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The Wind That Shakes the Barley

HD   Unrated Closed Captioning

Ken Loach

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Plot Summary

Two brothers are caught on differing sides of the battle for Irish freedom in this politically minded historical drama from veteran British filmmaker Ken Loach. It's 1920, and Damien O'Donovan (Cillian Murphy) has recently graduated from medical school. Damien plans to leave the small village in Ireland where he was born to take a job in London, much to the annoyance of his brother Teddy (Padraic Delaney), who is an Irish loyalist and wants to see the British stripped of their rule of his land. While visiting Peggy (Mary Riordan), a longtime friend of the family, Damien and Teddy witness a visit by "Black and Tans," British soldiers who supposedly keep the peace in Ireland; the soldiers turn violent and murder Michaeil (Lawrence Barry), Peggy's grandson, when they discover he only speaks Gaelic. Damien is radicalized by the event, and with Teddy joins the local chapter of the Irish Republican Army, who use violence to drive British troops out of the country. While the IRA is a poor and ill-equipped fighting force, their willingness to give their lives for their cause is taken very seriously by the British, who step up their reprisals against the locals; the Black and Tans even begin directing their violence and torture against women and children, including Damien's girlfriend, Sinead (Orla Fitzgerald). In 1921, Britain attempts to end the violence in Ireland by creating the Irish Free State, a compromise government which will give the Irish greater autonomy while Great Britain still retains final political control of the nation. Teddy sees this as a victory and believes it's an important first step to a truly free Ireland, but Damien sees the IRA's goal as nothing short of complete independence, and the brothers and allies soon become rivals in a battle neither side can win. The Wind That Shakes the Barley received the Golden Palm award as Best Picture at the 2006 Cannes Film Festival.

Rotten Tomatoes Movie Reviews


  • Reviews Counted: 113
  • Fresh: 100
  • Rotten: 13
  • Average Rating: 7.7/10

Top Critics' Reviews

Fresh: ... despite its length (over two hours) and some structural problems, it is an absorbing, worthwhile and often passionate movie. – Richard Schickel, TIME Magazine, Jun 24, 2010

Fresh: The Wind that Shakes the Barley is dense, brutal, with moments of shattering emotional power, and the cast performs with fierce conviction. – David Ansen, Newsweek, Apr 7, 2008

Fresh: [Loach is] the master of the docu-drama or the realist social film, and Wind is one of his masterpieces. – Michael Wilmington, Chicago Tribune, Jun 24, 2010

Fresh: The humanity that Loach and his compassionate screenwriter bring to their story prevents it from being another polemic about how the British screwed Ireland. – Ruthe Stein, San Francisco Chronicle, Apr 13, 2007

Read More About This Movie On Rotten Tomatoes

Customer Reviews

Amazing Film

This is an incredible story. Captivating from beginning to end and I highly recommend this movie. P.S. DO NOT READ DAMEON'S REVIEW (ONE OF THE FIRST REVIEWS TOWARD THE BOTTOM) - IT WILL SPOIL THE ENDING!!!

Tiocfaidh ár lá

This is one of the best movies about Ireland I have ever seen. They did portray the English very unrealistically though... They were way to nice.

Beautiful film

My brother showed me this film, and it is truly an amazing piece of film history it is a very touching story....deffinately worth the price

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The Wind That Shakes the Barley
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  • $19.99
  • Genre: Drama
  • Released: 2007

Customer Ratings