The following films feature an actor portraying an Irishman or woman.

Get out your popcorn and lets look at the top ten Irish characters in film history.

1. Christy Brown (My Left Foot)

Daniel Day Lewis’ Oscar-winning performace of handicapped real-life writer/painter/poet is in the pantheon of film roles. He became so involved with the character that he broke two ribs whiling filming for having spent so much time slumped over in a wheelchair.

2. Guy, (Once)

Glen Hansard is the Dublin guitarist/singer-songwriter who sings and makes money on the street. He relies on some luck o’ the Irish to lead up to the film’s emotional ending.

3.  Michael Collins (Michael Collins)

Liam Neesonstars in this this biopic about the War of Independence, the partition and the ensuing Irish Civil War.

4. Priest Vallon (Gangs of New York)

Liam Neeson portrays this Irish American Immigrant in the turn of the century film “Gangs of New York”. He has very little screen time but goes toe to toe with Daniel Day Lewis’ Bill the Butcher. Plus Neeson partakes in brawls with an Iron cross.

5. Connor and Murphy McManus (The Boondock Saints)

These brothers living in Boston take the law into their own hands after receiving a “message from God.” The two then right the wrongs of the city with their own brand of pistol-packing whoop ass.

6. Frank Costello (The Departed)

Jack Nicholson’s depiction of a sadistic, Irish mob boss is a great, well-developed character based on the real irish-American mobster, James J. Bulger.

7. Sean Thornton (The Quiet Man)

John Wayne plays Sean Thornton in the classic “The Quiet Man”.  The story of a disgraced American boxer who heads to his birthplace in Ireland and falls in love with young lass.

8. William Costigan (The Departed)

Leonardo DiCaprio turns in a strong performance as a south Boston cop in Scorsese’s The Departed. Staring off as a good, clean Irish police officer, he morphs into a lean, mean Irish American gangster.

9.Declan “Deco” Cuffe (The Commitments )

In the great music film “The Commitments” the band of the same name is fronted by the chubby, long-haired “Deco”. He is a jerk but easily forgiven thanks to his amazing, soulful voice.

10. Darby O’Gill (Darby O’Gill and the Little People)

Played by the ebullient Albert Sharpe, Darbie O’Gill sets the bar high for Irish characters with his merrymaking with leprechauns, pots of gold and Irish jigs in this Disney classic.