27 user 16 critic

Borstal Boy (2000)

Not Rated | | Drama, Romance | 8 December 2000 (Ireland)
Irish writer and political activist Brendan Behan, is befriended as a teenager in a British labor camp by a liberal warden.


Peter Sheridan


Brendan Behan (book), Nye Heron | 1 more credit »
1 win & 4 nominations. See more awards »




Cast overview, first billed only:
Shawn Hatosy ... Brendan Behan
Eamon Glancy Eamon Glancy ... Manning
Ian McElhinney ... Verreker
Patricia Leventon ... Landlady
Danny Dyer ... Charlie Milwall
Dennis Conway Dennis Conway ... Holmes
John O'Toole John O'Toole ... Whitbread
Luke Hayden Luke Hayden ... Alex
Lee Ingleby ... Dale
Brian de Salvo Brian de Salvo ... Judge Goddard
Jer O'Leary ... Republican in Court
Joe Taylor Joe Taylor ... Mortimer
Eoin Slattery ... James
Mark Huberman ... Mac
Tony Coleman Tony Coleman ... Cragg


Brendan Behan, a sixteen year-old republican, is going on a bombing mission from Ireland to Liverpool during the second world war. His mission is thwarted when he is apprehended, charged and imprisoned in Borstal, a reform institution for young offenders in East Anglia, England. At Borstal, Brendan is forced to live face-to-face with those he perceived as "the enemy," a confrontation that reveals a deep inner conflict in the young Brendan and forces a self-examination that is both traumatic and revealing. Events take an unexpected turn and Brendan is thrown into a complete spin. In the emotional vortex, he finally faces up to the truth. Written by Strand Releasing <www.strandreleasing.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


In 1942, acclaimed Irish poet Brendan Behan was sent to a reform school. What he learned was that love knows no prison.


Drama | Romance


Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »

Did You Know?


The Broadway production of "Borstal Boy" based on a book by Brendan Behan and adapted for the stage by Frank McMahon opened at the Lyceum Theater in New York on March 31, 1970, ran for 143 performances and won the 1970 Tony Award for Best play. See more »


When Brendan arrives in Liverpool (which is actually London in the movie) he is passed by a London Transport Routemaster bus, a type which did not appear until 1958, though the movie is set in 1942. See more »


Liz Joyce: You will write?
Brendan Behan: What's the point?
Liz Joyce: No, not to me. Write... for everyone.
See more »


Featured in Beyond Clueless (2014) See more »

User Reviews

It has aims to be evocative and substantial, but can't come up with the goods to get it there
14 October 2006 | by moonspinner55See all my reviews

In a British labor camp for lads in 1942, youthful Irish troublemaker Shawn Hatosy (portraying Brendan Behan, upon whose remembrances the film is based) comes-of-age, sharing a bumpy but intense friendship with a gay teenager and timidly romancing a local young lady as well. Curious drama apparently made with the well-intentioned goal to show the burgeoning political activism of a determined man, and how his upbringing molded the figure he was to become, but too many of these boyhood antics are overly familiar (the playful romping on the beach which precedes a tragedy, the sneaky drinking and smoking during movie-time, the somewhat campy play which brings down the house). The acting by the handsome juveniles isn't bad (though the director tends to overdose on their aw-shucks smiles and faraway glances), Michael York--despite seeming a bit tired and distanced from the proceedings--is well-cast as the camp's director, but the point of the relationships is never made clear, the emotional center of the story seems to be missing. Obviously, Behan was not homosexual, though he did greatly admire his friend, yet the struggles of the gay teenager are hardly touched upon--he's treated more like an afterthought in the story rather than an important character--and one aches for more intimacy here, more substance. The film has an effectively washed-out look and has interesting locations, but the drama isn't gripping nor enticing because the handling is so aloof. ** from ****

10 of 15 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 27 user reviews »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.



UK | Ireland


English | Irish

Release Date:

8 December 2000 (Ireland) See more »

Also Known As:

Um Jovem Irlandês See more »

Filming Locations:

Dublin, County Dublin, Ireland


Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$11,164, 3 March 2002

Gross USA:


Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital


Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »

Contribute to This Page

Recently Viewed