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Sunday Bloody Sunday is a 1971 film directed by John Schlesinger. It tells the story of a young bisexual designer (Murray Head) and his simultaneous relationships with a recruitment consultant (Glenda Jackson) and a Jewish doctor (Peter Finch). The movie also stars Dame Peggy Ashcroft and Jon Finch.

The film is noteworthy for being one of the first widely distributed major motion pictures to show two men making love. It also includes Daniel Day-Lewis's first on-screen appearance (an uncredited role as a child vandal).


Template:Spoiler A Jewish doctor, Daniel Hirsh (Finch) and a young woman, Alex Greville (Jackson) are both having affairs with the same person, Bob Elkin (Head). Not only are Hirsh and Greville aware that Elkin is seeing the other but they know each other through mutual friends. Despite this, they are willing to put up with the situation through fear of losing Elkin who switches freely between them.

For Greville, the relationship is bound up with a growing disillusionment about her life, failed marriage and uneasy childhood. For Hirsh, it represents an escape from the repressed nature of his Jewish upbringing. Both realise the lack of permanence about their situation, and it is only when Elkin decides to leave the country that they both come face to face (for the first time in the narrative, and at the very end). Despite their opposed situations, both come to realise that it is time to move on.


The film makes extensive use of source music including a recurring motif of the trio Soave sia il vento from Mozart's opera Cosi Fan Tutte.


  • Alan Bates was the original choice made by John Schlesinger for the role of Daniel Hirsh, the homosexual doctor. However he was held up filming The Go-Between (1970) and was replaced first by Ian Bannen and later by Peter Finch. However, the role of Daniel is written as that of a much younger man.
  • Several actresses (including Dame Edith Evans and Thora Hird) politely refused the part of Glenda Jackson's mother, Mrs. Greville, because they thought the project was too risqué. Peggy Ashcroft accepted after the director explained to her the elements of the story and she gladly signed on.
  • Ian Bannen was fired from the role of Daniel Hirsh shortly after filming began. Apparently, he was so nervous about what kissing another actor on screen might do to his career, he could not concentrate enough to even get going with the part. He later said that losing the role set back his career, and regretted it till his death.


Sunday Bloody Sunday was nominated for four Academy Awards: Best Actor in a Leading Role (Peter Finch), Best Actress in a Leading Role (Glenda Jackson), Best Director and Original Screenplay.

It won the BAFTA Award for Best Film.

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