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The Butcher Boy (1997)

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


Neil Jordan


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





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 ... Father Dom
Ian Hart ... Uncle Alo
Anne O'Neill Anne O'Neill ... Mrs. McGlone


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. When Francie's world turns to madness, he tries to counter it with further insanity, with dire consequences. Written by yusufpiskin

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


This little piggy laughed all the way home!


Comedy | Drama

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for language and violence | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »

Did You Know?


Neil Jordan told The Irish Independent that he had thought of "casting" Marilyn Monroe as the Virgin Mary via the technology used in "Forrest Gump", but dropped the idea when he realized it would have been too-expensive. See more »


Narrator: [voice over, Frankie sees a statue of Our Lady in a grotto] Oh fuck, oh Mother of Jesus.
Adult Francie Brady: Hello, stranger.
Our Lady: How are you, Francie?
Adult Francie Brady: Haven't seen you for a power of years.
Our Lady: It's not that I haven't been thinking of you, Francie.
Adult Francie Brady: What are you doing, missus, still talking to the likes of me?
Our Lady: God loves every one of us, Francie. But you know something, Francie? He has a very special place in his heart for you.
Adult Francie Brady: Oh no, missus, you'll have to stop this appearing and disappearing crack or they'll put me back in there.
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Referenced in The General (1998) See more »


Never Do a Tango with an Eskimo
Written by Tommie Connor
© 1955 Peer Music (UK) Ltd.
See more »

User Reviews

An odd little gem of a film
18 February 2006 | by TBJCSKCNRRQTreviewsSee all my reviews

I'd be lying if I claimed that the original reason I saw this wasn't anything as simple and basic as curiosity... the plot simply sounds so bizarre that one can't help but wonder about the movie itself. The movie is a wonderful mix of surrealism, drama and black comedy. As another reviewer points out, the accents may make the dialog a little hard to make out... I was fortunate enough to have subtitles(as any Dane will tell you, we get subtitles on everything that is presented to us on a screen), but I think most anyone who has a good enough grasp on the English language(and a good ear wouldn't hurt) will be able to understand, at the very least, enough of it to follow what's going on. The film is quite disturbing... it's told by a psychotic, and everything is seen from his point of view, making the line between truth and fantasy blur. The narrative is impressive, underplaying some scenes to great effect. The plot is interesting. The pacing is a tad uneven... while most of the film moves as it should, not too fast nor too slow, there are parts where it seems to come to a complete halt. Luckily, these parts are few and far between. The characters are well-written and credible. They are also all competently portrayed. The acting... wow. What can I say? Eamonn Owens is nothing short of an artist. As you watch the film(which I hope you will), observe his eyes... look into them, as he looks around menacingly, and tell me that you don't feel fear. Pure fear. One is reminded of Donald Pleasence's marvelous monologue about Michael Myers' eyes(in Halloween, for the uninitiated). That stare... if I ever met Owens in real life, I doubt I'd dare look him in the eye. Even more impressively, this was his debut performance. I'll have to watch more of his movies, to see if he can pull off other roles as well, but he certainly nailed this one. Stephen Rea was great... I've seen him in nothing else, but I could recognize his face from the trailers for V for Vendetta, a movie I'm looking forward to(even more now that I know he will grace the film with what is sure to be just as astounding a performance as he gave here), even though I'm sure it won't live up to Alan Moore's graphic novel. Sinéad O'Connor was a blast(and seemed to be having one, as well) as Our Lady. I haven't been able to find out who portrayed the main character as an adult, but let me tell you, his voice acting is grand. The narration definitely adds to the film, both in use and in acting. The writing is great. The whole film is highly entertaining and very poignant. This should be seen by just about anyone who can live with(and more importantly, understand) the language and take the disturbing nature of the film. I recommend this to anyone who is afraid of neither accents nor the disturbing images contained herein. Very funny and quite unsettling. 8/10

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USA | Ireland



Release Date:

20 February 1998 (Ireland) See more »

Also Known As:

The Butcher Boy See more »


Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$135,606, 5 April 1998

Gross USA:


Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

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Company Credits

Production Co:

Geffen Pictures See more »
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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

DTS | Dolby Digital (5.1 surround)| SDDS



Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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