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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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After a chance encounter, a Dubliner (Gleeson) is stalked by a murderous facsimile of himself.

Director: John Boorman
Stars: Brendan Gleeson, Kim Cattrall, Ciarán Hinds
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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:

The extraordinary true story of the rise and fall of the gangster, Martin Cahill. 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

When the film was shown in theaters, it was in black-and-white, but when it aired on American cable television networks, it was shown in color. See more »

Goofs

Set in 1984, the background of the anti-drug march features a car with a license plate beginning with "96," indicating 1996. See more »

Quotes

Frances: [referring to her sister] Why do go around and see Tina? I don't mind.
See more »

Alternate Versions

Home video version is colorized. See more »

Connections

Version of Ordinary Decent Criminal (2000) 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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