Song for a Raggy Boy

Critics Consensus

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Total Count: 6


Audience Score

User Ratings: 2,111
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Movie Info

A teacher takes on the corrupt leadership of an Irish reform school in this drama based on a true story. William Franklin (Aidan Quinn) is a teacher who was born in Ireland and moved to the United States only to repatriate in 1939 after his leftist political views cause him to lose his job. Franklin becomes the first non-cleric instructor at St. Jude's, a school for wayward boys run by Brother John Iain Glen, who is a firm believer in strong discipline. But Franklin comes to believe the students are being treated with excessive force, with many of the children severely punished for trivial violations of the rules, and some treated as delinquents for the crime of not having parents. As Franklin campaigns for more humane treatment of his charges, he makes a powerful enemy in Brother John, who responds to Franklin's reform efforts with greater vehemence against the students, in particular Mercier (John Travers), an inquisitive child who has become a favorite of Franklin. Franklin's distrust of Brother John's regime reaches a high point when a new student informs him that he was sexually assaulted by one of the clerics. Song for a Raggy Boy was adapted from the memoir by Patrick Galvin, who also helped adapt his story for the screen.


Aidan Quinn
as William Franklin
Iain Glen
as Brother John
Marc Warren
as Brother Mac
Dudley Sutton
as Brother Tom
Alan Devlin
as Father Damian
Stuart Graham
as Brother Whelan
John Travers
as Liam Mercier 636
Chris Newman
as Patrick Delaney 743
Andrew Simpson
as Gerard Peters 458
Mark Butler
as Downey 913
Claus Bue
as Bishop
Robert Sheehan
as O Reilly 58
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Critic Reviews for Song for a Raggy Boy

All Critics (6) | Top Critics (1)

  • The filmmakers undermine their point with a simplistic script that refuses to allow shades of grey in what should be a complex, disturbing story.

    Mar 22, 2004 | Rating: 2.5/5 | Full Review…
  • If this had been fictional, I probably would have been harsher on the story, but since it's a true story, what would have been a weakness can be perceived as a strength

    May 2, 2003 | Rating: 3/4

Audience Reviews for Song for a Raggy Boy

  • Jul 02, 2010
    Wow this movie was really something. So moving and shocking. To think that this is based on true events is awful to imagine. Its one of those movies that is great in the sense of acting and all that but awful in the sense that this story is real. It was a tad bit slow to begin, but eventually I was very much into it and emotionally connected. The boys in this movie did a fantastic job acting out very difficult subject matters. I'm glad I watched this. What did this movie teach me? Children are some of the best actors we have these days.
    Sarah . Super Reviewer
  • Oct 23, 2006
    This movie is all the more disturbing due to being based on true events. Slow-paced but dramatic and hard-hitting.
    ♥ Chani L Super Reviewer

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