Good Irish Movies

Friday, December 11, 2009 at 10:03 am

Good Irish movies aren’t always easy to find, so that’s why I decided to put together this list of ten. When it comes to films from the Emerald Isle, the movies listed below are pretty darned hard to beat. And if the demand for good Irish films ends up being strong enough, we might even do a follow-up article in the future. That’s why it’s important to give us feedback in the comments section.

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But for now it’s time to grab a glass of your favorite beer or lemonade (both hugely popular in Ireland), and feast your eyes on some mighty good Irish movies.

The Wind That Shakes the Barley (2006) – With the title taken from a popular Irish ballad, this movie is about two brothers (Cillian Murphy and Padraic Delaney) who join the Irish Republican Army to fight for independence against the British. When a treaty is offered., the IRA splinters over what course of action to take, and the brothers find themselves on opposite sides. Not surprisingly, this film was hugely popular in Ireland.

My Left Foot (1989) – Daniel Day-Lewis shot to fame in the role of Christy Brown, an Irish writer and artist who could only movie his left foot. All kinds of uplifting, it won Oscars for Best Actor and Best Supporting Actress (Brenda Fricker).

The Crying Game (1992) – If you’re a homophobe, it’s best you stay away from this Irish/English drama that mixes in a gender-bending surprise. Stephen Rea, in all his gloomy glory, stars as Fergus, a member of the IRA. When a British soldier (Forest Whitaker) he’s guarding ends up dying, Fergus heads to London and begins a relationship with the dead man’s girlfriend (Jaye Davidson).

In the Name of the Father (1993) – Daniel Day-Lewis, Emma Thompson, and Pete Postlethwaite star in this real life story of the Guildford Four, four Irish citizens who were wrongly convicted in a terrorist bombing incident. Day-Lewis and Postlethwaite play father and son, while Thompson is the barrister who believes they may actually be innocent.

A Man of No Importance (1994) – Albert Finney is outstanding in this film about a gay bus driver in 1963 Dublin. Still in the closet, Alfred Byrne (Finney) enjoys putting on productions of Oscar Wilde plays and dodging the women his well-meaning sister sets him up with. Equal parts comedy and drama, it’s also notable as the first film role for Jonathan Rhys-Meyers.

Veronica Guerin (2003) – An Irish/US co-production, Joel Schumacher directs and Cate Blanchett stars in this real-life tale of Veronica Guerin, an Irish journalist whose murder greatly changed the face of the drug trade in Dublin. Brenda Fricker co-stars.

In America (2002) – Directed by Jim Sheridan, this film follows a family of Irish immigrants as they try to make a life for themselves in modern-day New York City. Paddy Considine, Djimon Hounsou, and Samantha Morton star.

The Commitments (1991) – Adapted from the Roddy Doyle novel, The Commitments tells the story of a soul band formed by a group of unemployed Dublin residents. A worldwide hit, it’s hard to believe that the red-headed lead singer was only 16 when the movie was made. A 2005 poll elected it the best Irish film ever made, but check it out and make up your own mind.

Johnny Was (2006) – With an eclectic cast featuring Vinnie Jones, Patrick Bergin, Lennox Lewis and Roger Daltrey, Johnny Was is a gangster film filled with bizarre characters and plenty of good music. Plus, Patrick Bergin gets to play his second IRA role.

I Went Down (1997) – The day he gets released from jail for breaking and entering, Git Hynes (Peter McDonald) finds himself in trouble with a local mob boss. To work off his debt, he’s paired up with violent mobster Bunny Kelly (Brendan Gleeson) and sent to the city of Cork to retrieve a missing crook. If you’re looking for a comedy with plenty of gunplay, this is the one. Plus, I’m always a sucker for Brendan Gleeson.

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If good Irish movies aren’t your thing, be sure to check back often with Only Good Movies. One of our many goals is to eventually profile good films from every country in the world (or at least the ones who actually make movies). In the meantime, here are a few more posts that should be of interest:

This entry was posted on Friday, December 11th, 2009 at 10:03 am and is filed under Good Movies. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

6 Responses to “Good Irish Movies”

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February 25, 2010


The Irish Feature film “WC” was released in the US in Nov 09 and is now available on Cable VOD as well as on Amazon Vod and in the US.

The Making of WC:

Clip of WC

June 30, 2010


should also check out The Van and The Snapper

June 30, 2010


Thanks for the suggestions, stum.

December 8, 2010


Another good movie about the IRA is 50 Dead Men Walking. It is based on a true story and stars Jim Strugges (who was in across the universe)

December 11, 2010


Thanks for the suggestion, Jonathan.


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