Five Minutes of Heaven (2009)

R  |   |  Drama  |  27 February 2009 (Ireland)
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Ratings: 6.7/10 from 10,336 users   Metascore: 62/100
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The story of former UVF member Alistair Little. Twenty-five years after Little killed Joe Griffen's brother, the media arrange an auspicious meeting between the two.


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8 wins & 10 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Young Alistair: 1975 (as Mark Davison)
Diarmuid Noyes ...
Mathew McElhinney ...
Kevin O'Neill ...
Gerard Jordan ...
Paula McFetridge ...
Gerry Doherty ...
Luke O'Reilly ...
Luke McEvoy ...
Aoibheann Biddle ...
Ruth Matthewson ...


In February, 1975, in Northern Ireland, seventeen year-old UVF member Alistair Little kills the catholic Jimmy Griffin in his house in Lurgan in front of his younger brother Joe Griffin. Alistair is arrested and imprisoned for twelve years while Joe is blamed by his mother for not saving his brother. Thirty-three years later, a TV promotes the meeting of Alistair and Joe in a house in River Finn, expecting the truth and the reconciliation of the murderer and the victim who actually seeks five minutes of heaven. Written by Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


To face the future, they must face the past.



Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for language and some violence | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:






Release Date:

27 February 2009 (Ireland)  »

Also Known As:

Cinco minutos de gloria  »

Box Office

Opening Weekend:

$5,364 (USA) (21 August 2009)


$13,217 (USA) (28 August 2009)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


| (archive footage)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


The little boy he delivers the note from Liam Neeson's character was named "Liam." See more »


The car which takes Griffin to the shooting location changes color from black to silver and back. You can see this when they stop on the highway,and Griffin gets back in the car and closes the door the side of the car is silver. Also, the mirror of the car is silver when it should be black. See more »


Alistair Little: Time will heal they say... what everybody says about everything. The years just get heavier. Why don't they tell you that? Nobody tells you that!
See more »


References Jaws (1975) See more »


A Glass of Champagne
Written by Georg Kajanus
Performed by Sailor
Courtesy of Sony BMG Records
Under license by Sashay Music & Warner Chappell Music Publishing
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

Strong, simple, sometimes even slow, but never irrelevant, and some great acting
6 August 2012 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Five Minutes of Heaven (2009)

I have a confession--when the movie started I thought, okay, another pro-IRA movie with a heart. And it's not--it's a beautifully balanced movie about the personal horrors of the Northern Ireland bloodshed and the longterm aftermath as participants struggle to keep going.

The two main actors are both from Northern Ireland. Liam Neeson plays a Protestant who as a teenage killed a Catholic worker as part of the tit-for-tat violence of the time. James Nesbitt, a Roman Catholic, plays the brother of the man who was killed, and as a witness to the crime he holds a deep grudge about the murder. And in a key act of political insight, the actors were born on the opposite sides--Neeson was raised Catholic and Nesbitt raised Protestant.

The theme of the film is reconciliation in the mold of South African leader Nelson Mandela. The core of the movie is shot in a fancy Irish mansion where television crews are going to watch as the two men, mortal enemies decades before, make an effort to somehow move on, in public, on t.v.

How it goes is for you to see. The murder in the 1970s is fact, easy enough to believe, and the meeting of the men is fiction. Nesbitt is utterly terrific. You might think he's overacting (he is, of course, overacting) but it's appropriate, and gives this non-action film some intensity. Neeson is strong in his restraint and in the one main scene where he gives a well-written speech about how to understand these horrors he is also terrific.

The filming is extremely simple and in fact the whole scenario is relatively linear, even with all the flashbacks. There are some turns to the events by the last half hour, and in a way this is both the dramatic high and the disappointing low of the film (it resorts to somewhat corny and not quite smartly filmed sequences I won't elaborate). But overall the point is so strong and well meant it's hard to worry too much about whether it's a masterpiece.

It's not. It's sometimes slow, it says stuff we probably have absorbed pretty well by now, and it isn't very complex. But what it does do it does with compassion and conviction.

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

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This movie sucked and was not what I expected RaincoatKiller
Nesbitt is brilliant jijineiro
out the window scene Beano1
Similar movies ? jellehaemels
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Saw the premier at Sundance. WOW! McConkeysbowl
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