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The Secret of Roan Inish (1994)

PG  |   |  Drama, Family, Fantasy  |  3 February 1995 (USA)
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10-year-old Fiona is sent to live with her grandparents in a small fishing village in Donegal, Ireland. She soon learns the local legend that an ancestor of hers married a Selkie - a seal ... See full summary »



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Title: The Secret of Roan Inish (1994)

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Cast overview, first billed only:
Jeni Courtney ...
Pat Slowey ...
Dave Duffy ...
Oldest brother
Mairéad Ní Ghallchóir ...
Eugene McHugh ...
Bar Patron 1
Tony Rubini ...
Bar Patron 2
Mick Lally ...
Eileen Colgan ...
Richard Sheridan ...
Micheal MacCarthaigh ...
Fergal McElherron ...
Sean Michael
Brendan Conroy ...
Frankie McCafferty ...


10-year-old Fiona is sent to live with her grandparents in a small fishing village in Donegal, Ireland. She soon learns the local legend that an ancestor of hers married a Selkie - a seal who can turn into a human. Years earlier, her baby brother washed out to sea in a cradle shaped like a boat; someone in the family believes the boy is being raised by the seals. Then Fiona catches sight of a naked little boy on the abandoned Isle of Roan Inish and takes an active role in uncovering he secret of Roan Inish. Written by John Oswalt <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


The secret's out! See more »


Drama | Family | Fantasy

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG for some moments that may be disquieting to small children | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:







Release Date:

3 February 1995 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Le secret de Roan Inish  »

Filming Locations:

Box Office


$3,000,000 (estimated)


$6,101,600 (USA)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


During the storm on Roan Inish, there is a shot of the rocks holding down the roof moving quite a bit from the force of the wind. However, the rocks in the background of the cottage next door are absolutely still suggesting that the storm is completely man-made and the crew only had the wind machines on the one cottage. See more »


Tess: Stuperstitious old man!
[goes to the fireplace to put out the peat-fire]
Tess: I rake this fire as the pure Christ rakes us all... with Mary at the foot and Brigid at the head. And may the eight brightest angels from the City of Grace preserve this house and all its people till the coming of the day.
[Crosses herself]
See more »


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User Reviews

charming and magical
4 June 2004 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

I saw this listed in TV guide, and watched it because the description made me imagine it would be a simple, charming movie. I didn't realize it was a John Sayles movie until I saw his name on the credits and then I thought it might be something different; I don't associate Sayles with simple family movies. But in fact, this is pretty much the movie I was hoping for, full of Irish charm and blarney, beautiful filmed and full of magic and wonder. One hesitates to call it a children's movie or a family movie because those are generally awful, but it is very much the sort of movie that is perfect to take the family too (although it is unaccountably rated PG). But it's not *just* a kid's movie, it's a movie with magic for anyone, and I would put it in the same category as Alfonso Cuarón's A Little Princess, another movie that treats children not in the Disney aren't-they-cute way but as real thinking individuals. This is a lovely drama featuring a child rather than a kid's movie, but it works on either level.

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