Synopsis by Mark Deming
Brendan Behan's famous memoir about his troubled youth formed the basis of this drama. Brendan (Shawn Hatosy) is a 16-year-old boy from Ireland who loathes the British and is eager to do something about it. Brendan sails into Liverpool, but is discovered to be carrying the makings of a bomb; he's soon placed under arrest and thrown into a borstal (British reform school), where he finds himself surrounded by a collection of tough-as-nails English delinquents. While his political beliefs don't change, Brendan learns to become more tolerant of others as he makes friends with a few of his fellow inmates, including Charlie (Danny Dyer), who dreams of sailing away some day, and Scottish Jock (Robin Laing). Brendan also has to deal with the pains of first love when he becomes infatuated with Liz (Eva Birthistle), the daughter of the school's master (Michael York). Borstal Boy marked the film debut of stage director Peter Sheridan, the brother of noted Irish filmmaker Jim Sheridan.
Irish [nationality], British, reformatory, first-love, bomb, juvenile-crime