The Boondock Saints

Norman Reedus and Sean Patrick Flanery as the MacManus Brothers in The Boondock Saints (1999).

Norman Reedus and Sean Patrick Flanery as the MacManus Brothers in The Boondock Saints (1999).

Vitals

Sean Patrick Flanery and Norman Reedus as
Connor MacManus and Murphy MacManus (respectively), Irish-American blue-collar vigilante brothers

Boston, MA, March 1999

Film: The Boondock Saints
Release Date: January 22, 1999
Director: Troy Duffy
Costume Designer: Mary E. McLeod

Background

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

For most of us, St. Patrick’s Day is a celebration full of green beer, corned beef, and bad decisions. For the MacManus brothers, two cheeky but religious meat packers in South Boston, it usually means the same thing. Even Murphy MacManus uses the holiday to welcome a trio Russian mobsters to the neighborhood bar:

Yeah, it’s St. Paddy’s Day, everyone’s Irish tonight. Why don’t you just pull up a stool and have a drink with us?

Unfortunately, the Russkies aren’t as willing to throw a few back and celebrate, so the holiday leads to an eruption of violence that evolves the MacManus brothers into “The Boondock Saints”.

Although it didn’t receive much attention at the time of its admittedly limited release, The Boondock Saints has become a cultural phenomenon thanks to word-of-mouth and posters in college dorms. Pretty good for a movie made on a budget of only $6 million (in movie budget terms, that’s like $1.98).

What’d He Wear?

The brothers dress very similarly throughout the film, with very very few deviations.

The brothers arrive in mecca.

The brothers arrive in mecca.

The Pea Coats

Throughout the film, the staples of the brothers’ wardrobe are their matching dark navy blue pea coats in the classic U.S. military style. Duffy purchased the coats for the second film from Sterling Wear, but – given the limited resources of the first – it’s likely that these coats are secondhand or military surplus.

Good thing they had that rope!

Good thing they had that rope!

The pea coats have six of the classic anchor design buttons in a 6×3-button double-breasted layout, although the MacManus brothers always wear the coats open. They’re constructed from heavy wool (or a wool/nylon blend), wisely keeping out the cold of Boston in March. Edge stitching is present about 1/2 inch from the edges of the coats’ large lapels.

The coats have two slash handwarmer side pockets and a single rear vent with a parallel tack.

Connor and Murphy in action.

Connor and Murphy in action.

The short-fitting pea coat is a variation of the familiar “badass long coat” trope in action movies, appropriate given Connor’s clear fandom of cinematic badasses like Charles Bronson and John Wayne. The snugger pea coat is a wise choice, providing a more comfortable fit in a city with an average high just shy of 46°F in March.

In fact, The Boondock Saints averts the badass longcoat trope by placing its dopiest lead character in a long overcoat.

In fact, The Boondock Saints averts the badass longcoat trope by placing its dopiest lead character in a long overcoat.

The Jeans

Both Connor and Murphy wear bootcut denim jeans in a medium blue wash. As extra blue-collar guys who don’t own much in the way of clothing (or anything), these jeans show a lot of natural distress, especially around the hems. Each brother wears a thick black leather belt with a square brass buckle.

The Shirts

When Connor and Murphy are on a “mission”, they wear identical black lightweight cotton turtleneck jumpers.

Although the jumpers are sadly ruined after a gunfight - excuse me, a FIREFIGHT - with Il Duce.

Although the jumpers are sadly ruined after a gunfight – excuse me, a FIREFIGHT – with Il Duce.

Other than their dark Archer-approved assault turtlenecks, the brothers’ shirts are the only pieces of clothing that differentiate one from the other. Both wear short-sleeve lightweight t-shirts when not in badass mode. Connor’s t-shirt is a black with gray stitching around the sleeves and the slight v-neck. Murphy’s t-shirt is a gray crew neck shirt which, like Connor’s, has a lighter-colored stitching around the neck and sleeves.

Most men come away from a night in jail with the lesson to not commit additional crimes. Murphy and Connor, on the other hand, realize that it's their fate to kill as many bad guys as possible after an inspiring night in the clink.

Most men come away from a night in jail with the lesson to not commit additional crimes. Murphy and Connor, on the other hand, realize that it’s their fate to kill as many bad guys as possible after an inspiring night in the clink.

For their night out on St. Patty’s Day, the brothers sport loose-fitting long-sleeve sweaters. Connor’s is a brown v-neck lightweight jumper, and Murphy wears a noticeably oversized black wool v-neck jumper with a ribbed collar and cuffs.

After a fortifying shot of whiskey, the brothers prepare to show a group of Russian mobsters why they should've made like a tree and g-g-gotten the f-fuck out of the bar.

After a fortifying shot of whiskey, the brothers prepare to show a group of Russian mobsters why they should’ve made like a tree and g-g-gotten the f-fuck out of the bar.

Footwear

The MacManus’ brothers choice in footwear is another call-back to their blue-collar roots. They wear matching work lace-up boots made of well-worn brown leather with seven brass eyelets up the throat to the top opening. The boots have lighter brown laces and thick dark brown rubber soles with slightly raised heels. There is a small finger loop on the back of each boot opening.

Come on, with all the angles covered like this, someone has to be able to identify them!

Come on, with all the angles covered like this, someone has to be able to identify them!

I’ve been unable to specify the maker of the boots; I’ve read both Timberland and Harley online but I’m unconvinced in both cases. Each brother also appears to wear black socks.

Accessories

All of the brothers’ accessories serve some sort of purpose. On some of the unseasonably sunny days – and when an additional cool factor is needed – they wear matching pairs of black plastic wraparound sunglasses, similar to the Ray-Ban Balorama. The choice may not be a coincidence given Connor’s love of action movies and Baloramas being the preferred eyewear of “Dirty Harry” Callahan.

BSaints-CX-sunglasses

To fit each brother’s religious needs, they wear a set of iconic brown maple rosary beads around their neck, each with a large 3″ wooden cross through a silver-toned ring at the bottom. The Boondock Store, the official brand online store, is currently selling replicas of the beads for $89 a pop.

According to The Boondock Saints, you can kill anyone you want as long as God is on your side!

According to The Boondock Saints, you can kill anyone you want as long as God is on your side!

For their deadly outings, the brothers wear black ribbed wool ski masks with two holes for the eyes and one hole for the mouth.

Being relatively inexperienced as hitmen, it's lucky that Connor and Murphy didn't get a "we shot Marvin!" moment with "Jaffar".

Being relatively inexperienced as hitmen, it’s lucky that Connor and Murphy didn’t get a “we shot Marvin!” moment with “Jaffar”.

They also wear a pair of black leather gloves that stop at the wrist.

Connor on Die Hard detail.

Connor on Die Hard detail.

The brothers keep their Berettas in a black nylon double shoulder holster rig that strap both around the back and shoulders and to the waist. Although a logo is visible on the rear support strap, I’m unable to determine the exact manufacturer. The holsters would have had to have been customized for the film, as I’m unaware of any companies that make holsters to fit suppressed pistols.

Papa Joe's henchmen were nice enough to let Connor and Murphy keep their holsters on during their interrogation.

Papa Joe’s henchmen were nice enough to let Connor and Murphy keep their holsters on during their interrogation.

And, finally, each brother wears a pair of light cotton boxer shorts with elastic waistbands. This is the only other part of their wardrobes where they differ from the other; Connor wears blue boxers while Murphy sports a pair of light gray shorts.

Go Big or Go Home

I would love to ask a tattoo artist how many times they've had to ink this.

I would love to ask a tattoo artist how many times they’ve had to ink this.

The most admirable trait about the MacManus is their fierce loyalty and devotion to each other. While they may disagree at times, the friendship that developed between Reedus and Flanery shows through on screen as the brothers have a strong rapport that leads one to believe that they really would do anything for each other (including dropping a toilet from five stories up and then following it down… while in handcuffs).

Being the badasses that they are, the brothers choose tattoos rather than friendship bracelets to symbolize their devotion. On Connor’s left hand and index finger he has “VERITAS” (Latin for “Truth”) tattooed as Murphy has “AEQUITAS” (“Justice” in Latin) on his right index finger.

What to Imbibe

The MacManus have the same taste in seemingly everything: they both have the same clothes, same job, same sunglasses, and they even both smoke Marlboro Lights. When it comes to drinking, they’re both able to put away quite a few pints without seeming overly reckless… unless you count antagonizing a Russian mobster by lighting his ass on fire to be reckless.

Strangely, no Irish whiskey is prominently featured in the film. When the brothers and Rocco are drunkenly playing pass the bottle (and pass the Beretta), it is with a bottle of Wiser’s De Luxe, a tasty Canadian whisky.

Well, I guess it would be more surprising to see two proud Irishmen drinking Scotch?

Well, I guess it would be more surprising to see two proud Irishmen drinking Scotch?

I should also stress that the MacManus brothers both drink a lot of Pepsi, and the film is sure to make sure that we know they drink Pepsi because Pepsi is cool and refreshing. (This post paid for by Pepsi.) (Not really, but that would be nice for me.)

Did I mention that the MacManus brothers drink Pepsi?

Did I mention that the MacManus brothers drink Pepsi?

How to Get the Look

Don’t be the Rocco in your crew of vigilantes. Keep it clean, professional, and MacManus-style.

BSaints-crop

  • Dark navy blue 6×3-button double-breasted heavy wool pea coat with slash handwarmer side pockets and single rear vent
  • Black lightweight cotton turtleneck jumper
  • Dark short-sleeve t-shirt with white-stitched collar and sleeves
    • Connor wears a black v-neck t-shirt
    • Murphy wears a gray crew neck t-shirt
  • Medium blue wash denim bootcut jeans
  • Black leather belt with brass squared buckle
  • Dark brown leather lace-up work boots with brown laces (7-eyelet) and thick dark brown rubber soles
  • Black socks
  • Black plastic wraparound sunglasses
  • Brown maple rosary beads with silver spaces and 3″ brown maple cross
  • Black ribbed wool ski mask
  • Black leather gloves
  • Light cotton boxer shorts with elastic waistband
    • Connor wears blue boxers
    • Murphy wears light gray boxers

You don’t have to go all-out; most of these items can be purchased for just a few bucks. A good pea coat is worth dishing out a few hundred, though.

The Guns

When the brothers are unleashed in the IRA armory (Come on, that guy was IRA, right? They never say it, but… come on), they pick up a staggering amount of firearms. Despite the quantity and variety they take, both Connor and Murphy stick to the Beretta 92FS as their firearm of choice.

Murphy and Connor are probably Pulp Fiction fans.

Murphy and Connor are probably Pulp Fiction fans.

Both brothers carry two Berettas, often suppressed, in their black nylon shoulder rigs. Once Rocco joins the team, even he gets his own pair of Berettas!

Continuity errors lead to some shots swapping in the nearly-identical Taurus PT92 for some scenes, especially during the gunfight at the “Sick Mob Man”‘s house. To tell the difference between a true Beretta 92FS and the Brazilian copy made by Taurus, note the difference between the external safety mechanisms; the Beretta has a slide-mounted decocking safety while the Taurus has a frame-mounted slide stop safety.

A Beretta 92FS (left) and a Taurus PT92 (right). Besides some cosmetic differences such as slide markings and magazine butts, note the difference in external safeties.

A Beretta 92FS (left) and a Taurus PT92 (right). Besides some cosmetic differences such as slide markings and magazine butts, note the difference in external safeties.

Otherwise, the Taurus PT92 is virtually identical to the Beretta pistol. Developed in 1983 just as the Beretta was gaining its market, the PT92 can carry up to 17 rounds of 9×19 mm Parabellum in a magazine. At least ten variants exist, differing based on size, caliber, and finish.

Astute BAMF followers will recall that the Beretta 92F/FS was prominently featured as the handgun of choice by both Martin Riggs (the Lethal Weapon series) and John McClane (the firs three Die Hard films). In other words, it was the pistol to own for a badass in the ’90s… bet Buzzfeed won’t tell you that!

Do Yourself a Favor and…

Buy the movie. I’ve never seen the sequel so I can’t speak to its quality or its costumes, but it looks like the brothers are wearing generally the same outfits.

The Quote

Most people would go with the prayer, but I prefer the film’s comedy to its religious overtones, so…

Aye, they're good!

Aye, they’re good!

Murphy: That was way easier than I thought.
Connor: Aye.
Murphy: You know, on TV you always got that guy that jumps over the sofa.
Connor: And then you gotta shoot at him for ten fucking minutes, too.
Murphy: Aye.
Connor: Christ.
Murphy: We’re good.
Connor: Yes, we are!

10 comments

  1. Craig Richards

    The sequel was pretty good, especially since they were able to bring back the entire original cast. Rocco’s scene was classic.

    Like

  2. Craig Richards

    I was surprised too see it. The speech Rocco gives the brothers is pure BAMF. Was really surprised as to how good the sequel was. No drop off in quality, just a bigger budget and more firepower.

    Like

  3. Omar

    The sunglasses are Ray Ban Predator 2, same as in the first Men in Black movie. The ones in BS1 are the combo glossy/matte frame that was produced back in the nineties by Bausch and Lomb. The top bar and temples are gloss while the bottom of the frame is matte. The glasses in the sequel appear to also be RBP2’s, but in the newer solid matte black by Luxottica.

    As with most movies, the lens logo has been removed, which is very easy to do with a glass lens. I use the edge of a penny to scrape the paint off. The metal is softer than the glass lens but harder than the paint so it’s easy to remove the logo without damaging the lens. Only on glass lenses though, which most classic Ray Bans have.

    Like

  4. Sully

    Still no positive ID on the boots? Best match I have found so far is the Timberland PRO Men’s 38020 Direct Attach 6″ Soft Toe Boot,Brown, but the padded collar doesn’t match.

    Like

  5. Mark

    The boots: these boots are definitely older models made by Danner. Notice the tread pattern on the bottom with the slats and crosses in the middle. Those treads are produced by Vibram and used for older Danner models.

    Like

  6. Pingback: BAMF Style’s 2017 Holiday Gift Guide | BAMF Style

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