The Last of the High Kings

Synopsis: It is 1977, Dublin rocks to the music of Thin Lizzy and the world is stunned by the death of Elvis Presley. Frankie, caught between acne and adulthood, has just completed his final exams in school. Convinced he will fail, he survives the summer organising a beach party, having lustful thoughts about two girls he believes are unobtainable and fending off the advances from a visiting American family friend, all whilst coping with his oddball family.
Genre: Comedy, Drama
Director(s): David Keating
Production: Miramax
  1 nomination.
104 min



I had it all planned.

[Mid-tempo music plays]

College, a place of my own...

hang out all day in cafes

with beautiful girls with legs

and blond hair

that you could talk to about

The Stranglers and Hemingway

and who you could spend loads

of time in bed with.

Instead, I've blown my exams.

How absolute was Louis XIV?

Absolutely no idea.

Oh, God.

I've ruined my life

before it's even started.

They might as well take me out

and shoot me.

If I fail,

I'm gonna have to get a job.

I'm not cut out for that.

I'm too young to work.

Your time is up.

Now, put down your pens.


Look at them... Jayne Wayne

and Romy Thomas,

the fruit of the gods.

I'm never gonna slow dance

on a moonlit beach

and whisper, "I love you,

Romy... or Jayne,"

whichever one I happen

to be dancing with.

No, I'm looking

at a life sentence,

solitary confinement.

What am I gonna do?

[Introduction to Thin Lizzy's

"Jailbreak" plays]

[All shouting]



# Tonight there's gonna be

a jailbreak #

- # Somewhere in this town #

- [All shouting]

# See, me and the boys,

we don't like it #

# So we're gettin' up

and goin' down #

- # Hidin' low,

lookin' right to left #

- [Laughter]

# If you see us comin',

I think it's best #

# To move away,

do you hear what I say? #

# From under my breath #

- # Tonight there's gonna be

a jailbreak #

- [All shouting]

# Somewhere in the town #

# Tonight there's gonna be

a jailbreak #

# So don't you be around #

# Tonight there's gonna be

trouble #

# I'm gonna find myself in #

# Tonight there's gonna be

trouble #

# So, woman,

stay with a friend #


# You know it's safer #



# Breakout! #

- [Guitar solo]

- [Sirens wailing]


talking indistinctly]



[Girls giggling]

[Wailing continues]

Get down!

Come on, get down!


Hey, lads,

come on, get down.

Now, lads, boys.

Come on, get down.

Now, boys, come on.

Come on!



[Wailing continues]

Hey, lads, come back!

Come back!

[Sea gulls crying;

soft, soothing music plays]

[Sea gulls crying;

soft, soothing music plays]

[Dog barking]

17 years I've been waiting

for this day.


The oyster of my life

about to open.

Instead, it feels like

a badger died in my stomach.

[Footsteps approaching,

door opens]

And I have an awful feeling

that nothing will ever change.

[Echoing] You,

Frankie Griffin, are

a useless article.

You don't do

a hand's turn

from one end of the day

to the other.

Look at the state of ya...

eyes fallin' out of your head

with the drink.


And the smell off ya.


You'd never think of helping

out around the place,

not in a million years.

- [Floorboards creak]

- What do you think?

You think your shirts and

trousers get washed by magic

and march down the path

and throw themselves

up on the line?

Do you?!

And what about these socks

I keep finding under your bed?

Stained with what,

I'd like to know.

[Discordant notes play]

Ray's the only one

of you with any decency!

I was too soft to use

the wooden spoon on your arse

when you were growing up.

I should have had you

put to sleep.

[Hinges creak]

[Door slams]

Today's the 30th of June.

My exam results should come

on the 18th of August.

God, that's not long.

49 days, then I'm dead.

If I was a real rebel,

I wouldn't give a damn.

[Horn honking]

[Honking continues]


It's Da.

[Emergency brake engages]

[Birds chirping]

[Horn blares]

- Come forth, my family.

- Da!

- Come forth...

- [Laughter, dog barking]

...and see what treasures

thy father has brought thee.

- Nice hat.

- Wow.

- For thee.

- Whoa! Thanks, Da.

For thou.

Oh, wow. Look!

By the way, somebody

has to fix the gate.

- Give me that.

- Hey, a space hopper!

[Talking indistinctly]

Ma, look at this.


- Hey, Noelie, watch this.

- [Giggling]

- Can I have this one?

- Frankie, thou lookest


[Indistinct conversation]

Place upon thy cranium this hat

and go forth, not fifth.

Da, the play

in New York, right?

[Children talking




You wouldn't, by any chance,

be going away, would you?


Very smart, Frankie.



Noelie, stop the noise

right now.

You'll break a wand.




I was going to tell you.


I really was.

- Get off!

- I'm sorry. I just...

You're leaving.


- Noelie, go away!

- Ohh!

It won't be for long

this time. I promise.

I want to ask you



Is Dad going away,


Go on, try.

Come on, Noelie.

See if you can get me.

Yeah. For a while.


- [Laughter]

- Stop! Let go!

[Whispering indistinctly]

[Children talking



- Whoo-hoo!

- You knocked him over.


You knocked him over.

Go on!


[American cowboy accent]

"'Hands up,

"'and don't even move

a little gray whisker,

"or I'll pepper

your guts.'

"But Patrick Weaselbrain,

"the meanest thieving

cowpoke of them all,

"was not coming quietly.

"Fiery death spat

from his six-gun.

The wedding party


When I was a kid, I used to

wish for an ordinary family.

Sometimes I still do.

The only normal one is Noelie,

who has permanent brain damage

from an illness

when he was a baby.

His body will grow up

but not his mind.

He's the only one

who doesn't drive me nuts.

"...Some of them still

moaning in agony."

My Da is an actor,

always going abroad

for some play somewhere,

always looking

for his big break into films.

The rest of them share varying

degrees of incurable insanity.

It's amazing

I turned out okay.

"...once again, Sheriff

Bart Wyatt had got his man.

The end."

Yay, Ray!



As foreman

of this year's jury,

I have great pleasure

in presenting you

with the Golden Dog

for Literature.

Par excellence.



Bleeding stupid.

It is not stupid.

The boy's a genius.

That's all there is to it.

- And that's my mother, Ma.

- Parnell! [Whistles]

[Guitar strumming]

[Lively music plays]



Hey, get off!

Get off! Get off!

Come on.

Get off, get off.


Get off!

Get off the green.

Go on.

Go on, go on.


Ah, sorry.




It's Noelie's turn!

Give me the ball!

It's Noelie's turn!


[Vehicle approaching]

[Engine revving]

Nice space hopper.



Hey, when did he

get so cute?

Come on.

[Knock on door]

[Knock on door]

Come in.

[Hinges creak]

I know this is, uh...

an important summer

for you, Frankie,

and, uh...

I'm sorry

that I'm going to miss it.

I don't even know if I'm gonna

be back for your birthday.

So... so just in case

I, uh...

Happy birthday, my boy.


You're welcome.

Now... you're going

to University,

and you're gonna need

spending money,

so here's what I suggest...

you get yourself

a summer job.


about University...

I don't think my exams

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Gabriel Byrne

Gabriel James Byrne (born 12 May 1950) is an Irish actor, film director, film producer, writer, cultural ambassador and audiobook narrator. His acting career began in the Focus Theatre before he joined London's Royal Court Theatre in 1979. Byrne's screen debut came in the Irish soap opera The Riordans and the spin-off show Bracken. He has appeared in over 35 feature films, including Excalibur (1981), Miller's Crossing (1990), The Usual Suspects (1995), Stigmata (1999), End of Days (1999), Spider (2002), Jindabyne (2006), Vampire Academy (2014), The 33 (2015), and Hereditary (2018), and co-wrote The Last of the High Kings (1996). Byrne has also produced several films, including the Academy Award–nominated In the Name of the Father (1993). One of Byrne's most identifiable roles is that of Paul Weston in the HBO drama In Treatment (2008–2011), for which he won a Golden Globe Award and was nominated for two Emmy Awards and two Satellite Awards. more…

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Submitted on August 05, 2018

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