From Brad Pitt to Daniel Day-Lewis to Harrison Ford, and Stephen Rea some of the greatest and biggest box office actors of our time have played roles in films relating to The Troubles.

Here are the best movies about The Troubles in Northern Ireland... or so we think:


This movie tells the tale of a British soldier, played by Jack O’Connell, who becomes separated from his unit during a riot in Belfast at the height of the Troubles, in 1971.

The young soldier is beaten by the mob, helped by various locals, and pursued by bills from the Provisional IRA and the British Army's Military Reaction Force.

“The Crying Game”

Described as a British-Japanese psychological thriller drama, this 1992 movie directed by Neil Jordan explores themes of race, gender, nationality, and sexuality against the backdrop of the Irish Troubles.

It follows the experiences of Fergus (played by Stephen Rea), a member of the IRA, and his encounter with Jody (Forest Whitaker) who is held prisoner.

“In the Name of the Father”

This 1993 biographical movie, directed by Jim Sheridan, tells the story of the Guildford Four, four people falsely convicted and imprisoned for 15 years for the IRA’s bombing of a Guildford pub. With Daniel Day-Lewis and Pete Postlethwaite playing the lead roles, the movie is based on the book “Proved Innocent: The Story of Gerry Conlon of the Guildford Four” by Gerry Conlon.

“Hidden Agenda”

Directed by Ken Loach “Hidden Agenda, is a political thriller about British state terrorism during the Northern Irish Troubles that includes the assassination of an American civil rights lawyer.

Investigator Peter Kerrigan (Brian Cox), assisted by Ingrid Jessner (Frances McDormand), investigates the killing of Paul Sullivan (Brad Dourif), an American civil rights lawyer and political activist in Northern Ireland, whilst he was accompanied by a Provisional Irish Republican Army sympathizer.

“The Long Good Friday”

"The Long Good Friday" is a  movie about a British gangster, which was Bob Hoskins's breakthrough movie and also stars Helen Mirren.

The movie weaves together events and concerns of the late 1970s, including low-level political and police corruption, Provisional Irish Republican Army (IRA) gun-running, displacement of traditional British industry by property development, Britain's membership of the EEC (later the European Union), and the free market economy.


The 2008 British-Irish historical drama movie, directed by Steve McQueen and starring Michael Fassbender, Liam Cunningham, and Liam McMahon, is about the 1981 Irish hunger strike.

The movie stars Fassbender as Bobby Sands, the Provisional Irish Republican Army (IRA) volunteer and M.P. who led the second IRA hunger strike and participated in the no-wash protest (led by Brendan "The Dark" Hughes) in which Republican prisoners tried to regain political status when it was revoked by the British government in 1976.

“The Boxer”

Another movie about the Troubles starring Daniel Day-Lewis, alongside Emily Watson. The movie centers on the life of a boxer and former Provisional IRA Volunteer, Danny Flynn (Day-Lewis), who is trying to "go straight" after his release from prison. The movie portrays the increase of splinter groups within the IRA.

“The Devil’s Own”

A 1997 American action thriller movie, it stars Harrison Ford and Brad Pitt. The movie tells the story of an IRA gunman (Pitt) who draws an American family into the crossfire of terrorism. Pitt plays an IRA assassin who is sent to the U.S. to buy weapons. He is housed with Tom O'Meara (Ford), a New York cop who knows nothing about Frankie's real identity.


Directed by Pat O'Connor, this 1984 Irish drama stars John Lynch and Helen Mirren. It follows the story of a young man (Lynch) on the fringes of the IRA, who falls in love with Marcella (Mirren), a Catholic woman whose husband, a Protestant policeman, was killed by the IRA.

“Patriot Games”

Based on Tom Clancy's novel of the same name, this is the sequel to the 1990 film “The Hunt for Red October”. Harrison Ford plays the lead role, Jack Ryan.

The plot follows Ryan, a CIA Analyst, who interferes with an IRA assassination. A renegade faction targets him and his family for revenge.


“Breakfast on Pluto”

Quite different from the others on this list this comedy-drama, written and directed by Neil Jordan, and based on the novel of the same name by Patrick McCabe follows the character played by Cillian Murphy a transgender foundling searching for love and her long-lost mother in small-town Ireland and London in the 1970s.

* Originally published in 2019, updated in December 2023.