5 films about Dublin you need to see

Sean McTiernan takes a wry look at five Dublin-based films you should see.

1 Intermission:
In Bruges is the most realistic depiction of Dublin logic in cinema history It’s also set in Bruges, so I can’t really mention it here. Intermission is, however, a reasonably close second. When I lived down the country I assumed this was a cartoonish satire of Dublin. Then I got here and realised it was a toned down sanitised version of what actually goes on. I would imagine that this is exactly how Colm Meaney lived his life day to day and his bits are just from an aborted reality show called This is how it’s done. As someone who spends 4 hours a day on Dublin Bus, it’s hard not to watch the bus sections of this movie, weep quietly and whisper: “someone understands”.

2 The Van

Look, I know the Commitments is a movie that exists. But you know what? You people need to stop talking about it. Mother of divine mercy, you’d swear it was the only film ever produced by anyone and when it was released someone was sent across to America to punch Orson Wells into the jaw until he admitted that although he had his Rosebud it’d never match up to Outspan I genuinely prefer the Van though. It captures much better the sweet sadness of men unable to express emotion but determined on doing the right thing in desperate times. It’s also more Meaney–centric. And if you can’t see the good in that, then you’ll probably have no interest in my controversial Con Air re-edit.

3 Adam and Paul
So you know where you’re on the 4a and there’s a fella that looks like he’s trying to set some sort of perspiration world record sat across from you? And you know how awkward and weird it gets when he points at a small child and starts telling him to “get a jawb will ye…ye useless…dere in yer pram…”?? Well this goes some way to humanising those guys while simultaneously recalling the Laurel and Hardy and Rosencrantz and Guildenstern. Most compelling scene is where they mug the Down Syndrome man, for the sheer awkwardness of them putting on the stereotypical scumbag intimidation swagger. As humanised as you will find scary men in tracksuits after watching this movie, don’t try to hug them. Turns out they’ll still hammer the daylights out of you.

4 Micheal Collins
In this masterpiece of postmodern cinema Qui-Gon Jinn travels to Dublin to rescue his kidnapped daughter (Irish Republica). There he meets up with Hans Gruber and ends up in a romantic love affair with a prostitute posing as Julia Roberts, the prettiest of all women. Unfortunately Captain Tudor tips off the Dark (and tan) Sith Lords to Qui-Gon Jinn’s plans for the republic and he gets shot. Or at least that’s what I think happens. The best  summary of our county’s political history bar this.

5: I went down
Another great piece of Dublin gangsteristism with a slightly more bizarre but engaging take on Dublin dialect. Also captures extremely well numerous Dublin Logic Verses Real Life/Unstoppable Force Meets Immovable Object that many other Irish movies seem to miss out on.If you need three reasons to watch it check: here, here and here.

Honourable Mention: Event Horizon
Not set in Ireland but this bit in Event Horizon is almost definitely on a constant loop in Joe Duffy’s head.


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23 Comments for “5 films about Dublin you need to see”

  1. […] This post was Twitted by NoChorus […]

  2. What about the Snapper????

  3. wheres the snapper??? no. 1 on my list

  4. i am amazed that the film “kissing” is not included in this list, as it is the only fully authentic dublin film i`ve seen. while there are elements of all these other films that are reflective of dublin humour, bleakness, wit, social problems and so forth, kissing is the only one that looked and sounded real. my main problem with most of the dublin films have very little to do with the writing but mainly with the casting. when you have a few working class actors performing beside others who are blatantly doing impressions it`s hard to take the their characters seriously. you lose something of the writers intentions. i would rather an actor just decided to use their own voice rather than putting on their best `how`ya` accent. this doesn`t affect a comedy as much as a serious piece for obvious reasons. this has been a gripe of mine for a long time, especially as there is no need for it. watch the film kissing and watch a touching,stark , emotional film sprinkled with some authentic dublin humour trying to break through the bleakness, to see something that is dublin. this film was acted by a couple of relatively unknown children who carried off exactly what was intended. sit up and take notice tv and film makers and place a little more importance on the casting. you don`t have to use the same nine or ten actors all the time.

  5. For fuck sake. It’s “a man with down syndrome” not ” aDown Syndrome man”…that sounds like a door to door marketer trying to peddle a bit of DS.

  6. Glad to say i’ve seen all them films, Adam and Paul being by far the funniest!

  7. “Ye know wha i’d like to do with these Burges dont ye”….”Snip Snip” Go back to the country ye dont have a clue!

  8. i am surprised spin the bottle isnt there that is a brilliant movie about Dublin

  9. There is one quintessential movie about Dublin/Ireland/A bunch of other stuff you simply must see. Watch out for it. The name: Charlie Casanova.

  10. What about the commitments, the snapper????????????

  11. What about ‘Quaxer Fortune has a Cousin in the Bronx’? It was shot in Dublin in the 60s and stars Gene Wilder.Classic movie.

  12. Laurence Butler

    Rubbish list. My left foot missing. The snapper missing. The commitments missing.

  13. Rubbish list. What happened to The Snapper, My Left Foot, The Commitments, Into the West (part of it’s from Dublin) The Magdelene sisters, and Evelyn??? Do your research people Dublin is not about Druggies and Gun Crime.


  15. A very biased and discriminative list. There are so many ‘what about….’s’ that it’s ridiculous. But that could be put down to taste.
    Why does it have to be from a scumbag perspective that a movie is ‘So Dublin’
    Mentioning the 4A bus(and it’s patrons) simply because it terminates in Ballymun is very harsh. Ballymun is nothing like it used to be, and believe me there are also a few scumbags on the other side of that bus route.
    I think it would be reasonable to have 1 ‘scumbag/gangster’ angled movie in there to cover that aspect. For me, Intermission or Adam and Paul covers that. I’d have liked to have seen Once in that list for an open persepctive view, and either The Commitments or The Snapper as a way of getting a real slang Dublin view, and most certainly About Adam for the Glamour that can also be Dublin. My Left Foot should be in there too.


  17. Inside I’m Dancing. One of the best Dublin movies of the last few years

  18. My mate made a short for his degree course in 1987 called ‘The Town I Gloved so Well’ and I think its probably the best film ever made. Its no coincidence he went on to co-write three episodes of Fair City at the height of his career.

    I think its a disgrace that this so-called article only listed 5 films and not every film ever made about Dublin. Its very telling about the author’s obvious culchie bias that he didn’t include this year’s smash box office hit ‘Leap Year’.

    Other great films missing include; Veronica Guerin, Ordinary Decent Criminal, The General, Inside I’m Dancing, The Dead and of course Jacki Chan’s The Tuxedo (filmed around temple bar).

  19. Not saying this should of been in the list but Crushproof is another Irish film you might want to check out.

  20. Veronica guerin!! c’mon ya spud muncher, get out of that garden. ya havnt a clue bout dublin our dublin films,
    my top 5: my left foot, michael collins, the snapper, veronica guerin and the commitments

  21. what about the wind that shuck the barley ?

  22. What about the The Godfather Part 2?

  23. “Mentioning the 4A bus(and it’s patrons) simply because it terminates in Ballymun is very harsh. Ballymun is nothing like it used to be, and believe me there are also a few scumbags on the other side of that bus route.”

    I believe the author is patron of the 4A bus. I’m guessing it’s mentioned because that’s the bus he has experienced. It’s mild compared to the happening on the likes of the 78A.

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