Shake Hands With the Devil (1959)




Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

Movie Info

Sean Lenihan (James Cagney) is a medical professor at the University of Dublin and a secret commander in the Irish underground. Kerry O'Shea (Don Murray) is the student and World War I veteran whose father was a companion of Lehihan's before being killed in the struggle for Irish independence in 1921. The two combine forces as academia takes a back seat to brutal terrorism. Based on a novel by Rearden Conner.
Action & Adventure , Drama
Directed By:
Written By:
In Theaters:
United Artists


Richard Harris
as Terence O'Brien
James Cagney
as Sean Lenihan
Michael Redgrave
as The General
Glynis Johns
as Kitty Brady
Donal Donnelly
as Willie Cafferty
Niall MacGinnis
as Michael O'Leary
Cyril Cusack
as Chris Noonan
Dana Wynter
as Jennifer Curtis
William Hartnell
as Sgt. Jenkins
Ray McAnally
as Paddy Nolan
Don Murray
as Kerry O'Shea
John Le Mesurier
as British General
John Cairney
as Mike O'Callaghan
Robert Brown
as Sergeant
Sybil Thorndike
as Lady Fitzhugh
Alan White
as Capt. Fleming
Peter Reynolds
as Captain
Eithne Dunne
as Eileen O'Leary
Christopher Rhodes
as Col. Smithson
Clive Morton
as Sir Arnold Fielding
Noel Purcell
as Liam O'Sullivan
John Breslin
as McGrath
Eileen Crowe
as Mrs. Madigan
Marianne Benet
as Mary Madigan
Harry Brogan
as Cassidy
Lewis Casson
as The Judge
Wilfred Downing
as Tommy Connor
Ronald Walsh
as Sergeant
Show More Cast

Critic Reviews for Shake Hands With the Devil

All Critics (5) | Top Critics (1)

A good intro into the conflict between England and the IRA.

Full Review… | July 22, 2005
Ozus' World Movie Reviews

Quote not available.

June 18, 2005

Quote not available.

Full Review… | June 3, 2005
Los Angeles Daily News

Quote not available.

May 20, 2005
New York Post
Top Critic

Quote not available.

Full Review… | May 13, 2005
Boston Herald

Quote not available.

February 13, 2005
La Presse, Montréal

Audience Reviews for Shake Hands With the Devil

Period piece concerning Ireland's fight for independence which was slow-paced and sometimes hard to stay interested. However, I did enjoy the presentation of the freedom fighter view.

Darrin Craig
Darrin Craig

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.

Humberto Ferre
Humberto Ferre

Period piece concerning Ireland's fight for independence which was slow-paced and sometimes hard to stay interested. However, I did enjoy the presentation of the freedom fighter view.

DC Fixx
DC Fixx

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!

News & Features