Today’s Prayer Focus

Michael Collins

MPA Rating: R-Rating (MPA) for violence and language.

Reviewed by: Ken James

Moral Rating: Very Offensive
Moviemaking Quality:
Primary Audience: Adults
Genre: Biography War Thriller Drama
Length: 2 hr. 13 min.
Year of Release: 1996
USA Release: October 11, 1996
Copyright, Geffen Picturesclick photos to ENLARGE Copyright, Geffen Pictures Copyright, Geffen Pictures
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Copyright, Geffen Pictures

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Learn about the IRA (Irish Republican Army) and other important topics in Ireland?—commentary

Movie reviews

In the Name of the Father (1993)

The Devil’s Own (1997)







Featuring Liam Neeson … Michael Collins
Julia Roberts … Kitty Kiernan
Alan Rickman … Eamon de Valera
Brendan Gleeson … Liam Tobin
Aidan Quinn … Harry Boland
Stephen Rea … Ned Broy
Jonathan Rhys Meyers … Collins’ Assassin
Charles Dance … Soames
See all »
Director Neil Jordan
Producer Warner Bros. Pictures, Geffen Pictures, Redmond Morris, Stephen Woolley
Distributor Geffen Pictures

“Ireland, 1916. His dreams inspired hope. His words inspired passion. His courage forged a nation’s destiny.”

If historical dramas are up your alley, you may be interested in “Michael Collins”. Reminiscent of “In the Name of the Father” and, more recently, “Braveheart,” “Michael Collins” (played by Liam Neeson of “Schindler’s List”) tells the story of a young man leading Ireland in their fight for independence from the British. Obviously influenced by his background, Irish-born director Neil Jordan sheds light on the bitter and brutal battles fought during the 1920s in Dublin, Ireland.

“Mick” Collins, Eamon DeValera (Alan Rickman), and Harry Boland (Aidan Quinn), lead a ring of Irish freedom fighters. They take upon themselves the incredible task of ousting British occupation from Ireland. Having ignored warnings given by the IRA to evacuate Dublin, many British officials assigned there are assassinated in cold blood. England dispatches more troops to occupy Dublin, leading to building animosity between the Brits and Irish.

Eventually, against incredible odds, Ireland is given a form of independence they had been desiring for centuries. However, the treaty, lacking many provisions greatly desired, does not satisfy all the Irishmen, quickly leading to a fierce and bloody civil war between the Irish.

Julia Roberts, who plays the part of a young lady loved by best friends and co-fighters Michael Collins and Harry Boland, is truly a downfall to the movie. Her Americanized persona and totally unconvincing accent brought down several of the scenes she played.

With much bloodshed, violence, profanity, and adult themes (nothing sexual), this movie is not for everyone, especially not kids and younger teens. It provides a somewhat one-sided and historically flawed view of Ireland’s past struggles.

See list of Relevant Issues—questions-and-answers.

Viewer CommentsSend your comments
In general you did the film justice, as historical dramas go. It was exciting and, from my Irish perspective, obviously quite interesting. For totally different reasons, the film has created controversies here about historical accuracy, events left out, etc. By the way, I didn’t think Julia Roberts was so bad!…

Interestingly, you mention about profanity. It is generally felt that little bad language would have been used at that time, definitely not as much as was portrayed in the film. Indeed, Collins himself was a religious man—during the treaty negotiations he went to mass every morning to pray for guidance. It’s probable that he never actually slept with a woman and certainly wasn’t promiscuous, even if he related well to the opposite sex. The Catholic church at the time was completely against armed violence and many of the IRA volunteers were under threat of excommunication if they participated in a murder.
Peter O'Grady, N. Ireland