Irish cinema has produced some of the world’s best actors and actresses and some absolutely fantastic films. Check out our list of the best Irish movies of all time, which also includes categories like mob, romance, comedy, horror, Irish folklore and more! Prepare to enjoy films across a wide variety of genres which feature Irish history, actors, stories, and stunning landscapes.
Best Irish Movies of All Time
The biographical drama In the Name of the Father is set in England and stars Daniel Day-Lewis, Pete Postlethwaite, and Alison Crosbie. The story follows Gerry Conlon, a petty thief who gets wrongfully blamed and imprisoned for an IRA bombing at a pub in Guildford, England. His forced confession results in his father joining him in prison, and an English lawyer fights to have them released.
IMDb 8.1 | 2h 13min | 1993 | English
2. My Left Foot
My Left Foot is a biographical drama starring Daniel Day-Lewis, Brenda Fricker, and Alison Whelan. The film recounts the story of Christy Brown, a man born into a large, impoverished Irish family who is diagnosed with cerebral palsy. Regarded by everyone as nothing more than a vegetable, his mother recognizes his intellect and talent and he learns to write and paint using his left foot.
IMDb 7.9 | 1h 43min | 1989 | English
Set in Dublin, Ireland, Once is a dramatic music/romance film starring Glen Hansard, Markéta Irglová, and Hugh Walsh. The movie recounts the story of a man who repairs vacuums by day and is a street musician by night, hoping to make it big. One day, he’s approached by a Czech immigrant who tells him she would like to collaborate with his music. Together, they create songs that reflect their budding romance.
IMDb 7.8 | 1h 26min | 2007 | English; Czech
Bloody Sunday is a historical war drama set in Derry, a town in Northern Ireland, starring James Nesbitt, Tim Pigott-Smith, and Nicholas Farrell. The film follows the story of Ivan Cooper, an Irish civil rights activist who led a protest march through Derry on January 30, 1972. British troops shot at the protestors, killing 13 people and wounding another 14. The film recounts the dramatic true events documentary-style.
IMDb 7.6 | 1h 47min | 2002 | English
The dramatic war film The Wind that Shakes the Barley is set in Ireland during the 1920s War of Independence and stars Cillian Murphy, Pádraic Delaney, and Liam Cunningham. The movie tells the story of two brothers, Damien and Teddy, who decide to join the Irish Republican Army and take up arms against the British forces. However, when the war ends, the brothers find themselves on opposite sides.
IMDb 7.5 | 2h 7min | 2006 | English; Irish; Latin
Best Irish Mob movies
1. The Departed
The Departed is a dramatic crime thriller set in South Boston starring Leonardo DiCaprio, Matt Damon, and Jack Nicholson. The film follows the story of the South Boston police force as they attempt to take down the Irish-American mob in their city. When police officer Billy Costigan goes undercover to infiltrate the city’s biggest gang, gang member Colin Sullivan infiltrates the police force and the two must figure out the identity of the other.
IMDb 8.5 | 2h 31min | 2006 | English; Cantonese
Miller’s Crossing is a dramatic crime thriller set in New Orleans starring Gabriel Byrne, Albert Finney, and John Turturro. The film tells the story of an Italian mob boss who plans to murder a corrupt bookie, but Irish mob boss Leo O’Bannen won’t allow it as he’s secretly dating the bookie’s sister. As the drama builds, a gang war over liquor distribution intensifies.
IMDb 7.8 | 1h 55min | 1990 | English; Italian; Irish; Yiddish
The dramatic crime thriller Road to Perdition stars Tom Hanks, Tyler Hoechlin, and Rob Maxey and is set in the Chicago area in 1931 during the Great Depression. The film tells the story of a mob enforcer, John Rooney, and his son, Connor. When Connor witnesses his father committing a murder, the rest of the Rooney family is murdered to tie up loose ends. Father and son go on the run, seeking vengeance.
IMDb 7.7 | 1h 57min | 2002 | English
Best Irish Horror movies
Byzantium is a dramatic fantasy horror film starring Saoirse Ronan, Gemma Arterton, and Sam Riley. Set in a small coastal town in the United Kingdom, two mysterious women hiding a lethal secret take refuge at a run-down resort. As people in the town discover that they are vampires on the run from another vampire clan, the women must do what they can to survive.
IMDb 6.5 | 1h 58min | 2012 | English
Grabbers is an action adventure comedy film set on an island off the coast of Ireland starring Killian Coyle, Stuart Graham, and Michael Hough. The movie centers on a group of bloodsucking aliens that invade the island and the heroes that must rescue it. It is discovered that getting drunk is the only way to fend off the aliens and survive.
IMDb 6.3 | 1h 34min | 2012 | English
3. A Dark Song
The dramatic fantasy horror film A Dark Song stars Steve Oram, Catherine Walker, and Susan Loughnane. When Sophia Howard rents a haunted house in Wales, she hires Joseph Solomon to connect her with the supernatural so that she can contact her son who had been kidnapped and murdered. Joseph gives Sophia rituals to purify her soul, but her hidden agenda puts them both at risk.
IMDb 6.1 | 1h 40min | 2016 | English; French; German
Best Irish Romance Movies
The dramatic romantic comedy The Quiet Man stars John Wayne, Maureen O’Hara, and Barry Fitzgerald. The movie takes place in a small village in Ireland, the birthplace of American Irish boxer, Sean Thornton. When Sean returns home to Ireland to escape his past, he falls in love with a local girl, Mary Kate Danaher. Mary Kate’s hot headed brother tries to keep Sean and his sister apart, while Sean’s dark past looms in the background.
IMDb 7.8 | 2h 9min | 1952 | English; Irish
The romantic drama Brooklyn is set in Brooklyn, New York and stars Saoirse Ronan, Emory Cohen, and Domhnall Gleeson. The film follows the story of Eilis Lacey who immigrates to Brooklyn from Ireland and creates a new life for herself in America, falling in love with a local Italian man. When she gets word that her sister has passed away, she returns to visit Ireland and is torn between her old life and her new one.
IMDb 7.5 | 1h 57min | 2015 | English; Latin; Irish
The dramatic romantic comedy P.S. I Love You stars Hilary Swank, Gerard Butler, and Harry Connick Jr. The story follows Holly, an American woman whose Irish husband, Gerry, passes away from illness and leaves her 10 letters to help her move on with her life after his death. Each letter takes her on a journey, part of which brings her to Ireland. As she receives each letter, she becomes more at ease with his passing.
IMDb 7.0 | 2h 6min | 2007 | English
Best Irish Drama Movies
Set in Dublin, Ireland, the dramatic musical comedy The Commitments stars Robert Arkins, Michael Aherne, and Angeline Ball. The film tells the story of Jimmy Rabbitte who dreams of creating the “world’s hardest working band” and decides to hold auditions at his house. The results are a band called The Commitments. As the band’s big show draws closer, fame threatens to tear their friendship apart.
IMDb 7.6 | 1h 58min | 1991 | English; Irish
The biographical dramatic thriller Michael Collins starring Liam Neeson, Aidan Quinn, and Julia Roberts is set in the early 20th century during Ireland’s fight for independence from the British. The story follows Michael Collins who leads the Irish Republican Army (IRA) in a bloody battle against the British forces. When Michael fears that the British will defeat his revolution, he brokers a peace treaty, which the IRA regards as traitorous.
IMDb 7.2 | 2h 13min | 1996 | English
Set in a Northern Irish prison, the biographical drama Hunger stars Stuart Graham, Laine Megaw, and Brian Milligan. The film tells the story of Bobby Sands, an Irish republican, who incites a hunger strike for the inmates of the Northern Irish prison in which he is an inmate. The movie takes a close look at what happens when the human body and mind are pushed to their absolute physical boundaries.
IMDb 7.6 | 1h 36min | 2008 | English; Irish
Best Irish Comedy Movie
1. Sing Street
Set in Dublin in the 1980s, Sing Street is a dramatic musical comedy starring Ferdia Walsh-Peelo, Aidan Gillen, and Maria Doyle Kennedy. The film follows the story of Conor, a young boy who has just started at a new public school. Conor tries to escape the troubles of his tense family life by starting a band, with hopes of impressing the mystifying girl he has a crush on.
IMDb 7.9 | 1h 46min | 2016 | English; French; Latin
Best Irish Folklore Movie
Set on Ireland’s Dingle Peninsula, Song of the Sea is an animated adventure drama starring David Rawle, Brendan Gleeson, and Lisa Hannigan. The film tells the story of Saoirse, a young mute girl who is the last of the selkies, meaning that she has the ability to transform into a seal. Saoirse and her brother go on an adventure to free the fairies of the supernatural world and find her voice along the way.
IMDb 8.1 | 1h 33min | 2014 | English; Irish
Ireland has produced a fantastic array of films in genres ranging from horror to mob to romance. We hope our list of the Best Irish Movies of All Time will help you to experience the very best that Irish cinema has to offer! From the vast Irish landscapes to the emotional and sometimes twisted plotlines, you’re sure to enjoy your time spent diving into these films!