Angel (1982)

R  |   |  Drama, Music  |  December 1982 (UK)
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Saxophonist Danny witnesses the murder of his band manager and a deaf-mute girl after a gig. Questioned by the police, he remembers only the orthopedic shoes of the killers' leader. So ... See full summary »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Alan Devlin ...
Peter Caffrey ...
Honor Heffernan ...
Lise Ann McLaughlin ...
Best Man
Marie Kean ...
Don Foley ...
Liz Bono ...
Girl Assistant
Tom Collins ...


Saxophonist Danny witnesses the murder of his band manager and a deaf-mute girl after a gig. Questioned by the police, he remembers only the orthopedic shoes of the killers' leader. So begins his quest to avenge her. He seeks an answer to the simple question 'Why?' but finds only more, and deeper, questions which resonate with the wider context of 'the Troubles', the inter-communal strife gripping the modern-day Northern Ireland which is the film's setting. Written by Duncan Smith <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Drama | Music


R | See all certifications »





Release Date:

December 1982 (UK)  »

Also Known As:

Danny Boy  »

Filming Locations:


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Did You Know?


John Boorman (executive producer) wanted Liam Neeson to play Danny. See more »


Featured in Irish Cinema: Ourselves Alone? (1995) See more »

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User Reviews

A wonderful directorial debut
10 April 2002 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

I suspect the pressures of commercialism to be the dominant factor behind the decline of some of the world's greatest directors in their final years. Sad examples include Wyler, De Sica and Carol Reed. Even as sustained a talent as David Lynch has not produced anything quite as imaginative as the early "Eraserhead". Possibly the most regrettable loss to commercialism in recent years has been that of Neil Jordan who has somehow not even managed to produce a core of outstanding work. Only his brilliant debut "Angel" serves as a reminder of what might have been. Although set at the height of the Northern Ireland Troubles, this is in no sense a political film like "Some Mother's Son" and "In The Name Of The Father". Rather is it a character study of a highly talented saxophonist with an insecure temperament that even makes him doubt his ability as a musician. He becomes completely unstabilised when he witnesses a gangland - subtly not a political - atrocity, so much so that he embarks on a murderous spree of revenge. The gun becomes a substitute for the saxophone - a simplistic but marvellously satisfying metaphor in this context. As he journeys deeper into murderous darkness he begins to lose his tender relationship with Dee, a singer in his band. The feeling of what might have developed between them is the film's tragic core. What partly makes "Angel" so remarkable is the terseness of its dialogue, so much so that we find ourselves remembering lines long afterwards in the same way that we do from films as diverse as "The Third Man" and "The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie". The film is also paced in such a skillful way that it can afford to pause to encompass such vignettes as Aunt Mae reading the tea-leaves and the Salvation Army musician who has played for them all but now plays for the Lord. "Angel" is full of small details that hauntingly resonate long after the film is over.

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