In the Name of the Father
Theatrical release poster
Directed byJim Sheridan
Screenplay by
Based onProved Innocent: The Story of Gerry Conlon of the Guildford Four
1991 book
by Gerry Conlon
Produced byJim Sheridan
CinematographyPeter Biziou
Edited byGerry Hambling
Music byTrevor Jones
Hell's Kitchen Films
Distributed byUniversal Pictures (through United International Pictures)
Release dates
  • 27 December 1993 (1993-12-27) (Ireland)
  • 11 February 1994 (1994-02-11) (United Kingdom)
Running time
133 minutes
  • Ireland
  • United Kingdom
Budget$13 million
Box office$65.8 million[1]

In the Name of the Father is a 1993 biographical crime drama film co-written and directed by Jim Sheridan. It is based on the true story of the Guildford Four, four people falsely convicted of the 1974 Guildford pub bombings that killed four off-duty British soldiers and a civilian.[2] The screenplay was adapted by Terry George and Jim Sheridan from the 1990 autobiography Proved Innocent: The Story of Gerry Conlon of the Guildford Four by Gerry Conlon.[3]

The film grossed $65 million at the box office and received overwhelmingly positive reviews. It was nominated for seven Oscars at the 66th Academy Awards, including Best Actor (Daniel Day-Lewis), Best Supporting Actor (Pete Postlethwaite), Best Supporting Actress (Emma Thompson), Best Director, and Best Picture.


In Belfast, Gerry Conlon is mistaken as an IRA sniper by British security forces and pursued until a riot breaks out. Gerry is sent to London by his father Giuseppe to dissuade an IRA reprisal against him.

One evening, Gerry burgles a prostitute's flat and steals £700. While he is taking drugs in a park with his friend Paul Hill, alongside homeless Irishman Charlie Burke, an explosion in Guildford occurs, killing four off-duty soldiers plus a civilian as well as injuring many others. Returning to Belfast sometime later, Gerry is captured by the British Army and Royal Ulster Constabulary and arrested on terrorism charges.

Gerry is flown to England, where he and his friend Paul together with two others are dubbed the Guildford Four and are subjected to police torture as part of their interrogation.

Gerry maintains his innocence, but signs a confession after the police threaten to kill his father, who is later arrested along with other members of the Conlon family, later dubbed the Maguire Seven. At his trial, although Gerry's defence points out numerous inconsistencies in the police investigation, he, along with the rest of the Guildford Four, is sentenced to life imprisonment.

During their time in prison Gerry and Giuseppe are approached by new inmate Joe McAndrew, who informs them that he was the real perpetrator of the bombing and had confessed this to the police. The police, in order to save face, withheld this new information.

Though Gerry warms to Joe, his opinion changes when Joe sets a hated prison guard on fire during a riot. Giuseppe later dies in custody, leaving Gerry to take over his father's campaign for justice.

Giuseppe's lawyer Gareth Peirce, who had been investigating the case on Giuseppe's behalf, discovers vital evidence related to Gerry's original alibi with a note attached that reads: "Not to be shown to the defence." Through a statement made by Charlie Burke, at a court appeal, it totally exonerates Gerry and the rest.

The film ends with the current activities of the wrongly accused being given, and also by stating that the police who investigated the case were never prosecuted for any wrongdoing. The real perpetrators of the Guildford Bombing have not been charged with the crime.


Model, now actress, Saffron Burrows made her feature film debut in the film, as Gerry Conlon's free love-interest at a commune/squat in London at the time of the bombings.


To prepare for the role of Gerry Conlon, Day-Lewis lost over 23 kilograms (50 lb) in weight. To gain an insight into Conlon's thoughts and feelings at the time, Day-Lewis also spent three days and nights in a jail cell. He was prevented from sleeping by a group of thugs, who would bang on the door every ten minutes with tin cups through the night, then he was interrogated by three different teams of real Special Branch officers for nine hours. He would also insist that crew members throw cold water at him and verbally abuse him. He also kept his Belfast accent on and off set.

Day-Lewis has stated in an interview that he went through all this because otherwise "How could I understand how an innocent man could sign that confession and destroy his own life."[4][5]


The film received very positive reviews from most critics. The review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes gave the film a score of 94% based on 49 reviews, with an average rating of 7.80/10. The site's consensus states: "Impassioned and meticulously observed, In the Name of the Father mines rousing drama from a factual miscarriage of justice, aided by scorching performances and director Jim Sheridan's humanist focus."[6] On Metacritic, the film has a score of 84 out of 100 based on 16 reviews indicating "universal acclaim".[7] Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "A" on an A+ to F scale.[8]

The film was the second highest-grossing ever in Ireland (behind Jurassic Park), and the highest-grossing Irish film, beating the record set by The Commitments in 1991, with a gross of IR£2.91 million ($4.5 million).[9][10]

Year-end lists


Award Category Subject Result
Australian Film Institute Awards Best Foreign Film Jim Sheridan Nominated
Academy Awards Best Picture Nominated
Best Director Nominated
Best Adapted Screenplay Nominated
Terry George Nominated
Best Actor Daniel Day-Lewis Nominated
Best Supporting Actor Pete Postlethwaite Nominated
Best Supporting Actress Emma Thompson Nominated
Best Film Editing Gerry Hambling Nominated
ACE Eddie Best Edited Feature Film – Dramatic Nominated
British Academy Film Awards Best Adapted Screenplay Jim Sheridan Nominated
Terry George Nominated
Best Actor Daniel Day-Lewis Nominated
Berlin International Film Festival Golden Bear[14] Jim Sheridan Won
BSFC Award Best Actor Daniel Day-Lewis Won
DFWFCA Award Best Film Nominated
David di Donatello Awards Best Foreign Actor Daniel Day-Lewis Nominated
Best Foreign Film Jim Sheridan Won
European Film Award European Film of the Year Nominated
Evening Standard British Film Award Best Film Jim Sheridan Won
Golden Globe Awards Best Motion Picture – Drama Nominated
Best Actor – Motion Picture Drama Daniel Day-Lewis Nominated
Best Supporting Actress – Motion Picture Emma Thompson Nominated
Best Original Song
("You Made Me the Thief of Your Heart")
Bono Nominated
Gavin Friday Nominated
Maurice Seezer Nominated
Humanitas Prize Feature Film Category Terry George Nominated
Jim Sheridan Nominated
Nastro d'Argento European Silver Ribbon Nominated
Kansas City Film Critics Circle Awards Best Supporting Actress Emma Thompson Won
LAFCA Award Best Actor Daniel Day-Lewis 2nd place
NBR Award Top Ten Films Won
NSFC Award Best Actor Daniel Day-Lewis 2nd place
NYFCC Award Best Actor 3rd place
PGA Award Best Theatrical Motion Picture Jim Sheridan Nominated
PFS Award Exposé Won
Human Rights Nominated
Peace Nominated
WGA Award Best Adapted Screenplay Jim Sheridan Nominated
Terry George Nominated


Upon its release, the film proved controversial for some historical inaccuracies and for fictionalising parts of the story. Jim Sheridan was forced to defend his choices. In 2003, he stated: "I was accused of lying in In the Name of the Father, but the real lie was saying it was a film about the Guildford Four when really it was about a non-violent parent."[15] In the film Gerry and his father Giuseppe (in the closing credits, the name is misspelled "Guiseppe") share a cell, but this never took place; they were usually kept in separate prisons. The real perpetrators of the Guildford pub bombings were the IRA's Balcombe Street Gang, who admitted to the Guildford and Woolwich bombings during their trials, rather than the fictional character of Joe McAndrew. The courtroom scenes featuring Gareth Peirce were also heavily criticised as clearly straying from recorded events and established English legal practices since, as a solicitor and not a barrister, she would not have been able to appear in court at the time. Furthermore, Peirce did not represent Giuseppe Conlon. Investigative journalist David Pallister wrote: "The myriad absurdities in the court scenes, straight out of LA Law, are inexcusable."[16]

In a 1994 radio interview, Anne Maguire, a member of The Maguire Seven who, along with her husband, brother and two young sons, went to prison because of the false confessions of her nephew Gerry Conlon and Paul Hill, revealed her lingering anger and bitterness at the pair for wrongly incriminating them, as well as her dismay at the film for, in her view, depicting Conlon as a hero. (She and her family were all officially exonerated by the British government in 1991.) She also criticised director Jim Sheridan for, as she claims, never reaching out to her or her family for their side of the story, and sharply castigated the film for alleged inaccuracies, including a scene showing Conlon and Hill visiting her prior to their arrests, as she adamantly maintains that Hill never once set foot in her home -- a key point in her defense at trial.[17]


The soundtrack of the film includes the song "You Made Me the Thief of Your Heart", performed by Sinéad O'Connor and written by Bono, Gavin Friday, and Maurice Seezer. The soundtrack also includes "Voodoo Child (Slight Return)" performed by The Jimi Hendrix Experience. However, the Bob Dylan Song "Like a Rolling Stone" was not included on the album due to licensing restrictions.

The soundtrack featured these songs:

  1. Bono and Gavin Friday - "In the Name of the Father" (5:42)
  2. The Jimi Hendrix Experience - "Voodoo Child (Slight Return)" (5:09)
  3. Bono and Gavin Friday - "Billy Boola" (3:45)
  4. The Kinks - "Dedicated Follower of Fashion" (3:00)
  5. Trevor Jones - "Interrogation" (7:11)
  6. Bob Marley and the Wailers - "Is This Love" (3:51)
  7. Trevor Jones - "Walking the Circle" (4:42)
  8. Thin Lizzy - "Whiskey in the Jar" (5:44)
  9. Trevor Jones - "Passage of Time" (5:52)
  10. Sinéad O'Connor - "You Made Me the Thief of Your Heart" (6:21)

Filming locations

See also


  1. ^ "In the Name of the Father at Box Office Mojo". Retrieved 29 September 2010.
  2. ^ Pallister, David (19 October 1999). "An injustice that still reverberates". The Guardian. Retrieved 12 July 2011.
  3. ^ The Irish Filmography 1896-1996; Red Mountain Press; 1996. Page 59.
  4. ^ EmmaGennaro (7 May 2008). "Daniel Day-Lewis - 'Movies 101' Part 3". Archived from the original on 11 December 2021 – via YouTube.
  5. ^ EmmaGennaro (8 May 2008). "Daniel Day-Lewis - 'Movies 101' Part 4". Archived from the original on 11 December 2021 – via YouTube.
  6. ^ "In The Name Of the Father Reviews". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 28 February 2012.
  7. ^ "In the Name of the Father Reviews". Metacritic. CNET Networks, Inc. Retrieved 28 February 2012.
  8. ^ "Home". CinemaScore. Retrieved 28 February 2022.
  9. ^ Harris, Mike (7 March 1994). "Oscar Boosts Films O'seas". Daily Variety. p. 38.
  10. ^ "Ireland flocks to the flicks". Screen International. 25 April 1997. p. 27.
  11. ^ Berardinelli, James (2 January 1995). "Rewinding 1994 -- The Year in Film". ReelViews. Retrieved 19 July 2020.
  12. ^ King, Dennis (25 December 1994). "SCREEN SAVERS In a Year of Faulty Epics, The Oddest Little Movies Made The Biggest Impact". Tulsa World (Final Home ed.). p. E1.
  13. ^ Craft, Dan (30 December 1994). "Success, Failure and a Lot of In-between; Movies '94". The Pantagraph. p. B1.
  14. ^ "Berlinale: 1994 Prize Winners". Archived from the original on 26 July 2011. Retrieved 15 June 2011.
  15. ^ Merritt, Stephanie (11 October 2003). "In the pain of the father". The Observer – via The Guardian.
  16. ^ Pallister, David (Spring 1994). "In the Name of the Father". Vertigo Magazine. London: Close-Up Film Centre. Retrieved 28 March 2016.
  17. ^ "Fresh Air with Terry Gross: A "Miscarriage of Justice" Wrongly Imprisons an Innocent Family". 26 October 1994. Retrieved 23 August 2023.