UK, Ireland


On 30th January 1972, British soldiers shot dead 13 unarmed civilians taking part in an anti-internment civil rights march in Derry, Northern Ireland. This event, Bloody Sunday, was a major turning point in the history of the modern Irish troubles, catapulting the conflict into a civil war, driving many young men into the ranks of the IRA and fuelling a 25-year cycle of violence. This film tells the story of Bloody Sunday in just one day from dawn till dusk, from the arrival of thousands of troops on the streets of the besieged city to the violent collision between soldiers from the crack Paratroop Regiment and the crowds of civilian demonstrators. The film follows the British soldiers and the police, as well as civilians from both sides of the religious sectarian divide. It focuses in particular on the stories of four men: Ivan Cooper, an idealistic Civil Rights leader, a Protestant in the Catholic camp who shares Martin Luther King's dream of peaceful change; Gerry Donaghy, a 17 year old Catholic rebel, who yearns to settle down and marry his Protestant girlfriend, but who is drawn into violent confrontation with the soldiers; Brigadier Patrick MacLellan, the commander of the British Army in Londonderry who is under pressure to take firm action to stop the march; and a young private, a radio operator in the Paras, who is ordered, with his unit of hardened veterans, into the Bogside. BLOODY SUNDAY is a war film about the struggle for peace. Shot in a vivid, ultra-realistic style, on the streets and amongst the crowds, in the command posts and in the alleyways, with the stone-throwers and the activists, the generals and the private soldiers. In its extremely focused time-frame but epic scale, the film is an emotional roller-coaster, an intense, unblinking "Battle of Algiers" for Northern Ireland: a portrait of the collision between the unstoppable force and the immovable object that is the 700 year conflict between Britain and Ireland. It is also, in the confrontation between a powerful army and a besieged and rebellious city, a timeless and universal story with echoes across the globe and throughout history from the siege of Troy to the Arab Israeli conflict.

Director's Biography

PAUL GREENGRASS (Writer/Director) wrote and directed the acclaimed factual drama The Murder of Stephen Lawrence for ITV, which won the BAFTA TV award for Best Single Drama in 1999. His other television credits include The Fix and The One That Got Away while his feature films include Resurrected, starring David Thewlis, and The Theory of Flight, starring Kenneth Branagh and Helena Bonham Carter. He also spent 10 years as a producer on the award-winning British investigative series World in Action, and wrote the hugely controversial book, Spycatcher with Peter Wright. He made his first film in Derry in 1981. He became the first journalist to film inside the Maze Prison, while covering the hunger strikes.

Cast & Crew

Directed by: Paul Greengrass

Written by: Paul Greengrass

Produced by: Mark Redhead

Cinematography: Ivan Strasburg

Editing: Clare Douglas

Production Design: John Paul Kelly

Costume Design: Dinah Collin

Original Score: Dominic Muldowney

Cast: James Nesbitt (Ivan Cooper), Mary Moulds (Bernadette Devlin ), Tim Pigott-Smith (Major General Ford), Carmel McCallion (Bridget Bond), Nicholas Farrell (Brigadier Maclellan), Christopher Villiers (Major Steele), James Hewitt (Colonel Tugwell ), Allan Gildea (Kevin McCorry), Gerard Crossan (Eamonn McCann)

Nominations and Awards

  • European Film 2002
  • European Screenwriter 2002
  • People's Choice Award 2002
  • European Cinematographer – Prix Carlo Di Palma 2002
  • Feature Film Selection 2002