Bloody SundayJanuary 25, 2002
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
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.
(as Carmel Mccallion)
Major General Ford
(as Chris Villiers)
Paramount Classics |
Release Date: 25 January 2002
Filming Locations: Ballymun, Dublin, County Dublin, Ireland
Box Office Details
Opening Weekend: €113,398
(5 May 2002)
(19 January 2003)
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.
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.
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.
Gritty and Powerful
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,
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.