This page contains information about the original multi-award winning motion picture ‘The Commitments’…
The original auditions poster
Have you got soul?
Based on the novel by Roddy Doyle, originally a schoolteacher in deprived North Dublin, The Commitments is something of a rags-to-riches story that sees the group fall just short of stardom – mainly due to inter-band bickering – but offers them a glimpse of hope.
It is through the wily leadership of ambitious manager Jimmy Rabbitte (Robert Arkins) that the band comes together, and his influence directs the Commitments’ soul sound. It seems a perplexing choice – how can a bunch of white, North Dublin teenagers identify with a predominantly African-American style of music? But Jimmy’s logic is persuasive: “The Irish are the blacks of Europe. Dubliners are the blacks of Ireland. North Dubliners are the blacks of Dublin.”
Themes of class and dreams of escape from poverty run through the film. On the council estate on which Jimmy lives, kids watch tires burn, derelict cars litter the street, dogs run wild and the desolate unemployed struggle to fill their days.
The band offers its members a taste of camaraderie (however brief) and, perhaps for the first time, a sense of purpose. As Bernie (Bronagh Gallagher) protests when Jimmy threatens her with expulsion from the band: “I need something to look forward to.”
Jimmy discusses his new band proposal with Outspan and Derek
Time for rehearsals
Band Member Cast (in alphabetical order):
Michael Aherne (Steven Clifford – keyboards); Robert Arkins (Jimmy Rabbitte – manager); Angeline Ball(Imelda Quirke – vocals); Maria Doyle (Natalie Murphy – vocals); Dave Finnegan (Mickah Wallace – body guard and drummer); Bronagh Gallagher (Bernie McGloughlin- vocals); Felim Gormley (Dean Fay – saxophone); Glen Hansard (Outspan Foster – guitar); Dick Massey (Billy Mooney – drums); Kenneth McCluskey (Derek Scully – bass); Johnny Murphy (Joey ‘The Lips’ Fagan – trumpet); Andrew Strong (Deco Cuffe – vocals)
Other Cast Members :
Colm Meaney (Mr Jimmy Rabbitte, Sr); Anne Kent (Mrs Rabbitte); Andrea Corr (Sharon Rabbitte); Gerard Cassoni (Darren Rabbitte); Lindsey Fairclough (Rabbitte Twin); Ruth Fairclough (Rabbitte Twin); Phelim Drew (Robbie Craig – The Reporter); Alan Parker (Eejit Record Producer)
Billy’s dress sense leaves a little to be desired
Deco and Billy don’t quite hit it off
Collectors Edition DVD
The film and DVD has been seen by an estimated 1000 million people world wide.
A 2-Disc Collectors Edition DVD was released in 2005 and has extra footage and interviews of the band as they are today. Also for the first time on DVD, a 5.1 surround sound has been added to enhance the Commitments experience. There’s also a music video for “Treat Her Right” featuring Robert Arkins on lead vocal.
With over 4 hours of bonus material this is a must have for any fan of The Commitments.
Dick Massey as Billy ‘The Animal’ Mooney
Kenneth McCluskey as Derek ‘Meatman’ Scully
- In casting the band at the centre of what was his fourth musical, director Alan Parker auditioned over 3,000 musicians, picking the top 12. It’s the old manufactured pop band trick, but Parker also manufactured his cast – 10 of the main players had no previous acting experience.
Jimmy Rabbitte runs through arrangements with the brassers
Coffee time for the girls and Billy
- The Corrs, the highly successful Irish band, got their start by auditioning for the film, and they each won small roles. Andrea Corr (lead vocals & tin whistle) plays Jimmy’s little sister Sharon. Jim Corr (guitar) is part of the Avant-Garde-A-Clue Band. Caroline Corr (drums) appears in the audience during the performance of “I Never Loved A Man”. Finally, Sharon Corr (violin) can be seen playing violin with the country & western band that Bernie joins at the end of the film. John Hughes, the film’s musical coordinator, became the band’s manager. Director Alan Parker later asked Andrea to appear in the film/musical Evita (1996).
Steven Clifford and Jimmy discuss a ‘Whiter Shade of Pale’
First gig and Derek Scully gets stage nerves. Time to puke!
- The kid on the skateboard who appears outside Robert Arkins’ (Jimmy’s) window during the first third of the movie when the band are recruiting members is the (now grown up) boy from the covers of U2’s “Boy” (1980) and “War” (1983) albums. At the time The Commitments was filmed, he owned a skate shop in Dublin and was a champion skateboarder.
Derek gets a nasty shock!
Derek gets wheeled out of hospital
Winner of Best Director; Best Film; Best Editing; Best Screen Play – Adapted.
Nominated for Best Actor in a supporting role (Andrew Strong) and Best Sound.
Academy Awards (1992):
Nominated for Best Editing
Brit Awards (1992):
Winner of Best Soundtrack
Evening Standard British Film Awards (1992):
Winner of the Peter Sellers Award for Comedy
Golden Globe Awards (1992):
Nominated for Best Motion Picture – Comedy/Musical
London Critics Film Awards (1992):
Winner ALFS Award for Best Director (Alan Parker);
British Producer of the Year and British Screen Writer of the Year.
Tokyo International Film Festival (1991):
Winner for Best Director (Alan Parker)
Writers Guild Of America (USA) (1992):
Nominated for WGA Award for Best Screenplay Based on Material from Another Medium
Jameson Awards (14th July 2005)
Winner for the Best Irish Film Of All Time
The Commitments Movie Line-up
Billy tells Deco where he’ll park his drum stick!
More Trivia…The Final Word
The film runs for 113 minutes. In that time, the word “f**k” is used 145 times.