Hollywood has long had a love affair with the Emerald Isle, and the picturesque country of Ireland has served as the setting for countless movies over the years. Not all of them have necessarily stood the test of time (‘Darby O’Gill and the Little People’?) but we have picked out seven of the best Irish movies of all time. Don’t wait until Saint Patrick’s Day to check out some of these green-tinged greats.
The Quiet Man (1952)
It’s hard to ignore this John Ford classic starring the late great John Wayne when it comes to talking about the best Irish movies. Okay, so Ireland depicted in this film may have very little relation to reality, but this tale of brawling neighbors and a fiery romance is certainly worth watching.
While ‘The Quiet Man’ told the story of an immigrant returning to Ireland from America, Brooklyn looks at a young woman making the journey in the opposite direction. Saoirse Ronan was the perfect choice for the lead role and was nominated for an Academy Award for her heartfelt performance.
Waking Ned Devine (1998)
This appealing comedy about a convoluted lottery scam features a number of local actors, with David Kelley and Ian Bannen having a hoot in the lead roles. The two elderly friends discover that Ned Devine has died upon learning of his lottery win, and with the help of the townspeople, they conspire to try and fool the lottery organizers into believing he is still alive.
Sing Street (2016)
This energetic musical comedy is set in grey 1980s Ireland, but a lively young cast brightens up the screen. Teenager Conor moves to a new school, and there he sets up a band with the sole intention of winning over a girl with whom he has become besotted.
A very different type of musical, Once is a touching romance filmed mainly on the streets of Dublin. The two lead roles are played by professional musicians Glen Hansard and Markéta Irglová. Hansard plays a busker who dreams of becoming a full-time musician and Irglová becomes his inspiration.
The Guard (2011)
An Irish buddy cop movie may have sounded like a recipe for disaster, but in fact, The Guard went on to be a critical and popular hit, becoming the most successful Irish independent film of all time. Brendan Gleeson plays the titular police officer who forms an unlikely partnership with Don Cheadle as a visiting FBI agent.
Song of the Sea (2014)
Nominated for an Oscar for Best Animated Feature, Song of the Sea uses Celtic myths and legends to tell the story of a brother and sister’s magical adventure. This beautifully hand-drawn film has won international acclaim and is a favorite with all ages.