Secret of Roan Inish

Closed Capationed Starring: Mick Lally, Eileen Colgan & Jeni Courtney Director: John Sayles  Rated: PG: Parental Guidance Suggested
Secret of Roan Inish
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Rating 4.7
175 ratings
Movie on IMDb
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Item:  CTR 50929D
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DVD Features

  • Rated: PG
  • Closed captioning available
  • Run Time: 1 hours, 42 minutes
  • Video: Color
  • Released:
  • Originally Released: 1995
  • Label: Sony Pictures
Encoding: Region 1 (USA & Canada) Encoding
Audio Commentary by Writer/Director Sayles
Cast/Crew Biographies

Performers, Cast and Crew:

Starring , &
Performer: , &
Directed by
Edited by
Screenwriting by
Composition by
Produced by &
Director of Photography:

Memorable Quotes and Dialog:

"The sea gives and the sea takes away."
  - Grandfather (Mick Lally) to Fiona Coneelly (Jeni Courtney)
"Once a selkie find its skin again, neither chains of steel nor chains of love can keep her from the sea. From that day on, it was forbidden to harm a seal on the island."
  - Tadgh Coneelly (John Lynch) to Fiona

Entertainment Reviews:

Premiere - 12/01/1995
"...Casts its intoxicating spell slowly, exuding warmth like a crackling [fire]..." - Recommended
Rolling Stone - 02/23/1995
"...Alive with beauty, spirit and wit, ROAN INISH is pure magic..."
Sight and Sound - 08/01/1996
"...The film is a pleasure to look at and listen to, graced with a lilting, folk-based musical score....[Sayles] draws strong, sinewy performances from his cast..."
USA Today - 02/17/1995
"...The filmmaker's well-earned reputation for unpredictability definitely remains intact..."
Entertainment Weekly - 02/10/1995
"...[ROAN INISH is] as big as a thimble and as evanescent as Tinker Bell. You'll clap if you believe." -- Rating: B+
Variety - 05/09/1994
"...Pleasant....[Courtney is] an attractive and convincingly resourceful heroine..."
New York Times - 02/03/1995
"...A touching cinematic meditation on people, familial roots and the myths that sustain them..."
Los Angeles Times - 02/03/1995
"...It is a crackling good tale with a sense of wonder and mystery strong enough to captivate any age group..."
Chicago Sun-Times - 03/03/1995
"...John Sayles and Haskell Wexler, who has photographed the movie with great beauty and precision, have ennobled the material..."

Plot Synopsis:

Set on the remote west coast of Ireland, this gentle film follows the adventures of a little girl who's driven to explore the site where her little brother was swept out to sea years earlier and who may have been raised by seals. The film is a quiet, enchanting fairy tale from American director John Sayles.

Plot Keywords:

Adventure | Animals | Bucolic | Children | Family Interaction | Fantasy

Production Notes:

  • THE SECRET OF ROAN INISH was shown at the 1994 San Francisco International Film Festival.
  • Filmed on location in County Donegal, Ireland.
  • Maggie Renzi, director John Sayles's longtime partner and producer, had read the story as a child. She brought the story to Sayles's attention, suggesting that there were not enough intelligent films for children.
  • "The original story was set in Scotland, but I knew that myth from a similar Irish story. I'm much more versed in Irish literature and culture, so I knew I would only have to do half the research if I made it Irish."--Sayles to Kenneth M. Chanko of the Boston Globe (February 19, 1995)
  • The film marks the first screen appearances of Jeni Courtney (Fiona), Richard Sheridan (Eamon), and Cillian Byrne (Jamie).
  • When Sayles's crew first arrived in northwest coast of County Donegal in Ireland, they had to dispel a rumor that they were Mormons intent on stealing the town's children.

    For some of the flashback sequences, Sayles didn't use cuts or dissolves; instead, he panned to a different scene, so as to emphasize the connection between the past and the present.
  • The film grossed $6.1 million domestically.

Movie Lovers' Ratings & Reviews:

Customer Rating: Rating 4.7
Based on 175 ratings.
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Product Info:

  • Sales Rank: 81,576
  • UPC: 043396509290
  • Shipping Weight: 0.25/lbs (approx)
  • International Shipping: 1 item