After the breakdown of his younger brother, “Stony” DeCoco (Richard Gere) accepts a job working with children in hospital but his Italian-American father Tommy (Tony LoBianco) and uncle “Chubby” (Paul Sorvino) have a struggle accepting his rejection of their tough, working-class lifestyle. They want him to stay in the macho world of construction.
The macho image is a gospel they preach to anyone who might listen; women are subservient.
Years of callous behaviour from Tommy have seriously adverse effects on Marie (Lelia Goldoni), Stony’s mother. In turn, her younger and anorexic son, Albert (Michael Hershewe), is terrorised by Marie until he has to be admitted to hospital.
Stony has a good rapport with Albert, a detail which doesn’t escape the attention of Dr Harris (Floyd Levine) at the hospital. He offers Stony work as a recreational assistant in the children’s ward.
Stormy accepts the offer, deciding to try both ways of life before making his decision, and is soon happily organising the children.
After his girlfriend Cheri (Kristine DeBell) is unfaithful, he starts a casual relationship with a disco waitress, Annette (Marilu Henner).
Stony’s entry into the brotherhood of electricians is to prove traumatic, and his mother’s idea of a little revenge for one of Tommy’s infidelities is to have severe consequences.
Gere is surprisingly good in the unlikely role. Unfortunately, any insights are diverted by way of narrative shortcuts, though it’s interesting to see how good Gere was before he became a big name.
Director Robert Mulligan re-cut this for TV, which is probably where it belongs – as a soap opera.