7.3/10
6,912
49 user 53 critic

The General (1998)

The real-life story of Dublin folk hero and criminal Martin Cahill, who pulled off two daring robberies in Ireland with his team, but attracted unwanted attention from the police, the IRA, the UVF and members of his own team.

Director:

Writers:

, (novel)
Reviews

On Disc

at Amazon

9 wins & 14 nominations. See more awards »

Videos

Photos

Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

I Went Down (1997)
Action | Comedy | Crime
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

Fresh out of prison, Git rescues a former best friend (now living with Git's girlfriend) from a beating at the hands of loan sharks. He's now in trouble with the mob boss, Tom French, who ... See full summary »

Director: Paddy Breathnach
Stars: Brendan Gleeson, Peter McDonald, Antoine Byrne
The Field (1990)
Drama | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

"Bull" McCabe's family has farmed a field for generations, sacrificing endlessly for the sake of the land. And when the widow who owns the field decides to sell the field in a public ... See full summary »

Director: Jim Sheridan
Stars: Richard Harris, John Hurt, Sean Bean
The Van (1996)
Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

The third installment of Irish author Roddy Doyle's 'Barrytown Trilogy', following 'The Commitments' and 'The Snapper', depicts the hilarious yet poignant adventures of Bimbo. Upon being ... See full summary »

Director: Stephen Frears
Stars: Colm Meaney, Donal O'Kelly, Ger Ryan
Comedy | Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.9/10 X  

After a chance encounter, a Dubliner (Gleeson) is stalked by a murderous facsimile of himself.

Director: John Boorman
Stars: Brendan Gleeson, Kim Cattrall, Ciarán Hinds
Comedy | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

A semi-autobiographical project by John Boorman about a nine year old boy called Bill as he grows up in London during the blitz of World War 2. For a young boy, this time in history was ... See full summary »

Director: John Boorman
Stars: Sarah Miles, David Hayman, Sebastian Rice-Edwards
Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

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 »

Director: Neil Jordan
Stars: Stephen Rea, Fiona Shaw, Eamonn Owens
Biography | Drama | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

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.

Director: Neil Jordan
Stars: Liam Neeson, Aidan Quinn, Julia Roberts
Action | Adventure | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

After the son of engineer Bill Markham is abducted by an aboriginal tribe on the edge of the rain forest, the engineer spends the next 10 years searching for him.

Director: John Boorman
Stars: Powers Boothe, Meg Foster, Yara Vaneau
Leo the Last (1970)
Drama | Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.3/10 X  

Prince Leo, last in the line of rulers of a long-deposed monarchy on continental Europe and jaded with the frenetic search for kicks with the European jet-set, returns to his father's ... See full summary »

Director: John Boorman
Stars: Marcello Mastroianni, Billie Whitelaw, Calvin Lockhart
In My Country (2004)
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.1/10 X  

Langston Whitfield is a Washington Post journalist. His editor provocatively sends him to South Africa to cover the Truth and Reconciliation Commission hearings, in which the perpetrators ... See full summary »

Director: John Boorman
Stars: Juliette Binoche, Samuel L. Jackson, Brendan Gleeson
Action | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  

Laura is trying to pick up the pieces of her life after the murder of her husband and son, and goes on vacation with her sister to Burma. After losing her passport at a political rally, she... See full summary »

Director: John Boorman
Stars: Patricia Arquette, U Aung Ko, Frances McDormand
Comedy | Drama | Music
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

When Jimmy Rabbitte wants to start a band, he has open auditions at his house.

Director: Alan Parker
Stars: Robert Arkins, Michael Aherne, Angeline Ball
Edit

Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
...
Gary
...
...
...
Inspector Ned Kenny
Eanna MacLiam ...
Jimmy
Tom Murphy ...
Willie Byrne
...
Anthony
...
Paddy
John O'Toole ...
Shea
Ciarán Fitzgerald ...
Tommy
...
Gay
Vinny Murphy ...
Harry (as Vinnie Murphy)
Roxanna Nic Liam ...
Orla (as Roxanna Williams)
Edit

Storyline

The real-life story of Dublin folk hero and criminal Martin Cahill, who pulled off two daring robberies in Ireland with his team, but attracted unwanted attention from the police, the IRA, the UVF and members of his own team.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

The extraordinary true story of the rise and fall of the gangster, Martin Cahill. See more »


Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for violence and pervasive language | See all certifications »
Edit

Details

Official Sites:

Country:

|

Language:

Release Date:

18 December 1998 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

I Once Had a Life  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Box Office

Opening Weekend:

£286,365 (UK) (29 May 1998)

Gross:

$1,211,865 (USA) (21 May 1999)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

When the film was shown theaters, it was in black and white but when it aired on American cable television networks, it was shown in color. See more »

Goofs

The movie shows the raid on the jewelry manufacturers Thomas O'Connor and Sons in Harold's Cross, Dublin, which took place July 27th, 1983. The raiders use a Volkswagen T4 Transporter in the movie that wasn't in production in 1983 - this model was introduced onto the market in 1991. See more »

Quotes

Garda: Hey Cahill! Which sister did you screw last night? Both?
Martin Cahill: Yours.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in The Perfect Fit (2001) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

 
Terrific biopic
2 September 1999 | by (Brooklyn, NY) – See all my reviews

Being Irish-American, I can tell this; there's an old joke about an Irishman who washes ashore of a new country and asks the first person he sees, "What kind of government do they have here?" The person tells him, and the Irishman responds, "Well, whatever it is, I'm against it." Martin Cahill, from what I know, would seem to share that sentiment, but not out of any political bent; indeed, he's all the more fascinating for being completely apolitical. He just rails against any government that, by definition, is there to ensure he can't make a living at the thing he likes to do the most; steal from the rich.

John Boorman's portrayal of Cahill, nicknamed THE GENERAL(the title of this movie), portrays him as the thug he can be, not only in his viciousness(the famous pool table scene), but also his selfishness(as soon as he's successful, the only "poor" he gives to after robbing the rich is himself and the rest of the gang), yet allows him his delusions of grandeur; after all, isn't that all we often have to fall back on? Of course, Cahill is quite talented at what he does, using ingenuity as much as brute force to get what he wants, like going to talk to police inspector Ned Kenny(Jon Voight) while his men are robbing a bank, not just to keep Kenny occupied, but to give himself an alibi(the look on Voight's face when he realizes he's been set up is alone worth the price of admission).

Brendan Gleeson, a regular in Irish movies(and recently seen in LAKE PLACID), makes everything Cahill does seem somehow normal, even his habit of hiding his face with his hand when he wants to avoid unpleasantness, or the fact that he lives with both his wife and her sister(Maria Doyle Kennedy and Angeline Ball, from THE COMMITMENTS), even, of course, his job. Obviously, we're not supposed to like Cahill, but like Inspector Kenny, we develop a sneaking admiration for him just the same(if there's a flaw, it's we see Kenny sinking to the level of Cahill once by punching him out, but we don't see the character arc there).

Boorman is obviously a great visual director(much has been made of the black-and-white photography - too much, in my humble opinion - while not enough has been made of his use of quick fades, which lend it a dreamlike quality), but he needs a good story to engage him. When he doesn't have it, like in BEYOND RANGOON or - sad to say, for me for the most part - DELIVERANCE, it's all empty. When he does have it, like in POINT BLANK or HOPE AND GLORY, it's engaging and compelling, and he has a great story here(isn't it funny that while he's know for his visual work, his best films, like this and HOPE AND GLORY, he also wrote?). A terrific biopic.


12 of 16 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for:
?