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War of the Buttons (1994)

PG  |   |  Adventure, Drama, Family  |  29 September 1995 (USA)
7.5
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Ratings: 7.5/10 from 3,005 users  
Reviews: 27 user | 5 critic

The children of Ballydowse and Carrickdowse engage in battles where they cut of the buttons, shoe-laces, belts and braces of their captured opponents. This is to get the boys in trouble ... See full summary »

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(novel), (adapted for the screen by), 1 more credit »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Gregg Fitzgerald ...
Fergus
Gerard Kearney ...
Big Con
Darragh Naughton ...
Boffin
Brendan McNamara ...
Tim
Kevin O'Malley ...
Fishy
John Cleere ...
Peter
Anthony Cunningham ...
Little Con
Thomas Kavanagh ...
Riley
Eveanna Ryan ...
Marie
John Crowley ...
Pat
Stuart Dannell-Foran ...
Tich
Danielle Tuite ...
Fionnuala
Helen O'Leary ...
Helen
Yvonne McNamara ...
Maeve
John Coffey ...
Geronimo
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Storyline

The children of Ballydowse and Carrickdowse engage in battles where they cut of the buttons, shoe-laces, belts and braces of their captured opponents. This is to get the boys in trouble with their parents. They go to battle in mass groups of dozens, wilding sticks and catapults and cutting off their opponents buttons etc. Once they go to battle completely naked. In one such scene about 30 naked boys are chasing boys from the other village to the lake only to find some girls waiting for them and they get very embarrassed. Written by Kendall Blake <bluebird90@hotmail.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Most wars last years. This one has to be over by dinner.


Certificate:

PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

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Language:

Release Date:

29 September 1995 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

A Guerra dos Botões  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

(Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The parents of one of the boys in this film took a court action to prevent this film being released. The grounds for their action were that their son's naked buttocks could be seen in the film. the action was dismissed on the grounds that they (the buttocks) didn't appear on screen long enough to allow identification and also that the parents should have raised their objection before the scene was filmed. See more »

Goofs

Near the end of the second skirmish, the Carricks have Tim treed. When a scout tells Geronimo that Fergus is coming, Geronimo orders Brendan and Chick to keep Tim up the tree while the rest of the Carricks hide to trap Fergus. Two slender, blonde boys keep their slingshots trained on Tim (30:02 to 30:11) while the others hide. The third skirmish begins when the Carricks come across Tim sitting alone on top of a large stone arch. Spotting a concealed Bally, Geronimo orders Brendan and Chick to drag Tim down while he and the rest of the Carricks charge the Ballys in hiding behind them. This time, two completely different boys, a heavyset sandy haired boy and a tall brown haired boy run toward Tim (at around 2 mins) while the rest turn and charge the Ballys. See more »

Quotes

Fergus: Little Con, bark.
Little Con: What?
See more »

Connections

Version of La guerre des gosses (1936) See more »

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User Reviews

Good entertainment that avoids the mushy sentimentality of too many films with child actors
19 October 2002 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

In two small Irish villages the two communities have children who are ongoing hostilities. The Bally's are a little poorer than their rivals the Carricks. However the war of attrition between the two sets of boys is escalated when Fergus cuts all the buttons and buckles off one of the Carrick's clothes. This sparks the war of the Buttons which the Bally's take seriously, saving money, building a head quarters etc. The childish war begins to escalate however and the reality of the adult world begins to make it's presence felt in a very real way.

I set my video to tape one of the Hope/Crosby `Road to' movies late one night. However the destination for that movie was a place that had been the target of a terrorist bomb so it was dropped from the schedules and this movie was put in it's place due to the similar running time I assume. I was a little let down cause I'm a big Hope fan but I thought I'd give this a shot for lack of anything else to watch. I had high expectations when I saw that the team behind this had also produced and written Chariots of Fire, but soon realised this was a much more low key affair.

The plot is a remark of an old French film and sees a village feud between two groups of kids. It could have been sentimental and mushy with tonnes of cute kids just taking things too far 9imagine if Disney had made this!) but happily it is kept on a level field and not allowed to be spoilt in such a crude manner. The plot never gets out of hand and the ending is a sobering blow of reality without falling into sentimentality which it could so easily have done.

The cast are all excellent. The children are not the `cute but cheeky' type favoured in Hollywood but are totally convincing in their roles. The film never judges any of them but lets us just watch without having baddies or goodies – just children. The only fault is that it is a little too light and could be basically a film for slightly older kids who can understand the themes and not just take in the idea of fighting. Adults may find it to be a little too childish for long parts, but it's still a good mix of fun and serious material.

Overall I was set for a Bob Hope classic but got this. I got over my disappointment and got into this. It is light and funny but also dark without tipping into the mushy sentimentality that accompanies many films with all-kid casts. Could have been more substantial but is still pretty enjoyable all the same.


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