276 user 152 critic

In America (2002)

PG-13 | | Drama | 6 February 2004 (USA)
A family of Irish immigrants adjust to life on the mean streets of Hell's Kitchen while also grieving the death of a child.


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Nominated for 3 Oscars. Another 27 wins & 61 nominations. See more awards »





Cast overview, first billed only:
Emma Bolger ...
Immigration Officer #1
Immigration Officer #2
Ciaran Cronin ...
Papo (as Juan Hernandez)
Nye Heron ...
Blind Man
Jason Salkey ...
Sara James ...
Papo's Girlfriend
Bob Gallico ...
Theatre Director
Assistant Theatre Director


Following the tragic death of their five-year-old son Frankie, Irish couple Johnny and Sarah Sullivan and their remaining two offspring, 10 year old Christy Sullivan and 5 year old Ariel Sullivan, emigrate illegally to the United States via Canada with little in their pockets. Their final destination is Manhattan where Johnny hopes to work as a stage actor. They move into a unit in a run town tenement housed primarily with drug addicts, transvestites and one tenant coined "the man who screams". They do whatever they can to eke out a supportive family environment in this difficult situation, the support which ultimately extends to those around them, most specifically "the screamer" who turns out to be an African-American artist named Mateo with AIDS. But the memory of Frankie hangs over the family in good and bad ways, especially as Sarah learns she's pregnant. Christy, who records their life's goings-on with her beloved camcorder, believes that the angel of Frankie has granted her ... Written by Huggo

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis



Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for some sexuality, drug references, brief violence and language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:






| |

Release Date:

6 February 2004 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Tierra de sueños  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office

Opening Weekend:

£284,259 (UK) (31 October 2003)


$15,539,266 (USA) (4 June 2004)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?


During casting calls, director Jim Sheridan recalls that after a long day of auditions, he was very glad to have found Emma Bolger to play Ariel. He said that that little girl "told" him that he had to cast her sister Sarah Bolger as Christy. Sarah was only 10, and he had wanted Chirsty to be 12 or 13. After exhausting all other options, he auditioned Sarah for the part of Christy and she turned out to be so impressive that he didn't mind about her age. See more »


As they arrive in Manhattan, a scene shows traffic congestion, the skyline, and the sky with a crescent moon. The crescent is facing the wrong way for an evening shot. It can't be dawn because a Dow Jones crawler reads, "Stocks finish mixed on Wall Street," and the scene has gotten darker, not lighter. Looks like they flipped the film unadvisedly. Phil Plait in his Bad Astronomy blog made a similar reversed moon observation about an episode of "The Simpsons." See more »


[first lines]
Christy: [voiceover] There's some things you should wish for and some things you shouldn't. That's what my little brother Frankie told me. He told me I only had three wishes, and I looked into his eyes, and I don't know why I believed him.
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Crazy Credits

Dedicated to Frankie Sheridan See more »


References E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial (1982) See more »


Ezee Does It
Written by Robert Besdesky (as Beast) and Michael Wallace (as Michael Dwane Wallace)
Published by Extreme Music Library PLC
Courtesy of Extreme Music Library PLC
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

Three Wishes and the American Dream
13 April 2008 | by (Fraggle Rock) – See all my reviews

'In America' is an enchanting intimate portrayal of striving for the 'American dream'. Striving for a dream involves lot more than merely following the dream and this is what 'In America' is about. It is a semi-autobiographical piece as it is based on director Jim Sheridan's own life experience. Sheridan's storytelling is very personal as we see the film from the elder daughter's point of view. Incidentally, his daughters co-wrote the screenplay. The end product is a heartfelt story of love, friendship, forgiving, surviving and hope. It sounds a bit clichéd thus one must watch 'In America' to see what I mean (no, it's not a typical drama about coming to America).

What further breathes life into the movie are the powerful performances. 'In America' rests on Paddy Considine and he bravely carries the film. It is an outstanding performance and I wonder why it got little recognition while Morton and Hounsou walked away with the accolades. A sublime Samantha Morton gives a beautifully nuanced subtle performance and Djimon Hounsou is phenomenal. These two actors indeed deserved all the recognition they got for their performances. The two child actors deserve special mention as I have hardly been impressed by child actors (who I find annoying on screen most of the time). Sarah Bolger particularly does well as the elder daughter. The supporting cast are all fit for their parts.

I loved the way Sheridan portrayed the relationship within the family and their wonderful and unique friendship with Matteo. It is shown in a very intimate and real way. While a lot is happening in the front, Sheridan also shows subtle events in the background. The background score contributes to the moments. On the whole, 'In America' is a genuine story. It is breathtaking!

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