Michael Collins (1996)

Imdb Ranking 7.0

"At the turn of the century Britain was the foremost world power and the British Empire stretched over two-thirds of the globe. Despite the extent of its power its most troublesome colony had always been the one closest tow it, Ireland. For seven hundred years Britain's rule over Ireland had been resisted by attempts at rebellion and revolution, all of which ended in failure. Then, in 1916, a rebellion began, to be followed by a guerilla war, which would change the nature of that rule forever. The mastermind behind that war was Michael Collins. His life and death defined the period, in its triumph, terror and tragedy. This is his story."

The movie starts with the Easter uprising in 1916. The English were heavily engaged in World War I, and the Irish try to gain their freedom, but the rebellion was put down and some of the leaders were executed. Collins, √Čamon de Valera and Harry Boland are imprisoned.
Collins and others like Eamon de Valera begin to lead an underground revolt. A detective tells Collins that the IRA Cabinet is going to be arrested. De Valera says the arrests will be good for the movement. Everyone is arrested except for Collins and Boland, and Collins takes charge. He says anyone collaborating with the occupation forces will be killed. Collins then recruits a squad of single men from Dublin and tells them they will have to kill the British. Collins and Boland then break de Valera out of jail in England.
President de Valera goes to the US, hoping to gain recognition for the Irish Republic from President Wilson. On Bloody Sunday Collin's new squad executes fourteen members of the British intelligence agency (M15) that have just been sent over. The mission was a success but at a Gaelic football game the Black and Tans shot down some players and then fired in to the crowd, killing fourteen people.
De Valera comes back to Ireland. He says that in order for the government to be recognized they must fight like a real army with large scale engagements. De Valera wants to attack the Customs House, and the Cabinet backs his plan. Six were killed and seventy were captured in the debacle that followed.
British public opinion has been affected by Bloody Sunday, and the British call for a cease fire. de Valera and the Cabinet want to send Michael Collins to negotiate. Michael doesn't want to go, but he heads over to England. Four months later Collins signs the Anglo-Irish Treaty in December 1921, and there are some compromises. They have an Irish Free State instead of an Irish Republic. They have their own government but they have to swear allegiance to the British Crown. The North will, for now, remain part of the British Empire. Collins sees the treaty as a stepping stone. Collins thinks de Valera sent him because he knew the negotiations could not be won.
De Valera is furious the terms of the treaty were published without his approval. The treaty is argued before the Irish Government, the Dail. The Dail, approved the Treaty 64 - 57. De Valera and his supporters resign from the government in protest. Collins calls them traitors. Yhe new Irish Free State takes over the castle.
De Valera stirs the people up saying he will not abandon the Republic. De Valera has the IRA seize the Four Courts in Dublin. Collins does not want to fight against his own people. The British tell him that if he doesn't take it back, they will. Collins leads the free state forces and they drive the IRA out of Dublin, but his friend Boland is killed.
They set up a meeting in Collin's home county, Cork. As he goes to meet de Valera a group of IRA men open fire from the hillside and kill him.
A controversial figure in troubled times. A terrorist or a patriot? A hero or a traitor? It all depends on one's point of view. A really good movie about a very difficult subject.