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Song For A Raggy Boy [DVD]

Aidan Quinn , Iain Glen , Aisling Walsh    Suitable for 15 years and over   DVD
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (31 customer reviews)
Price: £4.54
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Song For A Raggy Boy [DVD] + The Magdalene Sisters [DVD] [2003] + Angela's Ashes [DVD] [2000]
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Product details

  • Actors: Aidan Quinn, Iain Glen, Marc Warren, Dudley Sutton, Alan Devlin
  • Directors: Aisling Walsh
  • Producers: Tristan Orpen Lynch, John McDonnell, Kevin Byron Murphy, Dominic Wright
  • Format: PAL
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 2 (This DVD may not be viewable outside Europe. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 16:9 - 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: 15
  • Studio: Metrodome
  • DVD Release Date: 17 July 2006
  • Run Time: 93 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (31 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000F8O1IO
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 45,386 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)


William Franklin (Aidan Quinn) becomes the first non-cleric teacher at St. Jude's, an Irish school for wayward boys run by Brother John (Iain Glen). Brother John believes in strong discipline and Franklin soon feels that the boys are treated with excessive force. As Brother John becomes even more heavy-handed with the students, he and Franklin become enemies.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
19 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A truly moving film 1 Sep 2008
Song For A Raggy Boy [2003]

I had heard about this film from a number of friends and colleagues. I remember seeing Aidan Quinn being interviewed about it on the Late Late show (RTE Television). I therefore had my preconceptions and thought that there would be nothing new here for a seasoned viewer of factually- based movies.

What I most admire about this film is that Aisling Walsh did not shy away from the horrific depiction and realism of the violence. Whilst not being sensationalist this is truly brutal and disturbing. Iain Glenn is well presented as the vengeful, sadistic and zealous Brother John, whilst Aidan Quinn gives a superb performance as a damaged man determined to do the right thing whilst battling his own demons. Dudley Sutton and Mark Warren are both excellent in their suporting roles and Warren as the tortured paedophilic Brother Mac even manages to wring a smidgen of understanding from the viewer when set against the unrelenting cruelty of Brother John.

John Travers as Liam Mercier and Chris Newman as Delaney are the excellent leads over a cast of exceptionally talented young men. This is a film which has haunted me for a long time and presents the best and worst of humanity. It is a chilling expose of the dangers of institutionalism on fragile and vulnerable people.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The peaceful night that round me flows. 28 April 2013
By Orla
Last night, for the first time in a few years, I revisited this amazing film.
It is a harrowing film which reflects the reformatory system in Ireland and the overwhelming power the Church wielded over Irish society until very recently.

William Franklin - Aidan Quinn - comes to teach at St. Judes reformatory school in 1939 after is wife died in the Spanish Civil War (the events of which are shown in fleeting flashbacks during the film). As the first 'lay' teacher to come to St. Judes he is the first person to question and challenge the brutal punishments of Brother John - Ian Glen (who is now in Game of Thrones) - who treats the boys there as creatures, only understanding brutal force.
However, Franklin shows how love and care for the boys - an aspect they had sorely been missing - worked much more effectively. The scenes in the classroom where they develop from reading the alphabet to being able to recite poetry and read is truly heartwarming.
Franklin becomes the saviour of the boys, save one.
This film does not shy away from the awful truths of the reformatory system. It shows how the horrendous actions of the clergy were hushed up by the church, and offenders were simply moved to different parishes.
However, the film also shows that there is goodness in people - including many in the church - and all people need is someone to stand up for them. This film wonderfully demonstrates how, with a little care and attention, anyone can grow and learn - even under such horrible conditions.
The music is also wonderful.
I don't often write reviews, but after watching last night, I felt compelled to encourage as many people to watch this as possible. It is truly spectacular.

Also: catch a rather young and tanned Robert Sheehan. He doesn't say much, but he is in a lot of background scenes.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Gritty Realism of Irish Institutions 21 Jun 2009
A hard-hitting look at life for unfortunate boys that have strayed and ended-up being 'schooled' by a Catholic institution (like the Christian Brothers).The film is mainly seen through eyes of a progressive teacher fresh from fighting on the Republican side in the Spanish Civil War. His attitude is at odds with the other so-called teachers who routinely use violence as a means of control.The violence meted out by them is beyond anything that could be considered just (and is also used by some brethren to sexually abuse their charges); the crescendo of violence culminates in the murder of one such 'inmate'. The progressive teacher has a crisis of confidence after this slaying and decides to leave. However, on seeing the poor faces of the boys, he sees that he is much loved and needed. A very touching, emotive and depressing film that made me feel angry towards those Catholic Institutions that were given responsibility for 'wayward' boys and girls in the last 80 years or so.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Between salvation and martyrdom 12 July 2012
The first lay teacher, William Franklin, in Saint Jude's Reformatory and Industrial school in Ireland in 1939, coming back from the defeated republican war in Spain, had a hard time with the prefect of the school, a brutal and sadistic disciplinary brute, "brother" and why not "father" John.

This first lay teacher will nearly leave some time around Christmas 1939 when John beat to death Liam Mercier, a child that William Franklin had saved from total rejection and submission to his fate of pariah. The children unanimously stopped him when he was leaving after John and his accomplice Mac, a priest who was abusing some children, had been moved out of the school, one to go preach Africans in Africa and the other to take care of a parish in the USA. In other words the murder went unpunished.

Things were changing since the separation wall between the younger boys and the older boys was being brought down by the priests and by the kids. The school was finally able to contemplate a happier future and the boys committed here by justice were finally able to consider some kind of a positive future.

The film insists on the fact that such boys who have been rejected by their families, then by society and locked up behind bars need like all children, but it is a lot more difficult to give them what they need, motivation to learn, understanding based on listening and love, a lot of love, and that's where this refectory and industrial school system was completely wrong. The guidance these kids needed and expected could easily be turned into complete alienation and physical violence and the love they looked for and wanted could be twisted into sexual abuse in a jiffy.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Published 11 days ago by gordie
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
What a story
Published 1 month ago by D Walton
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
A very disturbing film but worth watching
Published 2 months ago by aggie
1.0 out of 5 stars One Star
I ordered one movie and got two sent one back but didn't get a refund
Published 2 months ago by Elaine Hannigan
5.0 out of 5 stars catholic horror
I'm told that there is a cinema in the Vatican. If so, I hope that Pope Francis is watching this one. Read more
Published 4 months ago by lycidas
5.0 out of 5 stars This film really got to me
Being of an 'older' generation I am aware of some of the stories of the harsh discipline meted out in some of the schools and institutions. Read more
Published 4 months ago by John LD Granger
5.0 out of 5 stars Sad but wonderful
Although the movie was terribly sad, the acting and storyline were excellent. This movie is for those people who are not easily offended by an educational situation that none of us... Read more
Published 6 months ago by H. F. Coleman
5.0 out of 5 stars powerful
this is a very powerful, emotional and upsetting film. I did have to pause the film a couple of times because it really upset me. Read more
Published 7 months ago by d jones
4.0 out of 5 stars Great movie
Great movie just a pity that it didn't have subtitles ,that I was actually expecting it to have .
But definitely worth it to watch .
Published 11 months ago by Nuno S E Formigo
5.0 out of 5 stars Very sad but excellent.
I was thinking that maybe the film would depress me and it didn't. It is very well acted, especially by the children in the film, but it's a chilling tale base on real events. Read more
Published 11 months ago by Jules
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