17 user 4 critic

The Brylcreem Boys (1998)

PG-13 | | Drama, Romance, War | 23 April 1999 (UK)
In 1941, as part of an effort to remain strictly neutral, the Dublin government made a deal with both Berlin and London whereby any soldier, sailor or pilot captured on Irish soil, whether ... See full summary »


Terence Ryan


Jamie Brown (screenplay), Susan Morrall (screenplay) | 2 more credits »




Cast overview, first billed only:
Billy Campbell ... Miles Keogh (as Bill Campbell)
Chris 'Kit' Ryan Chris 'Kit' Ryan ... Colin Parker (as Christopher Ryan)
Jean Butler Jean Butler ... Mattie Guerin
Gabriel Byrne ... Commandant O'Brien
Hal Fowler Hal Fowler ... Bunty Winthrop
Anders Jillybo Anders Jillybo ... Sten Larsen (as J. Anders Jillebo)
Alistair McLeod Alistair McLeod ... Sergeant Marshall (as Alister McLeod)
Tim Hayes ... Sergeant Walsh
Joe McGann ... Captain Deegan
Anthony Madigan Anthony Madigan ... Policeman
Conor Breen Conor Breen ... 1st Guard
Angus Macfadyen ... Rudolph von Stegenbek
B.J. Hogg B.J. Hogg ... Sean (as B J Hogg)
Trevor Nelson Trevor Nelson ... Seamus (as Colom Doherty)
Simon Butimore Simon Butimore ... Man with Cart (as Simon Buttimore)


In 1941, as part of an effort to remain strictly neutral, the Dublin government made a deal with both Berlin and London whereby any soldier, sailor or pilot captured on Irish soil, whether of German or Allied forces, would be interned for the duration of the war. What the Irish failed to tell was that they would intern everybody in the same camp. It is here that Canadian pilot Miles Keogh and German pilot Rudolph Von Stegenbeck meet after a fight in which both their planes were downed. Outside the camp, both fall in love with the same woman, an independent Irishwoman who refuses to take sides in their private little war. Written by Gerard Morvan <morvan.cyb@vdp.fr>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

pilot | irish | german | love | fight | See All (147) »


There's more to war than taking sides.


Drama | Romance | War

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for language, violence and sensuality | See all certifications »

Did You Know?


Even though addressed as Squadron Leader, Miles' rank on his sleeve is that of a Flight Lieutenant. See more »


During the radio announcement of the Pearl Harbor attack, the announcer says the US has declared war on Japan and Germany the same day of the attack, Sunday Dec. 7. The declaration actually took place the next day, 8 DEC 1941. See more »


Referenced in Drama Connections: Auf Wiedersehen, Pet (2005) See more »


She Walks Through the Fair
Performed by Jenny Howe
See more »

User Reviews

A Couple of Yanks in the RAF
22 September 2005 | by JoeytheBritSee all my reviews

The Brylcreem Boys takes as its subject matter a fascinating true situation but doesn't really seem to know what to do with it. Set in the neutral Republic of Ireland during WWII the story revolves around a group of British and German servicemen who find themselves interned in the same POW camp, separated by only a thin strip of land between two fortified fences through which they trade insults. And that's pretty much it, really. There's an unremarkable romance between a Canadian serving in the British RAF (Bill Campbell) and a comely local lass (Jean Butler), and a predictably resolved rivalry between him and German officer Count Rudolph von Stegenbek (Angus McFadyen), but for most of the movie you get the impression that the writers didn't really know what to do with the subject matter.

The basic premise would seem to lend itself to a comedy in the vein of an old Ealing production: a prison camp from which none of the allied forces wish to escape, where their pay slips are received monthly, from which they receive day-passes to visit the local race meetings, and in which the only bars are the type that serve pints of beer. The comic possibilities would seem endless but the humour here is almost non-existent, as are any elements of suspense or tension, and the writers seem to approach certain aspects that could be of interest – the effect on Stegenbek of learning that his comrades slaughtered a French farming family who shielded Keogh (Campbell) for example – only to back off once the ground work is complete. The inevitable escape attempt, when it finally arrives, is glossed over in a few scenes, and the fate of the principals announced by a voice-over. All in all, while the film has some entertainment value, it's a big disappointment. And for my money any film about British POWs that casts a couple of actors from Charlottesville, Virginia and Dallas, Texas as the lead RAF characters has irreparably compromised itself from the outset.

3 of 4 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 17 user reviews »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.






Release Date:

23 April 1999 (UK) See more »

Also Known As:

Brillantina Boys See more »

Filming Locations:

Isle of Man See more »


Box Office


$6,000,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs



See full technical specs »

Contribute to This Page

Recently Viewed