The Van (1996 film)

The Van

DVD cover
Directed by Stephen Frears
Produced by Lynda Myles
Mark Shivas
Written by Roddy Doyle
Music by Eric Clapton
Richard Hartley
Cinematography Oliver Stapleton
Edited by Mick Audsley
Distributed by Fox Searchlight Pictures
Release dates
  • 11 May 1996 (1996-05-11) (Cannes)
  • 29 November 1996 (1996-11-29) (UK)
  • 16 May 1997 (1997-05-16) (US)
Running time
100 minutes
Country Ireland
Language English

The Van is a 1996 film, based on the novel The Van (the third in The Barrytown Trilogy) by Roddy Doyle. Like The Snapper (1993), it was directed by Stephen Frears. (The first movie of the trilogy, The Commitments (1991), was directed by Alan Parker). It was entered into the 1996 Cannes Film Festival.[1]


Set in "Barrytown", a fictitious working-class quarter of Dublin. Brendan "Bimbo" Reeves gets laid off from his job as a baker. With his redundancy cheque, he buys a van and sells fish and chips with his best mate, Larry. Due, in part, to Ireland's surprising success at the 1990 FIFA World Cup, their business starts off well. But the relationship between the two friends soon becomes strained as Bimbo and his wife, Maggie behave more and more like typical bosses. Larry believes that Maggie is the cause of the strained friendship, as he thinks she is pushing Bimbo away from him. The van is closed down because of poor hygiene by health inspector, Des O'Callaghan. Bimbo thinks that Larry told the Health Board about the van, leading to a fight between the two. Larry quits the job, despite Bimbo's best efforts to get him back. Bimbo then drives the van into the sea, so as to win his friendship with Larry back.



Rotten Tomatoes gave the film a score of 38% based on reviews from 21 critics.[2]

Roger Ebert of the Chicago Sun-Times said, "When I saw The Van for the first time at the Cannes Film Festival in 1996, I felt it was the least of the three films, and I still do, but it was trimmed of about five minutes of footage after Cannes and, seeing it again a year later, I found it quicker and more alive. It is also the most thoughtful, in a way, and the ending has a poignancy and an unresolved quality that is just right: These disorganized lives would not fit into a neat ending.[3]


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