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Year: 2003
UK: Winchester Film Distribution
Cast: Aidan Quinn, Iain Glen, Dudley Sutton, Marc Warren, Alan Devlin, Stuart Graham, Simone Bendix, John Travers, Chris Newman
Director: Aisling Walsh
Countries: Ireland / UK/ Denmark / Spain
UK: 100 mins
UK Certificate: 15 contains strong language and violence
UK Release Date: 9 April 2004


Based on a true story, SONG FOR A RAGGY BOY is the story of one man's courage to stand up and fight the tough fascist regime in a boys Irish Reformatory School in 1939. William Franklin's story, is a powerful and dramatic journey, from the bullet riddled streets of Madrid during the Spanish Civil War to the confined walls of a Reformatory School. A story of one man's belief that he can make a difference, amongst the cruellest of punishment, abuse and neglect, while battling to come to terms with the demons of his past. It is the story of one man's belief that he can make a difference.

Against the wishes of the Bishop, Father Damian (Alan Devlin), the principal of St. Jude's Reformatory School, appoints William Franklin (Aidan Quinn), as the only lay teacher, amongst a staff of Catholic Brothers, headed by the prefect, Brother John (Iain Glen). Franklin's teaching methods are diametrically opposed to those of the Brothers', who revert to the usage of verbal and physical abuse. Whilst Franklin tries to build up a relationship based on trust with the boys, he unlocks their hidden talents, teaching them to read and appreciate poetry, recruiting Liam Mercier (John Travers), an exceptionally talented boy to help him take on the challenge. Discovering the same kind of repression and tyranny he fought against in Spain, at St.Jude's, Franklin continues to have flashbacks from his days in the Spanish Civil War and part of his life that he lost.

When on Christmas day, Brother John gratuitously beats two young brothers, who have broken a school rule, Mercier and Franklin curtail the violence but not for long. And Brother John's determination to find out why Franklin has decided to teach at St. Jude's, results in more brutality, with unimaginable consequences.

Based on Patrick Galvin's novel, the film took 6 weeks to shoot in Ballyvourney, Cork, Ireland.

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