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Hidden Agenda (1990) (1991)

Frances McDormand , Brian Cox , Ken Loach  |  R |  DVD
3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (27 customer reviews)

Price: $17.25 & FREE Shipping on orders over $35. Details
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Hidden Agenda (1990) + Five Minutes of Heaven
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Product Details

  • Actors: Frances McDormand, Brian Cox, Brad Dourif, Mai Zetterling, Bernard Archard
  • Directors: Ken Loach
  • Writers: Jim Allen
  • Producers: Derek Gibson, Eric Fellner, John Daly, Rebecca O'Brien, Scott Millaney
  • Format: Closed-captioned, Color, Dolby, Widescreen, Full Screen, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: English, French, Spanish
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: R (Restricted)
  • Studio: MGM (Video & DVD)
  • DVD Release Date: April 16, 2002
  • Run Time: 108 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (27 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00005V9HK
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #77,093 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Hidden Agenda (1990)" on IMDb

Special Features


Editorial Reviews

Academy AwardÂ(r) winner* Frances McDormand (Fargo) and Brian Cox (Rob Roy) confront danger and deception at every turn in this "chilling, explosive" (The New York Times)story set in strife-torn Northern Ireland. Winner of the Special Jury Prize at the Cannes Film Festival, Hidden Agenda is a "taut political thriller" (The Hollywood Reporter) that "makes the unthinkable seem all too plausible" (The Washington Post). American activists Paul Sullivan (Brad Dourif) and his fiancÃ(c)e Ingrid Jessner (McDormand) journey to Belfast to probe allegations of brutal human rights abuses by British security forces. When Paul is killed under mysterious circumstances, the official reports list him as an I.R.A. accomplice. But Ingrid and British policeman Paul Kerrigan (Cox) question the findings and begin to uncover a shocking high-level conspiracy. Now, with their safety in jeopardy, they must decide whether to risk everything to reveal the truth. *1996: Actress

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
22 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Should you trust any government? May 4, 2002
Format:VHS Tape
Charles deGaulle once observed, "The State is a cold-blooded animal. Often even to it's own people. It must be so in order to survive." This movie is about British agents operating in Ireland to quash any IRA resistance to British rule, by any means necessary and any means possible. To give some semblance of respectability to the investigation of the murder of a U.S. citizen who was in the company of an IRA agent when he was assassinated the British secret police employ a fairmined and respected investigator who really believes he is charged with the responsibility of finding the truth. The closer he gets to the truth the more pressure the secret police put on him to back away. First they use blackmail, then threats to his own life. He is forced at last to betray everyone he has made promises to and return to England without a shread of respectibility. The secret police continue business as usual and set about arresting everyone whose confidence he has gained.
This is a film noir that takes a back seat to none. Be prepared to be angry, depressed and paranoid at the end. Not for the weak in spirit.
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15 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Superior political thriller October 28, 2006
Ken Loach's Hidden Agenda is likely one of the best political thrillers ever made on the troubles in Northern Ireland. The characters are full and rich; the violence is real; and the political cover-ups and corruption are rife. The acting is solid, the plotting is very strong, and the pace of the film is perfect.

In particular, drawing in not only the Northern Irish, but also the British and the Americans into the story was a truly inspired move. An American lawyer who fights for civil rights throughout the world is murdered by the Northern Irish police under orders from a high level official and all hell breaks loose. Unlike the flimsy, paltry political cover-ups seen in the film "Defense of the Realm" where there are no characters worth caring about, here Brad Dourif as the lawyer, Frances McDormand as his activist girlfriend and especially Brian Cox as the fiercely driven British police officer committed to uncovering the truth make a solid impression on the viewer.

Known for his politically charged films, director Ken Loach here never takes a false step. Cox's character, Peter Kerrigan, relentlessly pursues the truth of the backstory behind the murder of the American lawyer and it's really gripping to watch how things unfold.

This is a first class thriller, one of the best in its class. Very highly recommended.
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18 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant : a knock out film! July 15, 2004
Since Frances Normand's boyfriend is murdered by british forces in North Ireland , she decides to investigate this weird murder , she plays the role of an American human rights activist .
A punch in the middle of the face , because it concerns about a conspiracy , cover up and ambush policial, inspired by similar events in 1980 .
Filmed in documental mood for Ken Loach. Briiliant performances of Frances Mc Dormand and Brian Cox.
One of my favorites political thrillers of the nineties.
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Hidden Agenda September 5, 2005
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
A taut, intelligent nail-biter that pulls in the audience fast and never lets go, thanks to a lean, plausible script and intense performances from Mc Dormand, Cox, and Dourif, all brilliant players when armed with solid material like this. An overlooked winner. Hang on.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Terrorism in Ulster January 12, 2007
Format:VHS Tape
The film opens with a scenic shot of the shores of Ireland. Then a march down a city street. The police and army are patrolling behind the crowds. Then we see investigators questioning a suspect who was beaten and tortured by the authorities. They hold a press conference to announce their findings. Other reporters question them about allegations of a "shoot to kill" policy that targeted innocent civilians. The killing and torture in the Six Counties remind one reporter of Chile after their coup. But Northern Ireland isn't quite like Chile, is it? One of the reporters makes a call to get more information. He meets a man, and their car is ambushed; they are both murdered. The official news is that they refused to stop for a police checkpoint.

The British send their top police detective to re-examine the evidence that led to the shooting of Paul Sullivan and Frank Malloy. The ballistics show Sullivan was shot at 2 meters, not from far away. Something's wrong here. Mr. Kerrigan talks to Ingrid Jensen, the close friend of Sullivan, who tells about what she knows. They talk to the widow of Frank Malloy. When they question one of the police officers, and he tells them what really happened. Superintendent Frazier told them what to say. Frazier was merely following orders from higher authorities - a Mr. Brody. Kerrigan can't get the missing tape. At a club Kerrigan is told about the other colonies that had to fight for their freedom from English rule. Kerrigan meets a former British officer, Captain Harris, who worked in Psychological Operations - Black Propaganda to manipulate public opinion. The CIA and MI5 spread rumors to defeat the Labor government; this benefited the election of Margaret Thatcher. [Was she a puppet?
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An All Too Realistic Thriller April 2, 2009
Hidden Agenda has been on my list of films to see for a long time now. As a fan of the political thriller genre I was intrigued by its premise. Now, having finally found it and had the opportunity to see it I was presently surprised. The film surpassed my expectations and easily ranks amongst the best political thrillers I've seen.

The performances are the staring point of this phenomenal film. Frances McDormand gives a marvelous performance as American civil rights activist Ingrid Jessner as Brian Cox as Kerrigan, the top investigator investigating the death of Jessner's boyfriend. The result is that, together and separately, they give two highly watchable performances that keep your attention focused on the screen. There's also the supporting cast including Brad Dourif as the murdered boyfriend, Maurice Roëves as the mysterious army officer Harris who has all the secrets plus Bernard Archard and Patrick Kavanagh as two politicians at the heart of the film's conspiracy.

The film is, if nothing else, a conspiracy thriller. What may seem like an odd murder in Northern Ireland soon turns out to be mired in the politics of Thatcher era Britain. The film, while fictional, seems to be far too real for comfort. Writer Jim Allen has crafted a thriller that blends fact and fiction together and so well that the fine line between the two is blurred when it comes to the issues of 1980's Northern Ireland, how Thatcher got herself elected and how governments deal with terrorism. Of even greater surprise is that the plot doesn't overwhelm the dialogue. Unlike some political thrillers, in this film scenes come alive not just from the performances of the actors but from the words on the pages themselves.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Historical film
Interesting movie if one is onto recent history in Ireland and its dealings with the united kingdom as I am
Published 22 days ago by Umizoomi fan
1.0 out of 5 stars Offensive Rubbish!
Ken Loach has directed "Hidden Agenda" a film which starts off as an IRA propaganda film and then descends into a vague conspiracy theory about attempts to smear Harold Wilson's... Read more
Published 3 months ago by Stuart
2.0 out of 5 stars Hidden Agenda
This movie had the same title as the one I'm looking for but this wasn't it. Back in the 1980's I saw a Hidden Agenda movie that had no Americans in it and the topic was more IRA... Read more
Published 8 months ago by Pam McCabe
5.0 out of 5 stars great movie and true
a truely great movie, it really makes you think about what went on during that time, it sent chills up my spine , it also infuriated me, thinking they could get away with that.
Published 12 months ago by Jeanne Kennedy
5.0 out of 5 stars Deserves More than Five Stars
This is an excellent political thriller that touches on many truths about government. These political realities are fairly universal for most democratic forms of government and... Read more
Published on April 10, 2012 by RR in Texas
2.0 out of 5 stars English suspense
Although Frances McDormand's performance is outstanding, it is poor plot and uninspiring. Verty difficult to pay attention for the entire movie.
Published on August 20, 2011 by Keith Kim
5.0 out of 5 stars makes you feel backed into a corner
I was so distracted by the sinking ship of an antagonist i forgot to write a reveiw. The plot is pretty predictable but you know that fron reading the reveiw of the movie. Read more
Published on December 2, 2010 by paddys pride
5.0 out of 5 stars Intelligent thriller
Obviously when a movie sets out to be a thriller about Northern Ireland with British secret service people bugging, stalking, and shooting down folks in the street, alot of people... Read more
Published on March 25, 2008 by N. Miller
2.0 out of 5 stars plodding
Purports to take the audience behind the scenes at the highest levels of political intrigue, but the creators of this movie don't have the IQ or background to pull it off. Read more
Published on February 14, 2008 by Andrew Morgan
1.0 out of 5 stars A loser
I found this film one of the worst I have seen in quite some time, and watched it because I enjoyed the director's "The Wind That Shakes the Barley. Read more
Published on December 21, 2007 by Hondo
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