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The Brothers McMullen (1995)

Three Irish Catholic brothers from Long Island struggle to deal with love, marriage, and infidelity.



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4 wins & 1 nomination. See more awards »



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Complete credited cast:
Catharine Bolz ...
Mrs. McMullen
Molly McMullen
Barry / Finbar McMullen
Peter Johansen ...
Patrick McMullen (as Mike McGlone)
Elizabeth McKay ...
Jack McMullen


This angst-filled tale of three Irish-Catholic brothers explores men's relationships with women. Three different situations are set up on parallel plotlines, with each brother facing a different kind of crisis. Their common bond as family, as well as close lifelong friends, allows them to express their feelings frankly and intimately, as they talk and discuss their concerns among each other. Jack finds himself in a marriage gone stale and under pressure to start a family that he does not yet feel ready for. Barry, dedicated to his film career and almost pathologically averse to any type of commitment in a relationship, is suddenly artistically successful and finds true love, both for the first time and both pulling him in opposite directions. Patrick is torn between his love for his religion and ethnic heritage and his love for Susan, his longtime Jewish girlfriend. Ultimately, they are all asked to resist temptation of one sort or another, with various poignant outcomes. Written by Tad Dibbern <DIBBERN_D@a1.mscf.upenn.edu>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


The Highly Acclaimed Romantic Comedy From Edward Burns See more »


Comedy | Drama | Romance

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for language and some sexuality | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

9 August 1995 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Brødrene McMullen  »

Box Office


$25,000 (estimated)


$10,246,600 (USA)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?


Edward Burns gave Robert Redford a tape of this film in a NYC elevator and begged him to watch it. Redford said that Burns looked like a panhandler. "I get that all the time, but I thought, what the hell, that's what it's all about." He watched it, liked it, and the film went on to win at Sundance. See more »


When Patrick is watching Leslie walk from out his window in the beginning you can see it's a fall day then the next shot when Barry asks Patrick what are you doing you can clearly see snow covering stuff outside which means the film was shot out of sequence. See more »


Marty: Well listen, you better find some inspiration soon. For one thing, you need the money. And you know what? It's embarrassing - I've gotta tell the people in my business that my best young writer lives on Long Island. Writers live in Manhattan, Barry. Joey Butafucco's live on Long Island. You know what I'm saying?
See more »


References The Oprah Winfrey Show (1986) See more »


Intro. No. 1
Written by Seamus Egan and Winifred Horan
Performed by Seamus Egan
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User Reviews

Beautifully made on a budget
20 November 2007 | by (Birmingham, UK) – See all my reviews

Fifteen thousand pounds to many is a great deal of money, but in Hollywood it'd barely make a runner's salary. So really it's an unbelievable effort to produce a movie for this amount of money and win a Grand Jury Prize at the Sundance Film Festival in 1995, as well as recognition for Ed Burns as an all-round director/actor/producer/writer extraordinaire. The end product being The Brothers McMullen; a project made literally in his own backyard, using his own friends and associates as his crew (such as his 'then' girlfriend who is his girlfriend in the film and his friend).

The protagonist is Burns' character Barry, the middle brother, who is the wittiest, has the sharpest lines, and many would think the film is partly autobiographical because of this. Barry is a writer, jumps from woman to woman, makes wise guy remarks, and then he meets Audrey, played by Maxine Bahns, and is forced to get over his fear of commitment. How does he deal with it? Jack, the older brother, is a middle-aged teacher, who's quieter and loves his wife, but has to deal with the feelings of infidelity. How does he deal with it? Then there's Patrick, the younger religious sibling, a do-gooder who's soon to get married into a Jewish family, but he gets cold feet. Then hot feet. Then cold feet. He then gets his fiancé pregnant. Then he meets someone else. He then has to deal has to deal with the guilt. Or does he learn not to? Three very different brothers, the three Irish New Yorkers feed each other their advice and wisdom of love. It's not an original plot, but it works. Conversations flow from JFK, women, families, love, alcohol, their violent father, to family bonding, with a whole lot of swearing in between and Irish fiddle music in the background. Burns is something of a Plastic Paddy. Nevertheless, there's a lot of great word play, the plot isn't pretentious or trying to be too clever. It's heart-warming, without being soppy.

Minus points: one can appreciate Burn is an all-rounder, but he should maybe step outside his own box and become a character in the movie – stop writing and starring as himself – it's a bit egotistical. The acting was a bit amateur, especially Maxine Bahns – though this can be forgiven for the fact they were at the time just that - amateurs. The editing was a bit disjointed in places. It doesn't flow as well as it could do. Then again, it only cost, as stated £15,000. It has to be expected.

I appreciated it a lot. A debut movie, that cost £15,000, cannot get much better. If you like Irish-American culture, take pleasure of budget movies and enjoy witty rom-coms – try this.

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