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Irish Cinema

Feature Films

Many of the following Irish films and films about Ireland may be found in the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh Collections. Additional Irish Films may be requested through the catalog from other Allegheny County public libraries.

Agnes Browne (1999)
Life is hard in the central Dublin neighborhood for the Browne family. And with the unexpected death of her husband, Agnes Browne and her seven children are thrown into emotional turmoil and financial crisis. Based on the novel The Mammy by Brendan O'Carroll.
 
Angela's Ashes
The film version of the Pulitzer Prize winning memoir of life in impoverished Depression-era Ireland by Frank McCourt.
 
The Boxer (1997)
When Danny Flynn (Daniel Day-Lewis) returns to his Belfast neighborhood after 14 years in prison, all he wants is to find peace, resume his career, and reclaim the love of the woman who has remained etched in his mind. As they slowly embrace the possibilities of renewed romance, they realize cultural taboos stand in the way and fighting for love could cost them their lives.
 
Circle of Friends (1995)
Set in Ireland, this is the story of three girls who were friends when growing up. They are reunited in college, and renew their bonds. Based on the novel Circle of Friends by Irish writer Maeve Binchy, the movie stars Minnie Driver and Chris O'Donnell.
 
Cowboys & Angels (2000)
A coming-of-age film about two Irish lads: one straight and one gay.
 
The General (1998)
For twenty years Dublin gangster Martin Cahill eluded capture by the police. Thumbing his nose at authority, Cahill wound up stealing over $60 million until the IRA decided to put him out of business once and for all. See also Ordinary Decent Criminal below for another take on Martin Cahill.
 
The Magdalene Sisters (2002)
In Ireland in the 1960s, four women were sent to the Magdalene Laundries, an institution for "fallen" women, where they will atone for their sins through a regimented life of work and prayer.
 
Michael Collins (1996)
Presents the life of one of the founders of the Irish Republican Army (IRA) whose dreams inspired hope, whose words ingited passion, and whose courage forged a nation's destiny. Stars Liam Neeson.
 
My Left Foot (1989)
Based on the life of Christy Brown, a paraplegic who overcomes his disabilities. Stars Daniel Day-Lewis.
 
Nora (1999)
A terrific story of reknown rebel lovers, James Joyce and Nora Barnacle. Follows the famous literary lovers from the dark streets of Dublin to the sun-kissed Italian coast. Bold, earthy and honest, their volatile sexually-charged relationship broke all social and religious bounds and became the basis for Joyce's masterpiece Ulysses.
 
Omagh (2004)
An examination of the aftermath of the 1998 Real IRA bombing that killed 29 people in Omagh, Northern Ireland. Won the 2004 Irish Film & Television Awards for the Best Irish Film.
 
Ordinary Decent Criminal (1999)
Michael Lynch is a thief, bigamist, liar, and criminal genius who robs from the rich to give to the poor. He has two fundamental beliefs: be loyal to your own and the hell with the establishment. Based on the real-life figure of Dublin gangster Martin Cahill and starring Kevin Spacey. See also The General above.
 
The Quiet Man (1952)
An American prizefighter returns to Ireland in order to forget the past and live peacefully in his village birthplace. He falls in love with the hot-tempered sister of a belligerent neighbor, and trouble ensues over the payment of her dowry. Starring John Wayne and Maureen O'Hara.
 
The Secret of Roan Inish (1995)
A magical tale of a girl whose search for her missing brother brings to life an Irish legend of Selkies (seals that shed their skins to become women). Based on the book "Secret of the Ron Mor Skerry" by Rosalie K. Fry.
 
The Seventh Stream (2001)
A widowed fisherman sees only a grim future until a beautiful and mysterious women he calls Mairead arrives and something magical changes his life. Many Irish legends involve selkies: magical seals that shed their skins on land and become women.
 
Shake Hands with the Devil (1959)
Kerry O'Shea, an Irish-American medical student, finds himself inextricably involved in the war between the IRA and the "Black and Tans" in 1921 Dublin. Based on the novel by Rearden Conner.
 
The Snapper (1993)
Comedy about a close-knit, boisterous Irish family, and the commotion that follows the oldest daughter's announcement that she is pregnant. The whole town is thrown into a tizzy when she refuses to reveal the father's name. Based on the novel The Snapper by Roddy Doyle.
 
This Is My Father (1998)
A period drama about middle-aged schoolteacher Kieran Johnson, who finds evidence indicating that his real father was an Irish farmer and not a French seaman as he had been told.
 
Veronica Guerin (2003)
Veronica Guerin was a relentless crime reporter for The Sunday Independent during the early '90s. Guerin's violent murder in 1996 led to a revision of Ireland's laws and the creation of the Criminal Assets Bureau. Picks up with her pursuit of the underground drug trade in Dublin.
 
Waking Ned Devine (1998)
When Ned Devine dies from shock after winning the lottery, two longtime friends, Michael and Jackie, discover the body and agree Ned would want them to benefit from his good luck. They embark upon an outrageous scheme to claim the ticket, but first they have to get all the townsfolk to go along with their plan.
 

Video Cover images courtesy of Syndetics.

 

Web Sites

  • Irish Film and Television Awards (IFTA)
    Gives out the "Best Irish Film" award. Check here for winners and nominees.
  • The Irish Film Board
    Here you can find the most current Irish films as well as films that didn't make it to the United States.
  • The Irish in Film
    Irishfilm.net has a wonderful collection of annotated films
  • The Irish Screen
    The Irish Screen is a Los Angeles-based nonprofit arts and film organization dedicated to the celebration of the poetry and passion of the Irish Voice in cinema. Their website has a list of Irish films they have presented with annotations and links to further information in the Internet Movie Database.