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Michael Collins (1996)

Neil Jordan's historical biopic of Irish revolutionary Michael Collins, the man who led a guerrilla war against the UK, helped negotiate the creation of the Irish Free State, and led the National Army during the Irish Civil War.



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Nominated for 2 Oscars. Another 4 wins & 15 nominations. See more awards »





Cast overview, first billed only:
Joe O'Reilly
Richard Ingram ...
British Officer
John Kenny ...
Ronan McCairbre ...
Thomas Clarke (as Ger O'Leary)
James Connolly (as Michael Dwyer)
Frank O'Sullivan ...
Ned Broy


Neil Jordan's depiction of the controversial life and death of Michael Collins, the "Lion of Ireland", who led the IRA against the UK and helped found the Irish Free State in 1922. Written by Dawn M. Barclift

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


An epic tale of passion and destiny. See more »

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for violence and language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:




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Release Date:

25 October 1996 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

El precio de la libertad  »

Box Office


$28,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$187,052 (USA) (11 October 1996)


$11,030,963 (USA) (28 February 1997)

Company Credits

Production Co:

,  »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



| (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?


John Boorman's short segment from Lumière et compagnie (1995) was filmed on the set of this movie (most precisely the location used for the Easter Rising sequence), and features Liam Neeson, Aidan Quinn, Stephen Rea, and Alan Rickman. See more »


In the Croke Park scene an armoured car opens fire on the crowd. In reality an armoured car was never used at Croke Park. See more »


[first lines]
Joe O'Reilly: [dictating a letter] You've got to think of him the way he was... He was what the times demanded. And life without him seems impossible. But he's dead. And life is possible. He made it possible.
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Crazy Credits

Opening scroll: At the turn of the century Britian was the foremost world power and the British Empire stretched over two-thirds of the globe. Despite the extent of its power its most troublesome colony had always been the one closest to it, Ireland For seven hundred years Britain's rule over Ireland had been resisted by attempts at rebellion and revolution, all of which ended in failure. Then, in 1916, a rebellion began, to be followed by a guerilla war which would change the nature of that rule forever. The mastermind behind that war was Michael Collins. His life and death defined the period, in its triumph, terror and tragedy. This is his story. See more »


References The Godfather (1972) See more »


Written by Dermot Macmurrough and Josephine V. Rowe
Performed by Frank Patterson
Accompanied by The Cafe Orchestra (Courtesy of The Grapevine Label (Island) Ltd.)
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

"Dramatic, historic and heartfelt..."
30 August 2013 | by (Norway) – See all my reviews

Irish screenwriter, producer and director Neil Jordan's ninth feature film which he wrote, is inspired by real events in the life of an Irish politician named Michael Collins. It premiered In competition at the 53rd Venice Film Festival in 1996, was shot on location in Ireland and is an Ireland-UK-France co-production which was produced by producer Stephen Woolley. It tells the story about a 26-year-old Irish man from County Cork, Ireland named Michael Collins. In late April 1916 during the First World War in the capital city of Ireland, Michael, his friend named Harry Boland, the president of Ireland named Èamon de Valera and other Irish republicans in the paramilitary group called the Irish Volunteers takes part in a rebellion against British rule called the Easter Rising and is arrested by the British Army. After two years of imprisonment in England, Michael and Harry returns to Dublin, Ireland where they soon realize that they are being tailed by the Brits. They reside with their common friend, whom they both have a romantic interest in, named Kitty Kiernan and Michael becomes the newly established IRA's Minister of intelligence.

Distinctly and precisely directed by Irish filmmaker Neil Jordan, this finely paced and somewhat fictional tale which is narrated from multiple viewpoints though mostly from the main character's point of view, draws an engaging and multifaceted portrayal of a politician and prominent member of the Irish Republican Army and his relationship with his country, his best friend, the Irish president and a woman named Kitty. While notable for it's naturalistic and atmospheric milieu depictions, sterling cinematography by English cinematographer and director Chris Menges, production design by English production designer Anthony Pratt and costume design by British costume designer Sandy Powell, this character-driven and narrative-driven story about a complex 20th century leader who was a significant figure in the Irish War of Independence, in the negotiations between England and Ireland regarding the constitutional status of Northern Ireland and the following Irish Civil War between the Free Staters and the Republicans depicts an in-depth and humane study of character and contains a great score by composer Elliot Goldenthal.

This biographical, conversational, romantic, at times humorous and literary period drama from the late 1990s which is set mostly in Ireland during the late 1910s and early 1920s and where an ongoing war between two neighbouring countries makes people divided in their relationship to their homeland, causes more death and ruin than solidarity and makes one of its most dedicated participants more aware of the importance of peace, is impelled and reinforced by it's cogent narrative structure, substantial character development, efficient continuity, colorful characters, use of music, rhythmic transitions between action scenes and dialog scenes, the words spoken by the president of the Irish Republic : "The Irish people established the Republic." and the poignant acting performances by Irish actor Liam Neeson, American actor Aidan Quinn, American actress Julia Roberts and English actor Alan Rickman. A dramatic, historic and heartfelt homage which gained, among other awards, the Golden Lion Neil Jordan and the Volpi Cup for Best Actor Liam Neeson at the 53rd Venice Film Festival in 1996.

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