Best and worst of Irish film - from dodgy brogues to banned films to the surprising stars of Irish descent
From the films banned in Ireland to the worst of the Oirish accents - everything you need to know about Irish films, ever.
TOP FIVE FILMS BANNED IN IRELAND
The classic starring Ingrid Bergman and Humphrey Bogart was banned in 1942 due to neutrality restrictions when all references to war were cut. It was eventually permitted without any references to the adulterous romance at the centre of the plot.
2 A CLOCKWORK ORANGE
Stanley Kubrick’s adaptation of the Anthony Burgess novel was kept out of cinemas from 1971 until 2000. It tells the story of Alex and his gang of violent ‘droogs’ who kill tramps and rape women.
3 MONTY PYTHON’S LIFE OF BRIAN
The story of the infant born in the stable next to Jesus and mistaken for the Messiah was too blasphemous for the censor in 1979. As Brian’s mother puts it, “He’s not the Messiah. He’s a very naughty boy!”
4 KING CREOLE
The 1958 Elvis Presley film was disallowed, because of the singer’s “pelvic gyrations”. The censor said he had received numerous complaints “particularly from headmistresses of girls’ schools” about his “most suggestive abdominal dancing”.
5 MONKEY BUSINESS
The Marx Brothers’ brand of slapstick as they stow away on a a ship was banned in 1931. The censors feared it would encourage “anarchic tendencies”.
TOP FIVE IRISH OSCAR WINNERS YOU MAY NOT HAVE HEARD OF
1 CEDRIC GIBBONS
The Dubliner is the unsung hero of Irish cinema. The renowned production designer created the Hollywood look for MGM Studios, won 11 Oscars for art direction between 1924 to 1956, and also left his mark on film history by designing the statuette. He also won an honorary Oscar for “consistent excellence” in 1950.
2 JOSIE MacAVIN
Another art director, the set designer has the distinction of being the only Irish person to win both an Oscar and its TV equivalent, an Emmy. MacAvin (below) was awarded with the Oscar for Best Art and Set Direction for Out of Africa in 1986, and the Emmy for the TV mini-series sequel Scarlet in 1995.
3 MICHèLE BURKE
The Kildare woman has nabbed two Academy Awards for Makeup for Quest for Fire in 1981 and Dracula in 1992. After emigrating from Ireland as a teenager she started her career as a model in Canada She could not attend the ceremony when she won her first Oscar. Instead the gong was delivered and presented with great ceremony by the postman.
4 CORINNE MARINNAN
The New Yorker with dual Irish and US citizenship won an Oscar for Best Documentary Short — A Note of Triumph: The Golden Age of Norman Corwin in 2006. In her acceptance speech, she said: “I’d like to thank the Academy for seating me next to George Clooney at the nominees’ luncheon.”
5 RICHARD BANEHAM
Working on James Cameron’s Avatar as part of its graphics team, the Dubliner won his award for Best Visual Effects in 2010.
BROGUES’ GALLERY — TOP FIVE WORST IRISH ACCENTS
1 SEAN CONNERY — DARBY O’GILL AND THE LITTLE PEOPLE
He sounds like 007 after drinking too much Scotch in this ludicrous tale about a wily Irishman and his battle of wits with leprechauns. He reprised an implausible brogue as an Irish cop in The Untouchables.
2 TOM CRUISE — FAR AND AWAY
The star veers wildly from Cork to Derry, with a touch of pirate thrown in in this story of an Irish immigrant. Viewers can only laugh as he regales Nicole Kidman with our traditional chat-up line: “Yer a corker, Shannon. What a corker you are!”
3 JULIA ROBERTS — MICHAEL COLLINS
The star is all over the place with her absurd lilt as Kitty Kiernan in the Neil Jordan biopic. If Collins had heard Kiernan speaking this way in real life he would probably have given up on independence.
4 GERARD BUTLER — PS I LOVE YOU
He made a laughably lame attempt at a brogue in this saccharine tearjerker about a widow who rediscovers her lust for life after her husband dies.Butler’s accent was so woeful he actually apologised. Perhaps he should pay damages as well.
5 BRAD PITT — DEVIL’S OWN
The actor commits linguistic atrocities with his effort at playing Frankie Gallagher, an IRA man on-the-run.
Apparently, Pitt spent a few days hanging around Belfast to perfect the voice. It’s a shame he wasn’t interned until he got it right.
TOP FIVE IRISH OPENING WEEKEND TAKINGS (Local cinemas)
1 MRS BROWN’S BOYS D’MOVIE — €1.02m
Cashing in on the sitcom smash hit, Brendan O’Carroll turned the pensioner into box office gold last year.
2 MICHAEL COLLINS — €648,928
Irish history has rarely been as dramatic on screen as in this biopic, starring Liam Neeson, but director Neil Jordan was accused of taking liberties with the facts by implying that Éamon De Valera was responsible for the republican hero’s assassination.
3 ANGELA’S ASHES — €641,292
Angela may have her bashers but the film adapation of Frank McCourt’s Limerick-based misery-lit classic, complete with never-ending rain, was a hit in Ireland.
4 THE GUARD — €433,010
Cinema audiences were impressed by Brendan Gleeson’s arresting performance as Gerry Boyle, a Galwegian cop with a taste for pints, hookers and casual racism. It was the highest-grossing Irish-made independent film.
5 THE WIND THAT SHAKES THE BARLEY — €414,263
Ken Loach’s drama set in the War of Independence and Civil War tells the story of two Cork brothers. The movie won the Palme d’Or at Cannes.
TOP FIVE STARS OF SURPRISING IRISH DESCENT
1 ROBERT DE NIRO
He may seem as Italian-American as spaghetti, but De Niro’s ancestry is predominantly Irish. Three of his four grandparents came from the old sod. His paternal great-great-grandfather, Edward O’Reilly, emigrated from Ireland. De Niro himself hitched around Ireland as a teenager in 1962.
2 JOHNNY DEPP
Johnny Depp has spoken glowingly about his Irish heritage to the Irish Independent in the past. His green origins come through his mother, Betty Sue Palmer. He says: “There’s a part of me that says, hey, I might be related to Phil Lynott.”
3 CLINT EASTWOOD
The actor and producer insists the ‘best parts’ of him are Irish. He said his mother Margaret Ruth’s ancestors were Egans from Monaghan and he has been there many times. Go ahead, Clint — make our day.
4 CHUCK NORRIS
The Texan ranger famed for his badass roundhouse kicks in the face is the son of Wilma (née Scarberry) and Ray Norris. He has said they are both of Irish and Cherokee Native American descent.
5 SOFIA COPPOLA
Sofia’s mother, artist Eleanor Coppola, was born a Neil, and comes from an Irish-American family. Her father Francis Ford Coppola met Eleanor while he was shooting his first feature, Dementia 13, in Dublin.