• Thu. Nov 30th, 2023

“Song for a Raggy Boy” is a powerful drama film set in a Catholic reformatory school in Ireland during the 1930s. The story revolves around the character of William Franklin, a new teacher who arrives at the school to take charge of a class of unruly and neglected boys. Franklin, based on the real-life experiences of author Patrick Galvin, is determined to bring discipline and education to the students. However, he soon discovers the abusive and oppressive environment perpetuated by the school's headmaster, Brother John, and the staff. Franklin's compassion and rebellious nature lead him to challenge the system and inspire the boys to find their voices amidst the cruelty they endure.


“Song for a Raggy Boy” received positive reviews from critics for its gripping and emotionally charged storytelling. The film was praised for its unflinching portrayal of the harsh realities of institutional abuse and its impact on the lives of the boys. 's direction was commended for its sensitive handling of the subject matter, allowing the audience to connect with the characters on a deep emotional level.

The performances, particularly by as William Franklin and as Brother John, were widely acclaimed for their authenticity and nuanced portrayals. The film's exploration of themes such as institutional abuse, the power of education, and the resilience of the human spirit resonated with viewers.


Set in 1939 Ireland, “Song for a Raggy Boy” follows William Franklin, a teacher who takes up a position at a Catholic reformatory school. The school is a brutal institution where discipline is maintained through fear and violence. Franklin becomes aware of the abusive practices and the oppressive environment imposed by the headmaster, Brother John, and the other staff members.

Franklin defies the system and forms a bond with the boys, teaching them music and encouraging their creative expression. As he exposes the truth about the abuse, tensions escalate between Franklin and Brother John. The boys, inspired by Franklin's compassion and rebellion, find the courage to stand up against their oppressors and fight for their dignity and freedom.


“Song for a Raggy Boy” received several awards and nominations. The film won the Audience Award at the Cork International Film Festival and the Golden Reel Award at the Tiburon International Film Festival. received the Best Actor award at the Irish Film and Television Awards for his performance as William Franklin.


“Song for a Raggy Boy” gained moderate popularity, particularly among audiences interested in historical dramas and films based on true stories. Its exploration of institutional abuse struck a chord with viewers, and the film garnered a dedicated following. While it may not have achieved widespread commercial success, it continues to be appreciated for its powerful storytelling and impactful performances.


Directed by
Written by
Kevin Byron Murphy
based on the book by Patrick Galvin
Starring ,
Music by Richard Blackford
Release date
  • 17 October 2003 (Ireland)
Running time
100 min
  • Ireland
  • United Kingdom
  • Denmark
  • Spain

Language English


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