Is it too soon to include so recent a movie? Not when it’s this extraordinary. A wrenchingly beautiful Irish immigrant drama, it re-creates the titular 1950s-era borough in all its melting-pot diversity (and Dodgers-loving Italian boyfriends), while also giving the 21-year-old Saoirse Ronan the kind of role—romantically conflicted, blooming, courageously open—that transforms young stars into icons.
Ireland might be small, but the impact of its cinema is proudly outsized. Directors such as Lenny Abrahamson (Room), John Crowley (Brooklyn, starring Saoirse Ronan) and John Carney (Once) have grabbed the Oscar spotlight, while today’s finest working actor, Daniel Day-Lewis, rose to prominence in two expressly Irish productions, My Left Foot and In the Name of the Father. You won’t find any clichés on the list below—no leprechauns or potato famines here. These are the 10 best Irish movies to start with.
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