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Hunger (2008)

Not Rated | | Biography, Drama | 31 October 2008 (UK)
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Irish republican Bobby Sands leads the inmates of a Northern Irish prison in a hunger strike.


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45 wins & 32 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Laine Megaw ...
Frank McCusker ...
Lalor Roddy ...
Helen Madden ...
Des McAleer ...
Geoff Gatt ...
Rory Mullen ...
Ben Peel ...
Helena Bereen ...
Paddy Jenkins ...


Hunger follows life in the Maze Prison, Northern Ireland with an interpretation of the highly emotive events surrounding the 1981 IRA Hunger Strike, led by Bobby Sands. With an epic eye for detail, the film provides a timely exploration of what happens when body and mind are pushed to the uttermost limit. Written by Icon

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


An odyssey, in which the smallest gestures become epic and when the body is the last resource for protest. See more »


Biography | Drama


Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:







Release Date:

31 October 2008 (UK)  »

Also Known As:

Fome  »

Box Office


£1,500,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

£136,413 (UK) (31 October 2008)


$154,084 (USA) (5 June 2009)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?


The medical attendant with a mustache who takes care of Bobby Sands in the hospital has 'UDA' tattooed on his left hand. UDA stands for Ulster Defence Association, a loyalist paramilitary organization. See more »


Raymond Lohan's Ford Granada is a Mk2 Facelift, which was released in winter 1981 and would've appeared on Irish roads in 1982. See more »


Bobby Sands: I always felt that thief next to Jesus got off lightly.
Father Dominic Moran: Ah, but he recognized his sins.
Bobby Sands: Did he though?
Father Dominic Moran: Aye. Said as much.
Bobby Sands: When you're hung from a cross you're gonna say anything. Jesus offers him a seat next to his daddy in a place called paradise you're always gonna put your hand up and have a piece of that.
Father Dominic Moran: Aye. Even when it's nailed to your cross.
See more »


Referenced in Ebert Presents: At the Movies: Episode #2.20 (2011) See more »


Performed by Maya Beiser
Composed by Michael Gordon
Published by Red Poppy in association with G. Schirmir, Inc.
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

24 November 2008 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews


The H block in Belfast's Maze Prison.

This film captures the development and escalation of protest by the 'political' prisoners held here as things moved through 'The 'Blanket protest' onto 'The Dirty Protest" and finally to 'The Hunger Strikes' that claimed Bobby Sands and eight of his compatriot's lives.

As the end credits of the film show, the enemy, in the form of Margaret Thatcher was 'not for turning' and did not grant political status to these men that she considered no more than murderers. They did, however, lead to many concessions - bit by bit.

This astounding movie falls into three very clear sections; the gut wrenching blanket and dirty protest; a long and deeply personal conversation (in one 20 minute take) between Sands and his priest where Sands is asked to justify and then walk away from the impending hunger strike; and finally Sands' ordeal itself.

Each section has a different pace and personality. Each is desperate in its own way.

This film pulls few punches. The stench of human excrement is almost palpable in the opening act and the way in which Michael Fassbender brings Sands' death to the screen is almost unbearable.

But the real triumph of the film is that it takes no political sides and makes no judgements but does not sit on the fence. How? Because it invokes the viewer to do that themselves. Sands is neither a figure to pity or to vilify. It really is quite remarkable that the artist Steve McQueen can achieve this so consistently.

And this is art with a capital A. Every scene is stunningly rendered. The pace, at times snail-like, allows you consider in real detail the situation these men found themselves in (or created however you want to look at it).

Fassbender's performance is miraculous.

McQueen though, is the star of the show. One scene in particular when the men slop out by pouring their night's urine under the doors of the corridor simultaneously is quite beautiful, as is the Hirst-like art that some of them create from their excrement (that's what makes up the poster image).

Film of the year. No contest.

Incidentally we saw it in the DCA's Cinema 2. What a cracking screen.

(As we scoffed coffee and fudge doughnuts. How's that for irony?)

42 of 62 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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Best Uncomfortable movies to watch i_m_pita_and
sympathy for sands? ogiekeaney
Good movie but that conversation scene was way too long Randomember
anyone felt bad for the guards carlaisthe
Was Sands a Terrorist? faulknerfan123
Can someone explain this to me? AlexanderSupertramp
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