Bloody Sunday

January 25th, 2002


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James Nesbitt as Civil Rights leader Ivan Cooper Simon Mann (center), and actual British army soldier at the time, portrays British Colonel Wilford in BLOODY SUNDAYJames Nesbitt as Civil Rights leader Ivan Cooper James Nesbitt as Civil Rights leader Ivan Cooper James Nesbitt as Civil Rights leader Ivan Cooper James Nesbitt as Civil Rights leader Ivan Cooper

A dramatization of the Irish civil rights protest march and subsequent massacre by British troops on January 30, 1972.

Release Year: 2002

Rating: 7.8/10 (11,339 voted)

Critic's Score: 90/100

Director: Paul Greengrass

Stars: James Nesbitt, Tim Pigott-Smith, Nicholas Farrell

Documentary-style drama showing the events that lead up to the tragic incident on January 30, 1972 in the Northern Ireland town of Derry when a protest march led by civil rights activist Ivan Cooper was fired upon by British troops, killing 13 protesters and wounding 14 more.

James Nesbitt - Ivan Cooper
Allan Gildea - Kevin McCorry
Gerard Crossan - Eamonn McCann
Mary Moulds - Bernadette Devlin
Carmel McCallion - Bridget Bond (as Carmel Mccallion)
Tim Pigott-Smith - Major General Ford
Nicholas Farrell - Brigadier Maclellan
Christopher Villiers - Major Steele (as Chris Villiers)
James Hewitt - Colonel Tugwell
Declan Duddy - Gerry Donaghy
Edel Frazer - Gerry's girl
Joanne Lindsay - Mary Donaghy
Mike Edwards - Soldier 027
Gerry Hammond - Para F
Jason Stammers - Para G


Official Website: Paramount Classics |

Release Date: 25 January 2002

Filming Locations: Ballymun, Dublin, County Dublin, Ireland

Box Office Details

Budget: $5,000,000(estimated)

Opening Weekend: €113,398 (Italy) (5 May 2002) (29 Screens)

Gross: $768,045 (USA) (19 January 2003)

Technical Specs


Did You Know?

Three days after this movie's UK television broadcast, Sunday aired on TV, which chronicled the same event from an alternate perspective.

Anachronisms: The marchers carry homemade cardboard signs with slogans written on them. When shown from behind, some have modern printing ("Made in China") on them that are not appropriate for 1972.

Ivan Cooper: I just want to say this to the British Government... You know what you've just done, don't you? You've destroyed the civil rights movement, and you've given the IRA the biggest victory it will ever have. All over this city tonight, young men... boys will be joining the IRA, and you will reap a whirlwind.

User Review

Gritty and Powerful

Rating: 8/10

I have seen "Bloody Sunday" twice now - once on the big screen and once on DVD - and read Don Mullen's book, "Eyewitness Bloody Sunday." This movie is a very realistic depiction of the defining moment of the "troubles" in Northern Ireland. The hand-held cameras and grainy film style make it feel more like a documentary than a movie, which of course is the intent. As another reviewer has mentioned, the acting is very natural throughout. It does take some time to get started, but once the the shooting starts it hits the viewer like a sledgehammer. Very powerful.

The film jumps so frequently from scene to scene that at times it is distracting, though I was much less annoyed by this the second time around. And, having seen it once with and once without subtitles, I must say that although the subtitles (optional on the DVD) are intrusive they are quite welcome. I love the Irish accent but at times it can be difficult for me to decipher,and much of the dialogue in the movie is muted. It was good to know what was being said.

As for the objectivity, of course the movie is slanted - so was the situation. But it is not unreasonably slanted. The British are not shown as one-dimensional demons - in particular, Nicholas Farrell does a great job of conveying Brigadier Mclellan's ambiguity and even disapproval of the course taken against his wishes by the supposed "Observer," Maj. Gen. Ford (who, if the movie has a villain, is the prime candidate.) At one point early on several Paras are discussing the day's prospects, and reveal how tired they are of being harassed, shot at and otherwise abused by the native population. This makes the day's events more understandable. This does not EXCUSE the cold-blooded gunning down of 27 people - there is no excuse for that - but at least one can see a contributing factor. And protesters are shown, once or twice, firing back. (The key here is firing BACK - evidence indicates that no marchers fired until the first two protesters were wounded. And those scattered few that attempted return fire were quickly dissuaded by their countrymen. Later in the day the IRA did go into action, but not until after the bloodletting in Bogside was over with.) Ivan Cooper's (James Nesbitt) words at the close of the film were shown to be all too true in the years since the actual incident. The IRA was on unsteady legs at the time, but has never lacked support since January 30, 1972.

The film is a powerful object lesson concerning the misuse of force, and one that governments everywhere - including my own country, the United States - should take to heart. It has a few flaws, but I think deserves the awards it has received. 8/10 points.