The Real Irish Story: Is There A Real Life Story Behind The Gangster Robert De Niro?


The Irishman – the highly anticipated Martin Scorsese epic – will take over Netflix and a limited number of cinemas in just a few weeks time. Like many of his films, The Irishman is based in fact with a sprinkling of fiction. Having brought back together some of his most frequent collaborators, The Irishman is expected to impress critics and fans. But just how much of the upcoming film is a true story?

The story of The Irishman is enshrined in history – the whole premise of the film is based on claims made by Frank “The Irishman” Sheeran which were revealed in I Heard You Paint Houses, a novel written by Charles Brandt.

Brandt, a medical malpractice lawyer, had helped Frank Sheeran get early parole due to ill health before Frank’s death in a nursing home in 2003.

The Irishman follows Frank “The Irishman” Sheeran, played by Robert De Niro, a labour union official who was accused of having links to the Bufalino crime family.

Sheeran was born in Pennsylvania in 2910, to a house painter and his wife, and grew in a working class borough on the outskirts of Philadelphia.

He served in the United States Army during the Second World War, enlisting in 1941, serving 411 days of combat duty, which is significant considering the average amount of time to serve was around 100 days.

Sheeran, in Charles Brandt’s book I Heard You Paint Houses which chronicles his life, outlines his involvement with mobsters hailing from Sicilian/Italian American crime families.

He claimed to have been involved in some incredibly well-known battles, including Battle of the Bulge, adding that he went AWOL to chase women and drink.


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