In the Name of the Father (1993)

In the Name of the Father In the Name of the Father


Though made in the tradition of social injustice films, Jim Sheridan’s fact based drama “In the Name of the Father” goes beyond that genre by infusing it with an intense family saga, centering on father and son who get to know each other through their political activism and joint tragic suffering.

Again proving (as if he needed to) that he is the most energetic and exciting actor of his generation, Oscar-winner Daniel Day-Lewis (“My Left Foot”) brings rage and intensity to his role of a son, who never got to know his father well—until they share the same prison cell.   In 1993, Day-Lewis gave two distinguished, albeit vastly different performances in high-profile films: As Newland Archer in Scorsese’s period drama “The Age of Innocence,” and as Gerry Conlon.

The tale begins on October 5, 1974, in a Guildford pub in the U.K., when an IRA bomb explodes, killing several people and injuring many others.  The public outcry for justice forces police officer Robert Dixon (Corin Redgrave, the less famous brother of Vanessa and Lynn) to arrest two “easy” suspects Gerry Conlon (Day-Lewis) and Paul Hill (John Lynch), squatters from Belfast.  Gerry's father Giuseppe Conlon (Pete Postlethwaite) arrives in London to help his son obtain a lawyer, and he, too, is charged with participating in the IRA operation.

Disregarding basic facts and crucial evidence, the "Guildford Four" trial finds them all guilty. Gerry and Paul are sentenced to life in prison because the judge can't find a reason to hang them, and Giuseppe is given fourteen years.

Predictably, the police force keeps incontrovertible evidence of the Conlons' innocence under wraps until the ambitious and aggressive lawyer Gareth Peirce (Emma Thompson in a down-to-earth performance) tries to get the sentences of Gerry and Giuseppe overturned.

On one level, In the Name of the Father is an impassioned courtroom drama about the conviction and release of Gerry Conlon and his three innocent friends. But what makes this picture more accessible and emotional is its depiction of the changing relationship between an estranged father and son; when Gerry and Giuseppe arrive in prison, they are literally strangers.

In reality, father and son had never shared together the same cell, but Shridan deviates from the fact for the sake of emotional impact.  After Giuseppe's death, Gerry continues to fight for justice.



Daniel Day-Lewis

Pete Postlethwaite

Emma Thompson

John Lynch

Corin Redgrave


Producer-Director: Jim Sheridan
Screenplay: Terry George and Jim Sheridan based on Proved Innocent by Gerry Conlon
Camera: Peter Biziou
Music: Trevor Jones

Running Time: 132 Minutes

MPAA Rating: R








Oscar Nominations: 7

Picture, produced by Jim Sheridan

Director: Jim Sheridan

Screenplay (Adapted): Terry George and Jim Sheridan

Actor: Daniel Day-Lewis

Supporting Actor: Pete Postlethwaite

Supporting Actress: Emma Thompson

Film Editing: Gerry Hambling

Oscar Awards: None

The most nominated (12) picture in 1993, "Schindler's List" competed for the top award with the action-adventure "The Fugitive (7 nominations), Jim Sheridan's socially-conscious drama "In the Name of the Father" (7), Campion's "The Piano" (8), and Merchant-Ivory production of "The Remains of the Day," which, with 8 nods but o Oscars, became the biggest Oscar loser of the year.

Sweeping most of the Oscars, "Schindler's List" won Picture, Director for Spielberg, Adapted Screenplay for Steven Zaillian, and Editing for Michael Kahn.

Tom Hanks won the Best Actor for the AIDS drama, "Philadelphia," Tommy Lee Jones the Supporting Award for the adventure "The Fugitive," and child actress Anna Paquin the Supporting Actress for "The Piano."

With two nominations in the same year, the Best Actress was for "The Remains of the Day," Emma Thompson joins a small group of actors who have achieved that, including Sigourney Weaver, who in 1988, was nominated for lead in "Gorrilas in the Mist," and supporting part in the comedy "Working Girl." Like Thompson, Weaver lost in both categories.