The shenanigans and parades of St. Patrick's Day are a screenwriter's dream and provide the perfect backdrop for a comedy or a thriller. 

Unsurprisingly, there is a slew of movies set around Ireland's national holiday, and here are some of our favorites. 

Between the Canals (2011) 

This independent Irish feature made its debut at the 2010 Jameson Dublin International Film Festival to widespread critical acclaim. 

Featuring Love/Hate's Peter Coogan and Irish singer-songwriter Damien Dempsey, "Between the Canals" follows two small-time criminals trying to make it in the big leagues. 

The film was shot on Sheriff Street in Dublin and takes place on a boozy St. Patrick's Day. 

The Boondock Saints (1999)

Featuring an A-list cast, "Boondock Saints" is a lot more Hollywood than "Between the Canals. "

The thriller centers around two Irish-American twin brothers in Boston. The two brothers are attacked by the Russian mafia on St. Patrick's Day and kill two mobsters in self-defense. 

An FBI agent, played by Willam Dafoe, is sent to investigate the incident and finds that the two brothers are seen as heroes in the local community. 

However, the two brothers use their newfound hero status to become fully-fledged vigilantes, giving rise to the high-octane thriller. 

Muck (2015) 

There are many things that St. Patrick's Day is associated with, but supernatural horror films certainly aren't one of them. 

That is why "Muck" stands out so much on this list. 

The film takes place in Cape Cod, Massachusetts, and follows a group of friends being haunted by a ghostly presence in nearby marshes. However, an equally dangerous horror awaits them in their holiday home and they spend St. Patrick's Day stuck between two evils. 

The Luck of the Irish (2001)

The perfect film to watch with the kids and have a laugh at the Irish clichés!

This Disney Channel original movie follows 15-year-old  Kyle Johnson. the luckiest boy in the town. Turns out that he is half leprechaun on his mother's side and all his luck comes from a gold coin that he loses at St. Patrick's Day festival. He needs to get it back to break a spell controlled by an evil leprechaun named Seamus McTiernan who stole the coin.

Red Clover (2012) 

Featuring a murderous demon leprechaun, this for-TV feature film is about as bizarre as it gets. 

"Red Clover" is set in a fictional town in Massachusetts that has long since done away with any St. Patrick's Day festivities because of a mythical leprechaun that once caused devastation throughout the town. 

However, when Karen O'Hara - the film's protagonist - moves to the town, she unwittingly sets the beast on the town once again. 

A good bit of fun, if nothing else. 

State of Grace (1990) 

This film arguably boasts the best cast on the list. With Ed Harris, Gary Oldman and Sean Penn to the fore (in addition to a film score by Hollywood legend Ennio Morricone), "State of Grace" is an Irish-American crime drama. 

The film was shot on location in New York City and features everything from feuds between Irish and Italian mobsters to undercover cops and double-cross. 

The film's climax takes place amid New York's St. Patrick's Day celebrations and Irish rock legends U2 provide its original soundtrack. It really doesn't get much better than that. 

* Originally published in 2020. Updated in 2023.