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The Break (1997)

A Further Gesture (original title)
Dowd, who's IRA, escapes an Irish prison in a bloody jailbreak, making his way to New York City where he lives alone, avoids Irish hangouts, and works as a dishwasher. When a good deed gets... See full summary »



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1 nomination. See more awards »
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Cast overview, first billed only:
Sean Dowd
Rosana Pastor ...
Frankie McCafferty ...
Tommy Breen
Roy Heaybeard ...
Food Lorry Driver
Toby Bradford ...
Robert Taylor ...
Visiting Room Prison Officer
B.J. Hogg ...


Dowd, who's IRA, escapes an Irish prison in a bloody jailbreak, making his way to New York City where he lives alone, avoids Irish hangouts, and works as a dishwasher. When a good deed gets him stabbed, one of the restaurant employees takes him in and finds him medical care. As Dowd recovers in the flat of Tulio and Tulio's sister Monica, he realizes that these Guatemalan exiles share his rebellious principles. When he learns they are planning a political assassination, he offers to help. His attraction to Monica contributes to his willingness to volunteer. However, the cops are closing in on him: can he make the hit, protect his new friends, and escape with Monica? Written by <jhailey@hotmail.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

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



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Release Date:

20 February 1998 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

The Break  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?


References Dr. Kildare (1961) See more »

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User Reviews

Sometimes you gotta take it with you.
22 April 1999 | by (Lucas Buck, NC) – See all my reviews

Seems when a movie starts with a prison break, the story predictably goes in one of two directions. (1) Our protagonist has a big score already planned, and all the resources are at his fingertips. He's upbeat and optimistic. The air of freedom, albeit temporary, smells good. Or, (2) He looks toward a redemptive arc. Probably he finds a good woman in the most unlikely of places, and strives to go, with her, toward a better end. He will meet with some success, only to find a prohibitive obstacle in his path. I mean we can't let a guy escape from prison and get away clean, can we?

In ‘The Break' (USA title) Stephen Rea again does a masterful job of underplaying the character of Sean Dowd, trying option #2 on for size. He breaks out of an Irish prison, then relocates to New York, where he works in an obscure restaurant washing dishes.

The story then follows a rather predictable path, with a somewhat surprising ending. Director Roger Dornhelm does a good job keeping the film on track.

Overall a solid thriller.

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