Martin Cahill, aka "The General," was an Irish gangster who enjoyed cult status thanks to his outrageous feats of thievery, which included ransacking a police station weapons cache. Besides the usual fare of bank robberies and jewelry store break-ins, Cahill also had a taste for high art and is remembered for burglarizing some of the most expensive paintings in the world, including the only Vermeer in a private collection.
Cahill also wasn't averse to violence. When Dr. James O'Donovan made sophisticated forensic science techniques standard practice in Irish law enforcement, Cahill car-bombed him. O'Donovan survived but was physically disabled for life.
Cahill liked to break into the houses of the rich and in one such burglary, he purloined an award belonging to a famous movie director. The director was Englishman John Boorman and the award was for his most famous work, "Deliverance." It's unlikely that Cahill suspected that by putting himself on Boorman's radar he assured himself cinematic immortality years after he was gunned down in 1994 by an unknown hit man [source: Elley].
Boorman, the famed director of "Point Blank," "Excalibur," "Hope and Glory" and, of course, "Deliverance," revived his career with an energetic, beautiful black and white biopic of Cahill. Anchoring the movie is a breakout performance by the great Brendan Gleeson as The General himself.