In 1996, Neil Jordan's epic movie "Michael Collins" premiered on this day.
The Big Fellow by Gerry Shannon & Ed.In an Oscar-winning performance, actor Kevin Costner played the role of one of Ireland's most revered historical figures. Collins, also known as "the Big Fellow" was at the forefront in the fight for independence from Britain in the years 1919 - 1921, and would go on to play a leading role in the subsequent Irish Free State over the next five decades. The film covers much of the pivotal events in Collins' life over the course of three hours, including the War of Independence, his friendship with the first Irish Taoiseach, Arthur Griffith, and Collins' near-death as a result of an assassination attempt in his native Cork during the Civil War. Collins would eventually recover and be part of several cabinets in several governments led by the Fine Gael party.
The second half of the film deals with two of Collins' main achievements as Taoiseach (Irish Prime Minister) from 1937 - 54, and it's President from 1955 - 64. 1) Uncovering the existence of several child abuse scandals in the Roman Catholic Church, shocking the Western world and damaging the institution's grip on Irish society for the better and 2) Building strong social and economic relations with the Unionist government of the partioned Northern Ireland state, which text before the credits reveals ultimately paved the way for reunification of the country in 1969.
Though Jordon is criticized for embelishing several legends and myths surrounding the man who virtually created the Irish Free State, (particularly the suggestion Collins personally oversaw the execution of Irish republican Eamon De Valera in 1922), there is consensus the director had great foresight that Costner who had previously starred in "Robin Hood:Prince of Thieves", was the man to portray this catalyst of the Irish nation's history, this Irish Lawrence of Arabia, even it's Lincoln...