If you’ve never been to Ireland (I have and loved it), then these 10 movies will give you a thirst for Guinness Beer and a craving for corned beef, cabbage, and potatoes. Pull out this list for March 17th on St Patrick’s Day, or anytime you get a wistful hankering for the sights and sounds of the old Emerald Isle.
(Not listed in any special order, ye lads and lasses.)
Angela’s Ashes (1999)
IMDB score: 7.3
This Oscar nominated movie, filmed in County Cork, Ireland, is based on the best selling autobiography by Frank McCourt, an Irish expat whose family tries against all odds to escape the poverty in the slums of Limerick.
Far and Away (1992)
IMDB score: 6.6
This movie, filmed in Dublin, Ireland, and starring Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman, tells the story of two young people in Ireland who wish to travel to America and take part in the Oklahoma land rush.
The Quiet Man (1952)
IMDB score: 7.8
This two-time Oscar-winner tells the story of a boxer who returns to his place of birth, Ireland, to escape his past. A true classic, The Quiet Man starred John Wayne and Maureen O’Hare, and was directed by John Houston, for which he won a Best Director Oscar. The movie is most notable for the lush photography of the Irish countryside.
IMDB score: 7.4
Oscar-nominated Excalibur, starring Patrick Stewart, Helen Mirren and Liam Neeson is a bona fide fantasy-action cult classic.
Filmed entirely in Ireland, including Derrynane in County Kerry, situated between County Cork and County Limerick. Killarney, the county seat, is one of Ireland’s most famous tourist destinations.
Song of the Sea (2014)
IMDB score: 8.1
Even though this is an animated film, it deserves a place on this list. The movie doesn’t necessarily show us the actual beauty of Ireland, but it lets us feel the spirit embedded in the ancient folklore of the Emerald Isle.
Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince (2009)
IMDB score: 7.6
As with many other movies, this Harry Potter flick was filmed partially in Ireland, using the ominous Cliffs of Moher as exterior shots of the Horcrux Cave.
Reign of Fire (2002)
IMDB score: 6.2
Reign of Fire, starring Matthew McConaughey and Christian Bale, is a sci-fy film about a brood of fire-breathing dragons who emerge from the earth and begins setting everything on fire, establishing dominance over the planet.
The film was filmed entirely in Wicklow Mountains, the largest continuous upland area in the Republic of Ireland.
My Left Foot (1989)
IMDB score: 7.9
This two-time Oscar-winning movie starring Daniel Day-Lewis and Brenda Fricker, both of whom won Oscars for their roles, tells the story of an Irishman, Christie Brown — who was born with cerebral palsy — learns to paint and write with his only controllable limb…his left foot.
The movie was filmed in County Wicklow Ireland, the filming site of numerous other films.
The Princess Bride (1987)
IMDB score: 8.1
A real family-favorite, a swashbuckling fantasy-comedy-satire winner, The Princess Bride has been voted as one of the greatest films of all time. The film’s vertigo-inducing Cliffs of Insanity were actually the Cliffs of Moher, one of Ireland’s most visited natural attraction. (Same place as the Horcrux cave in Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince.)
Leap Year (2010)
IMDB score: 6.5
Amy Adams stars in this charming travel movie about a young American woman travels to Dublin, Ireland to propose to her boyfriend who — by Irish tradition — cannot refuse the proposal.
Principal photography took place in County Wicklow, Dublin, County Mayo, and County Galway.
The one thing I might criticize the filmmakers for is not highlighting the co-star of the movie more: the Irish countryside. There were plenty of wide shots where we get to see the splendid landscape, but it didn’t seem that any effort was made to really feature it in a cinematic way.
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