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The Guard (2011)

R  |   |  Comedy, Crime, Thriller  |  7 July 2011 (Ireland)
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Ratings: 7.3/10 from 60,125 users   Metascore: 78/100
Reviews: 130 user | 257 critic | 29 from

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?


Liam Cunningham starred in the directorial debut of John Michael McDonagh. See more »


(00:03:30) When Sergeant Gerry Boyle is first meeting Garda Aidan McBride at the murder scene, he stops his police car while the windshield wipers are up. In the immediate next shoot they are down. See more »


Garda Aidan McBride: [Sergent Boyle is stroking the crotch of the dead victim] I don't think that's appropriate.
Sergeant Gerry Boyle: Why don't you fuck off to America with your appropriate, fuckin' Barrack Obama.
See more »


References  (1963) See more »


Everything Happens To Me
Written by Matt Dennis and Tom Adair
Performed by Chet Baker
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

Either Smart or Stupid
14 August 2011 | by (Dallas, Texas) – See all my reviews

Greetings again from the darkness. Writer/Director John Michael McDonagh is the brother of Martin McDonagh, who brought us the excellent In Bruges (which also starred Brendan Gleeson). I figured it best to say that upfront because there is no way to avoid comparisons of the two films. Clearly these men grew up in the same house and were trained in a brilliant method of writing dialogue.

Brendan Gleeson delivers a powerful and hilarious performance as a local cop (Garda) in rural Ireland. His Sgt Gerry Boyle is quite an enigma - he gets along great with locals, yet struggles to fit into society. This is never more apparent than when FBI Agent Wendell Everett (Don Cheadle) hits town on a drug smuggling investigation. The key to their relationship is crystallized at the moment an exasperated Agent Everett says to Boyle, 'I can't tell if you are really smart or really dumb'. Of course, I am paraphrasing because the F-word gets literally worn out in this movie. There aren't many lines I can actually quote in print. But the word rolls off Gleeson's tongue as if it's a work of art ... especially in conversation with his ailing mother, played well by the always terrific Fionnula Flanagan.

The international drug smugglers being chased are a trio led by Liam Cunningham and the always interesting Mark Strong. The endless rips, insults and jokes are fired rapidly at Americans, Brits and anyone unfortunate enough to hail from Dublin. Boyle uses his Irish background as a crutch for his racism and insensitivity. But he leaves no doubt about his expertise as a cop. Heck he even recognizes the importance of some 9 year old kid riding around on a pink bicycle. That's just another example of the off-center approach to story telling offered by McDonagh.

If you are a fan of In Bruges, Snatch, or Lock Stock and Two Smoking Barrels, I think you will enjoy this one. It falls just short of that level, but not by much. Gleeson is outstanding and the story is simple enough, yet with plenty of twist, turns and hilarity.

47 of 59 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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