12 user 7 critic

The Outsider (1979)

A young American man joins the IRA in Ireland but soon finds out that he is being used for political purposes and propaganda.


Tony Luraschi


Colin Leinster (novel), Tony Luraschi

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Cast overview, first billed only:
Craig Wasson ... Michael Flaherty
Sterling Hayden ... Seamus Flaherty
Patricia Quinn ... Siobhan
Niall O'Brien Niall O'Brien ... Emmet Donovan
T.P. McKenna ... John Russell
Niall Toibin ... The Farmer
Frank Grimes ... Tony Coyle
Elizabeth Begley Elizabeth Begley ... Mrs. Cochran
Bosco Hogan ... Finbar Donovan
Ray McAnally ... MacWhirter
J.G. Devlin J.G. Devlin ... Sean Tweeny
Joe Dowling Joe Dowling ... Pat
Aiden Grennell Aiden Grennell ... Hanlan
Joe McPartland Joe McPartland ... Joe McDermott
Des Cave Des Cave ... Kevin McCann (as Desmond Cave)


Idealistic Vietnam veteran Michael Flaherty (Wasson), enthralled by the stories told to him by his grandfather (Hayden) and disillusioned by the lack of a clear cut cause in Vietnam, leaves his comfortable life in a Detroit suburb and goes to Ireland to fight for the IRA, only to discover that nothing is ever clear cut. Written by Anonymous

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


A cause he believed in but did not understand. In a country he loved but did not know.


R | See all certifications »



USA | Netherlands



Release Date:

11 June 1981 (Netherlands) See more »

Also Known As:

Michael See more »


Box Office


$3,000,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Cinematic Arts B.V. See more »
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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:




Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?


Broken English
Written by Marianne Faithfull, Barry Reynolds, Joe Maverty, Steve York,
& Terry Stannard
Performed by Marianne Faithfull
Courtesy of Island Records
See more »

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User Reviews

A real SLEEPER. It's the BLADE RUNNER meets the I.R.A!!!
9 September 1999 | by willyjgSee all my reviews

This is a real sleeper about an Irish-American vet who, on returning to the USA after Viet Nam, decides to go to Ireland and fight for the IRA. His desire to do so is based on the stories told to him by his grandfather (Stirling Hayden) about fighting the Brits. The magic of this film is its realism. I swear you can feel the damp chill of a overcast Dublin day as you watch this movie! It reminds me of THE BLADE RUNNER in its darkness, however THE BLADE RUNNER is a fictional setting and THE OUTSIDER isn't, unless you've never been to that area of the world. I've been to Scotland and I'm telling you I don't know how they bottled that climate and make you feel you're there. I have gotten off on the realism and I've almost forgotten, this film has one of the most heart wrenching endings I've ever seen. Craig Wasson who stars has done some other films that have great plots and endings. Remember THE BODY DOUBLE? Same surprises as that and this too, is believable. It's not the cheap pulp writing trick of sneaking someone in at the last minute that you've never heard of or has never been revealed by the plot, some presumed long dead uncle that saves the day at the last minute. Although, it would be very difficult to predict this ending the plot does give you all the information and fore-shadowing you need to embrace it in the end. Good Movie!

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