After the beef stew, colcannon, and potatoes have been eaten and the beer has been thoroughly drunk, what better thing to do than kick up your feet and watch a film that spotlights the Irish people? Below are ten films that guarantee entertainment on St. Patrick’s Day.
1. Gangs of New York (2002)
If you’re still excited about the fact that Leonardo DiCaprio finally won an Oscar this past month, why not check out one of his earlier films? Gangs of New York is one of Martin Scorsese’s classic films about the Irish immigrants who take on the “Natives” (led by Daniel Day-Lewis in a spectacular performance). The film is epic and captures the solidarity when a community comes together.
2. Once (2007)
Once is a surprisingly touching and poignant musical about a songwriter who meets a Czech immigrant, to which they subsequently spend a week together writing music that describes their love for each other. Once is one of those simple films that still has the capacity to stay with you for days afterwards. This film further inspired a Broadway adaption that ultimately won eight Tonys, including Best Musical.
3. In America (2002)
In America is the incredible story of an Irish family who emigrates into America illegally through Canada after the tragic death of their 5-year old son. With barely any financial stability, the family moves into a tenant home that is mostly occupied by drug addicts. Despite their complicated circumstances, the family tries to retain a positive perspective, which ultimately extends to those around them. In America is a rare gem of a film for its ability to remind viewers that even in the worst of situations, there is still a chance for hope and a better future.
4. Philamena (2013)
Judi Dench is endearing and magnificent as Philamena, an elderly woman seeking to find her son who was forcibly taken from her by the church when she was pregnant out of wedlock as a teenager and had been sent to live in a convent. The film is based off a true-story and has the ability to make you laugh but also break your heart at the same time.
5. In Bruges (2008)
In Bruges is a tremendously quirky yet thoroughly entertaining film about two Irish hit-men who are hiding out in Bruges, Belgium after a botched hit. What is a supposed to be a relaxed escape from the city instead turns into both of them wrecking havoc on the storybook town, especially when their boss decides they both are expendable. Colin Farrell and Brendan Gleeson offer the best performances of their careers in this film.
6. The Boondock Saints (1999)
Technically speaking, The Boondock Saints is a terrible film, yet it somehow is fantastic to watch. The movie is about two brothers who accidentally become vigilantes in a corrupt Boston environment. Added to this movie is the subplot of Paul Smecker (Willem Dafoe in a scene-stealing performance), a blatantly gay FBI agent who is tracking the brothers’ crimes and inadvertently coming to admire them. The Boondock Saints is the quintessential guilty-pleasure film to watch on St. Patrick’s Day.
7. My Left Foot (1989)
Daniel Day-Lewis won his first Oscar for this film starring as true-life individual Cristy Brown, who was born with severe cerebral palsy. Unable to move or even speak, those around him initially saw him as mentally handicapped. With only being able to move his left foot, Cristy was able to defy that perspective and ultimately went on to becoming a painter and wrote an autobiography about his life and condition. My Left Foot is a special film, especially due to Day-Lewis’ authentic performance as Cristy Brown.
8. The Departed (2006)
Technically this isn’t an Irish movie, but hey, it features the Irish mob in Southie, Boston. The Departed is a remarkable film about corruption, deception and loyalty. What is one the most memorable components of the movie is Jack Nicholson, whose performance as Frank Costello practically mirrors former real-life Irish mob boss, Whitey Bulger, who practically ran Southie, Boston by usage of fear and murder. The Departed is a must-see film.
9. In the Name of the Father (1993)
In yet another extraordinary performance, Daniel Day-Lewis stars in the true-story of “The Guildford Four,” otherwise known as four Irish persons who were wrongly accused, forced to confess to crimes they didn’t commit by corrupt police authorities, and were ultimately incarcerated for a bombing done by the IRA in London. The film is about the court case that finally exonerated and proved the innocence of those who never committed any crime. In the Name of the Father is a captivating film worth seeing.
10. Brooklyn (2015)
In the last year, the heartfelt drama Brooklyn was released into theaters and captured the hearts of many. Brooklyn stars Saoirse Ronan as Eilis Lacey, a young Irish immigrant who emigrates to America in the hopes of a better future. Despite a rough transition, she eventually discovers love and the prospect of a wonderful future before she is compelled to go back home and may remain there. Brooklyn is sweet film that guarantees a film experience one won’t regret.