Netflix R-Rated ’90s Crime Thriller Brings Together Two Stars At Top Of Their Game

By Brian Myers | Updated

An often-overlooked film from the 1990s looked to be a box office smash on paper. The Devil’s Own cast Brad Pitt and Harrison Ford in a production that gave audiences a look at one man’s struggle for justice and revenge in Northern Ireland in what promised to be one of 1997’s greatest thrillers. And while the finished product might not have lived up to its initial expectations, The Devil’s Own still gives fans great levels of performance from both Pitt and Ford and is worthy of another look as it streams on Netflix.

A Man On The Run

The Devil's Own 1997

The Devil’s Own follows Frankie McGuire (Brad Pitt), a 28-year-old Irish Republican Army member who is still haunted by the murder of his father when he was a young boy. After being attacked by British forces and losing several of his comrades in a gun battle, Frankie flees his home for the United States so that he can obtain Stinger missiles for his commanding unit.

After being promised the aforementioned weapons by an IRA sympathizer, Frankie (living under an assumed name) is given a temporary place to stay in the home of Irish American cop Tom O’Meara (Harrison Ford) and his family. The Devil’s Own sees the two men bond, though Frankie’s host has no idea of his real identity or his nefarious reasons for being in the United States.

Assumed Identity Uncovered

The Devil's Own 1997

Things begin to fall apart in The Devil’s Own when Frankie’s commander is killed in the United Kingdom and causing the arms trade to be postponed. After being double-crossed by an Irish American mobster, Frankie sees his plan unravel as the kingpin sends forces into O’Meara’s home. As Frankie’s real identity is uncovered by O’Meara, the film escalates to an intense conclusion.

Failed To Meet Expectations At The Box Office

The Devil's Own 1997

The Devil’s Own certainly wasn’t the first film to give a young Brad Pitt a starring role. But even with Pitt’s critical and box office successes with previous works that included Interview with a Vampire, A River Runs Through It, and Legends of the Fall, studio brass were not convinced that he possessed the star power to drive audiences to this sort of production. This prompted the casting of veteran actor Harrison Ford to star opposite the younger Pitt, as well as including multiple familiar faces in supporting roles.

But even with the dynamic combination of Brad Pitt and Harrison Ford, The Devil’s Own was far from a smashing success. While the film did manage to bring in more than $140 million in box office receipts from its budget of $86 million, it far under produced from studio expectations and was met with only lukewarm receptions from the film critics of the time.

Pumps The Brakes A Little Too Early

The Devil's Own 1997

The Devil’s Own gives audiences a slow burn that does eventually have a rewarding payoff in its heartbreaking climax, but the film takes far too long in getting to its main points and unnecessarily overdeveloped many of its characters. After a beginning that has viewers on the edge of their seats, the movie puts hard and fast brakes on its pace and causes audience attention to stray.

The Devil’s Own Streaming On Netflix

The Devil's Own 1997


All things considered, The Devil’s Own gives a unique perspective on the conflict between the British government and the Irish Republican Army and successfully uses it to develop a theme that promotes the idea that good and well-intentioned people can be fighting on the opposite sides and not necessarily lose their sense of humanity. It’s far from making the top ten best film lists for either Pitt or Ford, but still manages to keep us enthralled from start to finish.

You can stream The Devil’s Own with a subscription to Netflix.