In 1974, a pub in Guildford, England, was bombed without warning. Many people were killed, and the British were desperate to find the guilty persons. Four young people whom they put on trial and imprisoned. More than a decade later, it was proved that the police had caught the wrong people.
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The 1970s was a period of conflicts and riots in Northern Ireland - troubles that also spread to England and other parts of the UK. Many people lived in fear, and many innocent people were killed, threatened and imprisoned. Maybe the most shocking and unbelivable story from this period is the story about the Guildford four. Gerry Conlon, Paul Hill, Paddy Armstrong and Carole Richardson were accused of planning and carrying out the bombing of a pub in Guildford outside London. Along with Gerry, the main character in the film, his father Giuseppe was arrested. The same thing happened to Gerry's aunt and other family members.Giuseppe died in prison, and Gerry's life task became to defend his father's innocence. In the name of the father.
Watch the following extracts from the film, and discuss in groups.
- This story takes place in the 1970s. How do the setting and the appearance of the characters - the clothes, etc. - show us that?
- In the scenes you see here, what is your impression of the English police/court system?
- In several scenes you observe people suffering from mental and physical exhaustion. How do they reach this stage?
Now watch the following introduction to the film.
Topics for Discussion
There are sharp contrasts in what you see here between the colours and liveliness of the hippie movement and life in prison.
- How do the film makers manage to present these contrasts to us as viewers?
- There are traces of hope and love all through the movie. Do you find particular examples of that in what you just saw?
- Try to analyse your emotions after watching this introduction to the film. Which film effects influence our emotions?
In this short cut you see the opening scenes of the film. Watch it and discuss it in groups.
- In what ways do you think this bombing affected the lives of the people who were involved?
- What are your reactions to this bombing without warning? Give reasons.
- Is violence in general a way to solve problems and conflicts? Give reasons.
Watch the Film
You may now want to watch the whole film and share in the lives of these young people called the Guildford Four. After you have watched the film, discuss it in groups or in class.
- What do you learn here about the conflict in Northern Ireland? Make a list of keywords.
- Find out more about the IRA. Were bombings without warning a typical method for them?
- What happened to Gerry, Paul, Paddy and Carole after they were released from prison?
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