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Terry George

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Terry George
Terence Noel George

(1952-12-20) 20 December 1952 (age 71)
Belfast, Northern Ireland
Alma materQueen's University Belfast
Film director

Terence George (born 20 December 1952) is an Irish screenwriter and director. Much of his film work (e.g. The Boxer, Some Mother's Son, and In the Name of the Father) involves "The Troubles" in Northern Ireland.

He was nominated for two Oscars: Best Writing, Screenplay Based on Material from Another Medium (1993; In the Name of the Father), and Best Writing, Original Screenplay (2004; Hotel Rwanda). On 26 February 2012, he received an Academy Award in the live action short film category for The Shore.

Life and career


George was born and raised in Belfast, Northern Ireland. In 1971, aged 18, he was arrested for suspicion of paramilitary republican activity. He later became involved [clarification needed] with the Irish Republican Socialist Party (IRSP), political wing of the INLA. In 1975, he was driving with armed members of the group when British soldiers stopped them, although George claims he was not carrying a weapon. All were arrested and he was sentenced to six years imprisonment in Long Kesh Prison ("The Maze"). Other prisoners at the same time included Gerry Adams and Patsy O'Hara, the third to die in the 1981 hunger strikes. He was released in 1978 for good behaviour. He briefly attended Queen's University Belfast.

In 1981 he, his wife, Rita (née Margaret Higgins), and their infant daughter, Oorlagh, moved to New York City.[1] George's wife and daughter later became United States citizens but he faced deportation proceedings. He was finally allowed to remain in the US following a lobbying campaign by Irish-American supporters, and was granted an "O" visa. He and his wife also have a United States-born son, Seamus. His wife Rita died on February 24, 2022.

In 1985, George made his debut as playwright of The Tunnel, a stage drama based on a real-life 1976 prison escape attempt from Long Kesh. In 1986, he researched the non-fiction book The Pizza Connection, on a mafia trial, with the late veteran American journalist Shana Alexander.[2]

In 1993, he made his debut as screenwriter and assistant director with In the Name of the Father, starring Daniel Day-Lewis, and directed and co-written by Jim Sheridan. The film was nominated for seven Academy Awards including best adapted screenplay for George and Sheridan. He wrote the screenplay for and directed the film Some Mother's Son, starring Helen Mirren and Fionnula Flanagan, for which he was named Young European Director of the Year, in 1996. From 2000 to 2004, he served as executive producer and co-creator of the CBS television series The District, which starred Craig T. Nelson, David O'Hara and Lynne Thigpen. He and Billy Ray received screenplay credits for the World War II drama Hart's War in 2002. He earned his second Academy Award nomination in 2004 for directing, producing and co-writing Hotel Rwanda, which starred Don Cheadle and Sophie Okonedo. The film received three Academy award nominations, including best original screenplay. Hotel Rwanda was honored with the Cinema for Peace Award for the Most Valuable Film of the Year at the Cinema for Peace Gala in Berlin.[3]

Along with screenwriter William Monahan and musician Van Morrison, George was honoured at the 2nd Annual Oscar Wilde Honoring Irish Writing in Film ceremony, [clarification needed] held at the Ebell Wilshire in Los Angeles, California on 22 February 2007. Later that year, he directed Reservation Road, starring Joaquin Phoenix, Jennifer Connelly, Mark Ruffalo and Mira Sorvino. In 2008, George became a patron of the Belfast Film Festival.[4]

In 2010 George wrote and directed the short film The Shore. His daughter, Oorlagh produced the film, which was filmed over six days outside George's home in County Down, Northern Ireland.[5] On 26 February 2012, The Shore won the Academy Award for best Live Action Short Film. In 2012, George wrote, directed and produced the feature film Whole Lotta Sole. In 2016, George wrote and directed The Promise, set during the Armenian genocide of 1915 and starring Oscar Isaac, Charlotte Le Bon, and Christian Bale.[6]

In recognition of his "exceptional services to film and drama"[7] George was awarded an honorary degree from Queen's University Belfast on 1 July 2013.[8] In 2017 George received the Armin T. Wegner Humanitarian Award in honor of his films depicting genocides. In addition he received a khachkar, made by Hrach Gukasyan and commissioned by the Arpa International Film Festival and Awards Gala, with Armenian-style patterns in the shape of a Celtic cross, the latter in honor of his Irish heritage.[9]




Year Title Director Writer Producer
1993 In the Name of the Father 2nd unit Yes Co-Executive
1996 Some Mother's Son Yes Yes No
1997 The Boxer No Yes No
2002 Hart's War No Yes No
2004 Hotel Rwanda Yes Yes Yes
2007 Reservation Road Yes Yes No
2012 Whole Lotta Sole Yes Yes Yes
2016 The Promise Yes Yes No

Consulting producer

Short film

Year Title Director Writer Producer
2006 Where's Daddy! No No Yes
2011 The Shore Yes Yes Yes


Year Title Director Writer Executive
2000–2004 The District Yes Yes Yes Also creator;
Directed 3 episodes and wrote 7 episodes
2009 In Treatment Yes No No 3 episodes
2010 Outlaw Yes No No Episode "Pilot"
2012 Luck Yes No No Episode "Ace Meets with a Potential Investor"

TV movies

Year Title Director Writer
1989 Hunt for Stolen War Treasures No Yes
1998 A Bright Shining Lie Yes Yes


  1. ^ Smith, Dinitia (January 1997). "A Prison Left Behind Becomes a Career". The New York Times.
  2. ^ Smith, Dinitia (January 1997). "A Prison Left Behind Becomes a Career". The New York Times.
  3. ^ SPIEGEL, DER (15 February 2005). ""Cinema for Peace": Filmreife Hilfe aus Berlin - DER SPIEGEL - Kultur". Der Spiegel (in German). Retrieved 22 July 2020.
  4. ^ "New Patron For Belfast Film Festival". 4ni Co UK. 4 March 2008. Retrieved 22 April 2024.
  5. ^ "Belfast man celebrates Oscar win". BBC News. 27 February 2012. Retrieved 9 October 2017.
  6. ^ Meredith, Robbie (23 April 2017). "A big old-fashioned love story". BBC News.
  7. ^ "News: Sir David Attenborough, Terry George and Avila Kilmurray honoured at Queen's". Queen's University Belfast. Archived from the original on 8 July 2013. Retrieved 8 July 2013.
  8. ^ "QUB honours Sir David Attenborough". BBC News. 1 July 2013. Retrieved 9 October 2017.
  9. ^ "Twentieth Arpa International Film Festival Celebration Wraps with Emotional Tributes". Armenian Weekly. 9 November 2017. Retrieved 23 June 2019.