Michael Collins (1996)






Director:    Neil Jordan.

Starring:    Liam Neeson (Michael Collins), Aidan Quinn (Harry Boland), Julia Roberts (Kitty Kiernan), Stephen Rea (Ned Broy), Alan Rickman (Eamon de Valera), Ian Hart (Joe O'Reilly), Brendan Gleeson (Liam Tobin), Charles Dance.

This is a great film, as exciting as the Godfather series, and better because it does not glorify criminals and deals with actual historical events.  Liam Neeson does an absolutely wonderful job as the Irish leader Michael Collins.



Spoiler Warning:





Historical Background:



First World War

The Irish Volunteers split: National Volunteers and the Irish Volunteers (Sinn Fein Volunteers); a reanimated Irish Republican Brotherhood had infiltrated MacNeill's council of the Irish Volunteers: Joseph Plunkett, Thomas MacDonagh, & Patrick Pearse; they felt that there must be an insurrection in Ireland

Sir Roger Casement works on a project to bring in the Germans to help an Irish uprising

1914-15  --  James Joyce's The Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man


Sir Roger Casement hanged for bringing in guns to Ireland.

Easter Sunday uprising; Michael Collins played a minor role as Captain Michael Collins, second in command to Joseph Mary Plunkett in the General Post Office during Easter Week. 64 rebels killed, other side had 134 dead; 220 civilian dead.

Collins sent to Richmond Barracks and later to Frongoch internment camp in Wales.

Collins returns home to Ireland in December 1916. He rebuilds the IRB.


Eamon de Valera elected president of Sinn Fein; mass funeral for Thomas Ashe at which Collins spoke; Collins would prove to be the first rebel leader in Irish history to be a brilliant organizer.


Sinn Fein wins 73 seats at Westminster; Collins elected to Parliament representing South Cork.

Redmond, leader of the Irish MPs dead, a sad & disappointed man.

British extend conscription to Ireland; Irish leadership arrested.


In January, the Anglo-Irish War begins.  

first season of the Dail; Declaration of Independence read; civil war of Republicans against Unionists to drive the British out; Irish Republican Army fights a guerrilla action under Michael Collins.

Collins, with the help of his friend Harry Boland, helps Eamon de Valera escape from Lincoln gaol in England.

The Royal Irish Constabulary becomes the target of a Sinn Fein terror campaign orchestrated by Collins who wants to provoke war with England.


Black and tan police moved in from Britain to fight the Irish; they become very brutal, retaliating to Irish violence by killing innocent civilians; it shocked the average British citizen.

June --  de Valera leaves for America.

21 November --  Collins and his people assassinate 14 British officers, virtually destroying the British Secret Service in Ireland. In reprisal, the Black and Tans fired on a crowd watching a football match at Dublin's Croke Park killing twelve people. The day came to be called Bloody Sunday, known throughout the world.

December --  Collins becomes acting President after Arthur Griffith's arrest.

700 years of British rule in Ireland comes to an end


Collins falls for Catherine Brigid (a.k.a., Kitty Kiernan) and later they become engaged.

May -- the Dublin IRA Brigade sets ablaze the Dublin Custom House, but nearly all are captured.

11 July --  truce signed.

Sept --  de Valera is elected President

December 6  -- David Lloyd George delivers an ultimatum: separate place for Northern Ireland or war resumes; Michael Collins & others accept without notifying de Valera; leads to civil war between various Irish factions; 500 people dead, civil war peters out


August -- on his way back from a trip to his home county of Cork, Collins's convoy is ambushed at Beal na mBlath--the mouth of flowers.  He is shot in the back of the head and dies.




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