• Kelly Reilly and Brendan Gleeson in 'Calvary' (2014) (SBS Movies)Source: SBS Movies
Get in the St. Patrick's Day spirit with this collection of movies that celebrate Irish culture.
SBS Movies

16 Mar 2016 - 5:35 PM  UPDATED 17 Mar 2017 - 3:32 PM

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Ireland, UK, 2014
Genre: Comedy, Drama
Language: English
Director: John Michael McDonagh
Starring: Brendan Gleeson, Kelly Reilly, Chris O'Dowd
What's it about?
Brendan Gleeson is magnetic in Calvary, his second movie with director John Michael McDonagh after The Guard (also available at SBS On Demand -see below). He gives a complex and soulful performance as good-natured priest Father James Lavelle, who is intent on making the world a better place, but is continually disappointed by the inhabitants of his small village. One day, when his life is threatened during a confession, the priest decides it's time to fight back against the dark forces around him. A caustic and sharply written gem, supported by a star-studded cast, which also includes Chris O'Dowd (The Sapphires), Kelly Reilly (Chinese Puzzle), Aidan Gillen (Game of Thrones) and Dylan Moran (Black Books).

Calvary Review
Watch interview with writer/director John Michael McDonagh


The Guard

Ireland, 2011, comedy/thriller
Director: John Michael McDonagh
Starring: Brendan Gleeson, Don Cheadle, Liam Cunningham
What's it about?
A riotous buddy comedy that could only be made in Ireland, The Guard rightly netted Brendan Gleeson an Oscar nomination for his superb performance as small-town Irish cop. When three drug-dealers are planning to land half a billion dollars’ worth of cocaine off the west coast of Ireland, the feisty, hard-living and foul-mouthed Galway Guard Gerry Boyle is forced to deal with the arrival of straight-laced FBI agent Wendell Everett (Don Cheadle) to his door - and feign interest in the case.

The Guard: John Michael McDonagh interview
The Guard: Crime comedy, Irish style
The Guard ★★★★ review
10 of the Best: David Stratton



UK, 2011
Genre: Documentary
Language: English
Director: Sue Bourne
What's it about?
Prepare for a cascade of curly wigs, diamantes, and frilly dresses, as feature documentary Jig immerses you in the surreal world of competitive Irish dancing. Director Sue Bourne followed several wonderful contestants in the lead-up to the 40th Irish dancing world championships in Glasgow, a 7-day drama-filled event where thousands of dancers, their families and teachers will be pushed to the very limit. An exhilarating viewing experience that is sure to leave you with a spring in your step.



Ireland, 2008, drama
Director: Lance Daly
Starring: Kelly O'Neill, Paul Roe, Shane Curry, Neili Conroy
What's it about?
On the fringes of Dublin, two pre-teen kids run away to Dublin in the hope of a new life. As seen through the innocent eyes of our protagonists, Dublin is a kaleidoscope of magic, wonder and mystery. But as the night wears on, and the city takes on a darker character, as the kids have to rely on the kindness of strangers, the advice of Bob Dylan and their trust in each other to survive the night.


What Richard Did

Ireland, 2012, drama
Director: Lenny Abrahamson
Starring: Jack Reynor, Fionn Walton, Gavin Drea
What's it about?
The world of Richard Karlsen (Jack Reynor), golden-boy athlete and undisputed alpha-male of his privileged set of South Dublin teenagers, falls apart one summer night when he makes a fateful choice that shatters the lives of the people closest to him. A story of guilt and remorse, and the kind of things done and said that can't ever be taken back.

What Richard Did ★★★★ review


Pavee Lackeen: The Traveller Girl

Ireland, 2005, drama
Director: Perry Ogden
Starring: Winnie Maughan, Rose Maughan, Rosie Maughan
What's it about?
Inspired by the real lives of Winnie Maughan and her family, Pavee Lackeen is an intimate portrait of resilient and spirited 'Traveller' community, living in a trailer in a desolate industrialised area of Dublin. The film follows Winnie through several weeks of her life as she struggles with poverty and prejudice as a young Traveller girl in contemporary Ireland.


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