Captain Boycott (film)

Captain Boycott is a 1947 British historical drama film directed by Frank Launder and starring Stewart Granger, Kathleen Ryan, Mervyn Johns, Alastair Sim and Cecil Parker.[2] Robert Donat makes a cameo appearance as Charles Stuart Parnell.[3]

Captain Boycott
Directed byFrank Launder
Written by
Music byWilliam Alwyn
Distributed byIndividual Pictures
Release date
26 August 1947
Running time
92 mins
CountryUnited Kingdom
Budgetover $1 million[1]



During the period of Irish history known as the Land War, Irish tenant farmers agitated for land reform with lower rents and increased tenants' rights, especially from absentee English landlords. They particularly resented evictions. Some resorted to the gun to achieve justice, but others, inspired by the Irish statesman Charles Stewart Parnell (played in a cameo role by Robert Donat), shunned violence and adopted a form of passive resistance.

In the film, the farmers are led by Hugh Davin (Stewart Granger) who, with the help of the local priest, Father McKeogh (Alastair Sim), encourages his fellow tenants to ostracize their land agent, the bombastic Captain Boycott (Cecil Parker). There is a love interest in the form of Ann Killain (Kathleen Ryan), whose father is also shunned for taking up a farm from which another farmer had been evicted. The resultant stand-off attracts international news coverage and will ultimately introduce a new word – to boycott – to the English language.[4][5]

Box office

According to trade papers, the film was a "notable box office attraction" at British cinemas in 1947.[6]

Critical reception

Overall, the reception of the movie was positive. In an original review published in 1947, The New York Times' Bosley Crowther enthused that "a generous assortment of rich and pungent Irish characters contributes not only to the action but to the spirit, humor and charm of the film ... with the added virtues of beautiful vistas across the Irish countryside Launder have given us a picture which should thrill, amuse—and counsel well." [5] Screenonline described Captain Boycott as "expertly constructed, wittily scripted, impeccably cast and enormously entertaining". IMDb gave the movie a 6.6/10 rating. Film 4 reviews however, while describing the movie as "by turns enlightening and inspiring" felt that it had missed the point somewhat, and that "its characters are a little too quaint and good to convince ... while the script remains curiously unfocused."[7]


  2. "Captain Boycott (1947)". BFI.
  3. Crowther, Bosley (6 December 1947). "Captain Boycott (1947)". The New York Times. Retrieved 4 August 2011.
  4. IMDb reviews – Captain Boycott (1947)
  5. New York Times Movie Review by Bosley Crowther, 6 December 1947
  6. Robert Murphy, Realism and Tinsel: Cinema and Society in Britain 1939-48 2003 p209
  7. Channel 4/Film 4 Reviews – Captain Boycott (1947)
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