness.

Act 12: Francis Jr, Francis Sr, Jimmy and Ray decide to attend the police funeral; Ray decides to ask Francis Jr if he knows of police complicity.

Act 13: Ray decides to receive Francis Sr at his houseboat; Francis Sr decides to confront Ray over his allegations.

Act 14: Francis Jr decides to confront Sandy over his indiscretion with Tezo; Francis Jr decides to fire Sandy.

Act 15: Jimmy decides to receive the gangster at his home; Jimmy decides to confront him over his indiscretion.

Act 16: Jimmy decides to assemble his team; Jimmy decides to raid Coco’s house.

Act 17: Jimmy decides to interrogate Coco for Tezo’s address; Ray decides to track down Tookie.

Act 18: Ray decides to interrogate Tookie over Tezo’s whereabouts; Ray decides to head to Tezo’s hideout.

Act 19: Ray decides to call for backup to the compound; Ray decides to enter the building alone.

Act 20: Ray decides to reveal his presence to Jimmy; Ray decides to confront Jimmy over his methods with Tezo.

Act 21: Jimmy decides to foist the weapon on Ray; Jimmy decides to give Ray a cover story to tell the police.

Act 22: Ray decides to confront Francis Jr over Jimmy’s actions; Ray decides to head back out.

Act 23: Francis Jr decides to confide the truth in Abby; Sandy decides to meet Carlos the reporter.

Act 24: Sandy decides to confide in Carlos; Sandy decides to kill himself in Carlos’ car.

Act 25: Jimmy decides to receive Kenny at home; Francis Sr confronts Francis Jr over his involvement with Jimmy.

Act 26: Ray decides to confront Carlos; Ray decides to not confide in Carlos.

Act 27: Francis Jr decides to confront Jimmy; Francis Jr decides to refuse Jimmy’s offer of the money.

Act 28: Ray decides to meet with Internal Affairs; Ray decides to refuse to clarify his involvement in Tezo’s murder.

Act 29: Jimmy, Kenny and Eddie decide to give their statements to Internal Affairs; Jimmy decides to implicate Ray in Tezo’s murder.

Act 30: Francis Sr decides to confront Ray over his involvement; Ray decides to confront Francis Sr over his demands for loyalty.

Act 31: Francis Jr decides to confront Francis Sr over his plans for Ray; Ray and Francis Jr decide to find Jimmy.

Act 32: Francis Jr decides to confront Eddie and Kenny in the store; Ray decides to confront Jimmy alone.

Act 33: Francis Jr decides to confront Kenny over his hostage; Ray decides to confront Jimmy in the bar.

Act 34: Ray and Jimmy decide to fight; Ray decides to knock Jimmy out.

Act 35: Francis Jr decides to apprehend Kenny; Ray decides to protect Jimmy from the rioters.

Act 36: Jimmy decides to disarm himself; Jimmy decides to let the rioters kill him.

Act 37: Ray decides to return to Francis Jr’s crime scene; Ray and Francis Jr decide to drive off.

Epilogue: Ray, Francis Jr and Francis Sr attend the court hearings.

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