Your Movie Bucket List: Luck O' The Irish


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Written by Natalie Mootz | Last Updated February 24th, 2020
Natalie has been writing for the web since dinosaurs roamed the earth. Or at least since dinosaurs achieved blogging technology. She's also written for and Joystiq.


St. Patrick's Day is next week so I thought I'd better deliver your holiday-themed movie recommendations soon -- before the green beer makes you... well, you know what you did last year. No sense dragging that out. Especially from under the stall door. Not a good look. Still have it on my phone, though, so now posterity is forewarned.

I get so distracted by your shenanigans! Let's get back to the topic of classic movies with an Irish theme. Each of these movies either features an Irish-born actor or it's set in Ireland -- and sometimes both.

Miracle on 34th Street (1947)
The beautiful Maureen O'Hara was born in in Ranelagh, a suburb of Dublin. She plays the Macy's manager who unwittingly hires the real Santa to work in the store.

  • Genre: Christmas movie
  • Other Stars: Natalie Wood and (the real?) Santa Claus
  • Synopsis: A nice old man claiming to be Santa Claus is defended by a young lawyer who argues in court that he is the real thing.
  • Famous Quote: "It's not just Kris that's on trial, it's everything he stands for."
  • Oscars: Won/Best Supporting Actor, Best Screenplay, Best Original Story, Nominated/Best Picture
  • Rotten Tomatoes96% Critics, 87% Audience

Mutiny on the Bounty (1962)
Richard Harris was born in Limerick, Ireland. He was nominated for 2 Oscars and you might recognize him as the first Dumbledore.

  • Genre: Adventure
  • Other Stars: Marlon Brando, Trevor Howard
  • Synopsis: It does not go well for Captain Bligh.
  • Famous Quote: "I assure you, sir, that the execution of my duties is entirely unaffected by my private opinion of you."
  • Oscars: Nominated for 7, including Best Picture
  • Rotten Tomatoes71% Critics, 73% Audience

Man of La Mancha (1972)

Peter O'Toole was born in Connemara, Ireland. I've already told you about The Lion in Winter so he should have some cred with you already. He was nominated for 8 Oscars during his lifetime.

  • Genre: Adventure, musical, comedy
  • Other Stars: Sophia Loren
  • Synopsis: A musical version of Don Quixote - with Sophia Loren. Nuff said!
  • Famous Quote: "Well, first, I ride behind him. Then he fights. And then I pick him up off the ground."
  • Oscars: Nominated/Best Musical Score
  • Rotten Tomatoes: 50% Critics, 73% Audience

My Left Foot (1989)
This movie is a triple threat: it's about Ireland, it was made in Ireland, and it stars the incomparable (Irish or otherwise) Daniel Day Lewis in his breakout role.

  • Genre: Biopic, overcoming physical & economic adversity
  • Other Stars: Brenda Fricker
  • Synopsis: A poor man born with cerebral palsy learns to paint & write with his only controllable limb.
  • Famous Quote: "This is Christy Brown, my son. Genius."
  • Oscars: Won/Best Actor, Best Supporting Actress, Nominated/Best Picture, Best Director, Best Adapted Screenplay
  • Rotten Tomatoes97% Critics, 92% Audience

Let us know in the comments what you think of these movie ideas - and give us some of your own!

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