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The Irish Republican Army (IRA) has for decades pursued the goal of unifying its homeland into a single sovereign nation, ending British rule in Northern Ireland. Over the years, the IRA has been dramatized in motion pictures directed by John Ford (The Informer), Carol Reed (Odd Man Out), David Lean (Ryan’s Daughter), Neil Jordan (Michael Collins), and many others. International film stars as Liam Neeson, Brad Pitt, James Mason, Robert Mitchum, James Cagney, Richard Gere, and Anthony Hopkins have portrayed IRA members as heroic patriots, psychotic terrorists and tormented rebels.
This illustrated history analyzes celluloid depictions of the IRA from the 1916 Easter Rising to the peace process of the 1990s. Topics include America’s role in creating both the IRA and its cinematic image, the organization’s brief association with the Nazis, and critical reception of IRA films in Ireland, Britain and the United States.