In celebration of St. Patrick’s Day, watching great movies featuring Irish people, stories, and traditions allows families and friends to imbibe the holiday’s positive and often times magical feel. Most of these Irish movies can have more realistic themes like having Irish blood, Irish gangs, and immigration struggles or romantic and magical themes like Irish love stories, music, food, mythology and folklore, and just about any other film showcasing Irish pride and culture.
The 2006 Irish musical film “Once” written and directed by John Carney is a real-life love story that reaches such a level of magically realistic artistry. Set in Dublin, this naturally paced and acted motion picture masterpiece features the encounter of two struggling souls bound by the music they share. The story revolves around a financially struggling and heartbroken Irish musician and an Eastern European immigrant whose musical roots attempt to lift her up from her family and relationship issues.
The film’s song entitled “Falling Slowly” performed by its stars Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova won an Academy Award in 2008. Amidst its low-budget, independent film look and feel, this musical opus is as great, and perhaps, even more touching than many of its contemporaries, which are typically produced with higher budget and big Hollywood stars. From its emotional music to its inspirational story, everything falls right in place without having to rely on any movie gimmicks. Things just flow so naturally and this film genuinely allows the viewers to relate to its characters in varying levels and circumstances.
Francis Ford Coppola’s 1968 film “Finian’s Rainbow” starring Fred Astaire and Petula Clark features the lovable rouge named Finian who leaves his native Ireland with a pot of gold. The film’s screenplay from E. Y. Harburg and Fred Saidy is based on their 1947 stage musical of the same title. This magical tale about a father and daughter in a new town and how an Irish immigrant works around a leprechaun’s pot of gold received nominations in the Oscars and the Golden Globes. Although this roadshow musical seems to share that “just slightly above average” reviews from both critics and the general audience, it is still an ideal movie to watch on St. Patrick’s Day for its fitting tale showcasing much Irish fantasy and artistic insights.
Those looking for more action and suspense for their St. Patrick’s Day movie can try Martin Scorcese’s Oscar-winning film “The Departed.” Regarded as one of the rare movie remakes to live up to the success of the original, this film comes from the 2004 Hong Kong film “Infernal Affairs.” Released in 2006, “The Departed” features the story of two men from opposite sides of the law. It explores the intertwined lives of criminals, police undercovers, and the Irish Mafia.
The film is set in Boston where Irish Mob boss Francis “Frank” Costello assigns Colin Sullivan as an informant within the Massachusetts State Police, while undercover cop Willian “Billy” Costigan tries to infiltrate Costello’s mafia. It stars a competent ensemble including A-list stars Leonardo DiCaprio, Jack Nicholson, Matt Damon, Mark Wahlberg, Martin Sheen, Ray Winstone, Vera Farmiga, and Alec Baldwin.