As we edge closer to Christmas and home improvements get put on the back burner, more and more people are spending their evenings curled up on the couch with a good movie. Ireland has a rich history when it comes to film and our talent pool is still teaming with world class filmmakers. We’ve compiled a list of the top 13 Irish movies of all time that should save you some time picking what to watch.
1- Once (2006)
This musical drama set in Dublin could have gone horribly wrong but manages to be touching and effective in a simplistic way. It won an Oscar for best song and is now a stage play.
2 – My Left Foot (1989)
This film confirmed Daniel Day Lewis and Brenda Fricker as Irish royalty. Day-Lewis bagged an Oscar for is role as Christy Brown and is one of Ireland’s most famous films.
3- In The Name Of The Father (1994)
Proving that every thing he touches turns to gold, Daniel Day-Lewis delivers another outstanding performances alongside and Peter Postlewaite in this Oscar-nominated true story on the Guildford Four. Includes scenes shot in the historic Kilmainham Gaol.
4 – The Field (1990)
Based on the John B. Keane play, a community is divided over the auction of a piece of land. A truly scenic film on the issue of land ownership and the threat of commercialisation with a stellar cast of Richard Harris, John Hurt and Brenda Fricker.
5 – The Commitments (1991)
One of the most famous Irish comedies shows Jimmy Rabbitte’s struggle to create the best soul band of all time. Features one of the most memorable audition sequences and a soundtrack that’s yet to be beat.
6 – Ryan’s Daughter (1970)
While not popular initially with the critics, this film loosely based on Madame ovary was a box office success and secured two Academy Awards. It tells the controversial story of a married Irish woman who has an affair with a British officer in World War 1. Cinematic and romantic.
7- What Richard Did (2012)
Director Lenny Abrahamson is hot property at the moment and deservedly so. This is a beautifully shot and executed film that captures the innocence of youth and how a stupid decision can change the path of many lives.
8 – The Snapper (1993)
Another Roddy Doyle classic, this hilarious drama shows the Curley family come together when daughter Sharon becomes pregnant but won’t name the father. Does anyone really believe it was a ‘Spanish sailor’? This film condemned any girl named Sharon to a lifetime of hearing ‘A1 Sharon’.
9 – I Went Down (1997)
Git Hynes finds himself in trouble on is first day out of prison and he is forced to embark on a job with a fellow criminal. Much hilarity and banter ensues in this dark comedy as these two lovable criminals get into more trouble while forming a close bond.
10- Adam and Paul (2004)
It’s no secret that Dublin has a drug problem and this film tackles the issue by portraying the friendship between two junkies Adam and Paul and a day in their life as the wander Dublin streets looking for a score. Darkly funny and touching the film placed these unlikely characters in Irish hearts.
11- Hunger (2009)
While this is primarily a British film, it was written by an Irish man (Enda Walsh) and it’s based on Irish hunger strikers so we’re claiming it as our own. Steve McQueen delivers a cinematic masterpiece with this debut feature. Almost more fine art than film, it tells the story of the Irish hunger strikers in prison in 1981.
12- Garage (2007)
This slow-paced film centres around Josie, a petrol station attendant, and his inability to connect with society. Issues such as isolation and the disintegration of small time life are addressed as we see Josie make some bad decisions as he tries to fit in. Heartbreaking and poignant.
13- Disco Pigs (2001)
Kristen Sheridan adapted this film from an Enda Walsh play. The disturbing tale of two teenagers and their destructive friendship launched the career of actor Cillian Murphy.