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The Boxer (1997)

Young Danny Flynn is released from prison after 14 years after "taking the rap" for the IRA and tries to rebuild his life in his old Belfast neighborhood.


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Nominated for 3 Golden Globes. Another 3 wins & 3 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Daragh Donnelly ...
Prison Officer
Frank Coughlan ...
Prison Officer
Sean Kearns ...
Prison Officer
Lorraine Pilkington ...
Niall Shanahan ...
John Wall ...
Priest (as Father John Wall)
Maria McDermottroe ...
Wedding Guest (as Carol Scanlan)
Kate Perry ...
Wedding Guest
Andrea Irvine ...
Wedding Guest
Joan McGarry ...
Wedding Guest
Theresa McComb ...
Wedding Guest
Catherine Dunne ...
Wedding Guest
Kerrie Duggan ...
Wedding Guest


Nineteen-year-old Danny Flynn is imprisoned for his involvement with the I.R.A. in Belfast. He leaves behind his family and his sixteen-year-old girlfriend, Maggie Hamill. Fourteen years later, Danny is released from prison and returns to his old working class neighborhood to resume his life as a boxer, fighting and opening a boxing club training aspiring boxers. Maggie has since married Danny's best friend, who is also imprisoned for his I.R.A. activities. Although he has not denounced the I.R.A. or denigrated his I.R.A. colleagues, Danny has decided to live a life free of political violence. His boxing club is nonsectarian, open to both Catholics and Protestants. This move irks some of his old I.R.A. colleagues since they feel working with the Protestants will not resolve their David versus Goliath struggle. Danny's old I.R.A. colleagues, especially their unofficial leader Harry, resort to traditional tactics of violence to stop Danny. Maggie's father, Joe, also an I.R.A. activist, ... Written by Artemis-9

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Love is always worth fighting for.


Drama | Romance | Sport

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

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

Parents Guide:



Official Sites:




Release Date:

9 January 1998 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Bokser  »

Box Office

Opening Weekend:

$1,758,565 (USA) (11 January 1998)


$5,799,672 (USA) (15 February 1998)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

| |


Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?


Daniel Day-Lewis boxed and trained for three years in preparation for this role. See more »


After the ring is set-up and Flynn is shown training in it, the next scene has him and his manager under the stage with the ring in the background being not set-up. Two scenes later, the ring is back up. See more »


Joe Hamill: It's as though the Brits want this ceasefire to fail.
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Featured in The 55th Annual Golden Globe Awards (1998) See more »


Traditional tune with lyrics by Frederick Edward Weatherly (as Weatherly)
[Incorrectly co-credited to Harold Samuel (as Samuel)]
See more »

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User Reviews

Sort of like "In the Name of the Father....Part Two".
16 September 2013 | by (Bradenton, Florida) – See all my reviews

I rarely watch movies more than once, however this is my second time watching "The Boxer". Why? Because the airline I was on when I watched the film is stupid. What I mean is that I'd seen 95% of the film---then they cut it off!! For years, I always wondered what happened at the end and finally I've gotten around to it.

Before I talk about the movie, I did find the choice of rolls for Daniel Day-Lewis very interesting. After doing "My Left Foot" and "In the Name of the Father", he chose yet another film set in Ireland or Northern Ireland. Because of this, and especially coming after "In the Name of the Father", there is a HUGE sense of Déjà vu, not only for the location but because BOTH films are about an Irishman who has been imprisoned for IRA activities. Though in this film Day-Lewis' character is much calmer, sweeter and subtle than in these other films--plus you really have to admire the way he prepared for this role*.

The film begins with Danny (Day-Lewis) about to be released from prison. I don't recall what it is he did to get there but it had to do with IRA activities and Danny is sick of prison and wants to put it all behind him. As far as he's concerned, although he's now 32, he wants to pick up with his old boxing gym (Holy Family) and distance himself from the IRA. He obviously has become disenchanted by them and their killing of innocent civilians. Now he just wants to box and do something very radical for Northern Ireland--open up the gym to young would-be boxers of all faiths--not just Catholics. His goal is to facilitate the healing through boxing and his idea generally is well received--though his old compatriots are not particularly pleased and do everything they can to keep the fires of hatred stoked. Plus, his old flame (Emily Watson) isn't sure if she should be loyal to him or her rather toxic family.

I really liked this film but noticed there were LOTS of divergent opinions. As a person with neither British nor Irish heritage, perhaps that is why I appreciated its message that it's time to stop the violence and have peace. I am sure this simple message irritated many on both sides of an insane conflict, though to me it just seems like a reasonable thing. Extremely well acted and quite gripping--I sure liked this film. I should warn you, however, the film is tough to watch at times. The boxing match with the Nigerian is one of the toughest and bloodiest in film history and the ending sure is tough to watch as well.

By the way, it could be because I watched the film streaming through Netflix, but there were no captions. I really would have preferred them since I am a bit hard of hearing and it's sometimes tough for me to understand the accents--and I am sure some others might have the same experience.

*Day-Lewis' acting method is legendary and even a bit scary. Even most method actors would be shocked how he puts himself into the roles (such as behaving as if he had severe cerebral palsy every second--even when the cameras were off while doing "My Left Foot"--necessitating insane things to accommodate his 'disability' by the crew). Here, according to IMDb, he worked for three years (THREE YEARS!) to perfect his boxing skills! Wow...that's dedication. And, while it might sound crazy, he is the actor with the most lifetime Oscars for Best Actor with three statuettes to his credit so far!!

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