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03.08.2013by: Alex Maidy

The Ten Spot: Best Irish Movie Characters (Video Edition!)

With St. Patrick's Day coming up soon, I thought it would be appropriate to run through the long and colorful history of Irish characters on the big screen. There have been way more than ten of them in the hundred years of cinematic history, but these are the ten best. You are welcome to add your own to the list in the talkbacks below. For the rest of you, Sláinte!

#10 - The Leprechaun in LEPRECHAUN

The Leprechaun haunted my nightmares as a child if only because he is so damn ugly. The character, like Chucky from the CHILD'S PLAY movies, eventually became a spoof of himself. But, the movies are still a ridiculous amount of fun. The original movie is memorable for the great line "F*ck you, Lucky Charms!" But, for the most batshit crazy enjoyment, check out LEPRECHAUN IN SPACE and LEPRECHAUN IN THE HOOD. They are just so nuts that they deserve recognition.

#9 - Darby O'Gill in DARBY O'GILL AND THE LITTLE PEOPLE

The other movie that ruined St. Patrick's Day for me was DARBY O'GILL. This is from the same time period where Disney didn't realize their movies were going to scar a generation of kids. The Banshee in this movie scared the piss out of me for years. Darby himself is a creepy looking old man and the leprechauns are creepy little f*cks. The movie is notable for the inclusion of a very young, pre-Bond Sean Connery who steals the show. Do not watch this with your kids.

#8 - Francie Brady in THE BUTCHER BOY

Neil Jordan's name on a movie is usually enough for me to check it out, but I have been burned before by bad movies like IN DREAMS. However, THE BUTCHER BOY quickly became one of my favorite movies and one I recommend to any movie buff. The movie tells the story of a young boy growing up in 1960's Ireland in an abusive houehold. He eventually succumbs to his schizophrenia and goes on a rampage through the town. While not quite school shooting territory, the effects are stunning. Young star Eamonn Owens is phenomenal and the supporting cast including Stephen Rea, Fiona Shaw, and Sinead O'Connor are top notch.

#7 - Ryan Gaerity in BLOWN AWAY

I always forget about this movie. BLOWN AWAY kicks all kinds of ass. Okay, I will admit the Irish accents are pretty awful, but Tommy Lee Jones playing a bad guy of this caliber of crazy is a sight to behold. It may be just me, but I can see elements of his portrayal of Two-Face germinating here in his bugnuts take on IRA bomber Ryan Gaerity. In the end, this movie works because the elaborate bombings are filmed so well. So, ignore the accents and watch this fun action movie.

#6 - Sean Miller in PATRIOT GAMES

This was the first movie I saw Sean Bean get killed in. As we all know, it was far from the last, but here he plays one of his more complex characters. Sean Miller is motivated purely by revenge, but you can see everything seething in his expressions. I probably shouldn't base my historical knowledge of the struggles of Northern Ireland on BLOWN AWAY and PATRIOT GAMES, but I do. So sue me. This is probably the best Tom Clancy adaptation of them all. Feel free to argue.

#5 - Ken and Ray in IN BRUGES

Not enough can be said about this movie and how fantastic it is. I was going to say any movie with Brendan Gleeson should make this list, but this is my favorite performance from him. Combined with Colin Farrell delivering one of his best as well, IN BRUGES ranks very high on my list. It would be an understatement to say that this movie did not get the recognition it deserved when it was in theaters, but it has come alive on home video. You're an inanimate f*cking object!

#4 - Christy Brown in MY LEFT FOOT

Daniel Day-Lewis completely inhabits every character he has played and he has portrayed several significant Irish roles in movies like IN THE NAME OF THE FATHER andTHE BOXER, but it was his staggering performance as Christy Brown in MY LEFT FOOT that firmly put him on the map. Day-Lewis always goes method for his roles, but to play a cerebral palsy sufferer who can only control his left foot, he went above and beyond, even causing some physical harm to himself in the process. That is dedication to your craft and the result is an incredibly moving film.

#3 - Mickey O'Neil in SNATCH

Ya got a deadly kick fer a fat focker. I need to have a shite. Fook, 'e's a big fella. Now look, she wants the Heki 2 roof lights, uh, the stylish ash frame furniture, and the scatter cushions with, uh, matching shag pile cover. Yeah. Right. And she's terrible partial to the periwinkle blue boss. Ya stay until the job is done. Nobody brings a fella the size o' him, 'less they're tryin' to say somethin' without talkin'. What do I want with a caravan that's got no fockin' wheels?!

#2 - Il Duce in THE BOONDOCK SAINTS

I hate THE BOONDOCK SAINTS with a passion, but I love Billy Connolly. Despite being Scottish, he plays the Irish father to the titular brothers, the hitman known as Il Duce. Connolly's thick accent clearly shows he is not Irish, but he is a kick as character who swoops in for the concluding bloodbath in this movie. I won't mention the garbage sequel to this movie, but will instead simply reference the clip above.

#1 - Priest Vallon in GANGS OF NEW YORK

The world is full of badasses and priests, but when you get a badass priest, you better watch yourself. The only character with enough awesome sauce to combat Daniel Day-Lewis' Bill the Butcher was Priest Vallon who looks like he could kick ass for the lord and cut you down in an instant. It is a shame his character is limited to the introduction to the movie, but Leonardo DiCaprio's Amsterdam certainly does a good job of picking up his old man's arms and battling for Irish pride. Definitely the most kick ass Irish character of all time.

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8:15AM on 03/11/2013
I would have liked to have seen In the Name of the Father instead of my Left for Daniel Day Lewis films, but both high quality. Highly recommend In the Name of the Father such a gripping film in a time and place that was under so much strife.
I would have liked to have seen In the Name of the Father instead of my Left for Daniel Day Lewis films, but both high quality. Highly recommend In the Name of the Father such a gripping film in a time and place that was under so much strife.
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10:10PM on 03/10/2013

How about...

Jimmy Malone, Sean Connery's character from "The Untouchables"?

Better than most on this list!
Jimmy Malone, Sean Connery's character from "The Untouchables"?

Better than most on this list!
Your Reply:



1:53PM on 03/10/2013
Did I just catch a Dead Alive quote in there?

[link]
Did I just catch a Dead Alive quote in there?

[link]
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2:13AM on 03/09/2013
Not a single mention of anything starring Barry Fitzgerald, eh? Typical. Here's a clip from the original film version of Agatha Christie's AND THEN THERE WERE NONE, which features *the* Irishman himself:
[link]
See also: NAKED CITY.
Not a single mention of anything starring Barry Fitzgerald, eh? Typical. Here's a clip from the original film version of Agatha Christie's AND THEN THERE WERE NONE, which features *the* Irishman himself:
[link]
See also: NAKED CITY.
Your Reply:



-2
1:21AM on 03/09/2013
Agree about the boondocks saints. Always found it to br a contrived, awful film with an awful screenplay.
Agree about the boondocks saints. Always found it to br a contrived, awful film with an awful screenplay.
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5:04PM on 03/08/2013
I was waiting the whole time for Billy Connolly. I don't understand how anyone could hate The Boondock Saints, but agree to disagree. Hey, I love the second one and I know a lot of people did not.
I was waiting the whole time for Billy Connolly. I don't understand how anyone could hate The Boondock Saints, but agree to disagree. Hey, I love the second one and I know a lot of people did not.
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1:00PM on 03/08/2013

Darby...

wasn't that bad and didn't scare the Beejesus out of me. I always thought that it was one of the more endearing Disney flicks from this era.
wasn't that bad and didn't scare the Beejesus out of me. I always thought that it was one of the more endearing Disney flicks from this era.
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12:57PM on 03/08/2013
Nice list. I just watched Gangs last week. It had been a few years and I always seem to forget how the movie draws the viewer in. I understand that many thought it dragged, but I think it's absolutely phenomenal. I love the music in this opening scene!
Nice list. I just watched Gangs last week. It had been a few years and I always seem to forget how the movie draws the viewer in. I understand that many thought it dragged, but I think it's absolutely phenomenal. I love the music in this opening scene!
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12:00PM on 03/08/2013
Ahh that one. I haven't seen that since I was a wee little whippersnapper. I gotta look that one up some day.
Ahh that one. I haven't seen that since I was a wee little whippersnapper. I gotta look that one up some day.
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11:08AM on 03/08/2013
No one from the commitments.....c'mon!!!!!
No one from the commitments.....c'mon!!!!!
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11:01AM on 03/08/2013

Priest Vallon:

The only man The Butcher killed worth remembering.
The only man The Butcher killed worth remembering.
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10:45AM on 03/08/2013

Priest Vallon:

The only man The Butcher killed worth remembering.
The only man The Butcher killed worth remembering.
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10:41AM on 03/08/2013

Thank you for the description

I fuckin' 'ate pikeys
I fuckin' 'ate pikeys
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9:55AM on 03/08/2013
My smartphone just LOVES to create double posts...
My smartphone just LOVES to create double posts...
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9:54AM on 03/08/2013
Its been a while but wouldn't Albert Finney's character from Miller's Crossing qualify???
Its been a while but wouldn't Albert Finney's character from Miller's Crossing qualify???
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9:52AM on 03/08/2013
The moment I saw that photo my mind went to : "You's a bunch of fuckin' elephants."
The moment I saw that photo my mind went to : "You's a bunch of fuckin' elephants."
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9:43AM on 03/08/2013
Its been a while but wouldn't Albert Finney's character from Miller's Crossing qualify???
Its been a while but wouldn't Albert Finney's character from Miller's Crossing qualify???
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+0
9:26AM on 03/08/2013
Best Clancy movie is still The Hunt for Red October.
Best Clancy movie is still The Hunt for Red October.
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9:08AM on 03/08/2013
Yeah, I agree with this being the number one pick. Daniel Day-Lewis is so intense and scary in this film as Priest Vallon aka Bill the Butcher.
Yeah, I agree with this being the number one pick. Daniel Day-Lewis is so intense and scary in this film as Priest Vallon aka Bill the Butcher.
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9:31AM on 03/08/2013
Liam Neeson is Priest Vallon.
Liam Neeson is Priest Vallon.
9:06AM on 03/08/2013
How do you passionately hate the Boondock Saints?! The first one is a classic.
How do you passionately hate the Boondock Saints?! The first one is a classic.
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9:05AM on 03/08/2013
Great film and character. Arguably Pitt's best character.
Great film and character. Arguably Pitt's best character.
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9:04AM on 03/08/2013
Great film. One of my favorites.
Great film. One of my favorites.
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8:10AM on 03/08/2013
Underrated. This film was just so entertaining and exciting, and you've made a good point in Ryan Gaerity seeming like a proto-Two Face for Tommy Lee Jones. And Jeff Bridges was really good in this one, too.
Underrated. This film was just so entertaining and exciting, and you've made a good point in Ryan Gaerity seeming like a proto-Two Face for Tommy Lee Jones. And Jeff Bridges was really good in this one, too.
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7:40AM on 03/08/2013
Brendan Gleeson in The Guard is on of my favorites. A superb movie.
Brendan Gleeson in The Guard is on of my favorites. A superb movie.
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