The Irish are a proud people and it shows in the 10 best Irish movies. Featuring a stellar array of native Irish actors and actresses, these movies put front-and-center the issues of Irish nationalism, Irish immigration, Irish romance, and Daniel Day-Lewis (seriously, the dude’s in three movies on this list; Irish director Jim Sheridan directed four of them).
- “Once” (2007) An Irish musician performing on the streets of Dublin meets a Czech flower seller with musical ambitions. They spend a week together writing and rehearsing original songs while fighting off a romantic attraction. One of the top ten movies of 2007, it is also one of the best Irish movies.
- “In Bruges” (2008) Want an Irish movie that’s got action, laugh-out-loud humor, and pulls on your heartstrings? Then rent “In Bruges”, a tale of two Irish hitmen (Colin Farrell and Brendan Gleeson) who vacation in Belgium to lay low after a job goes wrong. Farrell won a Golden Globe for his role.
- “In America” (2002) This movie will slap you across the face with its huge heart and make you cry, but in a good way. An Irish immigrant family moves to New York with dreams of making it in America, but they must deal with the ghosts in their closet and the abject poverty that threatens to consume them.
- “The Commitments” (1991) Set in working-class Ireland, “The Commitments” is about a music producers attempts to start an all-soul Irish band. Their efforts seem destined to become farce but ends up surprisingly sweet, inspiring, and one of the best Irish movies ever made.
- “The Crying Game” (1992) Stephen Rea stars in this drama as Fergus, an IRA member who agrees to look after the girlfriend of a British soldier after he is executed by Fergus’ unit. Fergus falls in love with the woman, who is British, but must decide who he is and if it’s in his nature to do what is right. Nominated for six Academy Awards with a win for Best Original Screenplay.
- “Michael Collins” (1996) Liam Neeson plays the title character in this Irish movie whose box office earnings made it the highest grossing film in Ireland upon its release. Michael Collins is an Irish general whose IRA forces square off against Anti-Treaty IRA squads during the Irish Civil War.
- “My Left Foot” (1989) Based on the real life story of Christy Brown, an Irish writer and painter who had severe cerebral palsy and could only control his left foot, which he used to draw and write. Daniel Day-Lewis plays Christy as he navigates through life, filling each scene with the frustration of his condition and the inspiration to overcome it.
- “Odd Man Out” (1947) The only noir film on the list of best Irish movies, “Odd Man Out” is about an Irish nationalist who is injured robbing a bank to replenish his nationalist organization’s money supply. On the run from the cops, he must traverse the underground of Belfast and rely on the help of strangers, not all of whom are sympathetic to the nationalist cause.
- “The Boxer” (1997) Daniel Day-Lewis stars in another Jim Sheridan-directed film about Northern Ireland, but rather than fizzling out, their collaboration produced another gem of an Irish movie. Day-Lewis is Danny Flynn, an IRA sympathizer who is released from prison and looks to get his old life back, including a career in boxing and a romance with his old flame. The problems arise when he finds the IRA has abandoned him and moved in on his lost love.
- “In the Name of the Father” (1993) Daniel Day-Lewis. Jim Sheridan. Remember them? This Irish movie is about the real life “Guilford Four”, a group of Irishmen wrongly convicted of bombing a British pub in the ‘70’s. While in prison, Gerry Conlon (Day-Lewis) mends fences with his father and grows past his smalltime criminal lifestyle. Great acting and great cinematography make this a drama worthy of repeated viewings.
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