A Good Job: Stories of the FDNY - Film Analysis

Good films are the product of a methodical progression

that requires serious design and groundwork. Many filmmakers put in a lot of inventive effort and the result is usually a top notch movie that is appreciated by using viewers as great artwork.

Elements of movies that are essential for success

include having a thought-provoking theme, conducting interviews, having still surroundings shots, and having a great soundtrack. The movie A Good Job: Stories of the FDNY which stars Steve Buscemi illustrates the use of these factors among others. This paper will discuss three factors and illustrate how they have been used in the movie to make the story and events depicted compelling.

A thought-provoking theme is a major component in the film

It dwells on the lives and times of firefighters in New York. As a result, it portrays the truth about particular events, people, and situations, (Burley & Callow, 2011). This film refers to being a firefighter as a 'good job'. In this 'good job', we can see the struggle by women and minorities to find their place in a department that is predominantly white. In one scene, a female firefighter says, "You want to put out a good fire," she goes on to explain that small fires are not as satisfying. "You want a good fire to do a good job." Another veteran says, "Fire is very seductive. Sometimes, it's mesmerizing. You need to understand that," (Garbus, 2014). This focus by the director on both the firefighter and the fire raises unique questions and is a confirmation of his artistic talent.

Interviews are used to a great extent in the film

They are used to provide relevant information related to the subject matter (Burley & Callow, 2011). The manner in which Buscemi conducts interviews shows that there is a progression from scripted to an unscripted conversation that allows content to flow easily. The manner in which the interview develops brings out professionalism in firefighting. Respect and positive energy are the hallmarks of conversation. When Buscemi interviews a firefighter named Jones, viewers can feel the admiration that firefighters have for each other and the deep understanding of their job. "It's the one time when I feel really focused," he says, yet, "You never have it 100%," (Garbus, 2014). Harriet Duncan talks about how hard it was for her as a person of color and a woman to join the brigade in the 80's, and avers that her experience as an only black student in a white class saved her, "I was always the first at doing something," she says, "That helped me, actually, in the firehouse," (Garbus, 2014). Through the artistic use of interviews, Garbus helps us to determine how a firefighter’s life is actually like.

Still shots of relevant events are featured in the film

They are utilized to help paint a more distinct view of the circumstances under discussion. Heroes who put their lives on the line to serve the city are illuminated. Blunt photos from previous decades show how the department has evolved from the "War Years" of the '60s and '70s to the 1966 23rd Street fire that led to the loss of 12 firefighters; the Happy Land Social Club fire of 1990 that led to the loss of 87 lives and 9/11, (Garbus, 2014). These pictures tell of the lasting impression that these events have had on the Fire Department of New York.

In conclusion, a good film should have qualities to make it prominent

Identifying a great theme, using interviews, and the use of still pictures make the movie A Good Job: Stories of the FDNY stand out and send to the audience the message that was intended.


Burley, S., & Callow, R. (2011). 10 Elements for a Great Digital Video Documentary: Tips on Filming and Producing a Great Documentary. Bright Hub. Retrieved on October 6, 2017 from http://www.brighthub.com/multimedia/video/articles/2743.aspx

Garbus, L. (2014). A Good Job: Stories of the FDNY. FDNY Engine 55 - 363 Broome Street, Little Italy, Manhattan, New York City, New York, USA: Moxie Firecracker Films.

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