For many people, the way to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day is to drink and hop from one bar or pub to another. But for the non drinkers out there, it can instead be a day to explore Irish history and deck yourself out in layers of four leaf clover-covered clothes and all shades of green. And for everyone, no matter how you prefer to celebrate, watching a good St. Patrick's Day-themed movie or two can be a good way to ring in the holiday.
Spending the day watching Irish movies can be a pretty great way to celebrate the holiday and learn a bit more about everything it stands for. Many of you might already be familiar with some popular Irish-centered films like Leprechaun or Shrek, but there are plenty of other Irish classic movies and documentaries that most people probably haven't seen or, perhaps, even heard of before. The following movies mostly feature Irish central characters, take place in Ireland, or involve Irish culture for the bulk of the film. From narrative live-action movies to documentaries to animated films, each entry on this list will make a perfect addition to your St. Patrick's Day line-up.
Run & Jump
Run & Jump follows the story of the Irish Conor (Edward MacLiam) who struggles with complications in his mental state and his personal life following a stroke. The subject of the film is heavy, but the story will still leave you with a smile on your face, especially when Will Forte shows up as an American doctor who has taken a grant to study the man's heart and psychological condition. This movie is available to watch through the Netflix DVD services.
Secret Of Kells
A young boy in Medieval Ireland must help complete the illustrated Book of Kells to defend his people from Viking raiders. The beautifully animated film was nominated for a Best Animated Feature Oscar in 2009 and is a great family movie to watch on St. Patrick's Day. Plus, it's available to stream on Netflix.
The Irish Pub
The Irish Pub welcomes you into the intimate world of local bars across rural Ireland, and you can watch it on Netflix. The documentary takes viewers on a journey about the history of “publicans,” barkeeps who run the pubs in Ireland and contribute to the vitality of local communities.
The Last Leprechaun
In this movie, siblings must work together to save the last king of the Leprechauns from their soon-to-be stepmother. The story may be silly and simple, but it's full of childhood nostalgia perfect for St. Patrick's Day. Plus it's easily accessible to watch on Amazon or YouTube.
Life's A Breeze
Life's a Breeze is a film with a considerable amount of charm. The movie follows three generations of broke Dubliners: Young Emma (Kelly Thornton), uncle Colm (Pat Shortt), and Nan (Fionnula Flanagan). Nan returns home to find out that her stash of nearly a million Euros has been thrown out along with decades of newspapers, mildewing detective novels, and old furniture. Once they realize their fortune is missing, all of her kids spring into action looking for their inheritance. The movie is available to stream on Netflix.
OK, it's on the list, because everyone loves the friendly ogre Shrek. This movie is perfect for the millennials who want to reminisce about their early childhood and the grown ups who want to sing along to some great tunes. Any one of the Shrek movies is honestly a great pick for St. Patrick's Day, so you can't go wrong. You can stream the whole series on Amazon.
The Quiet Man
Irish-American Sean Thornton (John Wayne) goes to Ireland to claim his family's land. He meets and weds Mary Kate (Maureen O'Hara) and has an epic fistfight with her brother, Victor McLaglen, in this John Ford classic. You can get this movie through Netflix's DVD services to watch just in time for the holiday.
This 1993 comedy-horror is about a man who returns to the U.S. and finds trouble after stealing a pot of gold from a Leprechaun in Ireland. This movie is for those who need a little spook after drinking a lot of Guinness on St. Paddies Day. It's available to stream on Netflix.
Into The West
Gabriel Byrne stars as an Irish traveller raising two young sons after the death of his wife. The boys are fascinated by their grandfather's folk stories and when a mysterious white horse appears, they believe he is the mythical Tír na nÓg. The movie is available to purchase on Amazon.
The Commitments is a comedy about egotism and its social dangers. The main character Jimmy Rabbitte is bored with all of the mundane music acts in Dublin, so he decides to start a soul/funk band. He recruits a group of working class musicians, and with the help of seasoned trumpeter, the group starts to work their way to the top of Ireland’s music scene. You can watch this movie through the Netflix DVD services.
Have fun, be merry, and choose your Irish films wisely for St. Patrick's Day.