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The Guard (2011)

R  |   |  Comedy, Crime, Thriller  |  7 July 2011 (Ireland)
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Ratings: 7.3/10 from 61,083 users   Metascore: 78/100
Reviews: 132 user | 257 critic | 29 from Metacritic.com

An unorthodox Irish policeman with a confrontational personality is partnered with an up-tight F.B.I. agent to investigate an international drug-smuggling ring.

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Nominated for 1 Golden Globe. Another 14 wins & 25 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Ronan Collins ...
Young Man in Car
Paraic Nialand ...
Young Man in Car
John Patrick Beirne ...
Young Man in Car
Liam O'Conghaile ...
Young Man in Car
Christopher Kilmartin ...
Young Man in Car
Aidan McBride
Declan Mannlen ...
James McCormick (as Declan Mannion)
Michael Og Lane ...
Eugene Moloney (as Mícheál Óg Lane)
Francis Sheehy-Skeffington
Billy Devaney
Eileen Boyle
Wale Ojo ...
Doctor Oleyuwo


Sergeant Gerry Boyle is a small-town Irish cop with a confrontational personality, a subversive sense of humor, a dying mother, a fondness for prostitutes, and absolutely no interest whatsoever in the international cocaine-smuggling ring that has brought straight-laced FBI agent Wendell Everett to his door. Written by Element Pictures

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


The FBI are about to discover that things work a little different around here.


Comedy | Crime | Thriller

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for pervasive language, some violence, drug material and sexual content | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:



Official Sites:

| |  »




Release Date:

7 July 2011 (Ireland)  »

Also Known As:

El irlandés  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office


$6,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$76,834 (USA) (29 July 2011)


$5,359,774 (USA) (3 February 2012)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Boyle states that he was 4th in the 1988 Olympics in Seoul, in 1500m freestyle swimming. In the end of the movie Everett says that it's not true, and the photographer kid replies: 'It's easy to look up'. In the 1988 Olympics the 4th place in this event was won by an American named Matt Cetlinski. The other contestants mentioned were real: two Germans won the 2nd and 3rd place (Stefan Pfeiffer and Uwe Dassler respectively), while the 1st place was won by the Soviet Vladimir Salnikov. See more »


When swimming in the sea Gerry has no gloves and cold red hands. On emerging from the sea to greet Wendell he is wearing wet suit gloves. See more »


Sergeant Gerry Boyle: I thought only black lads were drug dealers?
See more »


Featured in Great Movie Mistakes IV (2012) See more »


Leaving on a Jet Plane
Written by John Denver
Performed by John Denver
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Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

Character-driven, raucously thrilling crime comedy

Screenplay writer John Michael McDonagh's directorial debut, "The Guard" (2011) is really a fine movie, relying the least on the originality of its story, describing criminal proceedings of the group of cocaine drug-smugglers and their interaction with local police, set against the backdrop of small-town western Ireland, however, filled with crackling good dialogue, sparkling with wisecracks, accompanied with nice scenery and pleasant, unobtrusive music. But, what makes it the best is its protagonists' performances.

Brendan Gleeson is usually natural, making the character he plays fit like a glove—whether the robust and humorous loyal buddy and the warrior, as in "Braveheart" (1995), or a quiet and subdued aspiring politician, as in "Gangs of New York" (2002), or a non-supportive father, civil war volunteer-turned-deserter, as in "Cold Mountain" (2003), whether the gentle, mentoring, culture-exploring hit man in hiding, as in "In Bruges" (2008), or on the other side of the law, the grouchy police sergeant with defiant, often dissident sense of humour (provocative in one-liners like "being FBI, don't you prefer to fight unarmed women and children…"), as in this movie--and Don Cheadle, in the role of FBI agent Wendell Everett, a bit in the shade of Gleeson's Gerry Boyle, but nevertheless, sufficiently competitive ("Langley is CIA, I'm FBI…"), neat and convincing in his performance as always. (I admit to have a soft spot for this actor since his impressive role of the manager of Kigali Mille Collines hotel in the movie "Hotel Rwanda" (2004), the very same hotel I have been frequenting for two months in 1995, just a year later to tragic events described in the movie.)

To a pretty frequent movie goer like myself, who hasn't seen a single en par (or better?) leading actor in this year that is rapidly advancing towards its end, it is hard to believe that very many better acting performances could be demonstrated in the remaining two months or so. Therefore, if Brendan Gleeson does not find himself at least among top nominees for any yearly awarded film prize, I'll have a problem finding such decisions just.

As a marginal note, I was lucky to watch this movie back home in my motherland, because having it subtitled was very helpful in order not to miss any of sergeant Boyle's wisecracks, delivered often in heavy Irish accent, and to understand at all occasional lines, uttered by marginal characters, spoken completely in Gaelic. Of course, point was not to be understood by English native speakers, but it was still interesting to know what usual "advices" (if not insults) were given to English speakers, though eventually not English (as FBI agent!) at all. As Irish colleague of mine once said… "We don't sing songs in Gaelic so English people cannot understand how badly we talk about them, they know it already! We sing in Gaelic simply because that's our traditional language (N.B. official whatsoever), and songs sound much better and sweeter in it."

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