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In the Name of the Father
Directed by Jim Sheridan
Produced by Jim Sheridan
Written by Jim Sheridan
Terry George
Starring Daniel Day-Lewis
Pete Postlethwaite
Emma Thompson
Cinematography Peter Biziou
Editing by Gerry Hambling
Distributed by Universal Pictures
Release date(s) Ireland
December 12, 1993 (1993-12-12)
United Kingdom
01994-02-11 February 11, 1994
Running time 133 min
Country Ireland
United Kingdom
Language English

Historical and Cultural Context: In the Name of the Father is an analysis of 1993 film directed by Jim Sheridan based on the true life story of the Guildford Four, four people falsely convicted of the IRA's Guildford pub bombing which killed 4 off duty British Soldiers and a civilian. The screenplay was adapted by Terry George and Jim Sheridan from the autobiography Proved Innocent by Gerry Conlon. This article was made to shed some light on the historical and cultural aftermath of not only the Guildford Four Trials, but also the overall violence in Northern Ireland.


Historical context

In the Name of the Father deals with the Guildford Four and more specifically Gerry Conlon. The Guildford Four were arrested and charged with bombing the Horse & Groom in Guildford, Surrey, England in 1974. The four went on to serve 15 years of their prison sentence until 1989 when the original court cases were overturned.

This event in British History is part of the greater struggle in Northern Ireland often referred to as The Troubles.

As a result of the IRA bombings in the U.K. The Prevention of Terrorism Act was passed in 1974.

Historical inaccuracies

The Guildford Four--Gerry Conlon, Paul Hill, Paddy Armstrong, and Carole Richardson--were acquitted on Oct. 5, 1989. They had been in prison four 15 years. ConIon and Hill spent a total of 6 of those years in solitary confinement.

Anglo-American press was quick to point out that Sheridan distorted the facts of the case. The notable (and only major) discrepancies which occur are Sheridan’s depiction of Gerry and Guisseppe Conlon sharing a cell; in fact, they were not in the same prison. Another change occurs in the scenes showing the Guildford Four and Maguire Seven on trial together; their trials were undertaken separately in jury-less proceedings. Lastly, though Gareth Pierce (played by Emma Thompson) did represent the Four, the documents revealing torture and coerced testimonies were found in the Surrey Police Headquarters during a special investigation in August, 1987.

Cultural context

Irish poet, Seamus Heaney, wrote extensively about the bloodshed in his home country. He published poems dealing with the sectarian violence in Northern Ireland. In his poem, "Punishment," published in 1975 Heaney writes about the violence occurring.

Heaney also wrote a memorial poem for his cousin Colum McCartney who was killed at a mock roadblock in Northern Ireland. The poem is titled "The Strand at Lough Beg," but takes a more sentimental approach than "Punishment."

See also


  • Bew, P. and Gillespie, G. "Northern Ireland: A Chronology of the Troubles. 1968-1999."
  • CAIN:Conflict Archive on the Internet. University of Ulster.
  • Elliott, S. and Flackes, W.D. "Northern Ireland: A Political Directory."
  • T.W. Moody & F.X. Martin. "The Course of Irish History."

External links



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