is a 1991 film
adaptation of the novel of the same name
by Roddy Doyle
, which tells the story of some unemployed Dubliners
who form a soul
band. It was directed by Alan Parker
from a screenplay adapted by Dick Clement
, Ian Le Frenais
and Doyle himself. The film was an international co-production
between companies in Ireland
, the UK
and the United States
The Commitments stars Robert Arkins as Jimmy Rabbitte, Johnny Murphy as Joey "The Lips" Fagan, and Colm Meaney as Jimmy Rabbitte Sr. The members of the band are played by Michael Aherne, Angeline Ball, Maria Doyle, Dave Finnegan, Bronagh Gallagher, Félim Gormley, Glen Hansard, Dick Massey, Kenneth McCluskey, and Andrew Strong as Deco.
The film was very successful at the box office and introduced a new generation to rhythm and blues, much as The Blues Brothers had in the 1980s.
Jimmy Rabbitte aspires to be the manager of the world's greatest band, with only one kind of music in mind: soul. Disgusted with the current state of bands in Ireland
, he decides to assemble a soul band in the tradition of greats like Otis Redding
, Aretha Franklin
, James Brown
and Wilson Pickett
. Jimmy holds auditions at his parents' house and soon assembles his group of young musicians. With the help of Joey "The Lips" Fagan, the only veteran musician in the band, Jimmy begins to whip the rest of the members into stage-ready shape - only to have the group fall apart due to a clash of egos.
The cast were mostly unknown before filming, and were mainly chosen on the strength of their musical, rather than acting, ability.
- Robert Arkins as Jimmy Rabbitte, Manager. Arkins was initially considered for the role of Deco until the filmmakers discovered Andrew Strong.
- Andrew Strong as Declan "Deco" Cuffe, Lead Singer. His father Rob Strong was brought in as a vocal coach and Parker heard his son singing and auditioned him for the role of Deco. Strong was only 16 at the time of filming but demonstrated a notable singing ability. He went on to become a popular singer.
- Bronagh Gallagher as Bernie McGloughlin, Backup Singer
- Angeline Ball as Imelda Quirke, Backup Singer
- Maria Doyle Kennedy as Natalie Murphy, Backup Singer (as Maria Doyle)
- Glen Hansard as Outspan Foster, Guitar. Hansard is lead singer of The Frames and an Academy Award winning singer-songwriter
- Kenneth McCluskey as Derek "Meatman" Scully, Bass
- Johnny Murphy as Joey "The Lips" Fagan, Trumpet. A number of established musicians were considered for the role including Rory Gallagher and Van Morrison. Morrison apparently insisted that some of his songs be used in the film. Parker insisted that an established actor be used as a 'mentor' for the largely untrained cast.
- Félim Gormley as Dean Fay, Sax
- Michael Aherne as Steven Clifford, Piano
- Dave Finnegan as Mickah Wallace, Drums
- Dick Massey as Billy Mooney, Drums.
- Colm Meaney as Jimmy Rabbitte Sr. He would also appear as the father in the other two film adaptations of Doyles The Barrytown Trilogy. The families names would change due to rights issues though.
- Andrea Corr as Sharon, Jimmy's younger sister. Corr and her siblings went on to become chart-topping band The Corrs. In fact, The Corrs' first public performance was auditioning for parts in The Commitments; they impressed the film's music coordinator, John Hughes, who became their manager.
- Peter Rowan as the skateboarding boy who wants to audition for the band. Rowan can also be seen on the cover of U2's albums Boy and War.
- Colm Mac Con Iomaire as an auditioning fiddler. Mac Con Iomaire is the violinist for The Frames.
The film won the BAFTA Award for Best Film
, as well as BAFTA Awards for Best Director, Best Editing
), and Best Adapted Screenplay. It was nominated for the Golden Globe Award for Best Motion Picture - Musical or Comedy
and for the Academy Award
for Best Film Editing
In 2005 it was voted the best Irish film of all time in a poll sponsored by Jameson Irish Whiskey. .
A spin off band The Stars From The Commitments, with cast members Dick Massey and Kenneth McCluskey formed shortly after the movies release, and is still touring today.