St. Patrick’s Day generally involves public parades, public intoxication and 50 shades of green, but if you’ve had your fill of suds, shamrocks and soda bread, we recommend enjoying any of these Irish-inspired films. Cheers!
This movie poster is hung in roughly 50% of dorm rooms in Boston, and for good reason. Fraternal twins Connor and Murphy McManus are good Catholic boys who, whilst celebrating St. Patrick’s Day, get into an altercation with the Russian mob. As the brothers grow more committed to their vigilante convictions, they purge the city of its major crime bosses while leaving the citizens of Boston to debate whether these men are sinners or saints.
The Devil’s Own
Frankie McGuire (Pitt) witnesses his father’s murder as a child and grows up to be a part of the IRA. Later, under the protection of American policeman Tom O’Mara (Ford), Frankie’s past boils to the surface, putting everyone at risk. The movie was criticized for not accurately portraying the conflict in Northern Ireland…but historical accuracy is a small price to pay to gaze upon Ford and Pitt for 111 minutes.
Far and Away
What better way to celebrate St. Pat’s than by witnessing the second film that help forged the marriage of Hollywood heavyweights Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman (after Days of Thunder)? While Ron Howard’s period piece was widely considered to be a contrived cliché, it’s pretty frickin’ Irish. And while Tom and Nicole’s contract would eventually expire, seeing their chemistry for the first time is more magical than a pot of gold at the end of a rainbow. No, really.
Gangs of New York
Martin Scorsese’s 2002 historical drama set in the mid-19th century centers on the rifts between “natives” (those born in America) and the recent flood of Irish immigrants coming to the city. Daniel Day-Lewis and Leonardo DiCaprio are determined to build up New York in the way each sees most fit, meaning one of them has to die. Bloody, brash and tense, Scorsese’s film was nominated for a slew of awards, including Best Picture.
My Left Foot
If you’re looking for a fun drinking game that will keep you sober this St. Patrick’s Day, watch the emotionally gripping tale of Christy Brown (Daniel Day-Lewis), an Irishman born with cerebral palsy, and drink every time you laugh out loud. While you may be scarily sober at the end of the film, you’ll marvel at Day-Lewis’ commitment to his craft, as his powerful performance earned him his first Academy Award for Best Actor.
The 'Leprechaun' Movies
The Leprechaun movies helped launch the career of superstar Jennifer Aniston and taught us all a valuable lesson: Don’t mess with little mythical men searching for their pot (of gold). While all the films are instant classics, our personal favorite is Leprechaun: In the Hood, which stars Ice-T as Postmaster P, the wannabe rap artist who defeats Leprechaun by convincing him to smoke a clove-laced joint. Classic.
P.S. I Love You
What happens when you marry an amazingly hot Irish lad (Gerard Butler) who suddenly dies of a massive brain tumor? Well, you become seriously depressed and withdrawn; but, if you’re Holly (Hilary Swank), you’ll perk up when you start receiving posthumous letters of love and encouragement from your once hot, now dead husband.
The Quiet Man
We’re getting old-school with 1952’s The Quiet Man, starring John Wayne as Sean Thornton, an Irish-born American from Pittsburgh who travels back to the Emerald Isle to reclaim his family’s farm in Innisfree. There he falls in love with the fiery Mary Kate, which becomes tricky when her bitter brother refuses to pay her dowry (see, told you we were getting old school). In true Irish fashion, fists are thrown, drinks are drunk, and the dowry is paid.
Another Academy Award-winning, Irish-laden classic from Scorsese, The Departed is set in the very Irish city of Boston and involves a dangerous game of cat and mouse between two undercover moles: one a mobster who’s infiltrated the Massachusetts State Police and a cop who’s infiltrated the mob. When both sides realize the situation, each man must attempt to discover the other’s true identity before his own cover is blown.
Waking Ned Devine
When a sleepy Irish town discovers that one of their 52 residents is the winner of the National Irish Lottery, two elderly BFFs go to great lengths to root out the winner and cash in on the prize. When they discover the winner, Ned, is dead of shock (with lotto ticket in hand), they devise a plot that will ensure the winnings are divided among the 51 remaining villagers. Nothing's cuter than old villagers--unless it's old Irish villagers.
If you’re looking for an upbeat Irish film to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day, perhaps it’s best to save Angela’s Ashes for March 18th, when you’re hungover and depressed. Based on the Pulitzer Prize winning memoir of the same title, Angela’s Ashes drives home the fact that the only thing worse than growing up poor is growing up poor and Irish-Catholic.