Happy Saint Patrick’s Day folks!
We’re celebrating this momentous occasion by dusting off an old post that's still relevant - giving a rundown of the top “Irish” characters in films, top Irish actors and the top Irish films – and as Screen Rant’s Irish writer it has come down to me to deliver.
Please be aware that this isn’t a definitive list of Irish actors or Irish films - yes the list does include some actors who do indeed hail from the Emerald Isle, but it also includes a few who don’t!
We've also decided not to include any Irish-Americans on the list because, well, there's a load of them in American films and you'd give up after the first 150 names or so!
Top Irish Characters
Malone in The Untouchables
Sean Connery received an Oscar for his performance in Brian De Palma’s The Untouchables. The Scottish-born actor made minimal effort with his Irish brogue in the film, and ended up sounding exactly like Sean Connery!
No stereotype is left untouched – he’s a hard drinker (even during Prohibition), good with his fist and he swears like a sailor. It’s also a hell of a performance and probably Connery’s most iconic outside of the Bond franchise. That is if we don’t count Zardoz!
Tom Ryan in Butterfly on A Wheel
Irish-born Pierce Brosnan often plays the Irish man – but his portrayal of Tom Ryan in Butterfly on a Wheel makes the list because, well, he plays it with a Northern Irish accent – for no real reason. Throw in the fact that Brosnan is from the Irish Republic and it’s quite hard to fathom! It’s not a character trait – there’s no reason for it at all except for Brosnan to flex his Irish accent muscles.
Joseph Donnelly in Far and Away
No list of Irish film characters would be complete without mention of Tom Cruise’s Donnelly in Ron Howard’s epic tale. It’s as Irish as Guinness and 100% less authentic. It has to bee seen to be believed, To be sure, To be sure.
Ray and Ken in In Bruges
Colin Farrell and Brendan Gleeson portray two Irish hit men in this Belgian-set black comedy. Farrell and Gleeson have never been better as the hired killers who are laying low in the titular city. Funny, violent and a little bit twisted, Ray and Ken are two Irish characters who you’d want to have a pint of the black stuff with.
Liam Neeson in Michael Collins
Neeson followed up his turn in Schlinder’s List by playing the titular Irish legend in Neil Jordan’s expensive misfire. While Nesson is well-suited to the role, he’s just too old. Collins was 31 years old when he died – Neeson was 43 when the film was released.