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4.2 out of 5 stars66
4.2 out of 5 stars
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on June 4, 2000
What a shame that whenever this film is mentioned nowadays, it's almost always referred to as a Julia Roberts flop. It's actually scarcely a Julia Roberts film at all. Her role is quite minor-and it's commendable that she took it on, really, since she was already a star. I gather she was looking for serious roles in meaty films in an effort to beef up her acting credentials.
And this certainly was a meaty film. It is, in fact, a much, much better film than I had ever imagined from the reviews of the time. I only regret never having seen it on the big screen, because its epic sweep and beautiful cinematography would have been all the more impressive.
Americans, including Irish-Americans like myself, have only the vaguest notions of Irish history. We learn the basics in school, and probably, most educated Americans have an idea of approximately when and how the Irish Republic was established. We may also know that six counties in the North remained under British rule and are still part of the UK (at least, I hope we do--after 30 years of reports on the "troubles").
"Michael Collins" goes some distance toward filling in those informational gaps. I am aware that many critics have challenged writer/director Neil Jordan's interpretation of Irish history (in particular his making Eamon De Valera, the President of the Irish Republic, something of a villain). To that, one can only respond that historical dramas are by definition an interpretation of history. I see that a few of the reviewers below have mentioned that this film inspired them to seek out more information about Irish history. Those of us that do will eventually get a more balanced view, perhaps. It was not Neil Jordan's job to provide us with that perspective. His job as an artist was to tell as engaging a story as he could. On that score, he has succeeded very well indeed.
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on November 9, 1999
This film brings home to us that the loser of this war was (and is) Ireland herself. "Michael Collins" is art, and it does all that art can do.
I'd like to address something a thoughtful viewer wrote here: "I am always skeptical of love interests in historical/biographical films of this sort." OK, I buy that. But Kitty Kiernan, Mr. Collins's actual fiancee, becomes in this movie the symbol of Ireland herself/itself. The Irish people traditionally have seen their beloved land as mother, sister, "Dark Rosaleen"... and Miss Roberts's role never panders to viewer's prurient interest. She is the Ireland that both warring "brothers" love, and fight for, and the Ireland that loses them to each other... that's a tragedy of war, this war and others...
The end of the film brings home to us that the loser of this war is Ireland herself. Film cannot *be* life; in that sense it can never be totally accurate. Film can only convey to us what we the audience can recognize. The flags, the accents, the love interests--they are not history but devices to convey history on a flat screen in two hours.
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on November 21, 2003
Passionate screenplay and breathtaking cinematography, supported by Goldenthal's top notch background score: this film truly surprised me.
Plot-wise, you will learn a lot about the Irish rebellion against the British. The story, I found on some googling, has some crevices (e.g., Ned Broy was NOT murdered by the Tans as shown in the movie, in reality he survived the whole thing and went on to become the first head of the Gardai, the unarmed Irish police force.)
Yet, the superbly executed plotline unravels with an exciting pace, and is easy to follow. I was riveted.
Acting-wise, tight convincing performances all around, seems they couldn't have selected anyone better than Liam Neeson to portray Collins, although Julia Roberts was a bit expendable (and what's with that ill-achieved Irish accent!) Alan Rickman as de Valera was stunning as usual.
Despite its length, the film does full justice to the inspiration character of Collins. Recommended!
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on July 21, 2015
Best movie evar!
Liam Neeson- this is where he climbed to hollywood...you know pre taken 3 era
Alan Rickman in a role that holds up against his "sherrif of nottingham" in robin hood!

This is an impressively attentive historical movie taking place around 1920 when the free Republic of Ireland was formed. They do a wonderful job telling a heart felt story within that time of uprising and turmoil against british rule. Theres a lot more factual events and circumstances than you think, although some were spruced up for film but without loosing the message. And the director does a breathtaking job moving the characters forward without alienating the crisis around them.
just watch it!

What? Plot? Liam neeson is Michael collins and something is taken from him...Ireland.
hes gonna go get it back!

Import-cds had it cheapest and got it here faster than most orders I got so...free plug guys yous did a good job
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on September 16, 2001
While this is a tale of an Irish struggle for autonomy from perceived British tyranny. Michael Collins is a good primer into the mind of terrorists and worth viewing for people who want to understand why people do unthinkable things to make their point known. Terrorism is the tool of people to weak to engage in a war yet desire to have their pain and anger acknowleged by the mighty. While on a much smaller scale, it Michael Collins gives a perspective that is relevant to todays events. I thought about this movie many times since the Trade Center bombings. The film does not sympathize with those who commit random acts of violence and Michael Collins pays a great price for breaking from the hardcore wing of the IRA to create a first step compromise. The film is a good historical lesson, beautifully shot and is food for thought as we enter into our next epic chapter of American life.
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on March 23, 2001
Michael Collins is a great movie on DVD. As would be expected on the DVD format the picture and sound quality are excellent. This movie is wonderful because it shows the contradictory nature of this great and complex man. In once sense caring and friendly but also tough and ruthless when nessisary. This movie also showcases the struggle for Irish freedom from the British Empire. This is a powerful and important movie for all those interested in the history of the Irish republic and the stuggle for freedom that goes on to this very day. The DVD version is esspecially important because it has a documentry of the real Michael Collins himself and a history of the Irish resistance from the Irish Volunteers, the IRB to the IRA. This DVD is a must have.
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on July 7, 1998
Liam Neeson leads a band of IRA fighters through the bitter years which led up to the birth of the modern Irish nation.
Faced with circumstances that require Collins (Neesom)to reinvent the revolution in the face of harsh British resolve, Collins determines that violence, in whatever unsporting form may be required, will become the singular mechanism by which the Irish people will forever force the hated British out of their isle.
A powerful music score combines with a great dedication to detail and sweeping direction to recreate 1920's Dublin on the silver screen.
Another towering performance by Neesom and a veteran cast, including a low key Julia Roberts. END
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on October 21, 2001
Excellent acting by Liam Neeson and Stephen Rea, but Julia Roberts and Alan Rickman lose their Irish accents at times and overact at others. Great recreations of Dublin of 80-85 years ago. Very moving scenes involving the Irish people fighting an oppressive British rule, although I would have liked Neil Jordan to have been historically accurate about the British violence in the stadium (a dozen persons killed and no armored vehicles) and not been ambiguous about de Valera being involved in Collins' death (since Jordan believes that he had nothing to do with it, according to an interview in a good documentary on the film, which is included on the DVD).
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on May 9, 2002
Liam Neeson portrays IRA founder Michael Collins, a self-described "West Cork muck savage" who became a brilliant tactician of unconvential warfare that threated the British empire's hold on one of their longest possessions - Ireland. A lot of history is crammed into this one film and for those unfamiliar with it, it may be slightly difficult to keep up. This exciting drama includes an excellent supporting cast including Alan Rickman as a near double for Ireland's first President Eamon De Valera and Stephen Rea as double agent inside Britian's secret police. Even when you know the outcome it keeps you in suspense - a true sign of a great film.
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on November 26, 1999
If you haven't seen this film yet, you must. This tells a true story of some history rarely taught in schools today. Michael Collins is an excellent piece of work!
In regards to the Irish Flag, in a way, it does represent the separation of the North and South. The Green is a representaion of the Catholic, Gaelic speaking Republic and the Orange (which came from William of Orange from who later came the "Orangemen") represents the Protestant North. The white between signifies peace between the two sides.
Anyhow, buy the movie, watch the movie, enjoy the movie.
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