Cillian Murphy

Last updated on the 4 June 2024 by Maeve

Cillian Murphy headshot

Mini Biography

Born: 25 May 1976, Douglas, Cork, Ireland.

At the age of ten, Cillian Murphy started writing and performing songs, eventually forming a band with his brother, Páidi, called Sons of Mr. Green Genes. Despite early interest from record labels, Murphy’s passion for acting gradually drew him away from music.

Oppenheimer - Cillian Murphy
Cillian Murphy as Robert Oppenheimer

In 1996, while studying law at University College Cork, Murphy’s theatre aspirations came to life. He made his professional debut in Enda Walsh’s play “Disco Pigs,” a role he reprised for the 2001 film adaptation. This breakthrough performance marked the beginning of a transition from musician to actor.

Cillian Murphy’s acting career quickly gained momentum, with notable roles in independent films like “Breakfast on Pluto” (2005), “The Wind That Shakes the Barley” (2006), and “Sunshine” (2007). His portrayal of a transgender woman in “Breakfast on Pluto” earned him a Golden Globe nomination, solidifying his position as a rising star.

Cillian Murphy, Peaky Blinders
Cillian Murphy as Tommy Shelby in Peaky Blinders

In 2007, Murphy landed the role of Tommy Shelby in the BBC crime drama series “Peaky Blinders,” catapulting him to global fame. His portrayal of the complex and enigmatic Tommy Shelby, a ruthless yet charismatic leader of a criminal gang in post-World War I Birmingham, has garnered critical acclaim and a devoted fan base.

Beyond “Peaky Blinders,” Murphy has continued to deliver captivating performances in films such as “Red Eye” (2005), “Inception” (2010), “Dunkirk” (2017), and the 2023 biographical drama “Oppenheimer.” His versatility and dedication to his craft have cemented his position as one of the most respected and sought-after actors in the industry.

In his personal life, Cillian Murphy maintains a low profile, preferring to focus on his craft. He is married to the artist Yvonne McGuinness, and they have two daughters. He is an active supporter of various charitable causes, particularly those related to environmental protection and education.


BAFTA award


WINNER | Film: Leading Actor for Oppenheimer (2024)



Suggested viewing


Peaky Blinders (2013)

Peaky Blinders poster

Bftv 9.0 / IMDb 8.8

In the aftermath of World War I, the Shelby family, led by the shrewd and ambitious Tommy Shelby, rules Birmingham’s streets through their ruthless criminal organisation, the Peaky Blinders. Their power extends beyond the city, as they engage in political maneuvering, illicit deals and cross-border operations, all while grappling with personal demons, familial conflicts and the ever-present threat of rivals and authorities.

Top cast: Cillian Murphy, Paul Anderson, Sophie Rundle, Helen McCrory, Finn Cole, Ned Dennehy, Joe Cole, Harry Kirton, Tom Hardy.


The Edge of Love (2008)

The Edge of Love poster

Bftv 8.0 / IMDb 6.1

Amidst the backdrop of war-torn London, nightclub singer Vera Phillips rekindles her passion with charismatic Welsh poet Dylan Thomas, who is already married to the free-spirited Caitlin Macnamara. The two women, initially rivals, form an unlikely friendship, forming a complex love triangle amidst the chaos of war and the turmoil of their own passionate lives.

Top cast: Keira Knightley, Sienna Miller, Matthew Rhys, Cillian Murphy, Lisa Stansfield, Richard Dillane, Anne Lambton, Alastair Mackenzie, Camilla Rutherford.


28 Days Later (2002)

28 Days Later

Bftv 8.5 / IMDb 7.5

Twenty-eight days after a deadly virus unleashes a wave of aggression and violence across the UK, a lone survivor, Jim, awakens from a coma to find a desolate London overrun by “infected” humans transformed into mindless, murderous creatures. As Jim embarks on a perilous journey to find sanctuary, he encounters a small group of survivors determined to escape the ravaged city and find a place to rebuild civilisation.

Top cast: Cillian Murphy, Naomie Harris, Brendan Gleeson, Megan Burns, Christopher Eccleston, Noah Huntley, Christopher Dunne, Emma Hitching, Luke Mably.


28 Weeks Later


The Wind That Shakes the Barley (2006)

The Wind That Shakes the Barley

Bftv 8.5 / IMDb 7.5

Amidst the tumultuous Irish War of Independence, two brothers, Damien and Teddy O’Donovan, unite in the fight for their homeland’s freedom. However, when a controversial treaty is signed, shattering the unity of the movement, the brothers find themselves on opposing sides of a brutal civil war, their loyalties tested and their brotherhood strained by the harsh realities of war.

Top cast: Cillian Murphy, Pádraic Delaney, Liam Cunningham, Orla Fitzgerald, Gerard Kearney, William Ruane, Roger Allam, Laurence Barry, Sabrina Barry.

Related to

Rebellion poster     Resistance poster     Michael Collins poster


Oppenheimer (2023)

Oppenheimer poster

Bftv 9.0 / IMDb 8.5

The film delves into the life of J. Robert Oppenheimer, a brilliant physicist who led the development of the atomic bomb during World War II. It explores the moral weight of creating such a destructive weapon, the anxieties and complexities faced by Oppenheimer and his team, and the lasting impact of the bomb’s detonation on both the world and Oppenheimer himself.

Top cast: Cillian Murphy, Emily Blunt, Matt Damon, Robert Downey Jr., Florence Pugh, Benny Sadie, Michael Angarano, Josh Hartnett, Rami Malek, Gary Oldman, Tom Conti.


Cillian Murphy full filmography @ Wikipedia
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