The Commitments (1991) - Rotten Tomatoes

The Commitments (1991)



Critic Consensus: The Commitments is a vibrantly funny and blissfully heartfelt ode to the power of music.

The Commitments Photos

Movie Info

"The Irish are the blacks of Europe, Dubliners are the blacks of Ireland, and the North Siders are the blacks of Dublin ... so say it loud -- I'm black and I'm proud!" Or so Jimmy Rabbitte (Robert Arkins) tells his slightly puzzled friends as he tries to assemble a rhythm & blues show band in a working class community in Dublin in Alan Parker's film The Commitments. Jimmy is a would-be music business wheeler and dealer, and he's decided what Dublin needs is a top-shelf soul band. However, top-shelf soul musicians are hard to find in Dublin, so he has to make do with what he can find. However, after a long round of auditions, Jimmy makes two inspired discoveries: Deco (Andrew Strong), an abrasive and alcoholic streetcar conductor who nevertheless has a voice like the risen ghost of Otis Redding, and Joey "The Lips" Fagan (Johnny Murphy), a horn player who knows soul music backwards and forwards and claims to have played with everyone from Wilson Pickett to Elvis Presley. Before long, the band -- called the Commitments -- is packing them in at local clubs. But do they have what it takes to make the big time? Based on the novel by Roddy Doyle, who also co-wrote the screenplay, The Commitments is sparked by fine performances by its young cast and enthusiastic performances of a number of '60s soul classics; the cast, who play their own instruments, reassembled the band for a concert tour after the film became a hit.

Watch it now


Robert Arkins
as Jimmy Rabbitte
Michael Aherne
as Steven Clifford
Glen Hansard
as Outspan
Dick Massey
as Billy Mooney
Johnny Murphy
as Joey `The Lips' Fagan
Kenneth McCluskey
as Derek Scully
Andrew Strong
as Deco Cuffe
Colm Meaney
as Mr. Rabbitte
Anne Kent
as Mrs. Rabbitte
Andrea Corr
as Sharon Rabbitte
Gerard Cassoni
as Darren Rabbitte
Ruth Fairclough
as Linda Rabbitte
Lindsay Fairclough
as Tracey Rabbitte
Ger Ryan
as The Pawnbroker
Mark O'Regan
as Father Molloy
Phelim Drew
as Roddy the Reporter
Sean Hughes
as Dave from Eejit Records
Aoife Lawless
as Imelda's Sister
Lance Daly
as Kid with Harmonica
Conor Malone
as Protest Song Singer
Jezz Bell
as Heavy Metal Singer
Colm Mac Con Iomaire
as Fiddler Auditioner
Emily Dawson
as Punk Girl Singer
Dave Kane
as Coconuts Trio Member
Kristel Harris
as Coconuts Trio Member
Maria Place
as Coconuts Trio Member
Brian Mac Aodha
as Uileann Pipe Player
Tricia Smith
as Les Miserables Singer
Canice William
as Smiths' Song Singer
Patrick Foy
as Cajun Trio Member
Alan Murray
as Cajun Trio Member
Jody Campbell
as Cajun Trio Member
Eanna MacLiam
as Failed Drug Buyer
Philomena Kavanagh
as Rabbitte's Neighbor
Peter Rowen
as Shy Skateboard Auditioner
Eamon O'Connor
as Only De Lonely Singer
Maura O'Malley
as Joey's Mother
Blaise Smith
as Pool Hall Manager
Derek Herbert
as Duffy's Sidekick
Owen O'Gorman
as Duffy's Sidekick
Pat Leavy
as Unemployment Official
John Cronin
as Kid with Horse
Rynagh O'Grady
as Bernie's Mother
Sheila Flitton
as Church Cleaner
John Michael Bolger
as Community Centre Kid
Mick Nolan
as Imelda's Father
Eileen Reid
as Imelda's Mother
Bob Navan
as Regency Pub Barman
Derek Duggan
as Photographer
Paddy O'Connor
as Rock Salmon Man
Paul Bushnell
as Avante-Garde-A-Clue Band Member
Jim Corr
as Avante-Garde-A-Clue Band Member
Larry Hogan
as Avante-Garde-A-Clue Band Member
Bernard Keelan
as Avante-Garde-A-Clue Band Member
Ronan Hardiman
as Dance Hall Manager
Mikel Murfi
as Music Journalist
Josylen Lyons
as Deco's Fan
Winston Dennis
as Man in Limousine
Alan Parker
as Eejit Record Producer
View All

News & Interviews for The Commitments

Critic Reviews for The Commitments

All Critics (46) | Top Critics (15)

The locations have a certain grimy reality. The musical sequences are downright combustible, exploding off the screen. And the cast -- young and inexperienced as they are -- manage to convey poignant believability.

August 17, 2021 | Rating: 2.5/4 | Full Review…

The film offers no message, no solutions, only a great time at the movies.

August 20, 2008 | Full Review…

Director Alan Parker's story of a band of young Dubliners playing American '60s soul is fresh, well-executed and original.

March 10, 2008 | Full Review…

This is probably Alan Parker's best film, in part because it's one of his most modest.

March 10, 2008

Foul-mouthed, fast-talking and very funny, this is Parker's best to date.

June 24, 2006 | Full Review…

Mr. Parker is capable of whipping a series of quick, well-edited snippets into a happy collage of musical high spirits.

May 20, 2003 | Rating: 3.5/5

Audience Reviews for The Commitments

That dude has some pipes

Spencer Macklin
Spencer Macklin

Super Reviewer

"We skipped the light fandango turned cartwheels 'cross the floor. I was feeling kinda seasick but the crowd called out for more" I'm still in awe by how clever was the use of that enigmatic line, it not only comes from one of my favourite songs, but works as a dignified compendium of a short-lived but magical trainwreck that the characters, and the public, can only watch passing by with a smile. Quotable dialogue, riotous moments and genuine musical passion throughout. A gem once voted, deservedly, as the best irish film of all time.

Pierluigi Puccini
Pierluigi Puccini

Super Reviewer


A story documenting the rise and fall of the band The Commitments. With enjoyable vocals and those well known songs, this film makes for an easy watching tongue in cheek piece. In a seperate issue, I can't help thinking this discredits the film ONCE ever so slightly I had thought their performances were really good, I hadn't known Glen Hansard had already appeared in this film.

Lady D'arbanville
Lady D'arbanville

Super Reviewer

The Commitments Quotes

News & Features