It’s fair to say that us Irish are somewhat of a miserable bunch! When pulling this quiz together, I quickly realised that the greatest Irish film of all time would most likely involve depression, murder, poverty or downright misery! But we are without doubt the world leaders in that area and have produced some outstanding performances!
Last week I put out a social media poll asking you to choose the greatest Irish film of all time. We started with 16 and whittled it down to 1 with four rounds. You voted in your hundreds and thanks to you we have really great line up! The below running order is definitely questionable due to the particular vote pairing, but I think the top 4 definitely portray the greatest Irish films of all time.
16. The Butcher Boy
Personally I never understood the hype around this film, but I did expect it to rank further up the list. I guess I’m not alone after all!
15. Cardboard Gangsters
Not a major surprise. A great performance by John Connors, but the film is relatively new and so it was always going to be overtaken by the classics.
14. Sing Street
Definitely not miserable enough for a ‘greatest Irish film’ award, but a decent ranking in the overall line up!
13. In the Name of the Father
This was paired with the overall winner in the first round and otherwise would have ranked higher. Another superb performance by Daniel Day Lewis.
12. Angela’s Ashes
The type of misery you could only ever watch once! A fantastic production but isn’t exactly enjoyable to watch, hence why I’m not surprised it didn’t make the top 10.
11. The Guard
We could not have a greatest Irish film line up without including the fantastic Brendan Gleeson. I was somewhat surprised that this one didn’t make the top 10. I was even more surprised that it was well beaten by number 5 below.
10. War of the Buttons
There was only 1 vote between this classic Irish production and number 8. Some of you love this film so much that you messaged me to complain that it didn’t make it to the next round! A truly great Irish film.
9. The Wind that Shakes the Barley
It is somewhat sinful that this didn’t appear in the top 5 as it almost beat one of the top 2 films in the first round. There is clearly a lot of love for this superb production and the great Cillian Murphy.
8. Into the West
This one was a lovely blast from the past. I have not seen this replayed on Irish television in years but we can all agree that it is a lovely childhood memory. I might even try to dig it out for a watch over the weekend.
7. The Commitments
The musical masterpiece ranked at a very acceptable No.7, being beaten by number 3 below. As I’m writing this I’m singing along to the classic hits!
6. Veronica Guerin
A fantastic performance by Cate Blanchett based on the true life story of the circumstances leading to the death of Veronica Guerin. Just shy of the top 5 but a very respectable position.
There is clearly a lot of love out there for Saoirse Ronan. The film was only released in 2015 so I was shocked that it made it to the top 5, beating many classics. I’ve never seen it but it is definitely on my watch list after this poll.
4. My Left Foot
Both Daniel Day Lewis and Brenda Fricker won Oscars for their incredible performances in My Left Foot and it is without doubt one of the greatest Irish films of all time. It should arguably have finished in the top 2 but it has received very little air time over the past decade.
3. The Snapper
‘Sharon’! The Snapper clearly holds a huge place in your hearts making it to number 3. It was paired with the overall winner below in the semi-final and was only beaten by 2 votes! I’m definitely due a re-watch to remind myself what all the fuss is about!
2. Michael Collins
It is no major surprise that Michael Collins made it to the top 2. Liam Neeson arguably gave him best ever performance in this Oscar nominated production. To be honest, I expected it to take the top spot given how well known and meaningful the film and the true events that it showcases are.
1. The Field
Richard Harris’ portrayal of The Bull McCabe is one of the best performances I have ever seen worldwide. The film is definitely a favourite in every country household in Ireland but I didn’t expect it to rate so highly with urban voters. An outstanding production, a list of outstanding performers and an incredible moving tribute to Irish life and the cultural issues that still consume us today. An all time classic and a very well deserved winner.
I hope that you’ve enjoyed this list. Thanks again so much to everyone that took part. Do you agree with the overall winner? Is there another great Irish classic that is missing from this list? As always I would love to hear from you.
- All views are my own.
- All images have been sourced from IMDB
- At the date of writing I have no paid affiliation with any of the businesses/productions listed above.
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