I love holiday-themed movies. I’ll sit down to watch any Christmas film out there, no matter how cheesy, and, every Halloween, I’m first in line for whatever scary dreck any studio managed to push into theaters. (In recent years, this has mostly been the Saw movies. Gross!) So, when I sat down to compose a list of St. Patrick’s Day films, I was surprised to find that I couldn’t think of any. Sure, there are some great scenes in movies that take place on St. Patrick’s Day (remember The Fugitive?), but I couldn’t recall anything that was about the holiday specifically. This surprises me because even Groundhog Day gets its own movie. At the very least, where’s the Rankin & Bass special? No “It’s St. Patrick’s Day, Charlie Brown?”
So here’s a call to all the local filmmakers out there. There’s a need for a great St. Patrick’s Day story. Get out there and tell it.
In the meantime, here are some non-holiday-themed movies that still manage to celebrate the spirit of the Emerald Isle. I tried to stay away from the obvious (The Quiet Man, Darby O’Gill and the Little People, The Secret of Roan Innish, or those dreadful Leprechaun movies). If you’re planning to skip the parades in favor of a quiet film festival, mix some of these into the queue.
An Irish busker meets a woman on the street, and they decide to spend a week in Dublin recording a low-budget, indie demo cd. Performed by real-life musicians, the movie brought home the Oscar for best song. (Those into Irish rock might also enjoy The Commitments.)
Waking Ned Devine
A man in a small, Irish town wins the lottery—then dies of shock. The town bands together to pretend he’s still alive so the money wouldn’t go to waste.
The Wind that Shakes the Barley
This Cannes Palme D’Or winner, directed by the acclaimed Ken Loach, follows two brothers who find themselves fighting on opposite sides during the Irish Civil War. (Fans of beautiful star Cillian Murphy might also like his portrayal of a Dublin loser in Intermission.)
The Brothers McMullen
From Ireland to Irish America, actor Edward Burns’s award-winning debut directorial feature follows three Irish Catholic brothers living on Long Island.
Gangs of New York
Really, anything with Daniel Day-Lewis would work: take your pick. My Left Foot is also a great one. I just chose Gangs of New York because, with Martin Scorsese and Leonardo DiCaprio, there are three people operating at the peak of their creative geniuses instead of one.
Did I miss a super-obvious St. Patrick’s Day movie? Any favorite Irish films? Let me know in the comments.