The Wind That Shakes the Barley

2006 | Drama | 126 minutes | English


In County Cork, Ireland, in 1920, Damien O’Donovan is planning to move to London to practice medicine. Before leaving, his brother, Teddy, asks him to stay and fight with the Irish Republican Army against the oppression of Ireland by the British. At first, Damien refuses. However, after Damien witnesses the execution of his friend by British Black and Tans, he joins the fight. Damien and Teddy become very active: they are captured, imprisoned, tortured, and forced to execute two friends for treason. Eventually, the two brothers oppose each other after the Anglo-Irish Treaty  is proposed. Teddy becomes Pro-Treaty while Damien remains a member of the more radical Anti-Treaty movement. Their relationship, home, and lives are at risk of being torn apart. The fight for Irish independence will be costly and heartbreaking for many years.

Cillian Murphy (Damien O’Donovan) / Pádraic Delaney (Teddy O’Donovan)
Why Stream This Film?
A searing melodrama that alerts the viewer  of the tragic consequences of oppression. It begs the question: Are safety and comfort more valued than the fight for a country’s independence?
  • Rotten Tomatoes Score (Critics Consensus): 90%
  • Metacritic Score: 82
  • Cannes Film Festival: Winner, Palme d’Or
  • Dublin Film Critics Circle Awards: Winner, Best Irish Film
  • European Film Awards: Winner, Best Cinematography (Barry Ackroyd)
A somberly beautiful dream of the violent Irish past. Refusing the standard flourishes of Irish wildness or lyricism, Ken Loach has made a film for our moment, a time of bewildering internecine warfare.
David Denby

The New Yorker

The history presented in THE WIND THAT SHAKES the BARLEY hardly feels like a closed book or a museum display. It is alive and troubling as anything on the evening news, though far more thoughtful and beautiful.
A.O. Scott

The New York Times

You don’t have to know about the history of the troubles in Northern Ireland to be swept up in the human drama of THE WIND THAT SHAKES the BARLEY. With almost tactile immediacy—you can smell the smoke and the wild grasses in the hills, feel the rain and the fog in your bones—the movie places you shoulder to shoulder with people who are living and dying for their country, their families, their friends, and their principles.
Jim Emerson

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