21 user 23 critic

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
Learn more

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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


When a government seeks revenge...nobody is safe. See more »


Drama | Thriller


R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »

Did You Know?


The 'Six Irishmen,' mentioned by Sir Robert Neil of MI5 (with politician Alec Nevin) to Kerrigan is in reference to the 'Birmingham Six.' In 1974 the pub Tavern In The Town and Mulberry Bush, in Birmingham England, was bombed, killing 21 persons and injuring 182 people. The police picked up the nearest six Irishmen and subjected them to 'in-depth interrogation' to obtain false confessions. Patrick Hill, Gerard Hunter, Richard McIlkenny, William Power, John Walker and Hugh Callaghan all served 16 horrific years in jail until the convictions were overturned in 1991. Hugh Callaghan details his ordeal in the book, *Cruel Fate,* co-authored with Sally Mulready in 1994-1995. The movie In the Name of the Father (1993), was based on the Guildford Four, who were similarly jailed using false confessions, along with members of their extended family living in London. That's how the Brits induced Gerry Conlon, Daniel Day-Lewis' character, to confess, by throwing his father, aunts, uncles, and cousins in jail, too. Members of the Guildford Four ordeal were released in 1989 and 1991, where illegal police tactics and hidden evidence were brought to light. The appeals trials of the Guildford Four paved the way for the release of the Birmingham Six, who were in jail longer, and their pleas for appeals were ignored, and never heard until after the Guildford Four / Conlon Family convictions were finally thrown out. All of the innocent Birmingham Six and Guildford Four were still in jail at the time this movie was released. See more »


Kerrigan: Go back to America. Get out of Belfast, you're in danger here. Ingrid, it's finished.
Ingrid Jessner: Not for them, it isn't. Not for Nevin and the others. They're not going to disappear, you know they're still in place. I have a plane to catch, Mr. Kerrigan.
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

gritty political thriller
27 November 2010 | by mjneu59See all my reviews

Here's a film guaranteed to satisfy even the most demanding fan of political intrigue, following a massive conspiracy uncovered by a routine investigation into the death of an American civil liberties lawyer in Northern Ireland. Director Ken Loach makes no secret of his anti-occupation bias, but he also takes care to approach the subject with an eye for authenticity rarely seen outside the most unsparing documentary. This is strictly a no-frills thriller: tough, intelligent, complex and all too plausible, combining the best elements of a police procedural with all the compelling ambiguity of an espionage caper. The villains may be cardboard cutouts, and the conspiracy itself perhaps too deeply rooted in classic left-wing paranoia, but the real issue at stake is how otherwise honest defenders of law and order are forced to confront the truth, or not, as the case may be. Stewart Copland's unassuming music score adds just the right touch.

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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 »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Dolby Stereo


Color (Eastmancolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »

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