Shake Hands With the Devil (1959)

Shake Hands With the Devil


No Top Critics Tomatometer score yet...


Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

Movie Info

Filmed on location, Shake Hands With the Devil is set in Ireland during the "troubles" of 1921. James Cagney plays a brilliant medical professor who doubles as head of the Irish Republican Army. Cagney convinces one of his more pacifistic students, Don Murray, to join the underground struggle against British rule. Murray suffers a crisis of conscience when his sweetheart Dana Wynter is taken hostage by the IRA and is slated for execution by the zealous Cagney. Several members of Dublin's Abbey … More

Rating: Unrated
Genre: Drama, Action & Adventure
Directed By:
In Theaters:
On DVD: Aug 1, 1993



as Sean Lenihan

as Kerry O'Shea

as Jennifer Curtis

as Kitty O'Brady

as Lady Fitzhugh

as Chris Noonan

as Mary Madigan

as McGrath

as Cassidy

as Sergeant

as The Judge

as Mike O'Callaghan

as Mrs. Madigan

as Captain (Black & Tan...

as Willie Cafferty

as Tommy Connor

as Eileen O'Leary

as Terence O'Brien

as Sgt. Jenkins

as British General

as Michael O'Leary

as Paddy Nolan

as Sir Arnold Fielding

as Liam O'Sullivan

as Captain (Black & Tan...

as Col. Smithson

as Capt. Fleming
Show More Cast

News & Interviews for Shake Hands With the Devil

Friend Ratings

No Friends? Inconceivable! Log in to see what your friends have to say.


Critic Reviews for Shake Hands With the Devil

All Critics (13) | Top Critics (8)

May 20, 2005
New York Post
Top Critic

Full Review… | March 26, 2009
Top Critic

Full Review… | March 25, 2006
New York Times
Top Critic

June 10, 2005
Hollywood Reporter
Top Critic

Full Review… | June 4, 2005
L.A. Weekly
Top Critic

Full Review… | June 3, 2005
Los Angeles Times
Top Critic

Audience Reviews for Shake Hands With the Devil


Great acting by Cagney complimented with solid work from everyone else makes this compelling viewing. Besides showing how impassioned furor can go too far and twist good men's souls this is a tense study of a group of freedom fighters. Good use of locations and atmospheric filming add to the tone of this and make it well worth catching. One of Cagney's last films before his twenty year retirement.

jay nixon

Super Reviewer

A perfect match with Michael Collins for an Irish troubles double feature with some impressive directorial flourish from Anderson and another captivating Cagney showcase. There is some beautiful sights in the film, especially around the lighthouse where much of the later action takes place. Anderson adds plenty of excitement to his shots, such as the POV interrogation scene where all we see is a hand slapping away at the camera. The script offers a pretty evenhanded examination of the Irish strife, establishing a tense police-state atmosphere courtesy of the Black & Tans but not forgetting to show the harsh code of silence on the rebel side. The scene where Kerry O'Shea watches an IRA man break down after shooting an informer prostitute is still quite wrenching to watch. Cagney always keeps you off balance with his performance, a master at the anti-hero especially with this part. You always get a sense of a zealous determination to his fight for the cause, but the film last half hour shows him going over the line when he is unaccepting of the Anglo-Irish treaty, as in fact many were at the time. The final tragic showdown atop the windswept hilly coast is a nail biter and Anderson delivers right to the final frame with a beautiful shot of Lenihan's pistol falling to the beach sands below. Keep an eagle-eye out for a very young Richard Harris and Doctor Who's original Time-Lord, William Hartnell.

Shake Hands With the Devil Quotes

There are no approved quotes yet for this movie.

Discussion Forum

Discuss Shake Hands With the Devil on our Movie forum!