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Irish film has been accumulating international movie awards for drama, comedy and more for some time now. 

While nominations for prestigious awards abound... how many Irish movies have won an Oscar, Golden Globe or BAFTA? Or taken home a coveted Palme D'Or, Golden Bear, or Golden Lion?

Your Irish movie trivia quest ends here...

Best Irish Movies: IrelandXO Flim Club

Award-Winning Irish Movies 

Here's our selection of Irish movies that brought Ireland to international attention, with an honourable mention to the Irish county in which they were set or filmed...

1. Pray for Our Sinners (2023) 

Pray for Our Sinners documents Sinéad O’Shea’s return to her hometown, Navan, to explore the impact of the Catholic Church on the community in decades past. Through first hand testimonies, the film reveals the plight of unmarried mothers; the horrors of mother and baby homes and the prevalence of violence against children in Catholic schools.

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2. The Banshees of Inisherin (2022)

Pádraic Súilleabháin and Colm Doherty are two friends that seem to be at the end of their relationship with each other. The split happens off the coast of Ireland, making for a somber setting to bring a friendship to a close. Seeking to prevent this break-up is Padraic and is his sister, struggling to find common ground with the stubborn Colm. However, there may be a dire consequence that comes from this feuding friendship. Written and directed by Martin McDonagh (Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri), this touching drama stars the talents of Colin Farrell, Brendan Gleeson, Kerry Condon, and Barry Keoghan.

At the 80th Golden Globe Awards, it achieved three wins from eight nominations: Best Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy, Best Actor – Musical or Comedy (Farrell), and Best Screenplay.

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3. The Gaurd (2011)

The film received critical acclaim and was a box office success. Both Gleeson and Cheadle received acclaim for their performances, with Gleeson receiving a Golden Globe Award nomination. McDonagh was in turn nominated for a BAFTA Award for his writing achievement. It is the most successful independent Irish film of all time in terms of Irish box-office receipts, overtaking The Wind that Shakes the Barley (2006).

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4. The Shore (2011)

It won an Oscar for Best Short Film in 2011.  This uplifting film follows the unexpected reunion of two boyhood pals whose friendship had been shattered during the Troubles. Starring Ciarán Hinds, this film was shot entirely at Coney Island near Ardglass, County Down.

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5. Kings (2008)

Ireland's official entry for the 2008 Academy Awards for best foreign-language film. It won 5 IFTAs (including Best Irish Language Film) and 4 other international awards.  Based on the play 'Kings of Kilburn High Road' a group of Connemara men, who took the boat to London in their youth, reunite at a friend's funeral. Starring Colm Meaney, this drama features scenes from Connemara and London.  

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6. Once (2008)

It won an Oscar for Best Original Song in 2008 for the song Falling Slowly. It's a modern-day musical about an Irish busker and a Polish immigrant in Dublin, who write, rehearse and record songs that tell their budding love story. Starring Dublin's Glen Hansard (aka Outspan in The Commitments) this romance was filmed and set in Mountjoy Square, Dublin. 

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7. Garage (2007)

It won a CICAE Award for excellence at Cannes in 2007 and 11 other international awards. In this tragicomedy, Pat Shortt plays an over-diligent employee of a rural Irish garage whose search for intimacy brings about a life-changing summer. Directed by Dublin's own Lenny Abrahamson, this comedy was set in an unnamed small town in the Irish midlands and filmed in Rathcabbin, Co. Tipperary and Cloghan, Co. Offaly


8. The Wind that Shakes the Barley (2006)

One of our favourites, it won a Palme d'Or in Cannes and 6 other awards in 2006. It tells the story of two brothers against the backdrop of the Irish War of Independence and the subsequent civil war. Starring Cillian Murphy, this historical drama was filmed in Kilmichael, Co Cork.

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9. Six Shooter (2006)

It won an Oscar for Best Live Action Short Film in 2006 and several other awards. This black comedy follows a man, whose wife has died that morning, along a train journey where he encounters a strange young oddball. Starring Brendan Gleeson, this comedy features scenery from Co. Wexford and Co. Kilkenny.    


10. Song for a Raggy Boy (2003)

It won 14 international awards including an IFTA and Golden Swan. This true story of a teacher's courage to stand up against the abuse of children in an Irish industrial school is not an easy watch. Starring Aidan Quinn and set in 1939, this drama was filmed in Ballyvourney, Co. Cork

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11. In America (2002)

It won the AFI for Best Film and 26 other awards in 2002. A family of Irish immigrants from Dublin adjust to life on the mean streets of Hell's Kitchen while also grieving the death of a child. Directed by Jim Sheridan, this drama features Parnell Street, Dublin as well as NYC.

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12. The Magdalene Sisters (2002)

It won the Golden Lion for Best Film in 2002. It tells a harrowing true story of three young Irish women who struggled to maintain their spirits while enduring dehumanizing abuse as inmates of a Magdalene Asylum. Set Ireland, this drama was actually shot entirely in Scotland. 

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13. Bloody Sunday (2002)

It won numerous Best Picture awards (Golden Bear, Sundance 2002, BAFTA 2003). A dramatization of the infamous civil rights protest in Derry that led to the "Bloody Sunday" shootings in 1972. Starring James Nesbitt, this documentary-style drama was filmed on location in Derry~Londonderry and Ballymun, Dublin.

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14. The Butcher Boy (1997)

Set in the early 1960s, The Butcher Boy is about Francie Brady (Eamonn Owens), a 12-year-old boy who retreats into a violent fantasy world to escape the reality of his dysfunctional family; as his circumstances worsen, his sanity deteriorates and he begins acting out, with increasing brutality. The film won the Silver Bear for Best Director at the 48th Berlin International Film Festival in 1998 and a Special Mention for Owens "astonishing lead". It also won the European Film Award for Best Cinematographer for Adrian Biddle.

15. In the Name of the Father (1993)

It was nominated for 7 Oscars and 4 Golden Globes in 1994, and took home the BAFTA and Golden Bear for Best Film. Starring Daniel Day-Lewis, this biographical film based on the true story of the Guildford Four, features Kilmainham Gaol as the set for Park Royal Prison and other locations in Dublin and Liverpool. 


16. The Crying Game 1993

It won an Oscar for Best Original Screenplay and a BAFTA for Best Film in 1993. With the opening scene shot in Laytown Co. Meath, this thriller is mainly set in London against the backdrop of the Troubles in Northern Ireland and stars Stephen Rea and Forest Whittaker.

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17. The Commitments (1991)

It won four BAFTAs including Best Film in 1991. This musical comedy tells the story of a group of working-class youths who form a soul band named "The Commitments". Starring Glasnevin's own Colm Meaney, this film was set and shot in Northside Dublin

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18. Hear my Song (1992)

It won Best Comedy Film at the 1992 British Comedy Awards and was nominated for a Golden Globe, BAFTA and more. This charming romantic comedy follows the owner of a failing Irish club in Liverpool who seeks Irish singer Josef Locke in order to bring success to his club. Starring Fermanagh's Adrian Dunbar, this rom-com was filmed in Liverpool, and on location in Howth and the Cliffs of Moher.

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19. Ryan's Daughter (1970)

Ryans Daughter took home 2 Oscars, a Golden Globe and several other awards in 1971.  Set in the wake of the 1916 Easter Rising, we are drawn into a small Irish village where a married woman has an affair with a troubled British officer. Starring Robert Mitchum, this period drama was filmed on the Dingle Peninsula and Dunquin Harbour in Co. Kerry. 


20. Man of Aran (1934)

Man of Aran won the 1934 Venice Film Festival Grand Prix. This documentary, filmed in Kilronan, Inis Mór, Co. Galway, presents life on Ireland's Aran Islands, a beautiful, rugged, and remote locale where survival was a constant struggle.

21. The Field by John B. Keane (1990)

"Bull" McCabe (Richard Harris) has spent three decades tending a rented field on the bluffs by the sea in Ireland. When the wealthy widow who owns the plot decides to sell it, she holds an open auction upon intimidation from Tadgh (Sean Bean) Bull McCabes son. All do not go according to plan when a wealthy american (Tom Berenger) appears at the auction and outbids the The Bull, and all hell breaks loose.


What's YOUR favourite Irish film? 

What Irish movie would you recommend for our next Film Club edition?

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