The Boxer (1997) Poster

(1997)

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  • They are (in order): 1. Bill Clinton - US President 1992-2000, who was intimately involved in the Northern Irish peace process. 2. Ian Paisley - then-leader of the DUP (Democratic Unionist Party), generally regarded as the most hardline unionist/loyalist politician during the Troubles. He died in 2014. 3. Tony Blair - UK Prime Minister 1997-2007, signed the Good Friday Agreement in 1998 which ended the Troubles. 4. Gerry Adams, then-leader of Sinn Féin, a hardline republican party generally regarded as the political wing of the IRA. Edit

  • Though relations between Catholics and Protestants in Northern Ireland since the end of the Troubles has improved, tensions remain and the two communities remain largely segregated, especially in working class areas such as those depicted in this film. As such most of the peace walls are still in place, though there been tentative moves to reduce or remove them. Belfast still retains many murals, though overtly sectarian or paramilitary ones are much less common now than in the past. Edit

  • Though obviously the details and personages are fictional, the film is generally accurate in its depiction of 'rogue' IRA splinter groups refusing to accept the mainstream IRA's pursuit of a peace settlement. A year after the film's release one such group, calling itself the 'Real IRA', set off a car bomb in Omagh which killed 29 people. Several such groups continue to exist today, though they are much less active and enjoy less support than than the IRA did during the Troubles. Edit

  • Within the IRA's way of thinking they were fighting a legitimate war against a foreign occupier of Irish territory, and they therefore referred to all IRA prisoners as 'POWs'. The British government (and unionists) refused to accept this nomenclature, deeming the IRA as a terrorist organisation operating illegally on British soil and their prisoners as criminals. However in the early days of the Troubles, perhaps hoping that a deal could be reached, IRA prisoners had been granted 'special category status' which gave them some privileges not afforded to ordinary criminals. It was the phasing out of this special treatment in the late 1970s that led to the IRA hunger strikes in 1981, in which 10 IRA prisoners starved themselves to death. Edit

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