The Wind That Shakes the Barley

traditional song

The Wind That Shakes the Barley is a 2006 Irish war drama film directed by Ken Loach, set during the Irish War of Independence (1919–1921) and the Irish Civil War (1922–1923). Written by long-time Loach collaborator Paul Laverty, this drama tells the story of two County Cork brothers, Damien O'Donovan (Cillian Murphy) and Teddy O'Donovan (Pádraic Delaney), who join the Irish Republican Army to fight for Irish independence from the United Kingdom. It takes its title from the song "The Wind That Shakes the Barley".

We've just sent a message to the British cabinet that will echo and reverberate around the world! If they bring their savagery over here, we will meet it with a savagery of our own!

Damien O'DonovanEdit

  • I tried not to get into this war , and couldn't. Now I try to get out, and can't.
  • It's easy to know what you are against, but quite another to know what you are for.


  • [The IRA have just destroyed a Black-and-Tan mechanised infantry patrol] Mercenaries! That were paid to come over here to make us crawl, and to wipe us out. We've just sent a message to the British cabinet that will echo and reverberate around the world! If they bring their savagery over here, we will meet it with a savagery of our own!


Teddy: [looking around Hamilton's study] Such a beautiful room, it's hard to imagine a man's scream from here. Ever seen fingernails ripped out with a rusty pliers, Sir John, hmm? All your learning, and you still don't understand.
Sir John Hamilton: [Contemptuously] Oh, I understand perfectly, Mr. O'Donovan. God preserve Ireland if ever your kind take control.
Damien: [trains his gun on Hamilton] Well, you'd better start getting used to the idea.

Damien: [Loading his revolver] I studied anatomy for five years, Dan. And now I'm going to shoot this man in the head. I've known Chris Reilly since he was a child. I hope this Ireland we're fighting for is worth it. [Approaches Sir John] Where's your letters?
Sir John: [Gives Damien two letters] For my wife... and my children.
Damien: I'll make sure they're delivered. Turn around!
[Sir John begins to turn around, but stops and looks at Damien.]
Sir John: You'll never beat us! Ever!
[Damien shoots Sir John.]
Damien: Give me your letters, Chris.
[Damien holds out his hand. Chris just looks at him]
Damien: Give me your letters, Chris!
Chris: I didn't know what to write. And Mam can't read.
[Damien lets his hand fall, sighs]
Chris: Just tell her I love her. And where I'm buried... Promise me, Damien. Promise me you won't bury me next to him? [points to Sir John]
Damien: The chapel. Do you remember, on the way up? Do you remember?
Chris: Yeah.
Damien: In there.
Chris: Tell Teddy I'm sorry. I'm scared, Damien.
Damien: [sighs] Have you said your prayers?
Chris: Yeah.
Damien: God protect you. [Shoots Chris.]

[As a column of British soldiers march past, withdrawing from Ireland]
Dan: One-way ticket now, lads. Have a safe journey and God bless all of you.
Soldier: Bugger off, Paddy!
Dan: And I'll see you in Hell.
Sergeant: Eyes to your front, soldier!

Priest: I never thought I'd see the day. Military courts established in Ireland by Irishmen. Deportation or the death penalty for those caught with arms. In the name of God, what is going on? I found this on the street during the week. "Under the Republic, the lands of the aristocracy who live in London will be seized and divided up against landless workers and small farmers." "All industry and agriculture will be controlled by the state for the workers' and farmers' benefit." Not content with stealing your savings, they'll be nationalising the 12 apostles next. Dear brethren, we have an opportunity for the first time in generations in this country for peace and prosperity. We have that opportunity without English soldiers marching in our streets and outside our churches on a Sunday morning. We have that opportunity because we have signed a treaty. A treaty of peace. Quiet! Let me remind those of you who have forgotten of the pastoral letter signed by Cardinal Logue and other bishops. Anti-Treatyite irregulars have, and I quote, "Wrecked Ireland from end to end." "And all those who participate in such crimes are guilty of the gravest sins and may not be absolved in confession nor admitted to Holy Communion." In other words, excommunication! This opinion of the treaty is not just the opinion of the Catholic Church, it is the opinion of other churches. And it is the opinion of every newspaper up and down, and the length and breadth of this country. But most importantly, this treaty was ratified, overwhelmingly ratified, by the people in their democratic expression in the June election.
Damien: Can you tell me, Father, how can there be a fair election in this country when the most powerful country in the world threatens war? This is not the will of the people. It is the fear of the people.
Priest: How dare you talk to me in the house of God! Silence! Damien O'Donovan, you're a disgrace to the memory of your parents. Yes! Get out!
Lily: The Free State Constitution was only printed the morning of the election so nobody had time to read it.
Priest: Young lady, this is not the marketplace! Sit down, shut up, or get out of my church!
Damien: And once again the Catholic Church, with honourable exception, sides with the rich.
Priest: GET OUT!

[As the Free State firing squad arrives for Damien]
Teddy: It's not too late, Damien.
Damien: For me or for you?

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