Screen Two (1985–2002)
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The Grass Arena 

The Grass Arena is the true story of John Healy. Raised in an ultra religious family, with an abusive father, young Johnny soon learns that he has to learn to defend himself. He takes up ... See full summary »

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, (autobiography)
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Cast

Episode cast overview, first billed only:
...
John Healy
...
The Dipper
...
Madalena
...
Mrs. Healy
Billy Boyle ...
Mr. Healy
Andrew Dicks ...
Young John Healy
Nick Dawney ...
Young Terry Healy (as Nick Dawnay)
Simon Napper ...
Terry Healy
John Garrett ...
Albert
...
George
Gerard Horan ...
The Sham
...
Mac
Louis Mellis ...
Jock
Anna Keaveney ...
Liverpool Lil
Paddy Joyce ...
Kelly
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Storyline

The Grass Arena is the true story of John Healy. Raised in an ultra religious family, with an abusive father, young Johnny soon learns that he has to learn to defend himself. He takes up boxing, but soon falls victim to alcholism. His boxing career over, John takes to the Grass Arena (the park) where he lives with other alcoholics. Written by Blair Stannard <stannard@sonetis.com>

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Drama

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19 January 1992 (UK)  »

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1.85 : 1
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User Reviews

 
A grim, inspiring film with great insight.
26 September 2002 | by See all my reviews

The Grass Arena is an inspiring film based on the autobiography of John Healy (Mark Rylance), who was raised in a lower class family with a very abusive father. Healy first tried boxing; he was good at it but alcoholism caused him to fail. He then become one of the homeless alcoholics who lived in the park, the grass arena, where the drunks engaged in much more vicious "games" than boxing. Finally, Healy took up chess. He was excellent at it and that fed his starving self-esteem. Since alcohol diminished his ability at chess and his fierce competitiveness was stoked by his reaction against the class-consciousness of most of the players, especially the leaders, he avoided alcohol in order to prove himself; it was his salvation. The Grass Arena is a grim film made interesting by the wonderful portrayal of Healy by Mark Rylance and by the fascinating insights into the worlds of boxing, alcoholism and competitive chess. Each of these sections of the film is fully developed and could probably stand alone as an excellent short film.


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