The Boondock Saints
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
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 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.
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 hand-warmer side pockets and a single rear vent with a parallel tack.
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.
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.
When Connor and Murphy are on a “mission”, they wear identical black lightweight cotton turtleneck jumpers.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Update! In September 2022, I received a helpful email from BAMF Style reader Chris Blaksley that suggests these are discontinued logger boots from Skechers, as he had once owned a pair and recognized the wear in the toe and the layered leather in the heel creating a stripe effect.
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.
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.
For their deadly outings, the brothers wear black ribbed wool ski masks with two holes for the eyes and one hole for the mouth.
They also wear a pair of black leather gloves that stop at the wrist.
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.
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
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.
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.)
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.
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.
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 carry for ’90s badasses.
How to Get the Look
Don’t be the Rocco in your crew of vigilantes. Keep it clean, professional, and MacManus-style.
- 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.
Do Yourself a Favor and…
Check out 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.
Most people would go with the prayer, but I prefer the film’s comedy to its religious overtones, so…
Murphy: That was way easier than I thought.
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: We’re good.
Connor: Yes, we are!
The sequel was pretty good, especially since they were able to bring back the entire original cast. Rocco’s scene was classic.
I can’t imagine how Rocco was worked into the sequel, given his fate in the first – but I do plan on watching it ASAP!
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.
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.
As I said in the TWOWS post, thanks for identifying these! You definitely know your stuff.
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.
The tread on those boots is identical to the timberland boots I own. They say “primaloft 400 gram” on the inside of my boot.
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.
The “stars and bars” tread is nearly universal. Vibram originated it, but they obviously didn’t patent it. If they were true Vibram soles they would have the octagon label on the sole. It’s hard to say for sure, since the label is sometimes black, but these do not appear to be Vibram soles. I thought the undyed midsoles might make ID easier, but I haven’t been able to verify what these boots are.
Just a ‘for your information’ note… I’ve been looking for the Boondock Brothers Rosary since the First Movie came out. I’ve wanted one for my son who’s name is Sean and looks like Sean Patrick Flanery… so when you described everything in such detailed and got to the Rosary I held my breath! Your description was a big help in giving me what to look for.
But, I hate to tell you that The Boondock Store does not carry the ‘Replica’ Rosary in Maple wood. They have 2 rosaries: one in Pewter and one in the not so Movie Version Authentic:
Authentic replica of the Brothers Rosary just like the ones worn by the MacManus Brothers!
*Wooden beaded necklace made out of Evergreen Camphor Wood
*Approx Cross Dimensions: 3-5/8″ x 2-3/8″
*Approx Rosary Length: 23″
It is a Golden yellow color and the silver beads don’t thread together in 2’s & 3’s like in the movie one’s; just in twos and very cheap silver beads. All WRONG – apparently they are Sold Out a lot too. Much to the dismay of the list of people who want to buy one.
So I’m still looking, but one day I will find one. And when that day comes, I will return to this blog and I will tell you!
…in nomine Patris et Filii et Spiritus Sancti…
Are the Frye boots maybe?
To me the look like Frye Logger Boots 87927 in vintage dark brown leather
Wolverine (likely steel toes) from Sears. Tread pattern matches. Credit cards were easy to get at Sears. Uniform of poorboy. Trust me on this. I think I have a pair left.
The tread pattern is generic. Probably millions of boots have the same tread.
Leather coats in beginning of BS2. Anyone know anything about them? Where they may be purchased etc.