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Release Date:
25 April 1934 (UK) See more »
In this blend of documentary and fictional narrative from pioneering filmmaker Robert Flaherty, the everyday trials of life on Ireland's unforgiving Aran Islands are captured with attention to naturalistic beauty and historical detail. | Full synopsis »
Plot Keywords:
3 wins See more »
User Reviews:
Enthralling! See more (19 total) »


  (in credits order) (complete, awaiting verification)
Colman 'Tiger' King ... A Man of Aran
Maggie Dirrane ... His Wife
Michael Dirrane ... Their Son
Pat Mullin ... Shark Hunter
Patch 'Red Beard' Ruadh ... Shark Hunter
Patcheen Faherty ... Shark Hunter
Tommy O'Rourke ... Shark Hunter
'Big Patcheen' Conneely of the West ... Canoeman
Stephen Dirrane ... Canoeman
Pat McDonough ... Canoeman

Directed by
Robert J. Flaherty 
Writing credits
(in alphabetical order)
Robert J. Flaherty 

Produced by
Michael Balcon .... producer
Original Music by
John Greenwood 
Cinematography by
Robert J. Flaherty 
Film Editing by
John Monck  (as John Goldman)
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
Pat Mullin of Aran .... assistant director
Sound Department
Slim Hand .... sound recordist (as H. Hand)
Music Department
Louis Levy .... musical director
Leighton Lucas .... composer: additional music (uncredited)
Other crew
Frances H. Flaherty .... collaborator
John Taylor .... field laboratory
Harry Watt .... laboratory assistant (uncredited)

Production CompaniesDistributors

Additional Details

Also Known As:
USA:76 min
Aspect Ratio:
1.37 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:
UK:E (DVD rating)

Did You Know?

The islanders hunt a basking shark for its oil, but they hadn't done so in generations. The filmmakers had to bring an Inuit hunter to show them how to do it as their ancestors might have.See more »
Movie Connections:
Featured in Stützen der Gesellschaft (1935)See more »


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19 out of 19 people found the following review useful.
Enthralling!, 23 January 2001
Author: Zen Bones from USA

If you were to ask passers-by on the street if they'd be interested in seeing a 1934 documentary about the harsh day-to-day existence of a tiny community living on a remote island off the coast of Ireland -- well, you'd be standing there all day before you could find someone who'd say, "sure!". Which is really a disappointment because they don't know what they're missing!

Think of every poem you've read about the sea and man's relation to it and you might get a clue as to the depths of feeling that this film has. It's like Hemingway, Pablo Neruda and W.B. Yeats all rolled into one. It's extremely simplistic, just shots of how a small family fishes, hauls seaweed for fertilizer (there is no soil on the island) and dodges waves so high that its foam sprays above the cliff-tops. Not to mention an incredible sequence where five fishermen try to catch and kill a shark that is a good deal larger than their boat!

What's most exhilarating about this film is that while you're watching it, you can't help but think that these people are crazy to choose to live in such a desolate and difficult place, but then you try to imagine them elsewhere and you know that they are as much a part of that environment as the stubborn sea-worn cliffs are. After even thirty minutes of the film, the roar of the ocean and the cries of the gulls fill your head to such an extreme that you know that such people could live no where else. This film is reminiscent of Roberto Rossellini's film, "Stromboli" about the inhabitants of a small village on a volcanic island. There are a few brief pockets of sentimentality due to the score, but the filmmakers thankfully left out the music during all of the film's most important scenes. Overall what you have is an incredible cinematic experience that makes you think and imagine what it would be like to live a life where every day is a struggle with the elements of nature and a fight for survival, yet filled with the deepest awe and respect for nature and for living.

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