Award-Winning Irish Movies
Here's our selection of Irish movies that brought Ireland to international attention, with an honourable mention to the Irish county in which they were set or filmed...
In chronological order
Man of Aran won the 1934 Venice Film Festival Grand Prix. This documentary, filmed in Kilronan, Inis Mór, Co. Galway, presents life on Ireland's Aran Islands, a beautiful, rugged, and remote locale where survival was a constant struggle.
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Ryan's Daughter took home 2 Oscars, a Golden Globe and several other awards in 1971. Set in the wake of the 1916 Easter Rising, we are drawn into a small Irish village where a married woman has an affair with a troubled British officer. Starring Robert Mitchum, this period drama was filmed on the Dingle Peninsula and Dunquin Harbour in Co. Kerry.
My Left Foot won 2 Oscars at the 1990 Academy Awards: Best Actor & Best Supporting Actress. It also won a BAFTA for Best Film and numerous other awards. My Left Foot is a riveting unsentimental bio-drama about Christy Brown who, born with cerebral Palsy in a Dublin slum, went on to become an artist and writer of note. Starring Daniel Day-Lewis, this film was set in Crumlin, Dublin and mostly filmed in Bray, Co. Wicklow.
The Commitments won four BAFTAs including Best Film in 1991. This musical comedy tells the story of a group of working-class youths who form a soul band named "The Commitments". Starring Glasnevin's own Colm Meaney, this film was set and shot in Northside Dublin.
Hear my Song won Best Comedy Film at the 1992 British Comedy Awards and was nominated for a Golden Globe, BAFTA and more. This charming romantic comedy follows the owner of a failing Irish club in Liverpool who seeks Irish singer Josef Locke in order to bring success to his club. Starring Fermanagh's Adrian Dunbar, this rom-com was filmed in Liverpool, and on location in Howth and the Cliffs of Moher.
The Crying Game won an Oscar for Best Original Screenplay and a BAFTA for Best Film in 1993. With the opening scene shot in Laytown Co. Meath, this thriller is mainly set in London against the backdrop of the Troubles in Northern Ireland and stars Stephen Rea and Forest Whittaker.
In the Name of the Father was nominated for 7 Oscars and 4 Golden Globes in 1994, and took home the BAFTA and Golden Bear for Best Film. Starring Daniel Day-Lewis, this biographical film based on the true story of the Guildford Four, features Kilmainham Gaol as the set for Park Royal Prison and other locations in Dublin and Liverpool.
Song for a Raggy Boy won 14 international awards including an IFTA and Golden Swan. This true story of a teacher's courage to stand up against the abuse of children in an Irish industrial school is not an easy watch. Starring Aidan Quinn and set in 1939, this drama was filmed in Ballyvourney, Co. Cork.
In America won the AFI for Best Film and 26 other awards in 2002. A family of Irish immigrants from Dublin adjust to life on the mean streets of Hell's Kitchen while also grieving the death of a child. Directed by Jim Sheridan, this drama features Parnell Street, Dublin as well as NYC.
The Magdalene Sisters won the Golden Lion for Best Film in 2002. It tells a harrowing true story of three young Irish women who struggled to maintain their spirits while enduring dehumanizing abuse as inmates of a Magdalene Asylum. Set Ireland, this drama was actually shot entirely in Scotland.
Bloody Sunday won numerous Best Picture awards (Golden Bear, Sundance 2002, BAFTA 2003). A dramatization of the infamous civil rights protest in Derry that led to the "Bloody Sunday" shootings in 1972. Starring James Nesbitt, this documentary-style drama was filmed on location in Derry~Londonderry and Ballymun, Dublin.
Six Shooter won an Oscar for Best Live Action Short Film in 2006 and several other awards. This black comedy follows a man, whose wife has died that morning, along a train journey where he encounters a strange young oddball. Starring Brendan Gleeson, this comedy features scenery from Co. Wexford and Co. Kilkenny.
The Wind that Shakes the Barley won a Palme d'Or in Cannes and 6 other awards in 2006. It tells the story of two brothers against the backdrop of the Irish War of Independence and the subsequent civil war. Starring Cillian Murphy, this historical drama was filmed in Kilmichael, Co Cork.
Garage won a CICAE Award for excellence at Cannes in 2007 and 11 other international awards. In this tragicomedy, Pat Shortt plays an over-diligent employee of a rural Irish garage whose search for intimacy brings about a life-changing summer. Directed by Dublin's own Lenny Abrahamson, this comedy was set in an unnamed small town in the Irish midlands and filmed in Rathcabbin, Co. Tipperary and Cloghan, Co. Offaly.
Kings was Ireland's official entry for the 2008 Academy Awards for best foreign-language film. It won 5 IFTAs (including Best Irish Language Film) and 4 other international awards. Based on the play 'Kings of Kilburn High Road' a group of Connemara men, who took the boat to London in their youth, reunite at a friend's funeral. Starring Colm Meaney, this drama features scenes from Connemara and London.
Once won an Oscar for Best Original Song in 2008 for the song Falling Slowly. It's a modern-day musical about an Irish busker and a Polish immigrant in Dublin, who write, rehearse and record songs that tell their budding love story. Starring Dublin's Glen Hansard (aka Outspan in The Commitments) this romance was filmed and set in Mountjoy Square, Dublin.
The Shore won an Oscar for Best Short Film in 2011. This uplifting film follows the unexpected reunion of two boyhood pals whose friendship had been shattered during the Troubles. Starring Ciarán Hinds, this film was shot entirely at Coney Island near Ardglass, County Down.
What's YOUR favourite Irish film?
What Irish movie would you recommend for our next Film Club edition?
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