Borstal Boy

Critics Consensus

The sentimentality of Borstal Boy feels false in contrast to the gritty life of the actual Brendan Behan.



Total Count: 33


Audience Score

User Ratings: 1,656
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Movie Info

Brendan Behan's famous memoir about his troubled youth formed the basis of this drama. Brendan (Shawn Hatosy) is a 16-year-old boy from Ireland who loathes the British and is eager to do something about it. Brendan sails into Liverpool, but is discovered to be carrying the makings of a bomb; he's soon placed under arrest and thrown into a borstal (British reform school), where he finds himself surrounded by a collection of tough-as-nails English delinquents. While his political beliefs don't change, Brendan learns to become more tolerant of others as he makes friends with a few of his fellow inmates, including Charlie (Danny Dyer), who dreams of sailing away some day, and Scottish Jock (Robin Laing). Brendan also has to deal with the pains of first love when he becomes infatuated with Liz (Eva Birthistle), the daughter of the school's master (Michael York). Borstal Boy marked the film debut of stage director Peter Sheridan, the brother of noted Irish filmmaker Jim Sheridan.

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Critic Reviews for Borstal Boy

All Critics (33) | Top Critics (16)

Audience Reviews for Borstal Boy

  • Mar 13, 2011
    A very nice story of young Brendan Behan that shows love sometimes is found in unexpected places. As with any movie with WWII as a backdrop, there is not always a lot of sunshine, but the sweetness of youth is demonstrated.
    Thomas J Super Reviewer
  • Apr 03, 2007
    I think the average fan of Danny Dyer, may be a little disappointed with this film as he doesn?t play his stereotypical type of role. Performance-wise, it was a good surprise that the Actor wasn?t typecast, however it lacked any major excitement.
    Lady D Super Reviewer

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