7.2/10
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68 user 59 critic

The Butcher Boy (1997)

The antisocial son of an alcoholic father and a bipolar mother grows up in 1960s Ireland.

Director:

Neil Jordan

Writers:

Pat McCabe (novel) (as Patrick McCabe), Neil Jordan (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
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10 wins & 11 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Eamonn Owens ... Francie Brady
Sean McGinley ... Sergeant
Peter Gowen ... Leddy
Alan Boyle Alan Boyle ... Joe Purcell
Andrew Fullerton Andrew Fullerton ... Phillip Nugent
Fiona Shaw ... Mrs. Nugent
Aisling O'Sullivan Aisling O'Sullivan ... Ma Brady
Stephen Rea ... Da Brady
John Kavanagh ... Dr. Boyd
Rosaleen Linehan Rosaleen Linehan ... Mrs. Canning
Anita Reeves Anita Reeves ... Mrs. Coyle
Gina Moxley Gina Moxley ... Mary
Niall Buggy Niall Buggy ... Father Dom
Ian Hart ... Uncle Alo
Anne O'Neill Anne O'Neill ... Mrs. McGlone
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Storyline

Francie and Joe live the usual playful, fantasy filled childhoods of normal boys. However, with a violent, alcoholic father and a manic depressive, suicidal mother the pressure on Francie to grow up are immense. Unfortunately, one tragedy after another, Francie's world sinks deeper and deeper into paranoia (directed mainly against Mrs. Nugent, a nasty neighbor) and fantasy (where he has visions of the Virgin Mary). Written by Mark Smith <msmith@osi.co.uk>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

This little piggy laughed all the way home!

Genres:

Comedy | Drama

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for language and violence | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA | Ireland

Language:

English

Release Date:

20 February 1998 (Ireland) See more »

Also Known As:

A kis véreskezű See more »

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Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$135,606, 5 April 1998, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$1,822,193, 7 June 1998
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Geffen Pictures See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

DTS | Dolby Digital (5.1 surround)| SDDS

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

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

Trivia

The movie reunites director Neil Jordan with many actors who had appeared in his previous film Michael Collins (1996): Stephen Rea, Ian Hart, Jer O'Leary, Brendan Gleeson, Sean McGinley, Gerard McSorley, Stuart Graham, Aisling O'Sullivan, Paraic Breathnach and Vinnie McCabe; Sinéad O'Connor acts in this film while in Collins she provided with soundtrack songs. See more »

Quotes

Narrator: [voice over] Excuse me, moon, have you got something to say or are you saying the rosary too?
See more »

Connections

Referenced in The General (1998) See more »

Soundtracks

Where Are You?
Written by Jimmy McHugh / Harold Adamson
EMI United Partnership Ltd.
Performed by Frank Sinatra
Courtesy of Capitol Records
Under license from EMI-Capitol Music Special Markets
See more »

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User Reviews

Lurid And Exuberant
15 November 1998 | by Steve-176See all my reviews

The Butcher Boy is exuberant, funny and horrific. It's passionate and inventive and unforgettable. The Butcher Boy was directed by Irishman Neil Jordan who's previous films are impressive. They include The Crying Game, Mona Lisa, Interview With A Vampire, and Michael Collins.

The Butcher Boy is based on a novel by Patrick McCabe who also co-wrote the screen play. I'm very pleased to relate that The Butcher Boy isn't based on a true story!!! I sure hope it isn't anyway.

The Butcher Boy is about a lad who commits a horrific murder in a rural Irish town. But the film certainly isn't solemn. Jordan has enlivened an essentially gory tale with a touch of inventive, sometimes humorous magic realism (a bewigged Sinead O'Connor plays The Virgin Mary). Jordan is also blessed by having available a wonderfully gifted leading actor.

Fifteen year old Eamonn Owens, a schoolboy in real life from near where The Butcher Boy was shot, plays 12 year old Francie Brady. Francie finds himself betrayed. His dad (Stephen Rea) is a drunk, his Ma (Aisling O'Sullivan) is suicidal. His best friend lets him down. The township and it's institutions aren't supportive. He eventually takes his revenge.

The boy also has visions. We could say he's imaginative as children should be, but this boy is cheerfully violent as well. The Butcher Boy doesn't discuss cause and effect at all, but such is the power of the film, most viewers will wonder how such a thing could happen. Was Francie schizophrenic? Was he a psychopath. If he had had a stable loving family what might have happened?

Regardless, Eamonn Owens is just terrific as the cheerful, energetic, often very funny Francie Brady. This red headed bundle of uninhibited, unselfconscious energy has created a very memorable screen character indeed. Neil Jordan must have been tickled pink to have such a lead for his film.

Leading English stage actress Fiona Shaw plays the prissy Mrs Nugent and Irish stalwart, Milo (the eyebrows) O'Shea plays a meddlesome priest. Stephen Rea fans won't find much to celebrate since Rea doesn't do much more than look drunk, sit, and kick in a television, but that's because The Butcher Boy quite rightly revolves around the wonderful, funny and bloody Eamonn Owens. See The Butcher Boy if you can.


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