Five must-watch Irish films and where to watch them - including Calvary

These are some of the greatest films to ever emerge from Ireland.
Brendan GleesonBrendan Gleeson
Brendan Gleeson

It's St Patrick's Day on Sunday - a time that we traditionally celebrate everything Irish, from Guiness to shamrocks.

So what better time to enjoy a film set in the country? Here are five of the best.

Calvary (Now Cinema)

Hide Ad

The McDonagh brothers have made some of the most blackly comic films or recent times. Directed by John Michael McDonagh, this tells the story of Father James, played by Brendan Gleeson, who receives a death threat during confession - revenge for the man's abuse at the hands of another deceased priest. As ever with the McDonaghs, it's funnier than it sounds.

The Banshees of Inisherin (Disney+)

Another McDonagh film, this one is directed, produced and written by younger brother Martin. Brendan Gleeson stars alongside Colin Farrell (reunited for the first time since McDonagh's much-loved debut In Bruge) as a pair of lifelong friends on a remote Irish island who suffer an extreme, and one-sided, end to their relationship. It was nominated for nine Oscars but failed to win a single one.

Once (Amazon, rent from £4.49)

John Carney wrote and directed this magical musical romance about two struggling musicians in Dublin. It benefits from the casting of real-life folk duo Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova, who perform as The Swell Season. They wrote all the original songs for the film, with Falling Slowly winning an Academy Award for Best Original song. Not bad for a film that cost less than £100,000.

The Commitments (DVD)

The first part of Roddy Doyle's Barrytown Trilogy, this film by Alan Parker has become a cult classic since its release in 1991. Set in Dublin, it follows a young man recruiting musicians to perform in the band which gives the film its title. The killer soundtrack went multi-platinum, while the film won four BAFTAs, including for Best Film and Best Director.

The Quiet Girl (BFI Player)

This tearjerker coming-of-age drama made history as the first Irish language film to be shortlisted for the Oscar for Best International Feature. It sees a neglected nine-year-old girl shipped off to spend a summer with distant relatives on a farm in County Waterford. Experiencing love for the first time, she begins to come out of her shell. The final shot is as heartbreaking as it is beautiful.

Related topics:



Want to join the conversation? Please or to comment on this article.