St. Patrick’s Day calls to mind wearing green, leprechaun symbols, and lots of drinking, but if you’re not feeling like a walking shamrock or getting inebriated, watching an Irish-themed movie provides a more relaxing way to celebrate. Pour yourself a modest pint, sit back, and enjoy one of these 10 picks tailor-made to watch on March 17.
John Wayne and Maureen O’Hara make an enchanting pair in this 1952 classic about an Irish-born American who returns to the Emerald Isle to take control of his family farm — only to fall in love with fiery redhead O’Hara. It won John Ford his fourth Best Director Oscar, and is one of cinema’s all-time best.
Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova — who, at the time of filming, were a real-life couple and musical collaborators — are the romantic center of John Carney’s 2007 indie musical, about a street performer and budding musician who form a duo, and fall in love, in present-day Dublin.
Saoirse Ronan gives arguably 2015’s finest performance as a young Irish woman who travels solo to New York in 1951, only to discover that she has romantic prospects in both Brooklyn and back home, in John Crowley’s superb immigrant drama.
Nine years after Once, John Carney crafted another rollicking musical hit in 2016, this time about a schoolboy who forms a band in 1980s Ireland in order to woo the girl of his dreams.
Still one of modern cinema’s most beloved music-themed movies, Alan Parker’s 1991 Irish crowd-pleaser follows a young Dublin man as he assembles a motley crew of working-class musicians for a boisterous soul band.
The epic saga of a young Irish immigrant who embarks on a mission of revenge against the New York crime boss who killed his father, Martin Scorsese’s long-gestating dream project finally became a reality in 2002 starring Leonardo DiCaprio, Daniel Day-Lewis, and Cameron Diaz.
Waking Ned Devine (Amazon)
A group of Irish friends conspire to trick a claims inspector into thinking that one of their crew is a lottery winner — since the real ticket-holder, their friend Ned Devine, has just died of shock from the news of his good fortune — in this amusing and sweet 1998 import.
Ondine (Tribeca Shortlist – Amazon)
Updating and expanding upon the Irish legend of “The Seal’s Skin,” director Neil Jordan and star Colin Farrell deliver a poignant fable about an Irish fisherman who meets, and falls in love with, a selkie (i.e., a mythic seal that can assume human form).
This off-kilter 2014 comedy about an aspiring songwriter (Domhnall Gleeson) who joins a band stars Michael Fassbender — but you wouldn’t necessarily know it, given that the actor spends the entire film under a gigantic papier-mache mask.
Leap Year (Netflix)
The set-up is right out of Romantic Comedy 101 — a woman travels to Ireland to propose to her boyfriend, only to fall for a dashing local innkeeper — but this 2010 effort stars the irresistibly charming Amy Adams, which means it’s inherently a cut above.
Bonus Pick: ‘In America’:
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