In case you are not heading to any pub to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day this 17 March, why not settle down at home by watching some of these great Irish films? We have made it easier for you by compiling these 10 Best Irish Movies To Watch On St Patrick’s Day in alphabetical order.
1) Brooklyn (2015)
Ever felt homesick? In John Crowley’s “Brooklyn”, this 1950s-set period drama sees Saoirse Ronan’s Ellis arriving in New York City to start a new life. Everything goes well at first, particularly after she starts dating an Italian-American plumber named Tony (Emory Cohen). But when tragedy strikes back home in Ireland, she must choose between living her newfound life in Brooklyn or return to her homeland. Saoirse Ronan is no doubt the anchor of the movie, as she delivers one of her finest performances to date. Her role gave her a well-deserved Oscar nomination for Best Actress, even though she lost to Brie Larson in “Room”.
2) In America (2003)
Jim Sheridan’s semi-autobiographical drama about an immigrant Irish family who settled in New York City during the early ’80s marks the return of the acclaimed Irish director after nearly seven-year hiatus. “In America” boasts some fine performances, particularly from Samantha Morton and Djimon Hounsou who both received Oscar nominations for their respective acting roles.
3) In The Name Of The Father (1993)
Following the award-winning success of “My Left Foot” in 1989, director Jim Sheridan and actor Daniel Day-Lewis hits another jackpot in this gripping fact-based drama about a man (Day-Lewis’ Gerry Conlon) who was wrongly accused of a criminal terrorist act he didn’t commit. Like “My Left Foot”, Daniel Day-Lewis is again the centre of the attention here as he brought an impressive level of acting commitment, which won him another Oscar nomination for Best Actor but lost to Tom Hanks in “Philadelphia”.
4) Michael Collins (1996)
While Liam Neeson is mostly content to playing the same geriatric action roles today (see this year’s “Cold Pursuit”) since his late-career resurgence in “Taken”, it’s easy to forget how he used to be such an Oscar hopeful in the ’90s. Among his best dramatic performances to date is “Michael Collins”, in which he plays the titular real-life role of an Irish revolutionary during the turbulent Irish Civil War in the 1920s. The movie was nominated for two Oscars including Best Cinematography and Best Music Score.
5) My Left Foot (1989)
“My Left Foot” marks the solid directorial debut of Jim Sheridan, who famously cast Daniel Day-Lewis as the real-life Irish artist born with cerebral palsy. Day-Lewis’ remarkable performance as Christy Brown successfully earned him his first Best Actor Oscar, beating other nominees such as Tom Cruise (“Born on the Fourth of July”), Morgan Freeman (“Driving Miss Daisy”) and Robin Williams (“Dead Poets Society”).
6) Once (2007)
Who would have thought that a low-budget musical drama featuring two unknown acting leads (Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova) would turn out to be one of the best Irish movies ever seen in the 2000s? “Once”, which centres on a chance encounter between a busker (Hansard) and a Czech immigrant (Irglova), could have gone the standard “boy-meets-girl, boy-gets-girl, boy-loses-girl” formula. But writer-director John Carney successfully avoided that familiar cliché and opted for something more real and genuinely affecting. The movie is also known for its achingly beautiful Oscar-winning song “Falling Slowly”.
7) Sing Street (2016)
Here is another remarkable effort from writer-director John Carney in “Sing Street”, a 1980s-set musical drama about a teenager (Ferdia Walsh-Peelo’s Conor) who started a band to impress an aspiring model (Lucy Boynton’s Raphina). A bittersweet mix of coming-of-age tale, romance and musical, “Sing Street” is also blessed with breakthrough performances from Ferdia Walsh-Peelo and Lucy Boynton.
8) The Guard (2011)
Hollywood may have its fair share of buddy-comedy gems evidently seen in “48 Hrs.” (1982) and “Lethal Weapon” (1987). But the Irish cinema is no slouch either when it comes to delivering their very own buddy comedy. That movie in question is “The Guard”, which involves an unorthodox small-town Irish policeman (Brendan Gleeson’s Gerry Boyle) teaming up with a big-city FBI agent (Don Cheadle’s Wendell Everett) to investigate a drug-smuggling operation. Unlike the aforementioned Hollywood buddy comedies, “The Guard” is light in action but writer-director John Michael McDonagh manages to offset that with plenty of wit and dry humour. The movie also largely works in its favour, thanks to Brendan Gleeson’s acid-tongued performance as the crude and racist policeman who pairs well with his co-star Don Cheadle.
9) The Crying Game (1992)
A low-budget thriller about an IRA member (Stephen Rea’s Fergus) who strikes up an unlikely romantic relationship with his captive British soldier’s (Forest Whitaker’s Jody) girlfriend Dil (Jaye Davidson), Neil Jordan’s “The Crying Game” was one of the most talked-about movies back in 1992. The movie, which deals with thorny issues of race, gender and sexuality, was a hit in the US, thanks to the ingenious Miramax marketing campaign and its now-infamous shocking twist. The success of the movie also earned six Oscar nominations including Best Picture and Best Director, in which “The Crying Game” took home the Best Original Screenplay award.
10) Veronica Guerin (2003)
Based on the true story of the eponymous Irish journalist (Cate Blanchett) who died at the age of 37 for exposing Dublin’s criminal underworld on the illegal drug trade, “Veronica Guerin” turned out to be one of Joel Schumacher’s finest works to date since his post-“Batman & Robin” debacle. At the heart of this riveting biographical drama is Cate Blanchett, who brings a commanding performance with an equally convincing Irish accent.