I have a wonderful time watching films that are made in other countries. Irish movies are very different from those made in America, but that’s no real surprise because the cultures are different. Watching movies made about different cultures at different times is a fun way to learn about the world.
I have a collection of Irish movies that I want to share with you. Some are funny, others are dramatic and some are scary. All of them are fun to watch, and you might just learn a word or two of the Irish language.
I love Sci-Fi and comedy; this film combines both. The movie starts off innocently enough with a new Garda (police officer) reporting to a small island to stand in for an officer going on vacation. It’s one of those places where nothing ever happens- until a meteor falls in the ocean.
The movie takes on a stereotype, but does so in a hilarious way. The two Gardas take on lethal alien creatures without the use of firearms. This is different from most alien-genre movies.
In The Name Of The Father (1993)
Based on actual events, Gerry Conlon, played by Daniel Day-Lewis, was arrested and charged with an IRA bombing in Dublin, Ireland. His father was arrested when he came to his son’s aid and was also charged. The “evidence” was unsubstantiated, and the confessions were obtained under torture by the British police. They are sentenced to
Many things happen in the dismal prison including Gerry’s attempts to reconcile with his father, saving the life of a prison guard and his campaign for justice. The two and others convicted of the crime are innocent; the real bomber is also in the prison under a different sentence.
My Left Foot (1989)
Based on the true story of artist and author Christy Brown, played by Daniel Day-Lewis. Brown was born with severe Cerebral Palsy, and could only control one limb- his left foot. He taught himself to write and paint with it, as well as type on a typewriter. As a child, he played soccer, fought as an adult and never let his physical handicap stop him from achieving his dreams.
This movie is inspiring and moving. Look for an unforgettable performance by Brenda Fricker, a multi-talented Irish actress who plays Christy’s incredible mother.
The Field (1990)
The legendary Richard Harris plays “Bull” McCabe, the head of a farming family that had rented a particular field for several generations. They worked endlessly to eke out a living from it, putting their blood, sweat and tears into it. The field’s owner shows up in town and announces that she wants to sell it, but instead of offering first dibs to Bull, she wants to sell it at a public auction in which a development business can offer far more money.
The story line and the actors show you the culture and the heart of the people. Anyone who has rented property, especially income-producing property for generations can understand Bull’s point of view.
The clash between “what’s right” and the law is evident; the property’s owner has the right to sell the property any way and to any one she chooses while offering the first bid to the renter is the moral thing to do.
Ordinary Decent Criminal (2000)
It’s such a shame that this film never received a proper release in the U.S. It is available on video, but it is well worth the time to watch it.
Kevin Spacey plays Michael Lynch, who was based on the real-life criminal, Martin “The General” Cahill. Lynch has two families, his wives are also sisters. He is popular with the public and likes to put on a show while he is committing robberies. The Garda is determined to catch him.
When Lynch is forced to go on the run, he attracts the ire of the IRA as well as jeopardizes his relationship with the public. The results are hilarious.
In a small Irish town called Ballymoran, a man wearing a red leather bodysuit is found passed out on a living room floor by the residents. He is assumed to be an alien, and does nothing to dissuade the idea. He is offered free drinks, food, lodgings and becomes a local celebrity, until a suspicious town resident takes a closer look.
This is a funny, entertaining film that will have you giggling all the way through.
Assault of Darkness (Legend Of The Bog) (2009)
Vinnie Jones plays Mr. Hunter, who is an expert at hunting a very unusual game. In a particular peat bog located in rural Ireland. Something is waking up and walking around, looking for victims. Ancient Celtic warriors are coming back; disturbed by land developers.
Look for an appearance by actor Stephen Farrelly, who is also known as WWE’s current US Champion, Sheamus. Listen for the Irish words uisce- water (pronounced ISH ka), and saoirse- freedom (pronounced SEER sha).
Dark Touch (2013)
As a child, Niamh’s (pronounced Neev) family was killed by something. A foster family begins to experience strange events that damage their home and cause injuries. Is it Niamh? She has trouble warming up to the people in the family while things continue to happen. Eventually, the truth is revealed and the results are frightening.
I would never watch this film late at night or during a storm. It’s scary, and I like horror films. There is no gore, no blood-splattered rooms; the acting, music, sets and story line are scary.
Wake Wood (2010)
I loved this film; the idea behind it is skin-crawling spooky. Patrick and Louise lost their only daughter when she was mauled by a vicious dog. They relocate to the remote and quiet town of Wake Wood, in which they believe their lives could begin again.
They begin to notice that things in town are not the same as the outside world. Eventually, they are told that their daughter can be resurrected under specific circumstances, but she could only “live” again for three days and then has to go back to the grave.
The ensuing story is magnificent in its delivery and the ending will leave you wondering if your vacation to a “sleepy-little-town” is a good place to visit.
The Secret of Kells (2009)
This animated film is wonderful, engaging and entertaining. It tells the story of the origin of the Book of Kells, an ancient illuminated Bible that is an Irish national treasure. A boy is learning the art of illumination from his uncle, a respected monk. He sneaks out of the monastery and makes friends with a fairy. His uncle does not appreciate his forays outside and takes measures to prevent further journeys. During the film, the Vikings show up and begin to sack the monastery. I won’t give the end away, you have to watch this for yourself. I found it online at Hulu. I’ve made this film part of my St. Patrick’s Day celebrations.
It should be noted that none of these films alone are truly representative of the country if Ireland, its people or culture any more than the film, “It’s A Mad, Mad World” is representative of America.
These films represent drama, sci-fi, horror, comedy and children’s entertainment.
While other famous films such as “Darby O’Gill And The Little People,” and “The Quiet Man,” are classics, neither was truly Irish. The latter did introduce audiences to the wonderful Irish language, spoken by the incomparable Maureen O’Hara, who is indeed Irish.
Source: The author of this article has over 40 years of experience in diverse subjects and skills such as DIY, home improvement and repair, crafting, designing, and building furniture, outdoor projects, RV’ing and more.