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The General is a British-Irish crime film directed by John Boorman about Dublin crime boss Martin Cahill, who pulled off several daring heists in the early 1980s and attracted the attention of the Garda Síochána, IRA, and Ulster Volunteer Force. The film was shot in 1997 and released in 1998. Brendan Gleeson plays Cahill, Adrian Dunbar plays his friend Noel Curley, and Jon Voight plays Inspector Ned Kenny.

The General
Theatrical release poster
Directed byJohn Boorman
Produced byJohn Boorman
Screenplay byJohn Boorman
Based onThe General
by Paul Williams
Music byRichie Buckley
CinematographySeamus Deasy
Distributed bySony Pictures Classics
Release date
  • 18 December 1998 (1998-12-18)
Running time
124 minutes
  • Republic of Ireland[1]
  • United Kingdom[1]
Box office$1.2 million (US)[2]



After selling stolen paintings to the UVF Cahill realises he has made a dangerous mistake. When the PIRA hear of this, they order his assassination, which is carried out on 18 August 1994.



The film is based on the book of the same name by Irish journalist Paul Williams, who is "Special Correspondent" for the Irish Independent.

Director Boorman was himself one of Cahill's burglary victims. This event is dramatized in a scene in which Cahill breaks into a home, stealing a gold record and pilfering a watch from the wrist of a sleeping woman. The gold record, which Cahill later breaks in disgust after discovering it is not made of gold, was awarded for the score of Deliverance, Boorman's best-known film.

Filming was at various locations around Dublin, including South Lotts and Ranelagh.


The General was nominated for and won several awards, including Best Director at the 1998 Cannes Film Festival and the Grand Prix of the Belgian Syndicate of Cinema Critics.[3]

The film holds an approval rating of 81% based on 48 reviews on Rotten Tomatoes.[4]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b "The General (1998)". British Film Institute. Retrieved 19 June 2016.
  2. ^ "The General (1998)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved 19 June 2016.
  3. ^ "Festival de Cannes: The General". Retrieved 2 October 2009.
  4. ^ "The General (1998)". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 19 June 2016.

External linksEdit