St. Patrick’s Day has finally arrived and it’s about that time to break out the St. Paddy’s days films we all know and love… no not just “The Boondock Saints.” I mean the real Irish films, made in Ireland. So sit back and let’s look at some of the best films to come out of the Emerald Isle.
1. The Commitments – Widely considered to be the greatest Irish film ever made, it’s no surprise since it is 117 minutes of frenzied fun. The story’s premise is about a group of Dubliners who decide to form a soul band. That in and of itself ought to start those Irish eyes a’ smilin’! Directed by Alan Parker, this film is every bit as hysterical to watch as the soundtrack is to listen to.
2. Once – One of the most profitable films ever made, “Once” is a beautiful little film about love and music. It’s so popular that it inspired a Tony-award winning musical. A well-deserved academy award winner for best original song in 2008 it’s the kind of movie everyone enjoys, so watch it with a friend…preferably a close friend.
3. My Left Foot: The Story of Christy Brown – Before he was Abraham Lincoln or Daniel Plainview, Daniel Day-Lewis was Christy Brown in “My Left Foot,” the film about a man born with cerebral palsy who learned how to write, type, and do most fine-motor skills with the only part of his body he could control, his left foot. His performance won Day-Lewis his first Oscar. A story of struggle and triumph, it will leave you smiling.
4. Calvary – This very recent film, exquisitely shot, was released last summer. The film deals with morality, religion, and the human condition in a depressing yet honest way. Its featured actor, Brendan Gleeson, gives his best performance yet as a priest who is told in a confessional that he will be shot dead in a weeks’ time. He uses this time to observe and try to figure out who wants him dead. One of my favorite films of 2014, it’s a nail-biter and thought-provoker.
5. The Secret of Kells – This rarely seen film from 2009 is a wonderfully hand-drawn animated feature that tells a fictitious tale about the creation of a legendary book. This Oscar-nominated flick is gorgeous to look at and even more gorgeous to experience. Although it has some scary images, it’s fun for kids too.
6. The Crying Game – This poignant story revolves around three characters involved in Ireland’s “Troubles,” when the Irish Republican Army (IRA) was wreaking havoc politically and personally for the Irish and English. Known for its plot twist in the middle, this incredible film is nonetheless a beautiful story about friendship and love, and well worth a look.
7. The Departed – Although perhaps not the greatest Martin Scorsese film, this gripping tale takes place in the most Irish of all American cities, Boston. A “crime drama” this film follows the story of the rise of a corrupt cop who works for the Irish Mob. Its stellar cast includes Jack Nicholson, Leonardo DiCaprio, Mark Walberg, and Matt Damon.
Honorable Mentions include:
The Quiet Man: This is a classic film starring John Wayne and Maureen O’Hara and is worth a nostalgic look.
Michael Collins: This is the story of the famed Irish revolutionary leader portrayed by Liam Neeson; giving historical insight to the turbulent times of “The Troubles.”
Darby O’Gill and the Little People: This 1959 Disney classic features a pre-James Bond Sean Connery, who even sings as part of his role as the romantic hero. A family friendly treat, it also features one of Disney’s scariest creations, the banshee!