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The Butcher Boy (1997)

R  |   |  Comedy, Drama  |  20 February 1998 (Ireland)
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Ratings: 7.2/10 from 7,678 users  
Reviews: 66 user | 67 critic

Francie and Joe live the usual playful, fantasy filled childhoods of normal boys. However, with a violent, alcoholic father and a manic depressive, suicidal mother the pressure on Francie ... See full summary »



(novel) (as Patrick McCabe) , (screenplay), 1 more credit »
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Cast overview, first billed only:
Peter Gowen ...
Alan Boyle ...
Joe Purcell
Andrew Fullerton ...
Phillip Nugent
Mrs. Nugent
Aisling O'Sullivan ...
Ma Brady
Dr. Boyd
Rosaleen Linehan ...
Mrs. Canning
Anita Reeves ...
Mrs. Coyle
Gina Moxley ...
Niall Buggy ...
Father Dom
Uncle Alo
Anne O'Neill ...
Mrs. McGlone


Francie and Joe live the usual playful, fantasy filled childhoods of normal boys. However, with a violent, alcoholic father and a manic depressive, suicidal mother the pressure on Francie to grow up are immense. When his mother eventually commits suicide and Joe goes off to boarding school, Francie sinks ever deeper into paranoia directed mainly against Mrs. Nugent, a nasty neighbor, and fantasy where he has visions of the Virgin Mary. After his father dies Fancie's condition worsens, his behavior becomes more bizarre and erratic culminating in the extremely bloody murder of Mrs. Nugent whom he holds responsible for all the wrongs visited upon him. The authorities arrest Francie and commit him to an asylum in an attempt to cure him. Written by Mark Smith <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


This little piggy laughed all the way home!


Comedy | Drama

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for language and violence | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:



Official Sites:




Release Date:

20 February 1998 (Ireland)  »

Also Known As:

A kis véreskezű  »

Box Office

Opening Weekend:

£288,594 (UK) (20 February 1998)


$1,822,193 (USA) (5 June 1998)

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

| (5.1 surround)|



Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Stephen Rea is credited as only playing Pa in the film but also plays the adult Francie uncredited. See more »


Francie Brady: What's this world coming to, Sergeant?
See more »


References The Fugitive (1963) See more »


Written by Paul Burkhardt (as Paul Burkhard) / John Turner / Geoffrey Parsons
Peter Maurice Music Co. Ltd.
Performed by Eddie Calvert
Courtesy of EMI Commercial Markets
See more »

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User Reviews

hateful brat, tone mismatch, needs to be really dark
13 December 2014 | by See all my reviews

Francie Brady is terribly wounded in the hospital. The movie flashes back. Francie and Joe play together. Francie's father (Stephen Rea) is a violent drunk. His mother is suicidal and is taken away. Mrs. Nugent (Fiona Shaw) doesn't like him and he doesn't like her. Francie's mom returns in a manic state. Uncle Alo (Ian Hart) comes by for a Christmas visit. After his mother's death, Francie starts bullying little Phillip Nugent and Mrs. Nugent.

The kid is a hateful brat and I can't stand him. I can't stand most of the characters in this movie. I want to beat some sense into the boy or quite frankly anybody. The adults are mostly clueless idiots or drunks. I don't see any of this as charming but Neil Jordan seems intend on making this quirky. The music, the narration, and the whole tone is way too light. The tone needs to be darken to match the subject. I kept wondering if Neil Jordan thinks any of this is actually funny and why? This could have been great material for a super-dark super-violent drama.

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