When a field (which has been farmed by the McCabe family for generations) goes up for auction, the patriarch of the McCabe family will stop at nothing to prevent a rich American from buying it.


Jim Sheridan


Jim Sheridan (screenplay), John B. Keane (play)
Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 3 nominations. See more awards »





Cast overview, first billed only:
Richard Harris ... 'Bull' McCabe
Sean Bean ... Tadgh McCabe
Frances Tomelty ... Widow
Brenda Fricker ... Maggie McCabe
John Hurt ... Bird' O'Donnell
Ruth McCabe ... Tinker Woman
Jer O'Leary ... Tinker Girl's Father
Noel O'Donovan Noel O'Donovan ... Tomás
John Cowley John Cowley ... Flanagan
Ronan Wilmot ... Tinker
Jenny Conroy Jenny Conroy ... Katie - The Tinker Girl
Joan Sheehy Joan Sheehy ... 2nd Tinker Woman
Sean McGinley ... Father Chris Doran
Malachy McCourt ... Sergeant
Frank McDonald Frank McDonald ... Quarryman


"Bull" McCabe's family has farmed a field for generations, sacrificing endlessly for the sake of the land, and when the widow, who owns the field, decides to sell the field in a public auction, McCabe knows that he must own it. But while no one in the village would dare bid against him, an American with deep pockets decides that he needs the field to build a highway. The Bull and his son decide to convince the American to give up bidding on the field, but things go horribly wrong. Written by Kathy Li

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


It owns him. It possesses him. It could even destroy him. See more »


Drama | Thriller


PG-13 | See all certifications »

Did You Know?


Eamon Keane, who played Dan Paddy Andy (Matchmaker) in this movie, was John B. Keane's brother. Keane was the man who wrote the source stage play "The Field" (1965), which was eventually made into this movie. See more »


During the opening scene when the donkey is thrown off the cliff, as it hits the water its legs collapse into it. This shows that the donkey was a stuffed animal. See more »


"Bull" McCabe: She's a woman like your mother. If we knew how to keep the women happy we'd still be in paradise.
See more »


Featured in The 63rd Annual Academy Awards (1991) See more »

User Reviews

Stubborn Irishman's love of the land destroys his soul...
6 March 2007 | by DoylenfSee all my reviews

A more simplistic view of the Irishmen and their love of the land was voiced by Gerald O'Hara in GONE WITH THE WIND: "Land is the only thing worth fighting for, worth dying for." And that is precisely what the theme of THE FIELD is, with RICHARD HARRIS giving a towering performance as "Bull" McCabe, who believes with all his heart that the land he covets cannot be taken away from him by anyone else, least of all an American he calls "the Yank" (TOM BERENGER in an underwritten role).

Irish traditions and landscapes are beautifully captured by the camera in this picturesque tale, a grim tragedy that plays out like a twisted morality tale with the viewer hating what McCabe does with his strong beliefs, tainted by false values and his own uncompromising ways.

As impressive as Harris is, JOHN HURT overplays his dimwitted brother to the point where his role seems like a parody of a clumsy character. SEAN BEAN is wonderfully restrained as the brother who is uneasy with his father's strong prejudices and beliefs and would rather not fight Berenger over a piece of land.

The tale becomes a Greek tragedy once Harris allows his passionate love of the land to overcome all reason. The parish priest tells his stoic villagers that such love of the soil can destroy the soil and that's what happens here.

There are some brilliant moments including the savagely staged fight scene by the sea on a misty night, but the story (based on a play) never quite achieves a meaningful conclusion with its very downbeat ending.

Realism of most of the performances is unquestionable, but the main reason for seeing it has to be Richard Harris' unforgettable performance as an Irishman who lets "the field" destroy his reasoning to the point of madness.

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Frequently Asked Questions

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Release Date:

March 1991 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Field See more »

Filming Locations:

County Galway, Ireland See more »


Box Office


IEP5,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$27,948, 25 December 1990

Gross USA:


Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Dolby Stereo



Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »

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