POSTED March 16 2013

Irish eyes on film

Daniel Day-Lewis as Christy Brown in "My Left Foot"

Daniel Day-Lewis as Christy Brown in “My Left Foot”

To honor the saint’s day of Patrick, lift a glass of (Irish) whiskey to one of these classics celebrating his homeland and its immigrants.

Man of Aran (1934), Robert Flaherty’s vision of the man and the sea, with real-life islanders toughing out the elements and reviving the obsolete practice of harpoon fishing.

Odd Man Out (1947) Carol Reed’s suspenseful story tracks the manhunt for an Irish rebel leader. Starring James Mason.

The Quiet Man (1952) John Ford’s elemental tale of an Irish-American boxer (John Wayne) who returns to the old country and spars lovingly with a native lass (Maureen O’Hara).

The Dead (1987) James Joyce’s elegiac short story, set in 1904, is the basis of John Huston’s final film which quietly inches from social panorama to extreme closeup of characters played by Anjelica Huston and Donal McCann.

My Left Foot (1989) Daniel Day-Lewis won his first Oscar for his poignant portrait of Christy Brown, the artist/writer who persevered through cerebral palsy. Directed by Jim Sheridan.

The Commitments (1991)  This disarming celebration of “Dublin soul” focuses on a music promoter who puts together a band of hardscrabble musicians to sing rhythm-and-blues song. Directed by Alan Parker and based on the novel by Roddy Doyle. (Glen Hansard appears as a guitarist).

The Snapper (1993) Likewise based on a Doyle novel and directed by Stephen Frears,  the uproarious story of a father (Colm Meany) and daughter (Tina Kellegher) who manage her unplanned pregnancy.

Waking Ned Devine (1998) Kirk Jones’ story of a winning lottery ticket and winning villagers — including Ian Bannen and Fionnula Flanagan — who contrive to distribute the wealth in their tiny town.

In America (2003) Jim Sheridan’s deeply affecting (and semiautobiographical) portrait of an Irish family living in Hell’s Kitchen circa 1983 is a neorealist fairytale. With Samantha Morton, Paddy Considine and Djimon Hounsou.

Once (2007) John Carney’s lovely story about a Dublin busker (Glen Hansard) enhanced by an immigrant woman (Marketa Irglova) he meets on the street.

As you can see, my favorite Irish filmmaker is Jim Sheridan. Yours? Which movies would you nominate?



  1. Quora says:

    What movie or movies would you choose to best honor St. Patrick’s Day?…

    Some suggestions in this link:

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