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  • Brooklyn on Random Most Accurate Movies About Irish History

    (#15) Brooklyn

    • Saoirse Ronan, Julie Walters, Jim Broadbent, Domhnall Gleeson, Emory Cohen, Alisha Heng

    What It Gets Right: Adapted from the Colm Toibin novel, this story of an Irish immigrant to Brooklyn in the 1950s focuses on a familiar theme: the dream of a better life in America. As Toibin himself said, writing in The Guardian:

    In America, they made clear, you could become a millionaire. Even the ones who had not become rich themselves sounded, or looked, as if some day they might be worth a fortune. It would just take a bit of luck.

    Many similar "coming to America" narratives often fail to address the deep ambivalence of the immigrant experience. Falling in love with a new land is often balanced with a paralyzing homesickness, captured here in Saoirse Ronan's performance.

    Where It Falls Short: Brooklyn, released in 2015, runs into issues not so much in what it represents, but what it doesn't. By choosing to set this spare, simple love story against the backdrop of Irish immigration to America, the film inevitably ends up oversimplifying the reality of Irish immigration. Both Ireland and Brooklyn itself are presented without the filth, desperation, and poverty that existed in spades.

  • The Boxer on Random Most Accurate Movies About Irish History

    (#9) The Boxer

    • Daniel Day-Lewis, Brian Cox, Emily Watson, Ken Stott, Gerard McSorley, Kenneth Cranham, Ian McElhinney, David Hayman, Tom Bell, Kirsten Sheridan, Tony Doyle, Lorraine Pilkington, Paul Ronan, Eleanor Methven, Britta Smith, Peter Sheridan, Ciaran Fitzgerald, Vinny Murphy, Jer O'Leary, Noel O'Donovan, Joan Brosnan Walsh, John Cowley, Maria McDermottroe, Liam Carney, Veronica Duffy, Mark Mulholland, Gerry Storey, Des Braiden, Nye Heron, Padraig O'Neill, Martin Dunne, Andrea Irvine, Michael James Ford, Joe Gallagher, Oliver Maguire, Frank Coughlan, Tim McDonnell, Damien Denny, Tommy O'Neill, Cornelius Carr, Joan Sheehy, Tania Grier, David Heap, Mick Nolan, Gavin Kennedy, Carol Scanlan, Tom Maguire, John Hewitt, Jack Waters, Don Foley, Brian Milligan, Derbhla McClelland, Conor Bradford, John Sheridan, Kate Perry, Norman Kelly, Catherine Dunne, Mick Tohill, Sean Donaghy, Maurice Henry, Anna Meegan, Pat Mulryan, Larry Byrne, James Hayes, Juliet Cronin, Peter O'Donoghue, David McBlain, Paul Sheridan, Jules Kingelesi, Niall Shanahan, Joan McGarry, Sean Brunett, Eamon Brown, Tess Sheridan, Philip Sutcliffe, Sharon Dunne, John Wall, Richie Pigott, Paul Wesley, Clayon Stewart, Ian Thompson, Al Morris, Martin Lynch, Kerrie Duggan, Daragh Donnelly, Sandra Corbally, Brian Russell, Gavin Brown, Sean Kearns, Joe Colgan, Dennis Mika, Theresa McComb, Janine McGuinness, Joseph Rea, Josie Doherty, Reamonn O'Byrne, John Cooke, Berts Folan, Fred Tiedt

    What It Gets Right: Any movie starring Daniel Day-Lewis has at least one historical expert on set: Daniel Day-Lewis. The actor famously prepares meticulously for every role, and often learns everything there is to know about his character. This was especially true of The Boxer (1997), in which Day-Lewis plays a former IRA man trying to go straight as a boxer after his release from behind bars. However, Day-Lewis's meticulously researched performance isn't the only strength of this movie. The Boxer also presents a nuanced view of the IRA, with a range of different civilian attitudes, capturing the real feelings in Belfast at the time. 

    Where It Falls Short: The movie ends with a signal that the IRA is interested in pursuing peace - a satisfyingly dramatic but reductive flourish. Many sections of the IRA were never anything but intractably opposed to peace or compromise. To imply that a small group like the one portrayed in this movie might shift the thinking of the IRA in general is inaccurate.

  • The Crying Game on Random Most Accurate Movies About Irish History

    (#2) The Crying Game

    • Forest Whitaker, Jim Broadbent, Miranda Richardson, Stephen Rea, Ralph Brown, Adrian Dunbar, Jaye Davidson, Tony Slattery, Birdy Sweeney, Bryan Coleman, Andrée Bernard, Jack Carr, Breffini McKenna, Joe Savino, Ray De-Haan, David Crionelly, Shar Campbell, Josephine White

    What It Gets Right: This film, set in the present day at the time (1992), concerns the twisting web of deceit into which an IRA member is plunged. Although it does not purport to portray a historical period, it is nevertheless accurate about some key elements, such as the structure of the IRA and their training. Actress Miranda Richardson recalled:

    We had an armorer on set to help me with the technicalities... And I got flak from IRA sympathizers for giving such an unflattering portrayal of a terrorist. Isn’t that wonderful?

    Where It Falls Short: Because of this film's thrilling noirish complexity, it takes some liberties. The core story with its infamous twist (that will remain unspoiled here) pushes the limits of credibility just as Alfred Hitchcock's Vertigo or Roman Polanski's Chinatown do.

  • Some Mother's Son on Random Most Accurate Movies About Irish History

    (#10) Some Mother's Son

    • Helen Mirren, Aidan Gillen, Fionnula Flanagan, David O'Hara, John Lynch

    What It Gets Right: Director Terry George said of his film

    The main characters in "Some Mother's Son" are fictional, but the events are historically accurate. During the Hunger Strike, 21 Irish mothers faced the dilemma portrayed in this film. 

    He is correct, and many of the details of the film were faultlessly researched.

    Where It Falls Short: At the time of its release in 1996, the film was roundly criticized for being overly sympathetic to the IRA point of view, and not including any pro-British or Unionist perspectives. While this is undoubtedly true, it's hard to imagine how a movie about the mothers of political prisoners could include such a perspective. Regardless, some people in this milieu favored union and did not necessarily stand with the strikers.

  • '71 on Random Most Accurate Movies About Irish History

    (#5) '71

    • Jack O'Connell, Sean Harris, Sebastian Reid, Martin McCann, David Wilmot, Richard Dormer, Paul Popplewell, Sam Hazeldine, Dawn Bradfield, Paul Anderson, Killian Scott, Valene Kane, Gerard Jordan, Kenton Hall, Liam McMahon, Jack Lowden, Babou Ceesay, Barry Keoghan, Charlie Murphy

    What It Gets Right: Although the core story in Yann Demange's '71 is fictional, the film is set during a precise moment in Irish history: the Falls Curfew, an enormous raid that took place in the Falls district of Belfast. Predictably, it didn't take long for the situation to escalate into aggression and skirmishes between British soldiers and IRA members. The film is about a young British soldier in a similar situation, and great care is taken to present the town of Belfast and the riot as they might really have been in 1971.

    Where It Falls Short: Despite any historical research and detail the 2014 film captures, it is still the story of a fictional character in a fictional circumstance.

  • Five Minutes of Heaven on Random Most Accurate Movies About Irish History

    (#13) Five Minutes of Heaven

    • Liam Neeson, James Nesbitt, Anamaria Marinca, Conor MacNeill, Jonathan Harden, Niamh Cusack, Richard Dormer, Mark Ryder, Diarmuid Noyes, Gerard Jordan, Paula McFetridge, Paul Garret, Gerry Doherty, Juliet Crawford, Kevin O'Neill, Katy Gleadhill, Mathew McElhinney

    What It Gets Right: Unlike the other movies on this list, Five Minutes of Heaven is not a period piece. Instead, it concerns two men trying to reconcile what they did and witnessed during the Troubles. However, the 2009 film contains accurate analyses of both Troubles and post-Troubles attitudes in Ireland, as well as a few juicy historical details. During a montage early in the film, younger versions of the two men walk through a meticulously recreated 1970s Irish suburb, and both watch the BBC show The Generation Game, which was popular at the time.

    Where It Falls Short: As with some other movies on this list, Five Minutes of Heaven is an entirely fictional story that represents historical events indirectly. 

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About This Tool

Irish filmmakers' cooperation with other countries has also become diversified, and the film industry has developed greatly. It is no surprise that there are various movies about Irish history. Actually, Irish history is very complicated, its history always involves some form of bloodshed, the topics of various historical figures or events are always great inspirations, from exciting epic stories to heart-breaking love stories.

Do you also have an interest in Irish history? Some of the movies based around real events from Ireland's past, this page is a collection with 15 items, including the best movies about Irish history from different eras, and you can see the posters of movies and other information.

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