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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:

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

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

The movie shows the raid on the jewelry manufacturers Thomas O'Connor and Sons in Harold's Cross, Dublin, which took place July 27th, 1983. The raiders use a Volkswagen T4 Transporter in the movie that wasn't in production in 1983 - this model was introduced onto the market in 1991. See more »

Quotes

Martin Cahill: [to Gary, who just admitted to having sex with his own daughter] You're a prick. Criminals don't molest kids. Leave that to the priests will ya?
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

Excellent movie, well acted but perhaps which serves perhaps to glorify an otherwise utterly contemptable character
7 May 1999 | by elkringoSee all my reviews

In terms of acting, direction and entertainment value, the general certainly delivers. Its is well paced, humorous and the performances of all the main actors, in particular Brendan Gleeson and Jon Voight, are excellent. I'm not sure why the film is shot in black and white, I don't think this adds particularly to the film.

My one reservation about the film is the portrayal of the main character, Martin Cahill, whom I think is overly glamorised. I remember before Cahills death his exploits as I saw them in the newspapers and television, and from the many stories which circulated around Dublin at that time of his criminal activity. This was no latter day Robin Hood. He was an unusually successful thief, no doubt, but with none of the charitable spirit. He was also extremely cruel, at one time breaking into the home of a social welfare officer and torturing him for hours simply because he had refused Cahill welfare payments.

I would recommend people to see this film, but at all times remember that the man it portrays was no one to be admired, but an example of the most vile thugs that Ireland has had the shame to produce in recent years. But then they say, "The devil has the best tales".


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