Photo: Sean Thornton (John Wayne) and Mary Kate Danaher (Maureen O’Hara) statue in Cong, County Mayo
This is just a list so you may or may not agree with these choices. Either way, I welcome your opinions and recommendations.
The Quiet Man (1952):
Directed by John Ford who won his unprecedented 4th Academy Award for Best Director for this classic Irish American film. The cast of John Wayne, Maureen O’Hara, Barry Fitzgerald, Victor Maclachlan, Ward Bond and others is exceptional in this love story about an Irish boxer, Sean Thornton, returning home to the small village of Inishfree from America in hopes of putting his troubled past behind him.
Once follows an Irish musician wannabe, working as a Hoover Vacuum Cleaner Repairman, known as “Guy” and a Czech flower girl known as “Girl,” who meet and bond over their shared passion for music. Over the course of a week, they record a collection of songs about their love story. The music is outstanding with the song “Falling Slowly” winning the Academy Award for Best Original Song. Starring Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova.
The Barrytown Trilogy; The Commitments (1991), The Snapper, and The Van:
Based on the Trilogy written by Roddy Doyle, the initial story, The Commitments, follows a northside Dublin boy, Jimmy Rabbitt, in his efforts to develop a successful Irish Soul band. Jimmy’s father played by Colm Meany steals the show in my opinion. The second 2 books/movies center around Dessie Curley played by Colm Meaney as the father of a young single daughter who gets pregnant. The third movie centers around Larry played by Colm Meaney again who is on the dole and decides to purchase a dilapidated Chipper(French Fries) Van with his friend Bimbo to make ends meet.
In The Name of Thy Father(1993):
Gerry Conlon, played by Daniel Day Lewis, a young Irish man living in London, is wrongly sentenced to life in prison with his father after a 1974 IRA bombing. He spends the next 15 years trying to prove his innocence.
A big budget, epic film about Michael Collins starring Liam Neeson and his efforts to lead a guerilla war against Britain, resulting in the Irish Free State and the Irish Civil War.
The Wind That Shakes The Barley (2006):
Two brothers fight side by side against the British fighting for Irish Independence. After the treaty is negotiated, they find themselves on opposing sides in the Civil War. Starring Cillian Murphy
Waking Ned (Devine) (1998):
When best friends Jackie O’Shea played by Ian Bannen and Michael O’Sullivan played by David Kelly discover someone in their small Irish village has won the lottery, they set off to see if the winner is in a sharing mood. A wonderfully Irish comedy with some hilarious twists and turns.
The Field (1990):
“Bull” McCabe played by Richard Harris has spent 3 decades tending a rented field. When the wealthy widow who owns the plot decides to sell it, she holds an open auction to spite McCabe. A rich American played by Tom Berenger outbids him causing McCabe to scheme to hold on to the land.
Ryan’s Daughter (1970):
An epic film by David Lean, filmed on The Dingle Peninsula, about a married Irish woman who has an affair with a British Officer during WWI, despite moral and political opposition from her neighbors. Starring Robert Mitchum and Sarah Miles.
My Left Foot (1989):
The story of Christy Brown, a young boy growing up in Belfast, who is severely handicapped writer/painter who had cerebral palsy and was able to do this having only the use of his toes in his left foot. Based on his own autobiography. Daniel Day Lewis rightfully is awarded the Academy Award for Best Actor.
There are of course many other great Irish movies so do some research and search for some others if any of these don’t appeal to you.