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ReMastered: The Miami Showband Massacre

Movie review by
Brian Costello, Common Sense Media
ReMastered: The Miami Showband Massacre Movie Poster Image
Incredible docu on horrific event; some violence.
  • NR
  • 2019
  • 70 minutes

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

The power of music to bring people together. How it's possible for persistent and tenacious individuals to work over decades and eventually find the truth behind an act of terrorism that killed innocent people. 

Positive Role Models & Representations

Stephen Travers, the bass player of the Miami Showband, has devoted his life to finding out the truth about what happened on the night he survived an act of terrorism that killed three of his bandmates. Whistleblowers go public in exposing the connection of the attack to the British Government, at great risk to their careers and livelihoods. 

Violence

Violent archival news footage of the Troubles in Northern Ireland -- explosions, shootings. In footage of one of the terrorist group's training films, a man in a ski mask holds a machine gun and explains to those in the room how to use it. The attack on the Miami Showband is discussed in great detail, including the immediate aftermath in which people were dead or dying. 

Sex
Language

"Bastards." 

Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that ReMastered: The Miami Showband Massacre is a 2019 documentary about one man's search for the truth about the terrorist attack that killed three of his bandmates in 1975. There's violent archival news footage of the Troubles in Northern Ireland in the 1970s -- buildings exploding, riots. The actual attack on The Miami Showband is discussed in graphic detail. There's footage of an Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF) man wearing a ski mask instructing other UVF members in a room on the best way to fire a machine gun. Overall, the documentary, like the others in the ReMastered series, provides a thorough and comprehensive look at the horrific event in question, as well as the historical context of what was happening in Northern Ireland at the time. The documentary also shows how one person can make a difference in finding the truth of an event shrouded in secrecy, even if it takes decades. 

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What's the story?

REMASTERED: THE MIAMI SHOWBAND MASSACRE tells a story about the hugely popular Irish band, The Miami Showband, i the early to mid-1970s. Their chart-topping popularity and the frenzied screaming at their concerts made them "the Irish Beatles" in the eyes of their adoring fans. They were also massively popular in Northern Ireland, and routinely played concerts there, despite Northern Ireland being ripped asunder during the Troubles. As musicians, The Miami Showband united everyone -- Catholics and Protestants alike -- and their music brought joy to people amid acts of sectarian violence between the Irish Republican Army and the Ulster Volunteer Force. All of this changed in July of 1975, when The Miami Showband, returning to Ireland from a concert in Belfast, were stopped at a border checkpoint. Shortly after, a time bomb exploded in the back of the Miami Showband's van, and some of the forces at the checkpoint opened fire, killing three members of the band. This documentary presents the events of that horrific night, and bass player and survivor of the attack Stephen Travers' attempt to find out who was responsible for this attack. His decades-long search goes in an unexpected direction, as growing evidence mounts that those behind the attack had far deeper connections to the British government than had been initially believed. 

Is it any good?

This documentary, like the others in the ReMastered series, is incredibly thorough and comprehensive. In a short amount of time, ReMastered: The Miami Showband Massacre introduces audiences outside of Ireland who may be unfamiliar with The Miami Showband to the group, and how their popularity in the 1970s earned them comparisons to The Beatles, and presents, through archival news footage, the context of The Troubles in Northern Ireland at that time and how the sectarian violence between Catholics and Protestants was tearing Northern Ireland apart. Then, through interviews of those who survived, the terrorist attack that killed three members of the band is presented in horrific detail. 

The second half of the documentary follows Stephen Travers -- the bass player of The Miami Showband -- as he continues his decades-long search to find out who was responsible for planning and helping to carry out the attack on his band, even as the evidence points to what he had believed to be unthinkable -- collusion from the British government. It's a shocking and sad documentary that somehow finds a way to end on a hopeful note, as so many who were victims and casualties of the violence in Northern Ireland find a way to continue the painful but necessary process of reconciliation. 

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about music documentaries. How does ReMastered: The Miami Showband Massacre compare to other music documentaries? 

  • How did the documentary present the facts and historical context of the terrorist attack? How are the facts and historical context presented? 

  • How is this different from "true crime" documentaries that come off as sensationalized or exploitative of tragedy? 

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