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Five Great Movies to Watch on St. Patrick’s Day

Five Great Movies to Watch on St. Patrick’s Day

Sláinte agus táinte!

Today is St. Patrick’s Day. If you don’t have plans to go out for a pint tonight, you may want to just watch a movie at home. There are lots of great films that would fit this list but I’m limiting it to five of my favorites.

All of these films are available on Netflix so pick up some Guinness on the way home, I recommend pub draft in cans, and watch a movie.

5. The Quiet Man

This 1952 classic stars John Wayne as Sean Thornton, an American ex-fighter who moves to Ireland in hopes of reclaiming a family farm. He falls in love with a local woman played by Maureen O’Hara. They marry but the honeymoon is cut short as Thornton finds himself caught in a feud between his new wife and her brother.

There are plenty of funny moments along with a great love story and a drunken brawl to boot. It won two academy awards for direction and cinematography. The film is unrated and is safe fun for the whole family.

4. The Field

This sleeper from 1990 stars Richard Harris as Bull McCabe, whose family has cared for a field for generations. When an American man shows up in the village and wants to buy the field, things go downhill quickly.

The story explores very serious themes of family, religion, cultural divides and crime. It’s rated PG-13 but isn’t a good pick for kids. It’s also not the movie to watch if you need cheering up.

However, Harris and the rest of the cast turn in top notch performances. It’s also a brilliantly crafted story based on a play of the same name by Irish playwright John B. Keane.

3. The Commitments

This 1991 comedy centers around a group of working class friends in Dublin who form a soul band.The ensemble cast is great. There are plenty of laughs and the songs – while not Irish – are outstanding as well.

This is an excellent choice if you’re looking for something fun. Rated R for strong language.

2. Angela’s Ashes

Angela’s Ashes is a 1999 film adaptation of a memoir by Frank McCourt. It follows his family’s life from extreme poverty in the slums of Limerick to his eventual chance for a better life.

Along the way, we see the departure of his alcoholic father and the struggle of his mother to hold their family together. Be forewarned, this is not a happy movie. It is however a well made film which offers an honest depiction of life among the poor in 20th century Ireland. Rated R for nudity, adult themes and language.

1. Waking Ned Devine

This 1998 comedy is set in a tiny Irish village which attempts to cash in on a lottery ticket when the ticket’s original buyer is found dead from the shock of winning.

Lots of laughs ensue in the process. It’s a fun story of community and family as well. Rated PG.

If I left out one of your favorite Irish films, leave your title in a comment.

Otherwise, have a happy and safe St. Patrick’s Day!

Featured image via YouTube.


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filiusdextris | March 17, 2017 at 8:27 am

My favorite Disney movie, and one of my top 10 of all time, is Darby O’Gill and the Little People. It stars a very young Sean Connery, Janet Munro, and Albert Sharpe as they match wits with the king of the leprechauns. So much blarney, good music, grand effects, tales of death and gold and love. (VUDU has on sale today for $9 in HD)

Beannachtai na Feile Padraig oraibh!

Happy Saint Patrick’s Day!

My parents were born and raised in Ireland and I consider myself lucky to have two cultures, American and Irish.

The first Saint Paddy’s Day I spent in Ireland was in 1976. Nothing compared to the big parties here. The parade had more Americans than Irish (I think the NYPD and Boston PD were seriously undermanned that day) and, instead of tying one on, my aunt informed me that I was to go to church not once, but TWICE. I gave in mostly because I adored her and what dear old Annie wanted, Annie got.

Of course, Ireland has followed the ways of the USA and today is a big drunk fest over there.

My recommendations for some excellent Irish films (pronounced fill-ums by the Irish doncha know) would be The Wind That Shakes the Barley and Ryan’s Daughter.

The first for its depiction of the finally successful after 700 years War of Independence. Common men in an uncommon struggle and the pain they endured to free Ireland. It depicts my grandparents’ generation.

Ryan’s Daughter because it was one of my Mayo born mother’s favorites. I would say mostly for the locations which made her pine for the wild country of Connacht. Wonderful locales.

And let’s not forget Michael Collins with Liam Neeson. As a quick aside, my grandmother was a Kiernan and the family legend is that we are related to Kitty Kiernan, Collins’ lover. Of course, that really holds water about as much as Lizzie Warren’s claim that she is Native American, but it’s fun to kick the idea around.

“Finian’s Rainbow.” A musical directed by Francis Ford Cappola (yes, really).

Would add:

Catholics (1973) – Martin Sheen, Trevor Howard.

A Prayer For The Dying (1987) – Mickey Rourke, Bob Hoskins

Maybe The Informer (1935). Victor McLaglin, directed by John Ford. Depressing, diffuse, and clumsy—definitely not one of the greats—but at least it’s intimately concerned with an almost uniquely Irish problem.

    tom swift in reply to tom swift. | March 17, 2017 at 1:11 pm

    And, in similar vein (i.e., not exactly a “party” movie), The Hard Way (1979, made-for-TV). Patrick McGoohan and Lee Van Cleef—what could go wrong? (Right, that’s what they said about Lee Marvin and Clint Eastwood … in Paint Your Wagon). A “collector’s item” for years; meaning, bloody hard to find (but re-released right after McGoohan’s death). And some pretty cool solo Irish violin music by Tommy Potts (who IMDB lists as “uncredited”, although he does appear in the film’s credit rollout).

      Tom Servo in reply to tom swift. | March 17, 2017 at 1:31 pm

      One of the funniest comments I ever heard about “Paint Your Wagon” was “watch Clint Eastwood anytime he sings – he always looks like he’s scanning the horizon for enemy aircraft.”

      I watched it after hearing that, and it’s true!

      NavyMustang in reply to tom swift. | March 17, 2017 at 9:06 pm

      Patrick McGoohan lived for a few years at least near my father’s homeplace in County Leitrim. My aunt used to tell us that she “babysat” (for want of a better word) him. He used to come back to the community for funerals and the like as an adult. Even though he had no brogue, to me he had a very Irish way about him. He also always spoke warmly of his time in Leitrim.

Glad you put in “The Quiet Man” – to me, that is the quintessential John Wayne film, even though it is much different in tone than his work in westerns. Fans of John Ford will recognize a host of Ford regulars making up the cast of the Quiet Man, and Maureen O’Hara sparkles in what may be her best performance.

One amusing note from the Wiki stub about John Ford and the studio: “One of the conditions that Republic placed on Ford was that the film run under two hours. However, the finished picture was two hours and nine minutes. When screening the film for Republic executives, Ford stopped the film at approximately two hours in, on the verge of the climactic fistfight. Republic executives relented and allowed the film to run its full length.”

    tom swift in reply to Tom Servo. | March 17, 2017 at 1:09 pm

    Unfortunately The Quiet Man is one of the movies I thought Ford ruined, in a Disney/Spielberg sort of way, when his technical manipulation became too obvious to ignore. Once noticed, it’s as obvious as if Leonardo had painted Mona Lisa with a big yellow smiley face. At some point, it becomes too difficult for the audience to go along with that whole “illusion of reality” thing, which is what makes movies, well, movies, rather than mere light shows.

    And, for those who haven’t noticed what I’m going on about, I won’t say. If you haven’t noticed, go ahead and enjoy the movie.

      harkin in reply to tom swift. | March 17, 2017 at 5:54 pm

      Lighten up Francis, everyone saw Duke’s toupee slip a few times.

      One thing I especially like about TQM is that Ford had Maureen O’Hara whisper “I’ll be wanting the penis now” in Duke’s ear for the last shot.

All those movies are fine and dandy for the elders but it’s a good night to watch either The Boondock Saints, or In the Name of the Father.

I like The Secret of Roan Inish.