The Wind That Shakes the Barley (2006)

Not Rated  |   |  Drama, History, War  |  23 March 2007 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.5/10 from 35,146 users   Metascore: 82/100
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Against the backdrop of the Irish War of Independence, two brothers fight a guerrilla war against British forces.



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6 wins & 23 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Teddy (as Pádraic Delaney)
Mary O'Riordan ...
Peggy (as Mary Riordan)
Laurence Barry ...
Damien Kearney ...
Frank Bourke ...
Myles Horgan ...
Martin Lucey ...
Shane Casey ...
John Crean ...
Máirtín de Cógáin ...
Sean (as Mairtin de Cogain)


In 1920, rural Ireland is the vicious battlefield of republican rebels against the British security forces and Irish Unionist population who oppose them, a recipe for mutual cruelty. Medical graduate Damien O'Donovan always gave priority to his socialist ideals and simply helping people in need. Just when he's leaving Ireland to work in a highly reputed London hospital, witnessing gross abuse of commoners changes his mind. he returns and joins the local IRA brigade, commanded by his brother Teddy, and adopts the merciless logic of civil war, while Teddy mellows by experiencing first-hand endless suffering. When IRA leaders negotiate an autonomous Free State under the British crown, Teddy defends the pragmatic best possible deal at this stage. Damien however joins the large seceding faction which holds nothing less than a socialist republic will do. The result is another civil war, bloodily opposing former Irish comrades in arms, even the brothers. Written by KGF Vissers

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Winner of the PALME D'OR at the 2006 Cannes Film Festival.


Drama | History | War


Not Rated | See all certifications »

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Release Date:

23 March 2007 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

El viento que acaricia el prado  »

Box Office

Opening Weekend:

£390,720 (UK) (23 June 2006)


$1,829,142 (USA) (6 July 2007)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?


In the cinema scene, the man at the piano is Neil Brand, one of Britain's leading silent cinema accompanists, who in 2006 featured significantly as a composer and accompanist in the BBC television series "Paul Merton's Silent Clowns". See more »


The priest says "in nomine patris... et spiritus sanctus". The correct genitive is "sancti". A priest would not make this error. See more »


Damien: I tried not to get into this war, and did, now I try to get out, and can't.
See more »


Featured in Siskel & Ebert: Episode dated 17 March 2007 (2007) See more »


The Doon Reel
Arranged by the performers
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

Historically accurate Visually stunning
17 June 2006 | by (Cork, Ireland) – See all my reviews

I saw this film at a private screening and found it difficult yet beautiful to watch. I have a personal history with the subject matter as I come from a family from both sides of the political divide in Ireland. A stigma that exists to this day but is reflected so profoundly with this film. Ken Loach's direction is crisp and perfect. The performances are, each and every one, incredibly believable and achingly visceral in the depiction of the conflicts of civil war. Cillian Murphy is wonderful and quite possibly the best Irish actor ever. Pádraic Delaney as his brother and enemy takes the role and makes it one of the best male performances I've seen. It is rare when a film allows you to understand both sides of a violent divide so clearly. The Wind that Shakes the Barley does this with blinding perfection. This film is a template for what film makers can achieve with a small budget, dedicated performers and a timeless topic.

Some who find this so provocative need to look further into their own loyalties to determine why the truth bothers them so much. Those who feel this to be Republican propaganda, ( and for you Americans I mean Irish Republican ), need, seriously, to investigate their own history. It doesn't surprise me that so many British people know nothing of their countries colonizing tactics in Ireland and elsewhere in the world. Six counties of Ireland still remain under British control. The sacrifices made 80 years ago still resonate today but the Republic of Ireland is now the third richest country in Europe. The question still debated is Was it Worth it? The question we ask is how's Scotland and Wales doing?

138 of 196 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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