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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

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

When the film was shown in theaters, it was in black-and-white, but when it aired on American cable television networks, it was shown in color. See more »

Goofs

Set in 1984, the background of the anti-drug march features a car with a license plate beginning with "96," indicating 1996. See more »

Quotes

Garda: Hey Cahill! Which sister did you screw last night? Both?
Martin Cahill: Yours.
See more »

Alternate Versions

On the Region 1 Sony DVD the 2.35:1 desaturated colour print is edited for content, reducing the f-bomb count to 2. There also seem to be problems with the word "scumbag" which is largely changed to "ratbag" or "dirtbag". This version also only run 118 minutes. The 1.85:1 b&w print on the other side of the disc runs the full 124 minutes, and is unedited. There does not seem to be an unedited, 2.35:1 b&w print available. 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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