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Hidden Agenda (1990)

When an American human rights lawyer is assassinated in Belfast, it remains for the man's girlfriend, as well as a tough, no nonsense, police detective to find the truth.


Ken Loach


Jim Allen
2 wins & 3 nominations. See more awards »




Credited cast:
Frances McDormand ... Ingrid Jessner
Brian Cox ... Kerrigan
Brad Dourif ... Paul Sullivan
Mai Zetterling ... Moa
Bernard Archard ... Sir Robert Neil
John Benfield ... Maxwell
Bernard Bloch Bernard Bloch ... Henri
Michelle Fairley ... Teresa Doyle
Patrick Kavanagh ... Alec Nevin
Des McAleer Des McAleer ... Sgt. Kennedy
Ian McElhinney ... Jack Cunningham
Jim Norton ... Brodie
Maurice Roëves ... Harris
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Maureen Bell Maureen Bell ... Mrs. Molloy
Stephen Brigden Stephen Brigden ... Army major


When an American human rights lawyer is assassinated in Belfast, it remains for the man's girlfriend, as well as a tough, no nonsense, police detective to find the truth... which they soon discover to be contained in an audio tape which the man had with him, exposing political manipulations at the highest levels of government. But such underlying agendas require careful considerations to avoid worse things than murder. Written by BOB STEBBINS <stebinsbob@aol.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Murder... Torture... Corruption... See more »


Drama | Thriller


R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »

Did You Know?


According to show-business trade paper 'Variety', the picture "seems inspired by the notorious Stalker case. Stalker was a top-level British police officer sent to Northern Ireland to investigate the Royal Ulster Constabulary. His eventual highly critical report was hushed up, and he resigned and went public." See more »


Kerrigan: I understand the point you're trying to make, Sir Robert. That to maintain the system, the abuse of power is sometimes necessary.
Sir Robert Neil: Yes. It allows us to enjoy the freedom of living in a free society. A price the public are prepared to pay.
Kerrigan: That's a dangerous concept.
Sir Robert Neil: But a realistic one.
See more »


Referenced in Face (1997) See more »


Joe McDonnell
Written by Brian Warfield
Re-arranged by Ron Kavana
Performed by Ron Kavana and Terry Woods
Published by Skin Music
See more »

User Reviews

The Hidden Agenda of Ken Loach
10 September 2006 | by rcou97See all my reviews

One one level, this is a good movie, with excellent acting by McDormand and Brian Cox. Cox reminds me sometimes of Brando and other times Richard Burton. In this, he is more Burton-esquire and very believable as a fair minded investigator who gets into something very deep.

It's that "something" that bothers me. Loach is a socialist who throws in a lot of leftie-conspiracy stuff as fact. Here he takes shots at Thatcher, Kissinger, the US, etc., and the documentary style of the film might let these opinions pass as fact.

Made in '90, it is a relevant look at how a democratic government should deal with terrorism. The British then were dealing with many of the issues we face now in the US.

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Release Date:

January 1991 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Hidden Agenda See more »

Filming Locations:

Northern Ireland, UK See more »


Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$49,827, 25 November 1990

Gross USA:


Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Hemdale, Initial (II) See more »
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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Dolby Stereo


Color (Eastmancolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »

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