6.8/10
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22 user 28 critic

The Van (1996)

R | | Comedy, Drama | 16 May 1997 (USA)
Set in the fictional Dublin suburb of Barrytown, Bimbo is a baker who loses his job after being made redundant. Bimbo then acquires the help of his best friend, Larry, to set up a successful burger van.

Director:

Stephen Frears

Writers:

Roddy Doyle (novel), Roddy Doyle (screenplay)
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1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Colm Meaney ... Larry
Donal O'Kelly Donal O'Kelly ... Bimbo
Ger Ryan ... Maggie
Caroline Rothwell Caroline Rothwell ... Mary
Neilí Conroy Neilí Conroy ... Diane
Rúaidhrí Conroy ... Kevin
Brendan O'Carroll ... Weslie
Stuart Dunne Stuart Dunne ... Sam
Jack Lynch Jack Lynch ... Cancer
Laurie Morton Laurie Morton ... Maggie's Mum
Marie Mullen Marie Mullen ... Vera
Jon Kenny Jon Kenny ... Gerry McCarthy
Moses Rowen Moses Rowen ... Glenn
Linda McGovern Linda McGovern ... Jessica
Eoin Chaney Eoin Chaney ... Wayne
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Storyline

The third installment of Irish author Roddy Doyle's 'Barrytown Trilogy', following 'The Commitments' and 'The Snapper', depicts the hilarious yet poignant adventures of Bimbo. Upon being fired from his job at the bakery, Bimbo and his best mate go into business for themselves and purchase a chipper (a fish and chips van); but will the pressures of financial success sour their friendship forever? Written by Dawn M. Barclift

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

They got soul in THE COMMITMENTS and a scandal in THE SNAPPER. Finally they're getting their act together and taking it on the road. See more »

Genres:

Comedy | Drama

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for strong language | See all certifications »
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Details

Official Sites:

Official site

Country:

UK | Ireland | USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

16 May 1997 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

La camioneta See more »

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Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$23,366, 18 May 1997, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$621,093, 17 August 1997
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby SR

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

This is the third story in Roddy Doyle's "Barrytown Trilogy", following the adventures of the Rabbitte family. However, as 20th Century Fox owned the film rights to the Rabbitte name (from The Commitments), the characters had to be re-named in the subsequent film adaptations (The Snapper, The Van). See more »

Goofs

The movie is set during World Cup 1990, and on at least two occasions, the radio can be heard promoting 98FM. This station did not use this branding until the mid 1990s; it was called Classic Hits at the time. See more »

Quotes

Larry: God, I'm useless.
See more »

Alternate Versions

In the UK in 2007 a re-edited version was passed for certification for video release by the BBFC running at 92 minutes 50 seconds, some 3 minutes 55 seconds shorter than the normal theatrical version. See more »

Connections

Follows Screen Two: The Snapper (1993) See more »

Soundtracks

Wand'rin' Star
Words by Alan Jay Lerner
Music by Frederick Loewe
© Alan Jay Lerner/Frederick Loewe/Chappell & Co Inc
By Kind Permission of Warner Chappell Music Limited
See more »

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User Reviews

An enjoyable little drama despite lacking the wider meaning I had hoped it would have
23 August 2004 | by bob the mooSee all my reviews

When Brenda 'Bimbo' Reeves is laid off he finds himself on the dole and irking out a unfulfilling life with friend Larry. When a 'friend' sells them a clapped out old chip van Bimbo and Larry decide to make a go of it and, once they have removed an inch of grease from the van and worked out how to move it without an engine, they are in business. With the pubs crammed due to the 1990 World Cup, business looks great and, as Ireland continue to win their way through the tournament, things just look like getting better and better.

Being from Northern Ireland myself, I always find something to like in Doyle's very typical delivery and, as such, will always give the films adapted from his work a try. With The Van doing average business in the cinemas, I had to wait till it came onto television before I could get a chance to see it and it was as I expected, an enjoyable working-class fable of friendship set against the backdrop of unemployment. As such it is pretty good – providing good humour throughout as well as a nice build of tension between the two friends. What I didn't think it did very well was deliver something beyond the boundaries the film had set itself. By this I mean I had expected that the film would be more realistic whereas it really was more of a fable with a moral about friendship over money; it is not a bad thing that it did this but the film could have been stronger with it in my opinion.

However, for what it tries to do it manages to be slight but amusing with a good little turn into the dramatic towards the end to set up the lesson for the day. The cast fit the bill for this type of material as well; Meaney may well have been in several big American hits but he is more at home here and he is a totally convincing working class Irish man. O'Kelly is just as good for different reasons – he is the same class but one who thought he was out; maybe you need to have lived around these sorts of areas but I thought he was realistic enough. The two have good chemistry and the support cast are also good value.

Overall this is not the best of Doyle's films but it is an enjoyable little slice of Irish life – albeit very simplified and served up in a sauce of cheerful poverty. The script doesn't go deeper than the superficial issues of friendship but this still work well enough and they produce an enjoyable little Irish fable that is amusing as it delivers a lesson about friendship that is thankfully free of sentimentality or slush.


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