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  • An excellent film - really enjoyable.

    Though if one reads historical accounts about the exploits of allied and German internees in Ireland during WWII fact was even more strange than depicted in this film!

    Jean Butler played her part well considering her lack of previous film appearances she should be in more movies.

    Angus MacFadyen is superb as the Luftwaffe pilot, his aloof arrogance is tempered by his sense of fair play and humanity.

    A wonderful film which I enjoyed - the Isle of Man made a good surrogate for Ireland.
  • ROYAL AIR FORCES ASSOCIATION CANNOCK CHASE BRANCH U.K.(573) Members of the Cannock Chase Branch of the R.A.F. - Royal Air Force - attended the premier of the excellent film "The Brylcreem Boys" held on April 23, 1999 in Wolverhampton. All of us were ex-serving members of the R.A.F., and some of our group were elderly veterans who had flown in the 'Battle of Britain' in 1941. We all wish to express our thanks to the director Terence Ryan and all the cast and crew who's efforts made this film possible. Without a doubt we all feel that this film has captured the essence of the situation that prevailed during the period in which the film was set. The comradeship and humour that made up life in the R.A.F. is a thing that can never be adequately described but we all feel that the film The Brylcreem Boys has gone a long way in portraying this. We congratulate everyone involved in the making of this film for what can only be described as an excellent piece of work. Sincerely Malcolm Blackman. R.A.F.
  • This is a great little film, with all the ingredients of a good evenings entertainment. It has action and romance blended with humour and Irish music. A wonderful cocktail of true life events set against a fantastic background of Irish scenery. I really enjoyed watching this film and highly recommend it to those who appreciate seeing a good film. The most incredible thing about this film is that it is based on actual events that happened in Ireland. During the second world war, Ireland was neutral and had a Prisoner of War (POW) camp exactly like the one depicted in The Brylcreem Boys. This POW camp was situated 30 miles outside Dublin near a town called Naas, and it housed both Allied and German prisoners of war. This film does a great job in showing how life in the POW camp really was and how the British, American and German prisoners all had to get along together. A fantastic story and really worth seeing portrayed in the film. All the crew and cast involved in the researching, writing and the making of this film deserve a cheer! Well done! All the best from: Monty-46
  • Warning: Spoilers
    This one kind of slipped under the radar. It didn't enjoy a long cinematic release but the themes it touches on are fairly original and thought provoking.

    Gabriel Byrne plays another of those quirky roles he indulges in from time to time, this time as Commandant of an Irish internment camp, perhaps the most relaxed POW camp ever in the history of modern warfare. However, the two main characters play downed Allied and Luftwaffe airmen who clash over their respective sides ideologies and war aims, as well as vying for the attentions of 'Riverdance' star Jean Butler. Escape from the camp is pointless as both the British and German governments have struck an agreement with Ireland to return escapees so as to prevent 'embarrasing' the Irish and perhaps forcing the country to side with either the Allies/Axis. I'm as yet unsure as to the historical accuracy of this 'deal'. However, as far as I know, Dublin was more sympathetic to the Allied cause and often allowed captured Allied sailors/airmen to return to England whilst generally interning the Germans. During the film, one of the maids hints at this sympathetic line when stating how 'disgraceful' it was that the Brits were being held whilst 1000s of Irishmen were fighting with the 8th Army in North Africa.

    In the film, the detainees of both sides are allowed day passes to leave the camp, the Irish knowing full well that if the Allied troops flee to the North, they'll just be sent back anyway. Presumably it was a little harder for the Germans to get back home! This sort of relaxed attitude towards the interned soldiers was apparently the norm in Ireland during the 'Emergency' (as the Irish govt referred to WW2!). My grandfather told a story of a German Me-110 crashing near a golf course in north county Dublin during the 'Blitz' of London (how he ended up as far west as Dublin is a mystery). The locals went out to help the uninjured pilot and brought him back for a hearty Irish breakfast at the club house! A while later the police turned up, broke up the impromptu party and took the young airman into captivity. A similar scene is enacted at the start of the film when we see the survivors of a downed RAF bomber drinking stout in a pub (with the local police no less) before an Irish officer enters the pub and arrests the men.

    Apparently shot on the Isle of Man, with stunning locations, original, warm and often amusing script, as well as a good array of acting talent (Angus Macfadyn playing the German officer, Joe McGann as the brutish but-in-a-nice-sort-of-way Camp guard, and Texan William McNamara were particularly outstanding I thought) add up to a very watchable film. A few criticisms would include zee German accents (why don't they hire German actors and speak in German?), and perhaps the clichéd portrayal of the locals (i.e. getting together down de local pub and all yelping and dancing for joy, as only Oirish peasants can do ya know!). A particularly cringe moment was Jean Butler actually doing her 1995 half flamenco/half Irish Riverdance.....if she had done that in 1941, the locals probably would've proclaimed her possessed by the devil! Anyway, apart from that ridiculous mini-scene, Butler gave a very convincing performance. Pity we haven't seen much of that fiery red head since.
  • The story of the internees in Ireland during the Second World War is a fascinating one that I was familiar with, and after hearing of this film, I thought I would give it a watch. It's a very pleasant way to spend an hour and three-quarters, though it probably will not go down in history as a world-changing piece of art. You couldn't fault the period detail and the acting throughout is of a high standard. The script, directing, and all the rest is good. I suppose part of the problem with the film is that the absurdity of the story probably doesn't translate terribly well to a film. As a result the film has to work quite hard to make the story dramatic. It perhaps goes over the top a little with the "WE ARE IN IRELAND!" details (perhaps because it is filmed on the Isle of Man?) I enjoyed the subtle visual hints (the bored horse standing next to a green phone box) and the plot details (each one of the fourteen hundred camp guards being either 'Seamus' or 'Sean'). Anyway, it's an independent movie, and for all that is very professionally done and well put together. If you see it coming on the telly one wet Sunday afternoon, don't turn it off - I'm sure you'll find much to like in it.
  • I thoroughly enjoyed the film. The location, although set in Ireland, was actually filmed mostly at Jurby Airfield on the Isle of Man, which is an old RAF station and in many ways still as shown in the film. The shot of the cottage by the beach at Niarbyl is the same one used as Ned Devines cottage in Waking Ned.
  • Having now seen "The Brylcreem Boys" for the third time, I adore the whole mood and feel of the piece. The subject matter (true, according to a recent article in the UK paper The Guardian) is handled in a way that only a British movie maker can do: with humor and without mawkishness. Suprisingly it was shot on the Isle of Man which just looks beautiful. As for the casting, it has to be one of the best and inspired collections of UK actors to be seen together for at least a decade. Gabriel Byrne gives one of the warmest performances and simply cannot loose his glint in his eye. Bill Campbell nearly steals every scene and for a genuine laugh-out-loud moment (his puzzled line at the escape) Marc Sinden is outstanding! The ensemble work as though they have been a team for years and play off each other in a way that should be a lesson for any aspiring movie actors and yet the majority are well-known Brit stage actors in their own right. A delight!
  • This was a great movie of the hardships of the pilots during the war. It was a moving story that brought me to tears and laughter throughout the movie. It was beautifully done with all the actors involved. I thought Bill Campbell brought a real life feeling to the character that he portrayed. He is of course an excellent actor. It was almost like being there along side of those men who were there. I have watched this movie on several occasions, because I was able to purchase this one. It is rare that such a moving picture is released, but this one is surely a keeper. All of those who get the chance to view this movie, certainly should. I think it should receive an academy award, but who am I. I suggest this movie should be watched if at all possible. A few months ago, HBO had an airing of this wonderful movie, and I was unable to resist watching it at more than one occasion.
  • The Brylcreem boys is a terrific film and is a must see for all history buffs. The events in the story are all true and give us a feel of what life was like during war-time Ireland. As an Irish person I related to the anti-war theme. This is a film that can be seen again and again,a nd enjoyed by all age groups. I highly recommend it. Ayn Madigan. London-Dublin
  • The Brylcreem Boys takes as its subject matter a fascinating true situation but doesn't really seem to know what to do with it. Set in the neutral Republic of Ireland during WWII the story revolves around a group of British and German servicemen who find themselves interned in the same POW camp, separated by only a thin strip of land between two fortified fences through which they trade insults. And that's pretty much it, really. There's an unremarkable romance between a Canadian serving in the British RAF (Bill Campbell) and a comely local lass (Jean Butler), and a predictably resolved rivalry between him and German officer Count Rudolph von Stegenbek (Angus McFadyen), but for most of the movie you get the impression that the writers didn't really know what to do with the subject matter.

    The basic premise would seem to lend itself to a comedy in the vein of an old Ealing production: a prison camp from which none of the allied forces wish to escape, where their pay slips are received monthly, from which they receive day-passes to visit the local race meetings, and in which the only bars are the type that serve pints of beer. The comic possibilities would seem endless but the humour here is almost non-existent, as are any elements of suspense or tension, and the writers seem to approach certain aspects that could be of interest – the effect on Stegenbek of learning that his comrades slaughtered a French farming family who shielded Keogh (Campbell) for example – only to back off once the ground work is complete. The inevitable escape attempt, when it finally arrives, is glossed over in a few scenes, and the fate of the principals announced by a voice-over. All in all, while the film has some entertainment value, it's a big disappointment. And for my money any film about British POWs that casts a couple of actors from Charlottesville, Virginia and Dallas, Texas as the lead RAF characters has irreparably compromised itself from the outset.
  • Broadway productions such as The Irish and How They Got That Way by Frank McCourt, movies such as Waking Ned Devine, books suchas Angela's Ashes by McCourt, music by the 3 Irish Tenors and the magnificent serial from Ireland, Ballykissangel, are all testimony to the "endearing charms" of Ireland and things Irish. All have drama, sense of humor and sadness - the Irish personality. This movie has a new twist, a philosophical expression of anti-war morality. Gabriel Byrne and all of the actors portraying the Allies, the Germans and the Irish in WWII, give us entertainment plus a lot to think about. This is a thoroughly enjoyable movie and the Irish dancers are great
  • Warning: Spoilers
    I'm an avid history buff - particularly interested in WW2. I did not know until watching this film the first time that Ireland was neutral during WW2. Who knew? Obviously not me.

    The acting is great and very believable. The scenes are beautiful - right out of an Irish painting - and the plot is engaging. Some very good American and British humor, to boot.

    Just to be on the safe side, let me warn you that SPOILERS FOLLOW.

    The only negatives to the film were I found it hard to believe that a British bomber would make it all the way back from a raid over the Continent and overfly England to over Ireland and not realize they weren't still over France. "'Clocks' shot out" or otherwise, that one seemed a bit of a stretch.

    And, I love a movie where the "guy gets the girl." So, I was disappointed that Miles died and the German Count actually returned after the War to marry Mattie. At least they named their kid "Miles."
  • Warning: Spoilers
    It is an enjoyable movie based loosely on real life events at the World War 2 era internment camp in Ireland where combatants from both Allied and Axis forces who wound up on Irish soil were placed in, as long as you don't think too much about the obvious. It is rather shallow and stereotyped on the whole, although it is quite well done in certain aspects. The extreme history buffs, those who know the actual background of Irish neutrality and Eire's relations with both Britain and Germany at this time extremely well, could nitpick over some of the history as depicted in the film, but on the whole, the movie does get most of the history fairly accurately.

    There is plenty of good material that could have been developed better here, besides the (mostly) accurate historical background. There is genuine dramatic tension among so many of the characters: the complex love-hate relationship between the Irish and the British (e.g. the camp commandant was a guest of the camp himself when it was a British prison camp for Irish political prisoners or how the family members of many Irish families around the camp are serving in the British Army), the unease among the prisoners about being in an easy-going internment while their friends and families are in a war where they are being killed or maimed (the German sailor who commits suicide over his family being killed in an air raid and the excessive brutality and super-nationalistic attitude of some German officers, for example), and of course, the whole premise about enemies in war having to be civil towards each other in a neutral country under unwilling circumstances, etc. None of these themes really gets developed clearly, in part because all of these are just mentioned too quickly and are left behind without being really developed, and also, to a large degree because most of the actors are, for the most part, rather wooden and their dialogue a bit too clichéd (Campbell, playing Miles Keough, is especially guilty of this as is Jean Butler, but at least, for the latter, it is her acting debut in a feature film, as far as I know. Byrne, with his character's interesting background as a former political prisoner turned camp commandant, could have played more of a role, but he is almost entirely a background character.) Given how underdeveloped and scatterbrained the overall film seems, the end narration seems like an evasive cop-out.

    It is annoying also that the writers seem completely undecided on whether Keogh is an actual Canadian or an American serving in the Royal Canadian Air Force, as he is referred to as both at different times in the film. (Historically, there was only one American in the camp, who did escape, and was sent back by the British authorities, as per what happens to the indisputably American RAF pilot in the film. Most Allied personnel at the camp did leave the camp before the war was over, as the Irish government repatriated most, if not all, Allied internees some time in 1943 (but it is at least a year after the film's end) although the Germans had to stay on until the war ended.)
  • Larkrise30 August 2012
    Warning: Spoilers
    Utter crap is the only way to describe this movie. The characters apart from Grabriel Byrnes character were all unlikeable. Bill Campbell being the worst i hated his character from the beginning and i never ceased to hate his character.Jean Butler came across as too easy and looked bored in some scenes. I know this movie is based on fact as i have seen documentaries on RTE about it, but please they did'nt even film it in Ireland. Of course being that your aiming at an international audience lets put some steretypical irishness into it like the 'Lets get the Irish Drunk so we can escape'.I thought really i did i was going to like this movie but i found myself rooting for the Irish soldiers and not for the prisoners who all acted like a bunch of spoiled children.I am not surprised in real life many Irish women landed up getting together with the German soldiers as the allies came across as idiots.
  • Dean-6328 September 1999
    I've had a chance to see this film and i think that for a war time story its actually quite good. It has a good story and is very easy to follow. The gorgeous Jean Butler Play's her part wonderfully. If you've got a couple of hours free i recommend it.
  • This film somehow manages to take a fascinating premise and totally destroy it with bad writing and some of the worst ensemble acting in a film that I have ever seen. Even the usually reliable Gabriel Byrne gives a one-dimensional performance. And he deserves a portion of the blame for making this fiasco, being one of the producers. All-in-all a waste of time and money that doesn't even qualify as good trash.
  • So you start with an intriguing concept - enemy soldiers of two sides held in a neutral Irish POW camp. Then..

    Well, the part after the 'then' seems to have been lost entirely.

    Really not much happens for the duration of the movie, save for a cliché'd romance and the predictable back and forth between the allies and the axis. It might be passable as just an average forgettable film were not the acting so bad. And, make no mistake about it, it's really, really bad more or less across the board.

    The bottom line: Don't waste your time, even if the redhead in the promos grabs your fancy.