Spike Milligan's book about the divided Irish village of Puckoon comes to the big screen.



(screenplay), (novel) | 2 more credits »

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Cast overview, first billed only:
Dan Madigan
Dr. Goldstein
Father Rudden
Griff Rhys Jones ...
Col. Stokes
Nickolas Grace ...
B.J. Hogg ...
Sgt. McGillikuddie
Sir John Meredith
Richard Rickings ...
Alex Walker
The surveyor
Frankie McCafferty ...
Conor Mullen ...


Puckoon is a wee Irish village that gets caught up in an argument about where the border separating Northern Ireland from Ireland should be. Keen to get the matter sorted before the pubs close, a random borderline is wrestled on the map of the Emerald Isle and Puckoon gets divided as well - literally. As the barbed wire fences and Army checkpoints go up overnight, suddenly people cannot get to their outhouses or walk from one side of the street to the other. It has some advantages - everyone squeezes into the tiniest corner of the pub because it is in Northern Ireland territory where the beer is cheaper, but worst of all is the church and its graveyard. Now the newly deceased need a valid passport, renewable every year, if they want to be buried "across the border". A plan is hatched to return the newly dead back to Ireland. At the same time, a plan is hatched to smuggle explosives in coffins to Northern Ireland with, as they say, hilarious results. Written by <jbartlett2000@hotmail;com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Knowing where to draw the line




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Release Date:

4 April 2003 (Ireland)  »

Also Known As:

Határvillongások  »

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Technical Specs


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Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?


This was Richard Attenborough's final acting role before his death on August 24, 2014 at the age of 90. See more »


Writer-Director: Madigan always suffered from his legs. During the Great War, while his mind was full of heroisms under fire, his legs were carrying the idea, at speed, in the opposite direction.
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Crazy Credits

The above Cast list was random... like most Borders! See more »


Danny Boy
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User Reviews

A must see for fans of Spike Milligan's book -it's one of those films that I could watch over and over
8 September 2002 | by See all my reviews

This film is a must see for fans of the book and Milliganesque humour. I think the best thing about it is that the film works as a stand alone film in itself, irrespective of the book. It must have been very difficult to pull all the various scenes and diversions in the book together into one cohesive film.

All your favourite characters and scenes are in, and a great deal of the dialogue is word for word from the book, so you don't miss out on some of the characters' classic soliloquies, descriptions and chats with the author/director/viewer. The characters and setting really did appear as they did in my mind when reading the book. Off the top of my head, look out for the following classic scenes and dialogue from the book:

  • Madigan talking to the camera ('author' in the book) about his
legs, his wife, retreating not running away etc..
  • The owner of the Holy Drunkard pub describing his wedding
  • Drawing the line to decide the border
  • Rafferty
  • Moving coffins to and fro across the border
  • two brothers smoking the same fag
  • the soldiers waiting for a train to show up
  • and lots, lots more!

Sean Hughes is great as Madigan (changed from Milligan in the book), .... Gryff Rhys Jones is head of the border patrols, Ronnie Drew of the Dubliners has a cameo role, Richard Attenborough plays the 'author', and one of the Macgann brothers is in it as well. For me, it's one of those films that I could watch over and over again as there are so many funny lines and scenes - bit like rewatching Life of Brian.

4 of 6 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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