Billy Galvin

Student Male White John Gray John Gray 1986 USA Drama


When Billy Galvin seeks a job as an ironworker from a manager named Mike Nolan, his father, Jack Galvin, the construction foreman, refuses to hire him. At dinner, Jack’s wife, Mae, thinks her husband should give Billy a chance to be a construction worker, then leaves to play Bingo. Billy works for Casual Construction, a smaller company that does residential jobs, and drives a broken down jalopy. He tells his workmates, Georgie and Donny, that his father would like him to study architecture, but he has no interest. At Local #7 , Billy asks a union captain named Tom Kennedy for work, but Tom refuses because of Billy’s lack of experience, and a long line of applicants before him. At a neighborhood pub, Billy and Nora, his girlfriend and bartender, gulp down beers. Nora finishes first while Billy gags on his drink. Afterward, Billy feigns optimism that the union will soon hire him. Later, car thieves steal Billy’s vehicle, and he discovers that all his construction tools have been stolen out of his trunk. He and his workmates realize that they cannot continue to work without equipment. Later, as Billy walks Nora home from her class, he insists that things will turn around. Georgie and Donny decide Billy’s circumstances require extreme measures. Donny impersonates Jack Galvin’s voice on the telephone, then puts pressure on Tom Kennedy to hire Billy. Tom agrees in exchange for “Jack’s” support during union elections. When Billy shows up at his father’s construction site, Georgie, Donny and Mike Nolan welcome him. However, Jack Galvin is bewildered, and warns his son that the job will not be easy. Jack switches things to become Billy’s supervisor, and makes life hard for his son. At day’s end, Billy hides his exhaustion, while Jack demands he report to work earlier than the rest of the crew. At work, Billy cannot seem to do anything right. When Jack demands his son bring him a tool, Billy walks on a narrow beam high above the street, but becomes paralyzed with fear. Jack has to guide his son to safety. Later, at Georgie’s retirement party, Billy and Nora give Georgie a custom-made headrest to use when he passes out at the bar. Soon, Billy asks his father to speak to management to protect his job from rumored layoffs, but Jack is unsympathetic. As Billy stalks off, Jack lashes out and calls his son a loser. He says it is time for Billy to make something of himself, and father and son begin a fistfight. After guests break up the quarrel, Billy, Nora, and Mae leave the party. Jack is satisfied that his efforts will force Billy to choose a white collar-profession. After the party, Georgie says that he looks forward to sleeping instead of working, but Jack responds that he will never quit, and “they” will have to drag him off the job. Then Jack admits that his own father thought he was smart enough to go to college, but could not afford to send him. The father-son conflict escalates tensions between Jack and Mae, while Billy is too angry to tell Nora that he loves her. One night at the bar, Georgie has a heart attack and dies while watching a boxing match on television. Billy has an awkward conversation with his father about Georgie’s death, and invites him to the wake. Back at the construction site, Mike compliments Billy on his work, and confides to Jack that he must layoff six workers, including Billy, unless Jack insists that Billy is needed. Jack saves Billy’s job, but shortly thereafter, a freak accident involving a tangled cord from Billy’s power tool sends Jack to the hospital. There, Mike tells Billy not to blame himself because accidents happen. However, Billy quits, and finds work as a short order cook. Meanwhile, Jack has enough of the hospital, and returns home by subway. He shows up to work with his arm in a cast, but Mike makes it clear that Jack has to be completely healed before he can return. Later, Jack complains that Billy has not visited him, but Mae points out that Billy does not know Jack is back at home. She mentions that Billy has a new job. Jack thinks it is all for the best, but Mae reminds Jack that Billy has chosen to follow his father’s career path because he loves the work. Later, Jack visits Billy at the diner, and demands he return to work. When Billy refuses, Jack says he cannot go back to work without Billy’s help. If Billy refuses, Jack threatens to drag him out of the diner with one arm. Later, Jack is embarrassed when Mae hugs him after learning that he is responsible for Billy’s return to construction. Soon, Billy apologizes to Nora. Although he still cannot explain how he feels about her, he reignites their relationship by proposing marriage. When he shares the happy news with his father, Jack accuses him of being rash and irresponsible. Billy announces he has another construction job offer from Mike, and he is content, and good at his job whether or not Jack likes the idea. However, Billy is numb when Jack vows to disown him and punches him in the face. As Billy’s wedding day approaches, Jack refuses to attend. One rainy night, he shows up at Nora’s bar, and hands her an envelope filled with two thousand dollars he has saved over a lifetime as a wedding gift. Although he does not want Billy to know who gave the gift, Nora makes a deal. To accept his money, Jack must walk her down the aisle because her parents are deceased. Jack keeps his end of the bargain, although he suffers through the reception. When Billy compliments his father on his attire, Jack needles him. Billy drags his father by the collar outside the reception hall, where father and son trade insults. Soon, Jack kicks Billy’s jalopy, and Billy retaliates by kicking Jack’s vehicle. Billy convulses with laughter, watching Jack kicking and spitting. Then, Jack also laughs, and confesses that he would have done anything to become an architect, but he never had the chance. He wants Billy to be somebody important not a loser like him. Billy confesses he has always admired Jack. For the first time, Jack tells Billy that he is proud to have him for a son. Son and father shake hands and embrace, and Billy hopes to be as good as his father someday. Jack responds that Billy will have to work at it because he is a hard act to follow. Then, father and son grab their tuxedo jackets, and go to the wedding “before Mae turns the event into a Bingo game.”

Actors Who Play Architects:

Lenny von Dohlen
[Billy Galvin]