'Michael Collins'

This major 1996 release is that rarity, an epic true story that has been transferred to film with matching intelligence, skill and elan. Though his days were cut short just shy of his 32nd birthday, Collins' story, crammed with heroism and tragedy and intertwined with the fate of the modern state of Ireland, has the inevitability of myth. Liam Neeson (pictured) is perfectly suited to Collins' cocky physicality (HBO Friday at 4:45 a.m.)

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