The Snapper (film)

The Snapper
Directed by Stephen Frears
Country of origin Ireland
Original language(s) English
Cinematography Oliver Stapleton
Editor(s) Mick Audsley
Running time 91 minutes
Original release 1993
Preceded by The Commitments
Followed by The Van

The Snapper is a 1993 Irish television film which was directed by Stephen Frears and starred Tina Kellegher, Colm Meaney and Brendan Gleeson. The film is based on the novel by Irish writer Roddy Doyle, about the Rabbitte family and their domestic adventures. For his performance, Meaney was nominated for the Golden Globe Award for Best Actor – Motion Picture Musical or Comedy.


Young Sharon Curley becomes pregnant, but refuses to tell anyone who the father is. She decides to keep the baby ("snapper") and her family, each in their own way, eventually decides to support her. Her father particularly studies up on childbirth and female anatomy (with gratifying results for his wife as a bonus).

Soon after a wild night at the pub, twenty-year-old Sharon Curley (Tina Kellegher) finds herself expecting a little "snapper" by a man she loathes. Her refusal to name the father sets in motion a family drama involving her three brothers, two sisters, and her parents, along with her employers and all her friends. Kellegher, playing the role as a coarse, earthy, yet remarkably sensible young woman (with the exception of her excessive drinking during her pregnancy) soon discovers who her friends really are, as some people tease and torment her, some make remarks to her siblings, some force her father to take direct action in her defence, and all spread gossip.

Des Curley (Colm Meaney), Sharon's father, shows the whole world in his face, his emotions ranging from outrage toward Sharon for embarrassing the family to tender concern as her time draws near. As the eight-member family trips all over each other emotionally (ironically symbolised in their battles for the one bathroom, often occupied by Sharon), the tensions within the family grow more intense. Widespread speculation about who the father is disrupts the neighbourhood, with some hotheads visiting their own brand of justice on the Curleys. The arrival of the baby offers a chance at resolution.

It turns out that Sharon's friend's father, Georgie Burgess (Pat Laffan), got her pregnant by taking advantage of her while she was drunk. Sharon's story is that it was a Spanish sailor, but the whole town suspects the truth.


The surname of the Rabbitte family in the book had to be changed to Curley as 20th Century Fox owns the rights to the Rabbitte name from The Commitments (1991), which featured the same characters. The film was shot in many familiar locations around Dublin including Raheny, Kilbarrack, Ballybough, Dun Laoghaire & The Old Shieling Hotel.

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