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The Wind That Shakes the Barley (2007)

Cillian Murphy , Padraic Delaney , Ken Loach  |  NR |  DVD
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (274 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Cillian Murphy, Padraic Delaney, Liam Cunningham, Orla Fitzgerald, Mary O'Riordan
  • Directors: Ken Loach
  • Writers: Paul Laverty
  • Producers: Andrew Lowe, Camilla Bray, Nigel Thomas, Paul Trijbits, Rebecca O'Brien
  • Format: Closed-captioned, Color, NTSC, Widescreen
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Ifc
  • DVD Release Date: September 4, 2007
  • Run Time: 127 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (274 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000OCY7JO
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #21,212 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "The Wind That Shakes the Barley" on IMDb

Special Features


Editorial Reviews

Winner of the Palme d'Or at the 2006 Cannes Film Festival, this gripping drama by Ken Loach (Raining Stones) is set during the early days of the Irish Republican Army, when British occupation of the Irish radicalized many a citizen and caused some to take up arms. Cillian Murphy plays Damien, a medical student on his way to London when he witnesses a couple of atrocities committed by British troops. Instead of becoming a doctor, he turns into a leading and respected figure in an IRA division led by his brother, Teddy (Padraic Delaney). The film provides some fascinating historical insight into the nascent resistance movement as it was in 1920, and Loach brilliantly conveys the profound emotional transition young men had to make to become saboteurs and killers. Loach's realistic style is absolutely mesmerizing, with many scenes built around the dynamics of large groups: contentious meetings, torture sessions, battles, celebrations, and the like. One has the sense of history as a pool of energy, and one also develops a kind of Renoiresque appreciation for the fact that different people on opposing sides of a life-or-death issue have their reasons for believing what they believe. As the story moves along, subtle shifts in the perspectives of men and women who had once agreed to be absolute in their fight for freedom results in a tragic yet understandable schism among Irish patriots. The final half-hour of The Wind That Shakes the Barley says a lot about how the Irish, including people who had known one another all their lives, turned their wrath on one another for so many decades. This is an outstanding film, featuring the best performance yet by Murphy (Red Eye). --Tom Keogh

Product Description

Driven by a deep sense of duty and a love for his country, Damien (Cillian Murphy) abandons his burgeoning career as a doctor and joins his brother, Teddy in a dangerous and violent fight for freedom. As the Irish freedom fighters bold tactics bring the British to a breaking point, both sides finally agree to a treaty to end the bloodshed. But, despite the apparent victory, civil war erupts and families who fought side by side, find themselves pitted against one another, putting their loyalties to the ultimate test.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
245 of 256 people found the following review helpful
Ireland in the early Twenties exploded into armed rebellion against the British. Two brothers at first made opposite decisions. A group of Black and Tan British soldiers arrive at a farm where the brothers and a group of other young men are resting after a hurling game (something like field hockey). The British terrorize everyone there, the men, the women, the aged and the young. They beat and kill one man for refusing to give his name in English. When they roar off, one brother, Teddy (Padraic Delaney), immediately helps form the men into armed resistors. Damien (Cillian Murphy), a medical student, decides to go on to London to a prestigious medical school where he is enrolled to finish his studies. At the train station he witnesses another group of soldiers attack and beat the train's conductor and engineer. The attacks are filled with screams and rifle butts. Damien returns to the village and joins the armed resistors.

From then on we're in the middle of a rag-tag guerilla war, driven by a stern sense of justice and a determination to force the British out of Ireland. The British use wide-spread intimidation, brutality, imprisonment and executions by courts martial. Some of the men we've met die, British soldiers die, hostages die, traitors die, a young friend of Damien's who gave information is executed by Damien. He slowly moves from a reluctant fighter to a man who has become single-minded in what he does. When a truce is declared and a peace treaty is finally agreed upon in 1922 between the British Government and Sinn Fein, the stark reality of compromise splits the fighters. On the one hand, there will be an Irish Free State with British troops withdrawn.
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65 of 69 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Exceptional and accurate April 25, 2007
After visiting Ireland nearly three years ago I undertook an exhaustive study of Michael Collins, the Irish War of Independence and the Civil War. I was finally able to see this movie after waiting anxiously since it took Cannes. I was not disappointed. I went with my husband who is not the fan I am and he was impressed as well. The acting is superb, even the flubs, and the photography, (and, of course, Ireland)is stunning. What I would most like to interject into the reviews is that the movie was an exceedingly accurate representation of the Irish situation as it was at that time. (Though I liked the movie Michael Collins, I could not say the same about it in its details.) I would highly recommend it to anyone who wants to understand the various sides to the issues which the Irish, the British, the pro-treatyites and the Republicans confronted at that time.
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61 of 70 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brother against Brother March 17, 2007
"The Wind that Shakes the Barley," (from an old Irish revolutionary song) Ken Loach's uncompromising, tragic film begins in chaos: a group of young Irish men are playing a rough and tumble game of hurling while the referee yells and threatens to stop the game or eject one player or another out of the game. It's all very testosterone fueled: men at play, having fun, taking it all too seriously. In the next scene, these same men arrive at a shocking scene at the home of one of them: English Black and Tans (the occupying soldiers sent from England to stamp out the crackling embers of Irish independence), thuggish and cruel and intent on demeaning the Irish, are taunting a house of women and upon spying the young men with hurling sticks, the B&T's demand that they stand up against the house and give their names in English (not Gaelic). One man refuses to speak English. He is killed.
And so begins this shocking, mesmerizing film about a County Cork rebellion against the British, circa 1920-1922 and zeroes in on two brothers Damien (a sensitive, intelligent, driven Cillian Murphy of "28 Days Later"), trained as a doctor who feels that, instead of pursuing his life long dream of working in London, chooses instead to stay home and fight the good fight. Damien's brother Teddy (Padraic Delaney in a fueled-by-fire performance...his first movie), a big man strangling under the iron grip of the British. The Cain and Abel story is recalled here as it is in a number of Motion Pictures including "East of Eden," as Damien and Teddy eventually have a moral and political parting of the ways and find themselves on opposite sides of the Anglo Irish Treaty of 1920.
Loach's films are all about making the political personal and the personal political and "TWTSTB" is no exception.
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68 of 82 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing but Admirable Effort September 7, 2007
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
I looked forward to this film as I do to any that attempts to shed light on the struggle of the Irish for freedom from England. The movie is beautiful cinematically and the acting very convincing, although I did think Cillian Murphy somewhat miscast as Damien, the young doctor who is reluctantly converted to the IRA cause by the British brutality he witnesses. However, overall I found the movie disappointing for somewhat the same reasons as reviewer Pouliot. If the viewer does not have a pretty good background in Irish history, especially of the 1910-1922 years, he is likely to have difficulty understanding what is going on and why. The film is narrowed so sharply to one small group of guerilla fighters in Cork County that I don't know how an average viewer could put the action in perspective with the 1916 Easter rebellion, the nationwide struggle going on, the direction and control being exercised by IRA leaders in Dublin and the overall scope of the fight against the British. The biggest plus of this film, to my mind, and it is a very big plus, is that it shows graphically the kind of savagery being engaged in by the British soldiers (the "black and tans" who were sent in to support the regular British forces in Ireland) and the galvanizing effect it had on the Irish populace. It also shows the tragedy that befell Ireland when the independence movement came apart after the Treaty was signed and the die-hard Republicans refused to support the new Irish Free State, feeling that it was a sell-out to accept anything but complete freedom for the whole island. The movie does a good job of showing how the two sides could differ so drastically and still each have legitimate reasons for taking the stance they did. Read more ›
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautifully made historical drama
The beauty of the Irish countryside is a player in this historically accurate account of the Irish "truce" in the 1920's. Read more
Published 2 days ago by Dennis McCann
3.0 out of 5 stars Good
It was a good movie, but it was very hard to understand the Irish brogue and I quit watching after about 30 minutes.
Published 2 days ago by Marcia D.Berry
5.0 out of 5 stars brutal and beautiful
this movie is violent and full of despair, but lovely and honest and the cinematography is amazing. Choices matter and more movies should be made about the choices we make.
Published 9 days ago by happy mom
5.0 out of 5 stars Movie is great
Movie is great application yo run it sucks and there are no refunds buy the CD The amazon mmovie app stinks!!!!!!!
Published 11 days ago by Jim
4.0 out of 5 stars A good history movie
I'm glad I watched it not so much for the drama (which moved so fast it was hard to get into any one character) as for clarifying an important part of Ireland's history. Read more
Published 19 days ago by cocofan
5.0 out of 5 stars 1916
Great film about the events in Ireland in the 1910's and the war for independence against the British. Great for Irish but for anyone who likes historical movies.
Published 21 days ago by Umizoomi fan
4.0 out of 5 stars Bloom off the rose
An unvarnished examination of The Troubles which leaves the viewer unsettled, curious to discover more. Acting is truncated at times, with some of the characters overly stiff. Read more
Published 22 days ago by Michael J. Garrison
5.0 out of 5 stars Spin
This sure gave me a different view on the IRA. We have been taught that it was an evil terrorist group. Read more
Published 22 days ago by Lisa Oxley
5.0 out of 5 stars Great movie
this was a great movie about the start of the Irish Republican Army great movie to watch on St Patricks Day
Published 27 days ago by Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars Haunting
I am not a student of the Irish civil war, so I can't comment on the historic accuracy of this movie. Read more
Published 29 days ago by captcalculus
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