278 user 151 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) (2 November 2003)


$15,539,266 (USA) (6 June 2004)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?


Samantha Morton, who plays Sarah, was 25 years old when the movie was filmed. She is only 14 years older than Sarah Bolger, who plays eldest daughter, Christy, in the film. See more »


When talking about Christy's blood, Johnny's position changes between shots several times. 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

Special thanks to ... staff and patients at Grangegorman, Dublin, ... residents of Parnell Street, Dublin ... See more »


Referenced in The Big Picture: November 2011 (2011) See more »


Tierra del Fuego
Performed by The Longhorns
Written by Michael Sellers
Courtesy of Lovecat Records
Published by Big Tiger Music (BMI)
By Arrangement with Ocean Park Music Group
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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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