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The General (1998)

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The real-life story of Dublin folk hero and criminal Martin Cahill, who pulled off two daring robberies in Ireland with his team, but attracted unwanted attention from the police, the I.R.A., the U.V.F., and members of his own team.

Director:

John Boorman

Writers:

John Boorman, Paul Williams (novel)
9 wins & 14 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Brendan Gleeson ... Martin Cahill
Adrian Dunbar ... Noel Curley
Sean McGinley ... Gary
Maria Doyle Kennedy ... Frances
Angeline Ball ... Tina
Jon Voight ... Inspector Ned Kenny
Eanna MacLiam Eanna MacLiam ... Jimmy
Tom Murphy Tom Murphy ... Willie Byrne
Paul Hickey ... Anthony
Tommy O'Neill Tommy O'Neill ... Paddy
John O'Toole John O'Toole ... Shea
Ciarán Fitzgerald ... Tommy
Ned Dennehy ... Gay
Vinny Murphy Vinny Murphy ... Harry (as Vinnie Murphy)
Roxanna Nic Liam Roxanna Nic Liam ... Orla (as Roxanna Williams)
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Storyline

The real-life story of Dublin folk hero and criminal Martin Cahill, who pulled off two daring robberies in Ireland with his team, but attracted unwanted attention from the police, the I.R.A., the U.V.F., and members of his own team.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

He was a world-class criminal and a working-class hero. See more »


Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for violence and pervasive language | See all certifications »
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Details

Official Sites:

Sony Pictures Classics

Country:

UK | Ireland

Language:

English

Release Date:

18 December 1998 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

I Once Had a Life See more »

Filming Locations:

Wicklow Mountains, Ireland See more »

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Box Office

Opening Weekend:

£286,365 (United Kingdom), 31 May 1998, Limited Release

Opening Weekend USA:

$26,771, 20 December 1998, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$1,211,865, 23 May 1999
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The house of Writer and Director John Boorman was robbed by the real-life Martin Cahill. Among other things, he stole a gold record that Boorman had on the wall, which inspired Boorman to include that scene in the movie. See more »

Goofs

After the robbery of the Thomas O'Connor and Sons jewelry manufacturing plant, which occurred in 1983, the van that pulled into the garage with the stolen goods had a license plate with the number 93 D 25920. Under the Irish vehicle licensing system, the 93 at the beginning of the license plate number identifies the model year of the vehicle. There would not have been such a plate number in 1983. See more »

Quotes

Martin Cahill: We never should have bought this house. You never own things. You never own things. The things own you.
See more »

Alternate Versions

Home video version is colorized. See more »

Connections

Referenced in All Over the Guy (2001) See more »

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User Reviews

Very funny, enjoyable tale that is equal handed if a little sentimental
5 December 2002 | by bob the mooSee all my reviews

Martin Cahill is an Irish thief but is generally a well mannered man with a good sense of humour. His actions draw the attention of the police, although he always manages to stay one step ahead of them. However his life is one of crime and violence and a major art robbery brings him to be the focus of a police investigation and brings the IRA demanding a cut. When a deal is made with the UVF Cahill's position becomes increasingly untenable.

Films about the troubles (or around the troubles) in Northern Ireland usually tend to put me off because they often wear their colours very large on their sleeves and seem more interesting in scoring political points than telling a good story. However this happily manages to avoid that and tells a Robin Hood style tale that is fairly well told.

Cahill is a little romanticised in that he has a great sense of humour and is very likeable, but the film doesn't hold back from showing the violence of the life with Cahill having to do nasty stuff as well. For me it worked so well because of the gentle comedy that ran through the story, but it still held plenty of drama and the characters (especially Cahill) held my attention easily.

Gleeson gives a great performance. He has got Cahill's little habits down really well – the covering of the face at every opportunity etc. Dunbar is good as are most of the support cast. Voight is an interesting bit of casting that is only used occasionally. However it is really Gleeson's show and his good humour carries the film easily.

Overall this film is very entertaining with a dark edge to it. The story is very enjoyable itself but with the dark humour provided by Gleeson it is even better.


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