by Kev Lewin
As the sun rises on another St Patrick's Day, WENN has decided to honour the Emerald Isle and all things Irish by looking back at the classic movies of Ireland.
From leprechauns and colourful characters to political dramas and violence, Hollywood has had a long and varied history with Ireland.
And countrymen like PETER O'TOOLE, Daniel Day-Lewis, Pierce Brosnan and Liam Neeson have become household movie names around the globe.
Even second-generation Irish stars, like Spencer Tracy and James Cagney, have celebrated their roots, co-founding the Irish Mafia in Tinseltown in the 1930s.
A group of Ireland-loving stars, the Mafia was strictly a social group, which would meet to tell stories and chat about films.
Ironically, many members of the Irish Mafia starred in classic movies set in Ireland or about the island's legends.
Now WENN and website ClassicMovies.org have joined forces with a handful of top film critics to weigh up the movies of the Emerald Isle.
From classics like RYAN'S DAUGHTER and The Quiet Man to modern favourites like The Commitments and My Left Foot, we revisited Hollywood's Irish treats in a bid to come up with a definitive top 10 list.
With a little luck o' the Irish, here's what we came up with:
1. Ryan's Daughter (1970)
Awe-inspiring David Lean film set in Ireland during World War I and featuring stunning performances, capped by John Mills, who won a Best Supporting Actor Oscar for his turn as a mentally-challenged village idiot. The movie also starred Sarah Mills, Trevor Howard and Robert Mitchum.
2. The Quiet Man (1952)
One of the greatest films set in Ireland and one of movie great John Ford's best movies, this features perhaps John Wayne and Maureen O'Hara's most impressive performances. It's a real treat.
3. My Left Foot (1989)
Daniel Day-Lewis stunned cinemagoers with his Oscar-winning portrayal of brave cerebral palsy sufferer Christy Brown, who battled his crippling illness to become an acclaimed artist. Jim Sheridan cemented his reputation as one of Ireland's greatest filmmakers with this inspirational tear-jerker.
4. The Commitments (1991)
One of the classic sleeper hits of modern cinema, Alan Parker's film adaptation of Roddy Doyle's novel about a Dublin soul band became a global sensation. The movie lacked a big-name star but proved that you don't always need Hollywood to make a big hit, just a good story and some powerful songs. Andrew Strong's soulful voice quickly became a talking point as this film took off. Ironically, Strong wasn't even among those initially considered for the film - he landed the part of Deco Cuffe, after showing up at an audition for his father, who was up for a role in the movie.
5. The Luck of The Irish (1948)
The first Hollywood film to deal with leprechauns, this film stars Cecil Kellaway as roly-poly elf Horace, who helps the film's hero, played by silver screen icon Tyrone Power, discover his true values. Not so much about Ireland, but heavy on the spiritual side of Irish life, where family and happiness come before material gain.
6. Darby O'Gill + The Little People (1959)
A wonderful Disney family film with excellent special effects for the time and a pre-Bond Sean Connery.
7. Waking Ned (1998)
Another great sleeper hit about the members of a small Irish village that join forces to collect the lottery winnings of a dead local. More than anything, this film plays on the famous Irish sense of fun, mischief, family and friendship. Another small movie, lacking in Hollywood starpower, Waking Ned featured great performances from TV stars James Nesbitt and David Kelly.
8. In The Name of The Father (1993)
Hard-hitting, tough-to-watch Oscar-nominated movie about a smalltime Belfast thief wrongly convicted for a London bombing. Based on the true story of Gerry Conlon, this Jim Sheridan must-see will be remembered for scenes of Conlon (Daniel Day-Lewis) with his dying father (Pete Postlethwaite), who finds himself falsely implicated in the pub bombing. In every cinema I saw this gripping film, film fans sat in silence for minutes as the end credits rolled.
9. Hear My Song (1991)
Yet another charming sleeper movie all about the myth of reclusive singer Josef Locke, who lived in tax exile in Ireland. Deliverance star Ned Beatty plays a Locke imposter who convinces a hapless promoter that he is the real deal. The film cost less than $2 million to make and was shot in just six weeks - proof again that small can be beautiful!
10. Circle of Friends (1995)
Another charming little film that made the most of English actress Minnie Driver's accent skills. Set in 1950s Ireland, Driver plays lovestruck student Benny Hogan and embarks on a heartbreaking romance with cad-turned-nice guy Jack Foley, played by Chris O'Donnell. Driver put on 30 pounds to play her heavy-set character.
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