There’s been a call for a drastic revision to IrishCentral’s current top 10 best Irish movies of all time. So we’ve handed over the critic’s chair to the IrishCentral commentators, who have chosen some Irish greats that weren’t as high on our radar, as well as some more obscure favorites.
The original picks were:
10. "Waking Ned Devine"
8. "The Crying Game"
7. "The Snapper"
5. "In the Name of the Father"
4. "The Field"
3. "My Left Foot"
2. "The Quiet Man"
1. "The Commitments"
"When Brendan Met Trudy"
And now here’s the IrishCentral readers’ picks of the best Irish movies of all time (something tells me there will be naysayers responding to this line up as well):
10. Ryan’s Daughter
The award winning 1970 film “Ryan’s Daughter” rounds out the IrishCentral reader’s top 10. The story is set in 1916 Ireland during World War I. Rosy Ryan, who lives on the quiet Dingle Peninsula, has an affair with a British officer, much to the dismay of the nationalist villagers. What ensues is a violent struggle between British and Irish, informers and nationalists, husband and lover.
9. The Matchmaker
Janeane Garofalo stars in this IrishCentral RomCom favorite as Marcy, an election campaigner for Senator John McGlory, who is sent to Ireland in search of McGlory’s relatives to secure the Irish vote. Marcy arrives in the village of Ballinagra during its annual matchmaking festival, and the matchmakers are determined to set her up with one of the locals.
8. The Boxer
Directed by Jim Sheridan and written by Terry George, 1997’s “The Boxer” tells the story of Danny Flynn (Daniel Day-Lewis), a former IRA member who has just been released from prison after 14 years. Danny is a boxer (obviously) who tries his best to escape his former life of violence, while dreaming of being with his former – and now married – flame, Maggie (Emily Watson).
7. The Informer
When it comes to John Ford films, IrishCentral readers favor 1935’s “The Informer” over “The Quiet Man.” Ford won the Oscar for Best Director for his work, while Victor McLaglen won for Best Actor. McLaglen stars as Gypo Nolan, a former Irish rebel in 1922 Dublin who betrays his best friend by leaking information to the British.
6. The Magdalene Sisters
This intense film tells the story of three teenaged sisters who are sent to the Magdalene Asylums for their “sinful” ways. Labeled as “fallen” women by their family and society, the girls undergo harsh abuse from the Roman Catholics who run the home. The film exposes the mistreatment that many women suffered in the 19th century Magdalene asylums.
5. The Secret of Roan Inish
A family favorite among IrishCentral readers, “The Secret of Roan Inish” is a tale of the magic of the Irish sea. A young girl named Fiona is sent to live with her grandparents in a small seaside village in Ireland, where legend has it that her ancestor married a Selkie, a seal that could turn into a woman. Fiona sets out to uncover the secret of Roan Inish, an abandoned island where the land, the sea and the past all collide.
4. Some Mother's Son
Helen Mirren and Fionnula Flanagan star as the mothers of two strikers during the 1981 hunger strike led by IRA prisoner Bobby Sands. Terry George, writer of award winning films such as “Hotel Rwanda” and “In the Name of the Father” won much critical acclaim as writer and director of “Some Mother’s Son.”
3. Angela's Ashes
Frank McCourt’s moving autobiography-turned-film, “Angela’s Ashes” is a favorite among IrishCentral readers. The film follows the young Frank and his family from Brooklyn to Limerick as they struggle to make it amongst poverty and prejudices in the 1930s and 40s. Emily Watson stars as Frank’s mother, Angela McCourt.
2. Michael Collins
Renowned director Neil Jordan’s biopic of the Irish legendary freedom fighter, Michael Collins. Liam Neeson brilliantly plays the title role, while Aidan Quinn portrays Collins’ sidekick, Harry Boland. The film’s tagline reads: “Ireland, 1916. His dreams inspired hope. His words inspired passion. His courage forged a nation's destiny.” Pretty much sums up the power and passion of the film.
1. The Wind that Shakes the Barley
By far, fans of “The Wind that Shakes the Barley” were the most outraged that their movie of choice was not included in our list. This action packed movie starring Cillian Murphy was a Palme D’or winner at the 2006 Cannes Film Festival. Set in 1920 Ireland, the story follows Damien (played by Murphy) and his brother, Teddy, who at first fight side by side in the Irish struggle for independence, but then turn on each other when one faction of the freedom-fighters accepts the treaty with the British, while the other rejects it.
Breakfast on Pluto
A Patrick McCabe novel-turned-Neil Jordan film starring Cillian Murphy as the transgender Patrick “Kitten” Braden, who is coming of age in the 1970s. Liam Neeson co-stars as Father Liam, the priest Braden believes is her father.
The Butcher Boy
Another McCabe novel (IrishCentral readers apparently vote McCabe over Roddy Doyle) adapted by Neil Jordan, “The Butcher Boy” is about the troubled and violent childhood of Irish schoolboy Francie. It’s an intense dark comedy that deals with alcoholism, suicide, mental illness and murder. Sinead O’Connor is featured as “Our Lady” in Francie’s visions.