[Celluloid Hero]’s Top Seven Irish Movies
Happy St. Patrick’s Day! Being a movie buff and half-Irish, I wanted to share a short list of my Top 7 Irish Movies. Why seven? Lucky number, Luck o’ the Irish, just go with it. Not necessarily movies that were made in Ireland, or by Irish directors, but rather movies that take place there or involve Irish characters. Head to whatever movie rental or streaming service you use, and enjoy these for St. Patrick’s Day!
7 – The Crying Game
If you don’t know the twist of The Crying Game…well, you don’t really deserve to have it kept secret, because it’s a decades-old movie. I’ll still give you a break and not reveal it. Even without the major twist it’s an interesting movie, dealing with IRA hostage situations. I’ve said before that this movie could actually stand alone without any of the love story. When you take the political story and add this very strange love story on top, you get quite a memorable movie.
6 – Miller’s Crossing
I have a weakness for Coen Brothers movies. This is a great story of a 1930s mobster trying to maintain peace between the Irish and Italians mobs. The story is interesting, but adding in great acting performances from Gabriel Byrne, John Turturro, Albert Finney and others makes it a much better movie.
5 – Ondine
A modern-day fairy tale. An Irish fisherman catches a girl in his net, and she seems to possess the qualities of a Selkie, a Celtic legend of a seal-woman. Ladies, you can spend the movie enjoying a rugged Colin Farrell; gentlemen, I would like to enlighten you to the beauty that is Alicja Bachleda.
4 – The Departed
The first twenty seconds of this trailer get me every time. The Massachusetts State Police have a mole in the Irish mob; the Irish mob has a mole in the Mass State Police. Hilarity ensues. Just kidding. The movie twists and turns, bringing everyone deeper into the mess. Both moles fall deeper into the organization they are supposed to be bringing down, and no one knows who to trust. Director Martin Scorsese was best known for his Italian mob movies, but nails it here as well.
3 – Gangs of New York
Back-to-back Scorsese/DiCaprio movies. Most lists would put “The Departed” ahead of this, but I love “Gangs of New York”. Instead of the regular mobster/gangster movies, this one takes place in 1863 New York City. Being half-Irish and half-Italian, I always find interest in seeing the early days of my heritage and their first experiences in America. Both nationalities were looked down upon when they first arrived, and this movie shows that patriotism, blind nationalism and xenophobia aren’t new.
2 – Once
This movie broke my heart, and I still don’t think I’ve fully recovered from the first time I watched it. It’s a devastating love story between an Irish street musician and a Czech flowergirl. What separates the movie from other love stories is the incredible soundtrack.
1 – The Boondock Saints
It may not have the reputation or polish of a Scorsese movie, but it’s my list, and it’s my favorite. It’s got the action, got the humor, got the style. Great characters, great dialogue. It also highlights how impressionable I am, because every time I watch it I have the desire to start smoking, wear a peacoat, and go on a righteous killing spree.