The Amazing Cillian Murphy: By Order of the Peaky Blinders


Updated On: June 03, 2024 by   Ahmed SamirAhmed Samir

Cillian Murphy is an Irish actor who has become a household name due to his role as the star of the acclaimed show Peaky Blinders. Born and raised in County Cork, his father, Brendan worked for the Irish Department of Education, and his mother was a French teacher. His grandfather, aunts, and uncles were also teachers. He has had a talent for playing music and writing songs since he was 10 years old. He has a younger brother, Páidi Murphy, and two younger sisters, Sile Murphy and Orla Murphy.

He attended the Catholic secondary school Presentation Brothers College. Sometimes, he got into trouble, although he was good academically until he decided in his fourth year that misbehaving was not worth the hassle. In secondary school, he got his first performance when he participated in a drama module presented by Pat Kiernan, the director of the Corcadorca Theatre Company and due to his love for acting, his English teacher, the poet and novelist William Wall, encouraged him to keep on his dream of acting.

Cillian Murphy starred as Dr Jonathan Crane or ‘Scarecrow’ in the Batman films.

In his early twenties and before starting to act, Cillian started his career as a musician, singing and playing guitar in several bands alongside his brother Páidi. They created a band called The Sons of Mr Greengenes. After that, they were offered a five-album record deal by Acid Jazz Records but did not sign the contract; this was because Páidi, Cillian’s brother, was still in secondary school, and he later confessed: “I’m happy that we didn’t sign because you kind of sign away your life to a label and the whole of your music.

He was always busy with his band, so after he began studying law at University College Cork in 1996, he failed his first-year exams because, as he said, he was not ambitious enough to do it, which was not what he wanted to do.

Cillian Murphy’s Movies:

Disco Pigs (2001):

It’s an Irish movie written by Enda Walsh based on his 1996 play of the same name. The stars are Cillian Murphy and Elaine Cassidy. The movie is about Cork teenagers who have a lifelong but unhealthy friendship that is imploding as they approach adulthood.

28 Days Later (2002):

It is a British horror movie starring Cillian Murphy, Naomie Harris, Christopher Eccleston, Megan Burns, and Brendan Gleeson. The movie talks about the breakdown of society following the accidental release of a hazardous virus. It focuses upon the struggle of four survivors to overcome the destruction of the life they once knew while evading those infected by the virus.

The film gained 83 million dollars worldwide with a budget of 8 million dollars and became one of the best horror movies in 2002. The film received critical claims and praise for its performances, screenplay, atmosphere, and soundtrack. The movie was followed by a sequel in 2007 called 28 Days Later: The Aftermath, and in 2017, the movie was ranked as the 97th best British movie ever by 150  actors, directors, writers, producers and critics for Time Out magazine.

Girl with a Pearl Earring (2003):

A romantic drama film based on the 1999 novel of the same name by Tracy Chevalier. The film talks about a young 17th-century servant in the household of the Dutch painter Johannes Vermeer when he painted Girl with a Pearl Earring in the city of Delft in Holland. The stars are Colin Firth, Scarlett Johansson, Tom Wilkinson, Judy Parfitt, and Cillian Murphy. The film was nominated for three Oscars Awards for Best Cinematography, Best Art Direction-Set Decoration and Best Costume Design.

Intermission (2003):

It’s an Irish black comedy movie filmed in Dublin, Ireland. The film contains many interconnected storylines. It was shot in a documentary-like style, and some scenes were presented as excerpts from television programs that exist within the show. The stars are   Cillian Murphy, Colm Meaney, and Colin Farrell.

Breakfast on Pluto (2005):

It’s a comedy-drama film based on Patrick McCabe’s novel of the same name. Cillian Murphy plays a transgender foundling searching for love and her long-lost mother in small-town Ireland and London in the 1970s. The movie also stars Cillian Murphy, Morgan Jones, Eva Birthistle, and Liam Neeson.

Batman Begins (2005):

A superhero movie that is based on the DC Comics character Batman, the stars are Christian Bale, Michael Caine, Liam Neeson, Katie Holmes, Gary Oldman, Cillian Murphy, Tom Wilkinson, Rutger Hauer, Ken Watanabe, and Morgan Freeman. The story talks about Bruce Wayne’s story, from his parent’s death to his journey to becoming Batman and his fight to stop Ra’s al Ghul and the Scarecrow from plunging Gotham City into chaos.

The film premiered on 15 June 2005 in the United States. The movie gained 48 million dollars in its first week in theatres and 375 million worldwide. The film received a great review from critics regarding Christian Bale’s performance, action sequences, and direction. The film was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Cinematography and three BAFTA awards. It was followed by The Dark Knight (2008) and The Dark Knight Rises (2012).

Red Eye (2005):

It’s an American psychological thriller film based on a story by Ellsworth and Dan Foos. The film tells the story of a hotel manager who is ensnared in an assassination plot by a terrorist while aboard a red-eye flight to Miami. The film received positive reviews from critics and fans and made good success at the box office. It was released on 19 August 2005. The movie stars Rachel McAdams, Cillian Murphy, Brian Cox, and Jayma Mays.

The Wind That Shakes the Barley (2006):

The film is a war drama about the period of the Irish War of Independence (1919–1921) and the Irish Civil War (1922–1923). It’s the story of two brothers from County Cork, Damien O’Donovan (Cillian Murphy) and Teddy O’Donovan (Pádraic Delaney), who join the Irish Republican Army to fight for Irish independence from the United Kingdom. The film won the Palme d’Or at the 2006 Cannes Film Festival. The movie succeeded at the box office and made a record in Ireland as the highest-gaining Irish-made independent film.

Sunshine (2007):

A disaster psychological thriller film taking place in the year 2057, it follows a group of astronauts on a dangerous mission to reignite the dying sun. The stars are  Cillian Murphy, Chris Evans, Rose Byrne, Michelle Yeoh, Cliff Curtis, Troy Garity, Hiroyuki Sanada, Benedict Wong, and Chipo Chung. The film was released in the United Kingdom on 6 April 2007. The film gained 32 million dollars worldwide with a budget of 40 million dollars. The film was nominated for many awards for acting and directing. It also won a Best Technical Achievement award for production designer Mark Tildesley from the British Independent Film Awards. The movie was a joyous success in critics’ reviews.

The Edge of Love (2008):

This film was written by the actress Keira Knightley’s mother, Sharman Macdonald. The stars are Keira Knightley, Sienna Miller, Cillian Murphy, and Matthew Rhys. The film is based on a true story and people. It talks about the Welsh poet Dylan Thomas, his wife Caitlin Macnamara, and their married friends, the Killicks (played by Knightley and Murphy). The film premiered at the Edinburgh International Film Festival.

Perrier’s Bounty (2009):

An Irish black comedy crime film, it stars Cillian Murphy, Brendan Gleeson, Jim Broadbent, and Jodie Whittaker. It’s about a gangster named Perrier looking for revenge on the tree of fugitives responsible for the accidental death of one of his cronies. The film was nominated for the best film award at the Irish Film and Television Awards. It premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival in 2009 before being released in the United Kingdom and Ireland on 26 March 2010.

Peacock (2010):

It is an American psychological thriller about John Skillpa (Cillian Murphy), a quiet bank clerk living alone in tiny Peacock, Nebraska, who prefers to live an invisible life to hide his secret: He has dissociative identity disorder, the implied result of childhood trauma inflicted by his abusive mother.

Hippie Hippie Shake (2010):

The film is based on a memoir by Richard Neville, editor of the Australian satirical magazine Oz, talking about his relationship with girlfriend Louise Ferrier, the launch of the London edition of Oz amidst the 1960s counterculture, and the staff’s trial for distributing a shameless issue. Working on the film started in 1998, but the movie was delayed because of changing directors and screenwriters. In 2011, producers said the film wouldn’t be released in cinemas. The stars of the unreleased movie are Cillian Murphy, Sienna Miller, Sean Biggerstaff, Max Minghella, Emma Booth, and Peter Brooke.

 Inception (2010):

It’s a science fiction action film, the film talks about a professional thief who steals information by infiltrating the subconscious, and is offered a chance to have his criminal history erased as payment for the implantation of another person’s idea into a target’s subconscious. The film was filmed in six different countries, starting with Tokyo and ending with Canada. The film budget was 160 million dollars, and it gained 828 million dollars, making it the fourth highest-gaining film in 2010. It also had a great sale on DVD and Blu-ray at 68 million dollars. The film stars are Leonardo DiCaprio, Ken Watanabe, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Marion Cotillard, Ellen Page, Tom Hardy, Dileep Rao, Cillian Murphy, Tom Berenger, and Michael Caine. The film won four Academy Awards: Best Cinematography, Best Sound Editing, Best Sound Mixing, and Best Visual Effects. It was nominated for four more: Best Picture, Best Original Screenplay, Best Art Direction, and Best Original Score.

Retreat (2011):

It’s a British horror thriller. The film talks about three people isolated from the rest of the world on a remote island. Two of them are told they are survivors of a fatal airborne disease sweeping the world as a whole. Then, their induced isolation may result from a lie, and it may be that they are being held at the whim of a madman. The film premiered at the Fantasia Film Festival on 18 July 2011 and was released in limited places in the United Kingdom and the United States. The film stars Cillian Murphy, Jamie Bell, and Thandie Newton, and the film received positive reviews.

In Time (2011):

A film written, directed, and produced by Andrew Niccol, it’s a science fiction action thriller film. The stars are Amanda Seyfried, Justin Timberlake, Cillian Murphy, Vincent Kartheiser, Olivia Wilde, Matt Bomer, Johnny Galecki, Collins Pennie, and Alex Pettyfer. The film revolves around a society where people stop ageing at 25, and instead of using paper money, a new economic system uses time as currency, and each person has a clock on their arm that counts down how long they have to live. The film was released on 28 October 2011, the film budget was 40 million dollars and it gained 136 million dollars worldwide.

Red Lights (2012):

The film stars are Cillian Murphy, Sigourney Weaver, Toby Jones, Elizabeth Olsen, and Robert De Niro. The film focuses on a physicist (Murphy) and a university psychology professor (Weaver), both of whom specialize in debunking supernatural phenomena, and their attempt at discrediting a renowned psychic (De Niro) whose greatest critic mysteriously died 30 years prior. The film premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in January 2012 and received a limited release in the United States.

Broken (2012):

It is a British drama film starring Eloise Laurence, Tim Roth, Cillian Murphy, Rory Kinnear, Robert Emms, Zana Marjanović and Denis Lawson. The film premiered at the Cannes Film Festival in May 2012. It is based on the 2008 novel by the same name, written by Daniel Clay, partly inspired by To Kill a Mockingbird.

Transcendence (2014):

The film is a science fiction thriller, talking about Dr Will Caster (Johnny Depp) is a scientist who researches the nature of sapience, including artificial intelligence. He and his team work to create a sentient computer; he predicts that such a computer will create a technological singularity, or in his words, “Transcendence”. His wife, Evelyn (Rebecca Hall), is also a scientist and helps him with his work. The film stars Johnny Depp, Morgan Freeman, Rebecca Hall, Paul Bettany, Kate Mara, Cillian Murphy, and Cole Hauser. The film budget was 100 million dollars and gained 103 million dollars in the box office, it also made a positive review on its cinematography and acting.

Aloft (2014):

A 2014 drama film starring Jennifer Connelly, Cillian Murphy, and Mélanie Laurent. The film revolves around Nana Kunning, a struggling mother of two young sons who takes her children to an isolated location. She and other parents and children have come there to be seen by the Architect, a faith healer who builds small delicate structures out of branches and then brings patients inside them. The film premiered at the 64th Berlin International Film Festival; it was limited released in the United States in May 2015.

In the Heart of the Sea (2015):

The film is based on Nathaniel Philbrick’s non-fiction book about the sinking of the American whaling ship Essex in 1820, which inspired the novel Moby-Dick. The stars are Chris Hemsworth, Benjamin Walker, Cillian Murphy, Tom Holland, Ben Whishaw, and Brendan Gleeson. The film received mixed reviews from critics; its budget was 100 million dollars, and it gained 93 million dollars. The movie was released in the United States on 11, 2015.

Anthropoid (2016):

It tells the story of Operation Anthropoid, the World War II assassination of Reinhard Heydrich by Exile Czechoslovak soldiers on 27 May 1942. The movie stars Cillian Murphy, Jamie Dornan, Charlotte Le Bon, Anna Geislerová, Harry Lloyd, and Toby Jones. It’s a Czech-British-French epic war film released on 12 August 2016 in the United States and 9 September 2016 in the United Kingdom.

Free Fire (2016):

A black comedy action film, it first premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival on 8 September 2016. It also served as the closer of the 2016 BFI London Film Festival on 16 October. The film is set in Boston in 1978, a meeting in a deserted warehouse between two gangs’ turns into a shoot-out and a game of survival. The movie stars Sharlto Copley, Armie Hammer, Brie Larson, Cillian Murphy, Jack Reynor, Babou Ceesay, Enzo Cilenti, Sam Riley, Michael Smiley, and Noah Taylor.

Dunkirk (2017):

It’s a war film about the Dunkirk evacuation of World War II. Allied soldiers from Belgium, the British Empire, and France were surrounded by the German Army and evacuated during a fierce battle in 1940. The film stars are Fionn Whitehead, Tom Glynn-Carney, Jack Lowden, Harry Styles, Aneurin Barnard, James D’Arcy, Barry Keoghan, Kenneth Branagh, Cillian Murphy, Mark Rylance, and Tom Hardy. The film was released in the United States and the United Kingdom on 21 July, it was the highest box office war movie gaining 526 million dollars worldwide.

The film received positive reviews in screenplay, direction, musical score, sound effects, and cinematography, and some said it was one of the best war films. The film received eight nominations at the 23rd Critics’ Choice Awards, winning for Best Editing, eight at the 71st British Academy Film Awards, winning for Best Sound, and three at the 75th Golden Globe Awards. At the 90th Academy Awards, it received eight nominations, including Best Picture and Best Director (Nolan’s first Oscar nomination for directing). It went on to win Best Sound Editing, Best Sound Mixing, and Best Film Editing.

The Party (2017):

It’s a black comedy film and was shot in black and white. The film talks about Janet hosting a party to celebrate her new promotion, but once the guests arrive,, it becomes clear that not everything will go as smoothly as the red wine. The stars are Patricia Clarkson, Bruno Ganz, Emily Mortimer, Cherry Jones, Cillian Murphy, Kristin Scott Thomas, and Timothy Spall. It was selected to compete for the Golden Bear in the main competition section of the 67th Berlin International Film Festival, and the film was released in the United Kingdom on 13 October 2017.

The Overcoat (2018):

An animated short story about an office worker (Cillian Murphy) who saves all his money to buy a new coat in time for Christmas, only to have fate take a ghostly hand. The film stars are Michael McElhatton, Sam McGovern, Alfred Molina, Mikel Murfi and Cillian Murphy.

The Delinquent Season (2018):

It is an Irish movie about two married couples who begin to experience difficulties in their relationships. The stars are Andrew Scott, Cillian Murphy, Eva Birthistle and Catherine Walker.

Anna (2019):

Anna, a young Russian beauty who has been the victim of domestic abuse, will do anything to escape the life she is trapped in. In a twist of fate, she reluctantly accepts an offer by KGB officer Alex. After a year of training, she is to work as a KGB assassin for five years under a handler named Olga, after which she will be free to continue her life as she pleases.

KGB head Vassiliev is not willing to honour this agreement, implying that the only way out of the KGB is death. It’s an action thriller movie starring Sasha Luss, Luke Evans, Cillian Murphy, Helen Mirren, and Alexander Petrov. The film was released in the United States on 21 June 2019 and earned 30 million dollars worldwide. It also received mixed reviews from critics.

A Quiet Place: Part II (2020):

A Quiet Place 2 is an upcoming American horror film that is the sequel to A Quiet Place In (2018). It’s expected to be released in theatres on March 20, 2020. The film stars Emily Blunt, Millicent Simmonds, Noah Jupe, Cillian Murphy, and Djimon Hounsou.

Cillian Murphy Series:

The Way We Live Now (2001):

A four-part television series based on an Anthony Trollope novel, The Way We Live Now, it’s about Augustus Melmotte, a foreign financier with a mysterious past. When he and his family move to London, the city’s upper crust begins buzzing with rumours about him, and many characters find their lives changed because of him. The series stars David Suchet, who starred as Augustus Melmotte, with Shirley Henderson as his daughter Marie, Matthew Macfadyen as Sir Felix Carbury, Cillian Murphy as Paul Montague and Miranda Otto as Mrs. Hurtle.

Peaky Blinders (2013 to 2022):

It’s a British crime drama. It’s about a gangster family (Shelby family) epic set in 1919 in Birmingham, England and their crimes in the aftermath of World War I. The gang is a real 19th-century urban youth gang active in the city from the 1890s to the early twentieth century.  The stars are Cillian Murphy stars (Tommy Shelby), the gang’s leader, Helen McCrory (Tommy’s aunt Elizabeth) and Paul Anderson as his older brother Arthur Shelby, respectively, with also Sam Neill, Annabelle Wallis, Sophie Rundle, Joe Cole, Tom Hardy, Adrien Brody, Aidan Gillen, and Charlotte Riley, who serve as the gang’s second-most senior members.

The series premiered on BBC Two on 12 September 2013, and the fifth series premiered on BBC One on 25 August 2019.  In May 2018, after the show’s Drama Series win at the BAFTA TV Awards, the creator confirmed his “ambition of making it a story of a family between two wars, and by ending it with the first air raid siren in Birmingham”, which was 25 June 1940. After the conclusion of the fourth series, he confirmed that it would take another three series (seven in total) to complete the story up to that point.

Cillian Murphy Awards and Nomination:

In 2002, he was awarded Best Actor in the Ourense Independent Film Festival Award for his role in Disco Pigs. In 2006, at the Golden Globes, he was nominated for Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture—Comedy or Musical for his role in Breakfast on Pluto. In 2006, he was nominated for Best Supporting Actor in his movie Red Eye in the Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy, and Horror Films.

In 2007, he was nominated for Best Rising Star at the British Academy Film Awards (BAFTA). In the same year, he was nominated for Best Actor at the British Independent Film Awards for his role in the movie Sunshine. In the Irish Film and Television Awards, he won in 2007 the Best Actor in a Lead Role in a Feature Film award in the movie Breakfast on Pluto. Murphy also won the Actor of the Year award from the GQ UK Magazine because of his role in the movie The Wind That Shakes the Barley.

In the Circuit Community Awards, he was awarded the Best Cast Ensemble for the movie The Dark Knight, sharing with Christian Bale, Heath Ledger, Gary Oldman, Morgan Freeman, Michael Caine, Aaron Eckhart, and Maggie Gyllenhaal. He was nominated for his role in Sunshine for the Best Actor in the British Independent Film Awards.

In 2011, he was nominated in the Irish Film and Television Awards for both awards, first in Best Actor in a Lead Role in a Film for his film Perrier’s Bounty, and the second nomination was for Best Actor in a Supporting Role in a Feature Film in the movie Inception. In the Biarritz International Festival of Audiovisual Programming, he was awarded for his excellent series Peaky Blinders for the Best Actor. In 2015, he was nominated for Best Actor in a Lead Role – Drama for his role in the series Peaky Blinders at the Irish Film and Television Awards.

In the National Television Awards, UK, he was nominated for Most Popular Drama Performance for his series Peaky Blinders. He also won the Best Actor in a Lead Role—Drama for his series Peaky Blinders in the Irish Film and Television Awards. All that was in 2017; the next year, he won the same award again.

Things you don’t know about Cillian Murphy:

  1. He also continued to work on stage and won the Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Solo Performance for Misterman in 2011.
  2. In 2004, Murphy married his long-time girlfriend, Yvonne McGuinness, who is an artist they met in 1996 at one of his rock band’s shows and the couple has two sons, Malachy and Aran Murphy.
  3. Murphy often works in or near the city and has no desire to move to Hollywood.
  4. He did not appear on any live TV chat shows until 2010 when he was a guest on The Late Late Show on Ireland’s RTé to promote Perrier’s Bounty yet still remained reserved.
  5. Murphy’s close friendships are those he made before becoming a star, and he also has Irish friends in the entertainment business like Colin Farrell and Liam Neeson.
  6. Although Murphy no longer plays in a band, he still plays music with friends and on his own, and still writes songs. He once said, “The only extravagant thing about my lifestyle is my stereo system, buying music and going to gigs”.
  7. Murphy is a vegetarian but learned to chop up meat in a slaughterhouse for his role as a butcher in the 2003 movie ‘Girl with a Pearl Earring’.
  8. The actor is a non-smoker but had to smoke a lot of cigarettes and is rarely seen without one in ‘Peaky Blinders’ and to everyone’s surprise, it’s about 3000 in a series.

Cillian Murphy is an outstanding actor whose name began to shine more and more in the last decade, especially through acclaimed projects like Christopher Nolan’s film Dunkirk and the TV series Peaky Blinders which had everyone around the world buzzing with how great it is and anticipating each one of its episodes. His talent is unmistakable and his choice of roles has made him one of the actors to keep our eyes on in the years to come.

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