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In the Name of the Father (film)

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Title: In the Name of the Father (film)  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Daniel Day-Lewis, 51st Golden Globe Awards, Pete Postlethwaite, Saffron Burrows, List of awards and nominations received by Emma Thompson
Collection: 1990S Biographical Films, 1990S Drama Films, 1993 Films, British Biographical Films, British Drama Films, British Films, British Legal Films, British Prison Films, Courtroom Films, English-Language Films, Films About Miscarriage of Justice, Films About the Irish Republican Army, Films About the Troubles (Northern Ireland), Films Based on Actual Events, Films Directed by Jim Sheridan, Films Set in Northern Ireland, Films Shot in the Republic of Ireland, Golden Bear Winners, Irish Biographical Films, Irish Drama Films, Irish Films, Political Drama Films, Prison Films, Universal Pictures Films, Wrongful Convictions
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

In the Name of the Father (film)

In the Name of the Father
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Jim Sheridan
Produced by Jim Sheridan
Gabriel Byrne
Terry George
Arthur Lappin
Screenplay by Jim Sheridan
Terry George
Story by Gerry Conlon
Based on Proved Innocent 
by Gerry Conlon
Starring Daniel Day-Lewis
Emma Thompson
Pete Postlethwaite
Music by Trevor Jones
Cinematography Peter Biziou
Edited by Gerry Hambling
Hell's Kitchen Films
Distributed by Universal Pictures
Release dates
  • 27 December 1993 (1993-12-27) (Ireland)
  • 29 December 1993 (1993-12-29) (United States; limited)
  • 11 February 1994 (1994-02-11) (United Kingdom)
  • 25 February 1994 (1994-02-25) (United States; wide)
Running time
133 minutes
Country Ireland
United Kingdom
United States
Language English
Budget $13 million
Box office $65,796,862[1]

In the Name of the Father is a 1993 Irish-British-American Jim Sheridan from the autobiography Proved Innocent: The Story of Gerry Conlon of the Guildford Four by Gerry Conlon.[3]

The film was positively received by critics, and received seven Academy Award nominations, including Best Actor in a Leading Role (Daniel Day-Lewis), Best Actor in a Supporting Role (Pete Postlethwaite), Best Actress in a Supporting Role (Emma Thompson), Best Director, and Best Picture.


  • Synopsis 1
  • Cast 2
  • Production 3
  • Awards 4
  • Reception 5
  • Controversy 6
  • Soundtrack 7
  • Filming locations 8
  • See also 9
  • References 10
  • External links 11


Gerry Conlon (Daniel Day-Lewis) is shown in Belfast stripping lead from roofs of houses when security forces home in on the district with armoured cars, and a riot breaks out. Gerry's father, Giuseppe Conlon (Pete Postlethwaite), later saves him from IRA punishment, and he is sent off to London to stay with his aunt, for his own good. Instead, he finds a squat, to explore, as he puts it, "free love and dope". One evening by chance he gains entry to a prostitute's flat and he steals the £700 he finds stashed inside; on that evening in Guildford there is an explosion at a pub that kills four off-duty soldiers and a civilian, and wounds sixty-five others.

While Gerry has returned to Belfast to show off his stolen money, one of the squat residents talks to the authorities and the Conlon home is raided by the British Army and Royal Ulster Constabulary, who arrest Gerry and immediately place him on a military flight to the mainland UK. Gerry and his friend, Paul Hill (John Lynch) are interrogated by police who torture and threaten them until both finally agree to sign a confession after being held for up to seven days under the Prevention of Terrorism Act. When Gerry's father, Giuseppe travels from Belfast to England to help his son, he is arrested at the aunt's home. In the subsequent trial, his aunt's family (known as the Maguire Seven, including his father) are convicted of supporting the bombing on the basis of unsubstantiated nitroglycerin traces, and the four, including Gerry, are sentenced to long terms of imprisonment.

Gerry's time in prison shows a progression from a bitter son who rails at his father to an awakening when he discovers the real perpetrator of the bombing in the same facility. When this man leads a prison protest and then sets a hated prison guard on fire, Gerry is the one who saves the man with a blanket. Gerry takes over the fight for justice himself when his father dies in custody. His case becomes public, gaining support from Dublin, Belfast and London. A common slogan used by his supporters is "Free The Four".

Gareth Peirce (Emma Thompson), a campaigning lawyer who has been investigating the case on behalf of Giuseppe in the wake of public campaigns demanding the release of the accused, has a breakthrough when she tries to access Giuseppe's file and is able to look instead at Gerry's. She finds vital police documents in the file that are marked "Not to be shown to the Defence". During the course of their appeal, the production of these documents leads to a triumphant scene in court when Peirce produces the evidence that the police officers have been lying all the way through, which leads to the exoneration and release of the Guildford Four.

The film ends with a triumphant Gerry revealing his story to the media and proclaiming his father's innocence. Title cards reveal the current activities of the Four, the exoneration of the Maguire Seven, that the police were acquitted of any wrongdoing, and that the real perpetrators of the Guildford Bombing have not been charged with the crime.


Model, now actress, Saffron Burrows made her feature film debut in the film, as Gerry Conlon's free love-interest at a commune/squat in London at the time of the bombings.


To prepare for the role of Gerry Conlon, Day-Lewis lost over 50 pounds in weight. To gain an insight into Conlon's thoughts and feelings at the time, Day-Lewis also spent 3 days and nights in a jail cell. He was prevented from sleeping by a group of thugs, who would bang on the door every 10 minutes with tin cups through the night, then was interrogated by 3 different teams of real Special Branch officers for 9 hours. He would also insist that crew members throw cold water at him and verbally abuse him. He also kept his Northern Irish accent on and off set.

Day-Lewis has stated in an interview that he went through all this as "How could I understand how an innocent man could sign that confession and destroy his own life." [4][5]


In the Name of the Father won the Golden Bear at the 44th Berlin International Film Festival.[6]

The film was also nominated for seven Academy Awards, including Best Actor in a Leading Role (Daniel Day-Lewis), Best Actor in a Supporting Role (Pete Postlethwaite), Best Actress in a Supporting Role (Emma Thompson), Best Director, Best Film Editing, Best Picture and Best Writing, Screenplay Based on Material from Another Medium.


The film received very positive reviews from most critics. The review aggregator websites Rotten Tomatoes and Metacritic both scored the film very highly, with Rotten Tomatoes giving it 94% and a 'certified fresh' rating, while Metacritic has given it 84% and a 'universal acclaim' rating.[7][8] In the 54 Best Legal Films of all-time,[9] In the Name of the Father is cited.[10]


Upon its release the film proved controversial for some historical inaccuracies and for fictionalising parts of the story and Jim Sheridan was forced to defend his choices. In 2003, Sheridan stated: "I was accused of lying in In the Name of the Father, but the real lie was saying it was a film about the Guildford Four when really it was about a non-violent parent."[11] In the film we see Gerry and his father Giuseppe (in the closing credits, the name is misspelled 'Guiseppe') sharing the same cell, but this never took place and they were usually kept in separate prisons. The courtroom scenes featuring Gareth Peirce were also heavily criticised as clearly straying from recorded events and established British legal practices since, as a solicitor and not a barrister, she would not have been able to appear in court as shown in the film. Furthermore, Peirce did not in fact represent Giuseppe Conlon (David Pallister said, 'the myriad absurdities in the court scenes, straight out of LA Law, are inexcusable'[12]).


The soundtrack of the film includes the song "You Made Me the Thief of Your Heart" performed by Sinéad O'Connor and written by Bono, Gavin Friday, and Maurice Seezer. It also includes "Voodoo Child (Slight Return)" performed by The Jimi Hendrix Experience. However, the Bob Dylan Song "Like a Rolling Stone" was not included on the album due to licensing restrictions.

The soundtrack on sale featured these songs:

  1. Bono and Gavin Friday - "In the Name of the Father" (5:42)
  2. The Jimi Hendrix Experience - "Voodoo Child (Slight Return)" (5:09)
  3. Bono and Gavin Friday - "Billy Boola" (3:45)
  4. The Kinks - "Dedicated Follower of Fashion" (3:00)
  5. Trevor Jones - "Interrogation" (7:11)
  6. Bob Marley and the Wailers - "Is This Love" (3:51)
  7. Trevor Jones - "Walking the Circle" (4:42)
  8. Thin Lizzy - "Whiskey in the Jar" (5:44)
  9. Trevor Jones - "Passage of Time" (5:52)
  10. Sinéad O'Connor - "You Made Me the Thief of Your Heart" (6:21)

Filming locations

See also


  1. ^ "In the Name of the Father at Box Office Mojo". Retrieved 29 September 2010. 
  2. ^ Pallister, David (19 October 1999). "An injustice that still reverberates". The Guardian (London). Retrieved 12 July 2011. 
  3. ^ The Irish Filmography 1896–1996; Red Mountain Press; 1996. Page 59.
  4. ^
  5. ^
  6. ^ "Berlinale: 1994 Prize Winners". Retrieved 15 June 2011. 
  7. ^ "In The Name Of the Father Reviews".  
  8. ^ "In the Name of the Father Reviews".  
  9. ^
  10. ^
  11. ^
  12. ^

External links

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