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Michael Collins (1996)

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Neil Jordan's historical biopic of Irish revolutionary Michael Collins, the man who led a guerrilla war against the UK, helped negotiate the creation of the Irish Free State, and led the National Army during the Irish Civil War.


Neil Jordan


Neil Jordan
Nominated for 2 Oscars. Another 4 wins & 15 nominations. See more awards »





Cast overview, first billed only:
Ian Hart ... Joe O'Reilly
Julia Roberts ... Kitty Kiernan
Richard Ingram Richard Ingram ... British Officer
Liam Neeson ... Michael Collins
Aidan Quinn ... Harry Boland
John Kenny John Kenny ... Patrick Pearse
Ronan McCairbre Ronan McCairbre ... Thomas MacDonagh
Jer O'Leary ... Thomas Clarke (as Ger O'Leary)
Mike Dwyer ... James Connolly (as Michael Dwyer)
Martin Murphy Martin Murphy ... Captain Lee-Wilson
Alan Rickman ... Eamon de Valera
Sean McGinley ... Smith
Gary Whelan ... Hoey
Frank O'Sullivan Frank O'Sullivan ... Kavanagh
Stephen Rea ... Ned Broy


Neil Jordan's depiction of the controversial life and death of Michael Collins, the "Lion of Ireland", who led the IRA against the UK and helped found the Irish Free State in 1922. Written by Dawn M. Barclift

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


An epic tale of passion and destiny. See more »

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for violence and language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »



UK | Ireland | USA



Release Date:

25 October 1996 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

El precio de la libertad See more »


Box Office


$28,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$187,052, 13 October 1996, Limited Release

Gross USA:


Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital | SDDS


Black and White | Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


The Treaty ports were returned to Ireland in 1938, ensuring the country could remain neutral throughout World War II. See more »


When Michael Collins returns from London after the negotiation, he rides a car with Harry Boland and the head of a woman can be seen through the back window. The woman walks at the same speed as the car and remains seen in the same corner of the window, even though the car is increasingly speeding throughout the shot. See more »


[first lines]
Joe O'Reilly: [dictating a letter] You've got to think of him the way he was... He was what the times demanded. And life without him seems impossible. But he's dead. And life is possible. He made it possible.
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Crazy Credits

Opening scroll: At the turn of the century Britian was the foremost world power and the British Empire stretched over two-thirds of the globe. Despite the extent of its power its most troublesome colony had always been the one closest to it, Ireland For seven hundred years Britain's rule over Ireland had been resisted by attempts at rebellion and revolution, all of which ended in failure. Then, in 1916, a rebellion began, to be followed by a guerilla war which would change the nature of that rule forever. The mastermind behind that war was Michael Collins. His life and death defined the period, in its triumph, terror and tragedy. This is his story. See more »


Referenced in Mystery Science Theater 3000: The Deadly Bees (1998) See more »


Easter Rebellion
Performed by Sinéad O'Connor
Courtesy of Chrysalis Records UK
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

A total mess
23 August 2001 | by Theodore2See all my reviews

It`s near impossible to be objective about political violence in Ireland but why when given the opportunity to make the definitive film about 20th century Ireland the film makers decide to shoot themselves in the foot ?

What I hate about this film is it`s pathetic attempt to be two sided . No one is shown to be an out and out villian even though extreme violence was frequently used by both sides. This maybe seen by some as being objective and two sided but strikes me as a cop out , and a cowardly one at that. I`d have no problem with the Brits being shown as the bad guys , they did commit atrocities in Ireland at this time , of that there`s no dispute , but couldn`t have the first half of the film concentrated on this more ? Likewise there was just as many violent atrocities commited by Irishmen on Irishmen following the creation of the Irish free state. Couldn`t the second half have been far more brutal in showing De Valera to be a political opportunist only interested in power and using the lives of Irish patriots in order to get it ?

Most unforgivable of all is the dilemma faced by the real life Collins of creating an independant Ireland without causing a war with the unionists in the North. Oh yes the majority of people in Northen Ireland want to remain British and a sizable minority would violently oppose a breakaway. Never once does this limp biopic point out that partition is the only optition Collins had to avert an Irish bloodbath. We see Collins going to meet the British government , then it cuts to the next scene a few months later where Collins returns to Dublin with a deal that has split Ireland in two. There is no exposition or explanation as to why Collins HAD TO negotiate partition. Instead Neil Jordan and Co decide it`s a better idea making a film that concentrates on a love triangle.

So what does this piece of Hollywood garbage actually tell us ? Only that Michael Collins called lots of people " Gobs**** " , that Alan Rickman can certainly act , that Julia Roberts and Aidan Quinn certainly can`t , and that Stephan Rae would make a good James Bond.

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