The Hobbledehoy’s Top 10 Irish Films

By Michael Stevenson

St. Patrick’s Day during a Covid Lockdown requires a good fil-um or three. I’ve seen each of these many times. Which are your favorites?

“Ryan’s Daughter” (1970 David Lean)

– Critics hated it, the cast hated each other. David Lean was so traumatized by the experience, he didn’t make another movie for 15 years. I love every fame, especially the ones featuring the Dingle shore. 

“In Bruges” (2008 Martin McDonough)

– Great performances from Brendan Gleeson, Colin Farrell, and Ralph Fiennes. McDonagh’s dialogue is raw ferfucksake, but very funny and sometimes poetic.

“I Went Down” (1997 Paddy Breathnach)

– This hilarious road movie was my first taste of actor Brendan Gleeson, who might be the best actor in the world.

“The Quiet Man” (1952 John Ford)

– On my first trip to Ireland, a bank teller in Dublin told me I spoke “just like John Wayne.” Though not true, this remains the best compliment I’ve ever had. Bless her.

“The Commitments” (1991 Alan Parker)

– Maybe not the best of Roddy Doyle’s Barrytown Trilogy books (I loved “The Van”), it is certainly the best film adaptation mainly because of the amazing musical performances by a truly great soul band created for the film.  

“The Magdalene Sisters” (2002 Peter Mullen)

– Excellent film on the subject of Catholic Church abuse in Ireland. Be prepared to become very angry.

“In America” (2002 Jim Sheriden)

– Beautiful biographical story of Sheriden’s immigration from Ireland to NY’s Hell’s Kitchen in the sixties. Two sisters age 6 and 11, Emma and Sarah Bolger, acting for the first time, steal the movie.

“Into the West” (1992 Mike Newel)

– Mystical story of Irish gypsies on the run and a magical horse named Tir na Nog. I’ve always liked Gabriel Byrne, too. 

“The Butcher Boy” (1997 Neil Jordan)

An Irish “A Clockwork Orange,” complete with Sinead O’Connor as the Virgin Mary (Sinead sings a great version of the folk song of the title.) Very disturbing.


“Finian’s Rainbow” (1968 Francis Ford Coppolla)
Despite the talents of Fred Astaire, Yip Harburg, and Francis Ford Coppolla – this thing was a mess. Still, worth it if only for Petula Clark who is terrific. How are things in Glocca Mora?


Honorable Mention:
The Guard, Waking Ned Devine, Once, The Field, The Snapper, The Crying Game, My Left Foot, Cal, In the Name of the Father, Secret of Roan Inish, Philomela, The Van, The Boxer, Hear My Song, The General.

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