Tuesday 15 October 2019

St Patrick’s Day: Let’s celebrate some of the worst Irish accents on film

Julia Roberts arrives at the 20th annual Screen Actors Guild Awards.
Julia Roberts arrives at the 20th annual Screen Actors Guild Awards.
Taste of the 80s: Devilishly handsome Pierce Brosnan and Alison Doody in Taffin
Tommy Lee Jones will direct an upcoming Western
Kevin Spacey, Angelina Jolie, Julia Roberts, Brad Pitt, Jennifer Lawrence, Ellen Degeneres and Jared Leto join for the Twitter-busting selfie (AP)
Kevin Spacey is positive about Jesse Eisenberg's portrayal of Lex Luthor
Acting icon Brad Pitt may have offended residents of Northern Ireland with his cringe-inducing performance of an IRA man on-the-run in The Devil’s Own.

AS we celebrate our patron saint, here are some of the worst Irish accents that have hit the big screen.

Kevin Spacey, for example, is not usually a man we'd hold accountable for crimes against cinema.

And one of the worst Irish accents ever committed to the silver screen came out of the mouth of an actual Irishman (scroll down for details).

Still, it remains somewhat of a uniquely troubling dialect for actors in modern movies, who vocally bob and weave between the streets of Dublin and a grassy knoll in the Welsh valleys every few lines, before sliding down dale into Scottish and skirting round the West Country.

So, to celebrate St Patrick's Day, we've rounded up some of the worst attempts to master the Paddy tone from Brad Pitt in The Devil's Own to Sean Connery's serious case of accentual CBAs in The Untouchables.

1. Tom Cruise as ‘Joseph Donnelly’ – Far And Away (1992)

Mr Cruise has played some cracking roles in his time (let's not forget the spandex-clad elf in Legend, for example), and the character Joseph Donnelly - a poverty-stricken Irish immigrant struggling to find his feet on US soil - is one such part. And by cracking, we obviously mean laughably bad. Starring opposite then-wife Nicole Kidman, it rarely gets worse than this.

2. Sean Connery as ‘Jim Malone’ – The Untouchables (1987)

Sean Connery appears to have completely bypassed the character description of Jim Malone when he read the script for The Untouchables. Particularly the bit that noted he was of Irish persuasion. So he doesn't even bother with the accent, instead using a slightly comical version of his own softly diffused Scottish drawl.

3. Brad Pitt as ‘Rory Devaney’ – The Devil’s Own (1997)

1997 really wasn't all that long ago. Which is why we can't fail to be tickled by repeat bad accent offender Brad Pitt's Irish lift in The Devil's Own.

4. Brad Pitt as ‘Mickey O’Neil’ – Snatch (2000)

Yes, Brad again, this time playing Mickey O'Neill, the completely incomprehensible Irish gypsy in Guy Ritchie's English gangster movie Snatch. Cash prize for anyone that can understand what he's actually saying in this one (though that's, you know, kind of what the character's meant to sound like).

5. Julia Roberts as ‘Mary Reilly’ – Mary Reilly (1996)

What's more offensive? Her accent, her endless monotone, or her misplaced eyebrows? Jekyll and Hyde horror Mary Reilly was not one of Julia Roberts' finest moments.

6. Tommy Lee Jones as ‘Ryan Gaerity’ – Blown Away (1994)

Everything about Tommy Lee Jones' IRA terrorist in Blown Away is a stereotype. Except for that accent, which is so diabolical, it's barely identifiable.

7. Kevin Spacey as ‘Michael Lynch’ – Ordinary Decent Criminal (2000)

You'd have thought Irish director Thaddeus O’Sullivan and Dublin bad boy Collin Farrell would have had a stern word with Kevin Spacey over his shocking accent in Ordinary Decent Criminal. But alas, they allowed him to continue vocally unchallenged.

8. Pierce Brosnan as ‘Taffin’ – Taffin (1988)

But by far the worst Irish accent ever to grace the silver screen fell from the beer-soaked lips of an authentic Irishman. Dear Pierce Brosnan, there's just no excuse for this monstrosity!


Online Editors

Editors Choice

Also in Entertainment

Back to top