When it comes to Movies About Ireland, there are many directors who explored this feeling. We gathered 25 of our favorites.
From Jim Sheridan, starring Daniel Day-Lewis, Pete Postlethwaite, Alison Crosbie, Philip King
In the Name of the Father is a 1993 drama directed by Jim Sheridan, based on the true story of the Guildford Four, a group of four innocent men falsely accused of the 1974 Guildford pub bomb attacks in England. Gerry Conlon (Daniel Day-Lewis) is a petty criminal living in London, who is wrongfully convicted of the bombings and sentenced to life in prison. With the help of a lawyer (Emma Thompson), Gerry attempts to prove his innocence, while struggling with the harsh realities of prison life, while also coming to terms with his strained relationship with his father (Pete Postlethwaite). The film culminates in a powerful courtroom scene where Gerry, his father and their lawyer make a successful case to overturn their convictions, and Gerry and his father are reunited after years apart.
From Stanley Kubrick, starring Ryan O'Neal, Marisa Berenson, Patrick Magee, Hardy Krüger
Barry Lyndon tells the story of a young Irishman, Redmond Barry (Ryan O'Neal), who strives to make his way in aristocratic 18th century Europe. After a series of dramatic events, Barry rises from commoner to a nobleman. Along the way, he falls in love with the beautiful Lady Lyndon (Marisa Berenson), whom he eventually marries. Despite his newfound status, Barry continues to display his reckless behavior, eventually leading to his downfall. The film is a sweeping look at 18th century life, showing the high and low points of a man determined to make his own way in a society ruled by social class. Kubrick's sweeping camera work and distinctive style add to the drama of the film, creating a timeless classic.
From Jim Sheridan, starring Daniel Day-Lewis, Brenda Fricker, Alison Whelan, Kirsten Sheridan
My Left Foot is a 1989 biographical drama directed by Jim Sheridan. It stars Daniel Day-Lewis as Christy Brown, an Irishman born with cerebral palsy who, against all odds, learns to paint and write with his left foot. With the help of his mother's unwavering support and determination, Christy eventually rises above his physical disability, and his artwork gains international attention. Despite his inner turmoil, Christy eventually finds love, acceptance and his own unique voice in the world. The film was nominated for five Academy Awards, including Best Picture, and Day-Lewis won the Best Actor award for his performance.
From John Carney, starring Glen Hansard, Markéta Irglová, Hugh Walsh, Gerard Hendrick
Once is an Irish musical romance film directed by John Carney and starring real-life musicians Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova. The story follows an unnamed Irish busker (Hansard) and a young Czech immigrant (Irglova) as they meet, fall in love, and make music together. The two characters are both struggling musicians, and the film follows their journey as they write and perform their original songs. As the two connect, they share a deep connection, and the story follows their journey of artistic and personal growth. Along the way, the two must face their own personal struggles and decide if the bond between them is strong enough to last. Once is a heartwarming story about love and music, and the power of pursuing your dreams. It features an authentic and emotionally charged soundtrack, and won the 2007 Academy Award for Best Original Song for the song "Falling Slowly".
From Damien O'Donnell, starring James McAvoy, Steven Robertson, Romola Garai, Alan King
Rory O'Shea Was Here is a 2004 Irish-British drama film about the friendship between two men with disabilities. Rory (James McAvoy) is a young man with cerebral palsy who has been living in a residential care home. His life changes when he meets Michael (Steven Robertson), a man with severe muscular dystrophy who also lives in the home. With Michael's help, Rory moves out of the home and into an apartment, with Michael as his caretaker. Despite the obstacles they face, the two become close friends, with Michael helping Rory to gain independence and Rory helping Michael to see life beyond his disability. In the end, Rory finds the courage to stand up for himself and for his friendship with Michael.
From John Ford, starring John Wayne, Maureen O'Hara, Barry Fitzgerald, Ward Bond
The Quiet Man is a classic 1952 romantic comedy-drama directed by John Ford. Set in rural Ireland, it stars John Wayne as Sean Thornton, an American who returns to his Irish homeland to claim his family’s farm. He meets Mary Kate Danaher (Maureen O’Hara), the fiery daughter of his neighbor, who he falls in love with. However, her brother won’t give his blessing unless Sean can pay the dowry. After a series of fights, chases and reconciliations, Sean and Mary Kate are finally united and get married. The film is notable for its spectacular Irish scenery, passionate romance, and classic performances.
From Peter Mullan, starring Eileen Walsh, Dorothy Duffy, Nora-Jane Noone, Anne-Marie Duff
The Magdalene Sisters is a 2002 British-Irish drama film written and directed by Peter Mullan. The film portrays the abuse and exploitation suffered by four young women in an Irish Magdalene asylum in 1964. It follows the stories of Margaret, Bernadette, Rose, and Crispina as they struggle to survive the harsh conditions of the asylum. After being wrongly accused of sins such as flirting and having children out of wedlock, the four women must endure neglect, physical abuse, hard labor, and humiliation. Despite the difficult circumstances, they find solace and strength in each other, and ultimately seek a way out of the horrible place by any means necessary. Despite the harsh reality of the film, The Magdalene Sisters is ultimately a story of hope and resilience.
Nora Twomey, starring Evan McGuire, Brendan Gleeson, Mick Lally, Christen Mooney
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The Secret of Kells is an Irish animated fantasy film directed by Tomm Moore and Nora Twomey. Set in medieval Ireland, the film follows a young boy named Brendan, the nephew of a master illuminator. Brendan is tasked with helping his uncle complete a magical book called The Book of Kells to protect their village from the Viking hordes. Along the way, he meets a forest spirit, Aisling, who helps him on his quest and teaches him about the power of imagination. The film is an adventure story about faith, courage and the power of creativity, told through the eyes of the young boy.
From Alan Parker, starring Robert Arkins, Michael Aherne, Angeline Ball, Maria Doyle Kennedy
The Commitments is a 1991 musical-drama comedy film directed by Alan Parker. Set in Dublin, Ireland in the early 1990s, the film follows Jimmy Rabbitte (Robert Arkins) and his merry band of young musicians, "The Commitments," as they attempt to form the world's greatest soul band and make it big. The group comes together in a haphazard fashion, with Jimmy enlisting a motley crew of pub musicians, including a cantankerous lead singer (Andrew Strong), a saxophone player (Johnny Murphy), a keyboard player (Felim Gormley) and a host of other colorful characters. Despite their differences, the band members bond over a shared love of soul music and work to record an album of classic cover songs from the 1960s. The film follows their struggles and successes as they try to make it in the competitive music industry. Along the way, they also learn important lessons about friendship, loyalty and perseverance as they strive to make their dreams a reality.
From Paul Greengrass, starring James Nesbitt, Tim Pigott-Smith, Nicholas Farrell, Allan Gildea
Bloody Sunday is a 2002 docudrama directed by Paul Greengrass and written by Greengrass and Jim Sheridan. Set in Derry, Northern Ireland on 30 January 1972, the film depicts the violence that ensued when a peaceful march by Irish nationalists was fired upon by British troops, resulting in the deaths of 14 people. The film follows the testimonies of the participants and survivors of the event, as well as the British military, in order to provide an objective view of the massacre and its aftermath. It also examines the political context of the time and how it led to the events of that day. The film culminates with an emotional recreation of the march and its chaotic and tragic conclusion.
From Ken Loach, starring Cillian Murphy, Pádraic Delaney, Liam Cunningham, Orla Fitzgerald
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The Wind that Shakes the Barley is a 2006 British-Irish historical drama film directed by Ken Loach, set during the Irish War of Independence (1919–1921) and the Irish Civil War (1922–1923). The film tells the story of two brothers, Damien O'Donovan (Cillian Murphy) and Teddy O'Donovan (Pádraic Delaney), who join the Irish Republican Army to fight for Irish independence from the United Kingdom. The film explores the complex and painful issues of loyalty, love, loss, and revenge during the conflict. The brothers are forced to make difficult decisions about where their own personal loyalties lie – with their family, their country, or each other. The film is an exploration of the complexities of the Irish struggle for independence and the cost of war on individuals.
From Steve McQueen, starring Stuart Graham, Laine Megaw, Brian Milligan, Liam McMahon
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Hunger is a 2008 British historical drama film directed by Steve McQueen and written by Enda Walsh. The film tells the story of the 1981 Irish hunger strike, led by Bobby Sands, as he leads a protest against the criminalization of Irish Republican Army (IRA) prisoners. It portrays a brutal reenactment of the hunger strike and the difficult decisions that Bobby and his supporters must make as the strike wears on. The film is also a commentary on the human cost of political violence and its effects on both the participants and the public. As the strike progresses, Bobby's health and determination deteriorate, eventually leading him to make the ultimate sacrifice. The film was both critically acclaimed and a financial success, having been nominated for the Palme d'Or at the 2008 Cannes Film Festival and grossing nearly $7 million worldwide.
From John Crowley, starring Saoirse Ronan, Emory Cohen, Domhnall Gleeson, Jim Broadbent
Brooklyn is a romantic drama set in the 1950s about a young Irish woman named Eilis Lacey (Saoirse Ronan). After leaving her small town in Ireland for a better life and more opportunities in the United States, she quickly adapts to her new home in Brooklyn. She finds a job, makes friends, and falls in love with an Italian American man named Tony (Emory Cohen). However, a family tragedy forces Eilis to return to Ireland, where she must choose between the life she's left behind and the one she's found in Brooklyn. With help from her supportive sister, Eilis must come to terms with her past and decide where her future lies.
From John Ford, starring Victor McLaglen, Heather Angel, Preston Foster, Margot Grahame
From Kirk Jones, starring Ian Bannen, David Kelly, Fionnula Flanagan, Susan Lynch
From John Michael McDonagh, starring Brendan Gleeson, Don Cheadle, Mark Strong, Ronan Collins
From Alan Parker, starring Emily Watson, Robert Carlyle, Joe Breen, Ciaran Owens
From Lance Daly, starring Kelly O'Neill, Shane Curry, Paul Roe, Roy Dempsey
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From Neil Jordan, starring Cillian Murphy, Morgan Jones, Eva Birthistle, Liam Neeson
From Neil Jordan, starring Stephen Rea, Jaye Davidson, Forest Whitaker, Miranda Richardson
From John Boorman, starring Brendan Gleeson, Adrian Dunbar, Sean McGinley, Maria Doyle Kennedy
From Stephen Frears, starring Colm Meaney, Tina Kellegher, Ruth McCabe, Eanna MacLiam
From Neil Jordan, starring Liam Neeson, Aidan Quinn, Julia Roberts, Ian Hart
From Robert Stevenson, starring Albert Sharpe, Janet Munro, Sean Connery, Jimmy O'Dea
From Richard LaGravenese, starring Hilary Swank, Gerard Butler, Harry Connick Jr., Lisa Kudrow