84 From ’84: Harry & Son

Harry & Son Header
Harry & Son Poster

Harry Keach has been widowed for two years and works as a demolition crane operator on a demolition crew.


  • Paul Newman – Harry Keach
  • Robby Benson – Howard Keach
  • Ellen Barkin – Katie
  • Joanne Woodward – Lilly
  • Wilford Brimley – Tom
  • Judith Ivey – Sally
  • Ossie Davis – Raymond
  • Morgan Freeman – Siemanowski

1984 memories

I recall watching this on TV, like a Saturday night movie or something. It wasn’t a rental or HBO. Maybe one of my sisters rented it for teenage heartthrob, Robby Benson. I really don’t remember. All I know is I watched it and it wasn’t the best movie.

Let’s see if it improved any over the last 40 years.

40th Anniversary Re-watch

Not really. The movie is all over the place.

I’m a big Paul Newman fan, but this isn’t one of his better movies. In Harry & Son he is a construction worker who has some unknown illness and is forced to leave his job. So he spends his time tries to deal with his son, Howard (Benson) who is working menial jobs while trying to become a writer.

It also focuses on the lives of Harry’s daughter, his brother and a widow. There are way too many relationships and sub-plots in this movie to keep track of. It’s as complicated as real life, only I don’t want to invest my time trying to figure it all out.

Harry & Son Hot tub

Howard is a strange character that is hard to like. IT seems the main focus should be on Harry, but he is left out of large chunk of the movie while other minor characters are given screen time. And their screen time does nothing to help the movie.

Paul Newman is good in the role. His real life wife Joanne Woodward plays the widow. Did you know they were married for 50 years! Robby Benson was OK. He might have been resting on his heartthrob status too much though. He plays a roguish playboy with little to offer.

Overall this wasn’t a great movie. It kind of reminds me of a low budget made-for-TV movie, not a Hollywood production. Another thing hurting this movie is the runtime It clocks in at 117 minutes. It could have been cut to 90 minutes and maybe it would have been enjoyable.

Favorite Line:

This place is turning into a god damned zoo.

This was one of the few films Paul Newman directed. Overall he wasn’t a bad director. In fact he won the Best Director Golden Globe for Rachel, Rachel (1968) and was nominated for the Best Picture Academy Award for the same movie.

This movie seemed to lack an coherency. This one is worth skipping.

Harry & Son hit theaters on 02 March 1984. It was a bomb, it made just over $4.8 million on a $9.5 million budget.

Did you watch Harry & Son? If so let me know your thoughts in the comments below or on X(Twitter). The main Geekster channel is @TRNSocial and I’m @MileHighSamurai You can also find me on Bluesky @MileHighSamurai

4/10 stars

Check out the entire 84 From ’84 movie series

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About Pitfall Gary 156 Articles
Just your average Gen X'er. Born in the 70s and raised in the Decade of Decadence! I rode my bike without a helmet and was home when the street lights came on. I love to reminisce about the good ol' days; Movies, TV, music, if it happened in my childhood I'll share it with you.

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