The Butcher Boy (1997)

R  |   |  Comedy, Drama  |  20 February 1998 (Ireland)
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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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9 wins & 11 nominations. See more awards »



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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
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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 »


Features The Atomic Cafe (1982) See more »


(Traditional; arranged by Drummond)
Squirrel Music
Performed by Regina Nathan
Courtesy of Enigma / Lunar Records
See more »

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User Reviews

An odd little gem
22 September 2002 | by (Massachusetts) – See all my reviews

I went to my local video store last night and walked straight to its awesome horror section. I was specifically looking for this movie, as i had seen it in the store before, and was about to see it until my friend decided that we'd walk out with Joy Ride. The cover of this movie intrigued me, and lead me to think that it would be a darkly comeidic yet still very scary story about a boy's descent into madness.

The Butcher Boy is about an Irish boy, Francie, whose domestic life is miserable. His dad is always drunk and his mother is mentally unstable. However, he lets his anger out through his mischevous behavior in the town, particularly directed towards Mrs Nugent and her son, a perfect mother with a perfect son. Francie is also best friends with Joe, a sensitive kid of whom we get the impression from that he is losing interest in Francie's treatings of others, which are going a bit too far.

A lot more happens in The Butcher Boy, but if you don't like what you just got, don't see the movie. Though it's not slow, Francie's character development seems to drag, and Neil Jordan seems to advance his personality just before we've had enough.

The acting is what makes the movie what it is. Somebody call Eamonn Owens and give this kid a part in a movie. He owns the movie, he is the movie. Words cannot describe how good th' young laddie is at acting as the troubled Francie. This has to be one of my favorite acting performances of all time, right up there with Jason Schwartzman in Rushmore, and Kiefer Sutherland in Stand By Me. This kid needs a good role badly. Everybody else is decent, though i feel that Stephen Rea as Francie's father underplayed the role, and could've added more depth to the character. The character seemed to be waiting to become lively and three dimensional, but Rea went for the B minus and stopped there.

The butcher boy was not what I expected, and if you're looking for a horror movie about madness, look elsewhere. If you want a dramatic character study with a child actor better than a million Haley Joel Osments, this is for you. It is thought provoking, upsetting, and doesn't beg for it at all. How many movies can you say that about?

10 of 11 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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My least favorit movie of all time. johnp98
Where are all the other people who didn't like this film? lotuslalune
something i missed near the end fabers3
Eamon Owens performance is just breath taking Marsha_CutiePie
Recommendations? toedeloekeegestefenriswolfmektig
The Butcher Boy DVD Release Date Finally Coming Out sukhoi_64
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