In the Name of the Father (1993)

Movie


In the Name of the Father (1993)

Young Belfastian Gerry Conlon (Daniel Day-Lewis) admits that he was in London at the time of the incident. He also admits that he is not a model citizen, having committed a petty robbery while in London. He does however profess his innocence when it comes to the bombing of the Guildford Pub in London in 1974, the event which killed several people inside. A self-professed non-political person, he and his three co-accused, dubbed the Guildford Four, are thought to be provisional members of the I.R.A. Their self-professed innocence is despite each having signed a statement of guilt which they claim were signed under duress. Their case includes having provable alibis for the time frame of the bombing. And eventually, Joe McAndrew (Don Baker), a known I.R.A. member, admits to the bombing. Dubbed the Maguire Seven, seven others, primarily members of Gerry's extended family including his father Giuseppe (Pete Postlethwaite), are accused of being accessories to the bombing. Following on the ...
Ireland
UK
IMDb   8.1 /10
Metacritic   84 %
TheMovieDb    7.9 /10
RottenTomatoes
FilmAffinity   8.2 /10
Information
Release Date1993-12-27
Runtime2h 13mins
GenreBiography, Crime, Drama
Content RatingR (R)
AwardsTop Rated Movies #185 | Nominated for 7 Oscars. Another 7 wins & 34 nominations.
CompanyHell's Kitchen Films, Universal Pictures
CountryIreland, UK
LanguageEnglish

In the Name of the Father (film)

In the Name of the Father is a 1993 biographical film co-written and directed by Jim Sheridan. It is based on the true story of the Guildford Four, four people falsely convicted of the 1974 Guildford pub bombings, which killed four off-duty British soldiers and a civilian. The screenplay was adapted by Terry George and Jim Sheridan from the 1990 autobiography Proved Innocent: The Story of Gerry Conlon of the Guildford Four by Gerry Conlon.

The film grossed $65 million at the box office and received positive reviews by critics. It was nominated for seven Oscars at the 66th 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, and Best Picture.


Plot

In Belfast, Gerry Conlon is mistaken for an IRA sniper by British security forces and pursued until a riot breaks out. Gerry is sent to London by his father Giuseppe to dissuade an IRA reprisal against him. One evening, Gerry burgles a prostitute's flat and steals £700. While he is taking drugs in a park with homeless Irishman Charlie Burke, an explosion in Guildford occurs, killing four off-duty soldiers plus a civilian as well as injuring many others. Having returned to Belfast some time later, Gerry is captured by the British Army and Royal Ulster Constabulary and arrested on terrorism charges.

Flown to the UK mainland, Gerry, his friend Paul Hill as well as the other members of the Guildford Four are subjected to police torture as part of their interrogation. Though he initially maintains his innocence, Gerry signs a confession after the police threaten to kill his father, who is later arrested along with other members of the Conlon family. At his trial, although Gerry's defence points out numerous inconsistencies in the police investigation, he, along with the rest of the Guildford Four, is sentenced to life imprisonment.

During their time in prison Gerry and Giuseppe are approached by new inmate Joe McAndrew, who informs them that he was the real perpetrator of the bombing and had confessed this to the police, who in order to save face withhold this new information. Though Gerry warms to Joe, his opinion changes when Joe sets a hated prison guard on fire during a riot. Giuseppe later dies in custody, leaving Gerry to take over his father's campaign for justice.

Giuseppe's lawyer Gareth Peirce, who had been investigating the case on Giuseppe's behalf discovers vital evidence relating to Gerry's earlier alibi through a statement made by Charlie Burke, which during an appeal in court totally exonerates Gerry and the rest of the Guildford Four. The film ends with the current activities of the wrongly accused, but also that the police who investigated the case were acquitted of any wrongdoing. The real perpetrators of the Guildford Bombing have not been charged with the crime.


Cast

  • Daniel Day-Lewis as Gerry Conlon
  • Pete Postlethwaite as Patrick "Giuseppe" Conlon
  • Emma Thompson as Gareth Peirce
  • John Lynch as Paul Hill
  • Corin Redgrave as Inspector Robert Dixon
  • Beatie Edney as Carole Richardson
  • John Benfield as Chief PO Barker
  • Paterson Joseph as Benbay
  • Marie Jones as Sarah Conlon
  • Gerard McSorley as Detective Pavis
  • Frank Harper as Ronnie Smalls
  • Mark Sheppard as Paddy Armstrong
  • Don Baker as Joe McAndrew
  • Tom Wilkinson as an Appeal Prosecutor

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.


Production

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 three days and nights in a jail cell. He was prevented from sleeping by a group of thugs, who would bang on the door every ten minutes with tin cups through the night, then was interrogated by three different teams of real Special Branch officers for nine hours. He would also insist that crew members throw cold water at him and verbally abuse him. He also kept his Belfast 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."


Reception

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. The site's consensus states: "Impassioned and meticulously observed, In the Name of the Father mines rousing drama from a factual miscarriage of justice, aided by scorching performances and director Jim Sheridan's humanist focus." Metacritic has given it 84% and a 'universal acclaim' rating.

The film was the second highest-grossing film ever in Ireland behind Jurassic Park and the highest-grossing Irish film beating the record set by The Commitments in 1991.

Year-end lists

  • 2nd – James Berardinelli, ReelViews
  • Top 10 (not ranked) – Dennis King, Tulsa World
  • Honorable mention – Dan Craft, The Pantagraph

Accolades

AwardCategorySubjectResult
Australian Film Institute AwardsBest Foreign FilmJim SheridanNominated
Academy AwardsBest PictureNominated
Best DirectorNominated
Best Adapted ScreenplayNominated
Terry GeorgeNominated
Best ActorDaniel Day-LewisNominated
Best Supporting ActorPete PostlethwaiteNominated
Best Supporting ActressEmma ThompsonNominated
Best Film EditingGerry HamblingNominated
ACE EddieBest Edited Feature Film – DramaticNominated
BAFTA AwardsBest Adapted ScreenplayJim SheridanNominated
Terry GeorgeNominated
Best ActorDaniel Day-LewisNominated
Berlin International Film FestivalGolden BearJim SheridanWon
BSFC AwardBest ActorDaniel Day-LewisWon
DFWFCA AwardBest FilmNominated
David di Donatello AwardsBest Foreign ActorDaniel Day-LewisNominated
Best Foreign FilmJim SheridanWon
European Film AwardEuropean Film of the YearNominated
Evening Standard British Film AwardBest FilmJim SheridanWon
Golden Globe AwardsBest Motion Picture – DramaNominated
Best Actor – Motion Picture DramaDaniel Day-LewisNominated
Best Supporting Actress – Motion PictureEmma ThompsonNominated
Best Original Song
("You Made Me the Thief of Your Heart")
BonoNominated
Gavin FridayNominated
Maurice SeezerNominated
Humanitas PrizeFeature Film CategoryTerry GeorgeNominated
Jim SheridanNominated
Nastro d'ArgentoEuropean Silver RibbonNominated
Kansas City Film Critics Circle AwardsBest Supporting ActressEmma ThompsonWon
LAFCA AwardBest ActorDaniel Day-Lewis2nd place
NBR AwardTop Ten FilmsWon
NSFC AwardBest ActorDaniel Day-Lewis2nd place
NYFCC AwardBest Actor3rd place
PGA AwardBest Theatrical Motion PictureJim SheridanNominated
PFS AwardExposéWon
Human RightsNominated
PeaceNominated
WGA AwardBest Adapted ScreenplayJim SheridanNominated
Terry GeorgeNominated

Controversy

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." 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 English 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. Investigative journalist David Pallister wrote, "the myriad absurdities in the court scenes, straight out of LA Law, are inexcusable."


Soundtrack

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 featured these songs:


Filming locations

  • South Lotts, Dublin, Ireland (used for opening Belfast scenes)
  • Sheriff Street, Dublin, Ireland (Sheriff Street flats complex (now demolished) used for riot scene)
  • Kilmainham Gaol, Dublin, Ireland (as Park Royal Prison)
  • Liverpool, England (used for many London scenes)