The Wind That Shakes the Barley (2006)

Ken Loach won his first Palme d’Or for his controversial depiction of two brothers who join the Republican Army in 1920 to fight for Irish independence.

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Alternative titles

  • Il Vento Che Accarezza L'erba Alternative


“We've seen some fine war movies recently. The Wind That Shakes the Barley ranks with the best of them – and among the best war films ever made.”
Roger Ebert, Chicago-Sun Times, 2007

In Ken Loach’s acclaimed war drama, Cillian Murphy and Padraic Delaney play brothers who join the Irish Republican Army in 1920 after witnessing the killing of a friend at the hands of the Black and Tans, the British body employed to suppress revolution in Ireland. As the conflict gets increasingly violent and friends and family are tortured and murdered, the brothers become ideologically divided, with tragic results.

The film provoked controversy, with many critics decrying it (some without having seen it) for its negative view of the British. Despite grim subject matter and a grueling torture sequence, the film was an unexpected hit at the box office and remains Loach’s biggest commercial success.

Neil Jordan explored a more recent period of The Troubles in his Oscar-winning The Crying Game, starring Stephen Rea as an IRA foot soldier.

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