The Making of 'Rocky Road to Dublin'

This documentary reunites director Peter Lennon and cinematographer Raoul Coutard, who recount the making of their then controversial but now classic documentary on Ireland in the Sixties. Rocky Road to Dublin was screened for only a few weeks at a single Dublin theater and was critically condemned and accused of being Communist-funded. But as Lennon explains, while the Irish saw Rocky Road to Dublin as an insult, the French saw it as a film.

Rocky Road to Dublin was selected for the prestigious Critics' Week at the 1968 Cannes Film Festival, where it was the last film publicly screened before the festival was stopped in solidarity with the then-erupting May '68 events in Paris. During that tumultuous period, Rocky Road to Dublin was screened numerous times throughout Paris by student groups, with whom the film's theme of "What do you do with your revolution once you've got it" obviously struck a responsive chord.

In addition to scenes of the May '68 protests in Paris, THE MAKING OF ROCKY ROAD TO DUBLIN features rare Cannes footage of Jean-Luc Godard and François Truffaut demanding that the festival be shut down and the argumentative responses from Peter Lennon and others in the audience. The documentary also reprises key scenes from the original film, contrasted with a return to some of its locations nearly forty years later.

The now-80-year-old Coutard relates his memorable experiences of making the film and his impressions of Ireland at the time, while Peter Lennon details the film's largely negative critical reception in Ireland and the neglect into which it had fallen before it was finally restored by the Irish Film Institute in 2004.

"Highly Recommended!"—Educational Media Reviews Online


Main credits

Duane, Paul (film director)
Doyle, Sé Merry (film producer)
Doyle, Sé Merry (editor of moving image work)
Lennon, Peter (interviewee)
Coutard, Raoul (interviewee)
Godard, Jean-Luc (interviewee)

Other credits

Camera, Michael O'Donovan, Mary Farbrother; editor, Sé Merry Doyle.

Docuseek2 subjects

Distributor subjects

Black & White
Cinema Studies
French Culture
Labor Studies


Paul Duane; Peter Lennon; Raoul Coutard; Communist; 1968 Cannes Film Festival; May '68; student groups; Jean-Luc Godard; Francois Truffaut; Irish Film Institute; film; video; dvd; documentary; new wave; Ireland; Sixties; 1960s; reactionary clergy; church and state; French 'New Wave'; Irish life; Pubs; Trinity College ; Sean O'Faolain; Conor Cruise O'Brien,; Gaelic Athletic Association; Jim Fitzgerald; The Irish Times; John Huston; Catholic; Father Michael Cleary; French cinematographer; Raoul Coutard ; 'Celtic Tiger'; "The Making of 'Rocky Road to Dublin'"; Icarus Films; "The Making of 'Rocky Road to Dublin'"; Icarus Films

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Rocky Road to Dublin

The last film screened at the Cannes Film Festival in 1968. A provocative,…