Irish cinema has produced some of the most iconic and memorable films of all time. From gritty dramas to heartwarming comedies, Irish films have captured the spirit and soul of the country, its people, and its history. Here are 20 of the best Irish movies ever made:
- The Wind That Shakes the Barley (2006)
Directed by Ken Loach, this powerful film tells the story of the Irish War of Independence and the subsequent Civil War through the eyes of two brothers who find themselves on opposite sides of the conflict.
- My Left Foot (1989)
Daniel Day-Lewis won his first Oscar for his portrayal of Christy Brown, an Irishman with cerebral palsy who learns to paint and write with his left foot.
- The Commitments (1991)
Alan Parker’s musical comedy about a group of working-class Dubliners who form a soul band is a joyous celebration of Irish culture and music.
- In the Name of the Father (1993)
Based on the true story of the Guildford Four, who were wrongly convicted of terrorist bombings in the 1970s, this film stars Daniel Day-Lewis and Emma Thompson and is a powerful indictment of the British justice system.
- The Snapper (1993)
Directed by Stephen Frears and based on a novel by Roddy Doyle, this charming comedy follows the ups and downs of a working-class Dublin family after their daughter becomes pregnant.
- The Crying Game (1992)
Neil Jordan’s thriller about an IRA member who falls in love with the girlfriend of a British soldier is a tense and haunting exploration of loyalty, identity, and betrayal.
- Michael Collins (1996)
Liam Neeson stars as the legendary Irish revolutionary who fought for Irish independence from the British Empire.
- Once (2007)
This charming indie musical about a street musician and a Czech immigrant who bond over their love of music won the Academy Award for Best Original Song.
- The Guard (2011)
Brendan Gleeson stars as a foul-mouthed and unorthodox Irish cop who teams up with an uptight FBI agent to take down a drug cartel.
- The Magdalene Sisters (2002)
Peter Mullan’s harrowing drama about the abuse of women in Irish Catholic institutions is a searing indictment of institutionalized misogyny.
- The Field (1990)
Based on a play by John B. Keane, this powerful drama about a farmer who fights to hold on to his land is a timeless story of struggle and sacrifice.
- Song of the Sea (2014)
This enchanting animated film tells the story of a young boy who embarks on a magical journey to save his sister and discover the secrets of his family’s past.
- Angela’s Ashes (1999)
Based on the memoir by Frank McCourt, this poignant drama about a young boy growing up in poverty-stricken Limerick in the 1930s is a powerful reminder of the resilience of the human spirit.
- The Butcher Boy (1997)
Neil Jordan’s darkly comic adaptation of the novel by Patrick McCabe follows the misadventures of a troubled young boy in 1960s Ireland.
- Calvary (2014)
Brendan Gleeson stars as a small-town priest who receives a death threat from one of his parishioners in this darkly comic and thought-provoking drama.
- The Secret of Kells (2009)
This visually stunning animated film tells the story of a young boy who discovers the secrets of an ancient Irish manuscript and embarks on a magical journey to save his village.
- Intermission (2003)
This gritty crime thriller set in Dublin follows the interlocking lives of a group of characters, including a frustrated supermarket worker, a love-struck cop, and a small-time criminal.
- Hunger (2008) Directed by Steve McQueen, this powerful drama about the 1981 Irish hunger strike led by Bobby Sands is a brutal and unflinching portrait of political resistance.
- The Young Offenders (2016) This hilarious and heartwarming comedy about two Cork teenagers who steal bicycles to impress girls is a charming and authentic depiction of Irish working-class life.
- Garage (2007) Directed by Lenny Abrahamson, this understated drama about a lonely gas station attendant in rural Ireland is a haunting and deeply affecting portrait of isolation and loneliness.