War of the Buttons

Synopsis: The children of Ballydowse & Carrickdowse engage in battles in which they cut off the buttons, shoe-laces, belts and braces of their captured opponents. This gets their opponents in trouble with parents. They go to battle in mass groups of dozens, wielding sticks & slingshots. It's a battle of strategic skills for the opposing leaders, Including one scene in which the principal gang uses an ancient war trick to overcome their opponents with successful and itchy results.
Director(s): John Roberts
Production: Warner Home Video
  2 nominations.
94 min

(Woman) In Ireland,

I grew up in a tiny village by the sea.

It was here that my best friend, a boy,

was fighting with another boy,

who lived in the next village.

Sounds silly,

but they were always fighting.

Typical boys.

Come on!

Wait, wait, wait for me.

Fellas, hang on!

- (All) Father!

- (Bike bell)

(All talk at once)

Only 1 0p, Father.

(Priest) Get out of it.

(Boy) Let`s try the wharf.

- Morning, Father.

- Marie.

Come on!

Wanna buy some tickets for the draw?

It`s for the hospital in Skibb. The master,

he says you never know the moment.

That`s true enough,

but you`re too late, son,

the Carrickdowse boys

have beaten you to it.

The Carrick boys,

what are you buying off them for,

when your own kids are stuck with them?

We`re loaded up with tickets, son,

you can ask so much of a man

and no more.

Isn`t that the god`s truth?

We`ve more tickets than fish. (Laughs)

Jonjo, they won`t have reached him yet.

- Jonjo!

- We`ll catch him at the bridge.

Thanks for nothing, you mean scabs!


Wait till I talk to your father.

- Jonjo!

- Jonjo!

Jonjo, wait up!

- Jonjo!

- Jonjo, wait up!

- Jonjo!

- Jonjo!

- Jonjo!

- (Beeps horn)

- Jonjo!

- (All talk at once)

Buy some tickets?

Hey, you lot!

- Beat it!

- Get back to Carrick.

You know what that line stands for.

Keep on your own side

and leave our postman alone.

Rubbish, he`s nobody`s postman.

He belongs to everyone.

He`s ours till he leaves Ballydowse.

Yeah, this half of the bridge is ours.

When he`s on your side, you have him,

till then, keep your hands off.

- Yeah, keep your stinkin` hands off.

- What did you say?

Keep your stinkin` hands off.

Whose stinkin` hands?

- Oi!

- Ahh! Leave me alone.

- l`ll tell Fergus, Fergus`ll kill you.

- Fergus isn`t here, is he, you little wanker.



Help me!

Get Fergus!

Fergus! Fergus!

Fergus, the Carricks, on the bridge.

They`ve got Little Con.

You wanna go in, eh?

You wanna go for a swim?

No! Help me! Help!

Someone! No! Help!


And what was that about my hands?

Nothing, nothing!

- (All shouting)

- Here, cut that out.

- Help!

- Hey!

- (Whistles)

- Geronimo.

You lucky little maggot.

Now clear off, tosspot,

run off home to Mammy.

(All laugh and jeer)

(Marie) Too late.

(Fergus) Yeah.


(Little Con) Con?

(Big Con) What?

(Little Con) What does tosspot mean?

(Big Con) I don`t know. Come on.

Here... Right here.

I know what a pot is.

We all know what a pot is,

and toss.

It`s not the words,

it`s what they mean together that counts.

Come in.

Please, sir, how many swearwords

do you know?

- What makes you think I know any?

- You`re grown-up.

Me daddy knows hundreds.

Well, then,

you best put your problem to him.

(Girl) Hey! Watch it.

Who cares what it means?

It`s how bad it is that matters.

If it`s really bad, we`ve got to

come up with something worse.

- Sir doesn`t even know what it means.

- You never said it to him, did you?

I never said it, not to his face.

- (Bike bell)

- (Priest) Out of the way, boys.

Good work, Little Con.


Do you like lollipops?

See the church?

Go tell the priest... (Whispers)


Now we`ll see

how bad the bloody word is.

(Quietly) Tosspot, tosspot,

tosspot, tosspot.

(Master) Pitiful. Pitiful effort.

(Whispers) Hey, Tim, any sign yet?

Not yet.

(Master) I hope the moment never arrives

for any of you.

Oi! Come back here!

- They`re off!

- (All) They`re off!

Hey! Get back to your seats!

- (Cheering)

- Get back to your seats now!


(Priest) l`ll see your mother, you little lout.

On your way now!

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Louis Pergaud

Louis Pergaud (22 January 1882 – 8 April 1915) was a French writer and soldier, whose principal works were known as "Animal Stories" due to his featuring animals of the Franche-Comté in lead roles. His most notable work was the novel La Guerre des boutons (1912) (English: The War of the Buttons). It has been reprinted more than 30 times, and is included on the French high-school curriculum.A schoolteacher by profession, Pergaud came into conflict with Roman Catholic authorities over the implementation of the Third French Republic's separation of Church and State enacted in 1905. In 1907 Pergaud chose to move to Paris to pursue his literary career. Pergaud's prose works are often considered to reflect the influences of Realist, Decadent and Symbolist movements. He was killed at age 33 in April 1915, by French fire while in a field hospital behind German lines; he was serving with the French Army near Marchéville-en-Woëvre during the First World War. The War of the Buttons has been adapted five times as a film, four times in French productions and once in an Irish one. It was adapted most recently in France in two films released the same week in September 2011. Both were set during the twentieth century. more…

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Submitted on August 05, 2018

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