The General (1998) - Rotten Tomatoes

The General (1998)

The General



Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

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Movie Info

Hollyfield was a Dublin slum where the rejected, the derelict and the anti-social were housed. Young Martin Carhill grew up in a milieu where crime was the main occupation. He was sent to a correction school when caught stealing food for his family. Abused by priests and the police, he grew up with a resentment of authority. Throughout his adult life, Martin Carhillderived satisfaction from making fools out of authority figures. He organised a number of daring and carefully planned robberies, gaining the sobriquet, 'The General'. Hollyfield was a no-go area for the police and the fierce loyalties of its inhabitants protected Cahill. However, at the behest of his wife Frances and her sister Tina, he bought a house in the middle class district. He then came under the scrutiny of tax officials. He over-reached himself when he and his gang stole paintings from Russborough House. With public and political pressure mounting, the police started a surveillance operation headed by Ned Kenny, a man who admired Cahill but was determined to break him. His potent mix of violence and humour and generosity made him a legend in his lifetime, a legend that has grown largely since his death.more
Rating: R (for violence and pervasive language)
Genre: Drama
Directed By:
Written By: John Boorman
In Theaters:
On DVD: Jul 20, 1999
Sony Pictures Classics

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Brendan Gleeson
as Martin Cahill
Adrian Dunbar
as Noel Curley
Maria Doyle Kennedy
as Frances Cahil
Jon Voight
as Ned Kenny
Tom Murphy
as Wille Byrne
Paul Hickey
as Anthony
Eamonn Owens
as Martin as a Child
Pat Laffan
as Higgins
Frank Melia
as Lawless
Ronan Wilmot
as James Donovan
Lynn Cahill
as Arcade Woman
David Wilmot
as Assassin
Stephen Brennan
as Arthur Ryan
Don Wycherley
as Henry Mackie
Pat Kinevane
as Desk Guard
Barry McGovern
as IRA Leader
Pat Leavy
as Mrs. Duggan
Aoife Moriarity
as Young Frances
Brendan Coyle
as UVF Leader
Jim Sheridan
as CPAD Leader
Gavin Kelty
as Young Hood No. 1
Owen O'Neill
as Revenue Man
David Carey
as Revenue Man
Niamh Lineham
as Reporter
Jason Byrne
as Reporter
Ann Doyle
as TV Newsreader
Daragh Kelly
as Young Detective
Des O'Malley
as Himself
Show More Cast

News & Interviews for The General

Critic Reviews for The General

All Critics (50) | Top Critics (11)

I can no longer stomach the premise in so many Anglo-American crime pictures that mavericks are admirable simply because they're mavericks

Full Review… | May 1, 2012
Chicago Reader
Top Critic

A movie that says more about the rebellious Irish psyche than a heap of overtly political pictures.

Full Review… | March 26, 2009
Top Critic

All the performances are impressive, but Gleeson and Voight are especially memorable, lending an almost tragic air of inexorability to Cahill and Kenny's cat-and-mouse games.

Full Review… | June 24, 2006
Time Out
Top Critic

The General is a refined, traditional movie about a character who is never more traditional than when he imagines himself outside the law. It's a great paradox, but it barely comes alive on the screen.

Full Review… | January 1, 2000
Village Voice
Top Critic

Before he was Mad Eye Moody, before he took Colin Farrell to the woodshed "In Bruges," before "The Guard," the great Irish actor Brendan Gleeson was the infamous Irish crook known as "The General."

Full Review… | June 11, 2012
Tribune News Service

The General is a welcome return to basics for Britain's most adventurous and visionary director, who has always stayed faithful to his love of cinema.

Full Review… | May 1, 2012

Audience Reviews for The General


John Boorman is an underrated director.
Tell me the creators of The Sopranos didn't screen this.

It's not perfect, in fact some of it is pretty tired - but it's got enough interesting stuff and Brendan Gleeson's portrayal of the Dublin crime cheiftan is powerful and exciting.

Bob Stinson

Super Reviewer


A criative screenplay and terrific direction, just like the acting, The General is a great motion picture. Fresh.

Lucas Martins
Lucas Martins

Super Reviewer

I thought the movie is about some military general. And quite a brave one for that matter, when the beginning describes him as a legend. Apparently, I was amazed when it turned out about some legendary Irish criminal who pulled out heists outwitting the legal authorities. While ruthless and mean to the rest of the world, Martin Cahill cared enough for his family. He even extended his generosity to his sister-in-law. The way he embarrassed the police authorities was a stroke of brilliance. Jon Voight, playing Ned Kelly, does fair enough as an Inspector who is now and again left in an embarrassing position by Martin as he seems to get a kick out of it. Brendan Gleeson portrays Cahill outstandingly. He's simply par excellence. However, his covering the face with one hand constantly caused me a bit of irritation initially. But after a while, I got used to it. How's one to know (if need be, let it be known that there are always exceptions) that the legendary Martin too used to do so for real. Quite an intriguing & worthwhile stuff, and that too based on real events. Sufficient & efficient enough for me. Might not have been so appealing with the foreknowledge about this incredible scumbag, infamously known as The General.

familiar stranger

Super Reviewer

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