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The Luck of Ginger Coffey (1964)

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An out-of-work Irish immigrant in Montreal remains hopeful that his luck is about to change but his disillusioned family grow tired of his pigheadedness and instability.



(novel), (screenplay)
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Cast overview, first billed only:
Ginger Coffey
Vera Coffey
Liam Redmond ...
Tom Harvey ...
Joe McGlade
Libby McClintock ...
Paulie Coffey
Leo Leyden ...
Powys Thomas ...
Tom Kneebone ...
Leslie Yeo ...
Mr. Mountain
Vernon Chapman ...
Paul Guèvremont ...
Barry Stewart ...
Arch McDonnell ...
Ovila Légaré ...
Jacques Godin ...


James Francis "Ginger" Coffey has no luck finding a job in his native Ireland and him being a dreamer, he decides the place to find a job is Canada. He moves his wife, Vera, and 14-year old daughter, Paulie, to Montreal in hopes of a better life. After six months nothing has changed and his family despise their new surroundings. The Coffey's do have one thing in their favor: a rich friend named Tom who lands Ginger a job at a Newspaper. It's a dream come true for Ginger who always fancied himself a journalist and he waltzes in expecting a reporting gig and a by-line on his first day. The blow to his pride is almost too much for him when he discovers the job is as a proofreader but he accepts it begrudgingly. The job does not pay enough and Ginger is forced to take a second job as a delivery man for a diaper-laundering service. Just when things are going well, Ginger's pigheadedness and unfounded self-importance cause him to make poor choices and his life begins to spiral downward ... Written by pr1mal_1

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


A solid sensitive film portraying two people involved in a deep rooted marital relationship.








Release Date:

12 November 1964 (Canada)  »

Also Known As:

Das Glück des Ginger Coffey  »

Filming Locations:

Box Office


CAD 500,000 (estimated)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

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Did You Know?


Robert Shaw and Mary Ure, who play a married couple, were husband and wife in real life. See more »


Featured in The Lonely Passion of Brian Moore (1986) See more »

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User Reviews

Robert Shaw before he became 'Robert Shaw'
29 June 2004 | by (New York, USA) – See all my reviews

I'm writing this review as one of Mr. Robert Shaw's biggest fans. He utterly shines in this movie. This is one of his early, largely overlooked classics. When I need an overdose of RS, I put this one on. This film comes off raw, realistic and almost agonizing. Halfway through the movie, I feel so bad for Ginger and his impossible dreams. Shaw emotes Ginger's frustration and optimism with equal ease. Great location shooting, and Mary Ure always makes my heart wince. Excellent vehicle for the couple; Mr. and Mrs. Shaw shine in this one, folks! Simple Shaw before Quint, Treece and Kabakov came along.

12 of 14 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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lost classic must be released on DVD now!! danielj_old999
How does this movie end? scobie
Shaw is to 'Ginger Coffey' as Dreyfuss is to 'Duddy Kravitz'? roximunro
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