The Boxer (1997 film)

The Boxer is a 1997 sports-drama film by Irish director Jim Sheridan starring Daniel Day-Lewis, Emily Watson, and Brian Cox. The film centers on the life of a boxer and former Provisional IRA volunteer Danny Flynn, played by Day-Lewis, who is trying to "go straight" after his release from prison. The film is the third collaboration between Sheridan and Day-Lewis, and portrays the increase of splinter groups within the IRA.[1] In preparation for the role, Daniel Day-Lewis trained as a boxer in Ireland for a year.

The Boxer
The boxer poster.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed byJim Sheridan
Produced byArthur Lappin
Jim Sheridan
Written byTerry George
Jim Sheridan
Music byGavin Friday
Maurice Seezer
CinematographyChris Menges
Edited byGerry Hambling
Universal Pictures
Hell's Kitchen Films
Distributed byUniversal Pictures
Release date
  • December 31, 1997 (1997-12-31)
Running time
113 minutes
Budget$4.7 million
Box office$16.5 million


Former Irish pugilist and Provisional IRA member Danny Flynn (Daniel Day-Lewis) returns home to Belfast from a 14-year stint in prison at the age of 32. Weary of the unbroken cycle of violence in Northern Ireland, he attempts to settle down and live in peace. After meeting his drink-sodden old trainer Ike (Ken Stott), Danny starts up a non-sectarian boxing club for boys in an old gymnasium. While fixing up the old building, however, he runs across a cache of Semtex hidden underneath the stage. He throws the cache into the river.

Danny's action infuriates Harry (Gerard McSorley), a bitter and ruthless IRA lieutenant. Harry feuds with Danny, assassinating the kindly police officer who donates equipment to the boxing club. The murder causes a riot at one of Danny's boxing matches. During the riot, the gymnasium is burned down by Liam, the young son of Maggie (Emily Watson), who thinks Danny and his mother are going to elope.

Danny has been reconnecting with an old flame, Maggie, now married to an imprisoned IRA man and required by IRA code to remain faithful to him. Their relationship dominates much of the film. Harry sees Danny and Maggie's relationship as a way to undermine the authority of her father, Joe Hamill (Brian Cox), the grim but war-weary local IRA commander who is working for peace.

Eventually, Harry and some other IRA men kidnap Danny and take him away to be executed. Then, in a last-minute twist, the IRA gunman shoots Harry instead of Danny, thus eliminating a rogue agent. With her son Liam in the car, Maggie picks up Danny and they all drive home together.


Box office performanceEdit

The film made US$5,896,037 in the United States.[2]


Reviews of the film were generally positive; the review aggregating website Rotten Tomatoes reported that 80% of the 70 reviews tallied were positive with the consensus: "The Boxer is a standard drama that packs a true emotional wallop thanks to the highly tuned central performances."[3]


The Boxer was nominated for three Golden Globe Awards in the Picture, Actor (Daniel Day-Lewis) and Director (Jim Sheridan) categories. It also competed for the Golden Bear at 48th Berlin International Film Festival in 1998.[4]


  1. ^ "Wettbewerb/In Competition". Moving Pictures, Berlinale Extra. Berlin. 11–22 February 1998. p. 12. Cite has empty unknown parameter: |coauthors= (help)
  2. ^
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  4. ^ "Berlinale: 1998 Programme". Retrieved 15 January 2012.

External linksEdit