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The Boxer (1997)

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Young Danny Flynn is released from prison after 14 years after "taking the rap" for the IRA and tries to rebuild his life in his old Belfast neighborhood.

Director:

Jim Sheridan
Nominated for 3 Golden Globes. Another 3 wins & 3 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Daniel Day-Lewis ... Danny Flynn
Daragh Donnelly Daragh Donnelly ... Prison Officer
Frank Coughlan Frank Coughlan ... Prison Officer
Sean Kearns Sean Kearns ... Prison Officer
Lorraine Pilkington Lorraine Pilkington ... Bride
Niall Shanahan Niall Shanahan ... Groom
John Wall John Wall ... Priest (as Father John Wall)
Maria McDermottroe Maria McDermottroe ... Betty
Carol Moore ... Wedding Guest (as Carol Scanlan)
Kate Perry Kate Perry ... Wedding Guest
Andrea Irvine Andrea Irvine ... Wedding Guest
Joan McGarry Joan McGarry ... Wedding Guest
Theresa McComb Theresa McComb ... Wedding Guest
Catherine Dunne Catherine Dunne ... Wedding Guest
Kerrie Duggan Kerrie Duggan ... Wedding Guest
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Storyline

Nineteen-year-old Danny Flynn is imprisoned for his involvement with the I.R.A. in Belfast. He leaves behind his family and his sixteen-year-old girlfriend, Maggie Hamill. Fourteen years later, Danny is released from prison and returns to his old working class neighborhood to resume his life as a boxer, fighting and opening a boxing club training aspiring boxers. Maggie has since married Danny's best friend, who is also imprisoned for his I.R.A. activities. Although he has not denounced the I.R.A. or denigrated his I.R.A. colleagues, Danny has decided to live a life free of political violence. His boxing club is nonsectarian, open to both Catholics and Protestants. This move irks some of his old I.R.A. colleagues since they feel working with the Protestants will not resolve their David versus Goliath struggle. Danny's old I.R.A. colleagues, especially their unofficial leader Harry, resort to traditional tactics of violence to stop Danny. Maggie's father, Joe, also an I.R.A. activist, ... Written by Artemis-9

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Love is always worth fighting for.

Genres:

Drama | Romance | Sport

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for language and some violence | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Official Sites:

Universal

Country:

USA | Ireland

Language:

English

Release Date:

9 January 1998 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Bokser See more »

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Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$129,915, 4 January 1998, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$5,799,672, 15 February 1998

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$5,400,000, 8 March 1998
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

DTS | SDDS | DTS-Stereo

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Although set in Belfast, the film was almost exclusively shot in the run-down docklands and Sheriff Street area of Dublin's North Inner City. The flat complex used in the film was earmarked for demolition but this was postponed until filming was completed. Since then the entire area has been redeveloped and now contains several multinational company headquarters, a college, hotels, up-market restaurants, a rail station and million dollar apartments. See more »

Goofs

In one of the early scenes when Danny meets and talks to Maggie, she slaps him on the lefts side of his face. It was a very weak slap yet he gets a bad nose-bleed - from the right nostril. In the boxing sequences when his face is pummeled, there is less blood. See more »

Quotes

Danny: [to Maggie] Give us a hug. You're a dangerous fuckin' woman!
See more »

Connections

Referenced in V.I.P.: Raging Val (1999) See more »

Soundtracks

THE SHAKE
Written by Anthony Srock & Greg Lucas
Performed by Final Cut
Courtesy of WINDSWEPT PACIFIC ENTERTAINMENT CO.
See more »

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User Reviews

Accurate in tone even if it is rather patronising in its simplicity
13 February 2005 | by bob the mooSee all my reviews

After fourteen years in prison for terrorist activities, Danny Flynn is released and returns to his community. Having blanked the IRA members in the jail with him Danny is not very popular but, since he didn't name names, is allowed to live when he comes out. Looking to get past the violence that stole over a decade of his life, Danny reopens his former boxing gym within a local community centre so that he can give the youth of the area something other than hatred and violence. However the discovery of Semtex in the community centre and his insistence that the gym is a non-sectarian venue brings him into direct conflict with the local members of the army council of Sinn Fein/IRA.

Perhaps I should not have watched this film today but it has been sitting on my "to watch" list for ages and I finally got round to it. You say, today the IRA issued a statement saying that the British and Irish governments "should not underestimate the seriousness of the situation" – the situation being them refusing to give up guns now that the police, the Irish government and the British government all believe that the IRA (while on ceasefire and supposedly pursuing peace) carried out the biggest robbery of recent memory in Christmas 2004. Now I do not know for sure whether they did or not but I do believe that all terrorist groups (and the political parties that represent them) should be ejected from government given that they are all (Republican and Loyalist) still involved in violence, beatings and crime. So this film was even more impacting to me because it was released at a time when I had just left Northern Ireland to live in England and at the time peace looked possible – it is typical that the terrorist groups refuse to do anything unless it is on their terms (even a neutral would have to admit that the British government has bent over backwards to get them involved).

Anyway, perhaps this film is the perfect vehicle to watch on such a night because, unlike many films about Northern Ireland, it doesn't have a bias one way or the other, but rather looks at the "ordinary" people who try to deal with the struggle and, like many films on this subject it gets the mood right even if the material is not that hot. By "mood" or "tone" I mean that this film has little hope within it and is not for viewers who are caught up in the current US assurances that terrorism is something that is being beaten by the use of weapons. Watching it on this day I can say that the portrayal of "the people" as keen to see it all settled in a fair way with both groups of terrorists surrendering their weapons, but the whole thing is confused by those who (like today) refuse to give up the gun while still hoping to be a "proper" government. However, outside of this the material is surprisingly weak. Northern Ireland in the mid-nineties didn't quite look like this and many aspects of the story are simplified – partly to make it a easier story but partly to keep up the movie stable that parts of the IRA are actually peace-loving people who would just love to get rid of every last bullet and gun. This material is rather patronising and may annoy those who have actually lived in the conflict rather than viewed it from the mainland.

The story also involves a romance that didn't totally convince me and the usual backdrop of a man trying to get out of the situation; it isn't great but the story has enough going on to hold the attention while also showing the wider depression about the conflict. The cast try hard and they do make the film better thanks to their work. Day-Lewis is always worth a watch and, even if he is a bit self-righteous here, he is still a fine actor and his performance is better than the character he has been given. Likewise Watson seems to have been given an insight into her character that is not available to the audience via the script, however she raises the standard by her work. Cox is good but his character is impossible to buy into. Support is also good from McSorley, Fitzgerald and others.

Overall this is not a great film but it is not a bad one and I suppose Northern Ireland is a very difficult subject to tackle. The story is rather patronising at times and rather bland at others but the film does manage to get the tone right (even if the scenes are a bit OTT at times). Bush may speak with grand words but this film and today's statements from Sinn Fein/IRA show that there are no easy answers and, no matter what the will of the people is, if guns are still involved then there will never be a peace. The film captures this truth well, shame it doesn't do much else as well.


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