War of the Buttons
- 1 hr 34 min
The War of the Buttons, based on the classic French novel by Louis Pergaud, follows an escalating battle between two groups of school children in the Irish countryside. This 1994 film takes place in the villages of Ballydowse and Carrickdowse, rivaling communities for generations. In Carricksdowse, the children must wear school uniforms and are slightly financially better off. The Carricks gang have a leader in Geronimo (John Coffey). The Bally boys, informally led by Fergus (Gregg Fitzgerald), begin the practice of stealing buttons when they take down one of the Carricks‘ bullies. The Carricks quickly retaliate and jump Fergus and remove the buttons from all of his clothing. This button stealing practice, intended to get the children in trouble with their parents, becomes their sign of victory. The conflict escalates when the Ballys vandalize the Carricks’ town church, then charge them naked so no buttons can be taken. Groups of boys from a dozen or more take to the neighborhood streets with stones and sticks to protect their turf, and take on the other town. Meanwhile, Marie (Eveanna Ryan) forms a girls auxiliary for the Ballys and helps the boys by gathering up buttons. Fergus' stepfather (Jim Bartley) finds out about the boys fighting, he gives Fergus a merciless beating and tells him to leave town. As Fergus heads to the cliffs that separate the two villages, he sees Geronimo following him. He makes a run for it, but then sees Geronimo slip. Fergus saves him from a fatal fall and the two boys develop a grudging respect for one another, but that moment doesn't end the war. The final battle takes place with the combatants dressed in makeshift medieval armor, and Fergus riding a horse at the front of his troops.