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Bandpicked: The Winter Passing pick their 10 favourite Irish movies

17 March, 2017 — by Christopher Ratcliff2

In this week’s Bandpicked, Irish four-piece The Winter Passing choose their 10 favourite Irish movies, including Magdalene Sisters, The Butcher Boy and Sing Street. You haven’t seen Sing Street??? You gotta watch Sing Street!

the winter passing

Emerging out of the Dublin DIY scene in 2012, the alt indie-pop band has at its core the brother and sister songwriting duo of Rob and Kate Flynn, who have been playing music together since they were 14 and 12, respectively. These guys know their way around a life affirming hook, that’s for damn sure. Their addictive new single ‘Significance’ came out earlier this month, and a new EP called Double Exposure is out April 21st. Here’s a little taste of what’s to come…

We asked The Winter Passing to contribute to our regular ‘bands we love pick the pop culture stuff they love’ feature and they chose… Irish movies! And here we are, a couple weeks later and we’re publishing the list on St Patrick’s Day. I’d love to say that this was down to some amazing editorial planning. It’s not. It’s a coincidence.

Anyway, here are some brilliant films from Ireland, as picked by The Winter Passing.

The Magdalene Sisters

Magdalene laundries were institutions, established by the Catholic Church, who housed “fallen women” in Ireland from the 18th Century to the late 20th century. These women were forced into the laundries by their families (and society as a whole) because of the “shame” they brought on their families & society. “Fallen women” were women who became pregnant out of wedlock, conveyed mental health issues, women who became pregnant due to rape etc. There is so much to say about this film. All I can say is I will never forget watching it. The first time I watched & fully understood it’s importance was my first year of college, in a building that used to be a Magdalene laundry. It blows my mind how recent this was and how our country bowed down to the Catholic Church (and still does – #repealthe8th). The last Magdalene laundry closed in 1996. Watch this movie.

the magdalene sisters

The Commitments

The ultimate Irish band film. Enjoy it annually, usually at Christmas. A young Jimmy Rabbitte assembles and manages a North Dublin soul band with some quirky characters in the late ’80s. The story follows the rise & fall of the band due to ego, sexism & the working class struggles of inner city Dublin. Shoutout to Joey “The Lips” Fagan.

the commitments

My Left Foot

Daniel Day-Lewis, am I right? I feel like this the most world known Irish movie? A few Oscars in the bag too. The films tells a story of Christy Brown (so Irish), a man with cerebral palsy with only the use of his left foot and how that didn’t stop him from living a successful life.

my left foot

Sing Street

A modern day Commitments although set in the 80s too. 15 year-old Conor sets up a band to impress a girl whom he falls in love with when he sees her outside his new hostile public school. With tutoring from his older brother, Conor takes influences from the latest trendy new wave UK bands on Top of the Pops to write his own hits. I have to admit I was pretty impressed how good the music in this movie was. It’s hilarious too. This is such a banger!

sing street


This is my favourite romantic musical film. The main actors (Glen Hansard & Markéta Irglová) in the film actually composed the original music too. It depicts the story of two struggling musicians in Dublin, some romance and let’s just face it, the music actually makes my heart burst.


War of the Buttons

A coming of age story of rival schoolboy gangs in rural Ireland. Ireland’s answer to The Sandlot. So many memories of watching this as a child. The absolute best. “His willy, cut off his willy.”

war of the buttons

The Butcher Boy

I remember watching this for the first time and being completely terrified for some reason. It’s by no means a horror movie but it was only when I got a bit older that I realised why I was so troubled by it. The movie (based on a novel by Patrick McCabe) set in the 1960s is about Francis Brady who lives with his extremely dysfunctional family, his own mental health & losing his grip on reality. Honestly, it’s a really well thought out movie. I’m actually really proud to say it’s Irish.

the butcher boy

Angela’s Ashes

A movie that captures the harsh living conditions in Ireland in the 1930s and 1940s. An alcoholic father, a desperate mother and starving children – The McCourt family struggle with life in inner city Limerick. Emigration seems to be the only hope for young Irish men and women in these times and non other than young Frank McCourt. The film follows his childhood to young manhood and how he longs to escape to America. This film makes me feel so lucky knowing the poverty our great grandparents lived with. This is such a beautiful film and I love it.

angela's ashes

The Van

An Irish Classic. The film is about two chaps running a chip van in a small suburb of Dublin. Set in the 90’s during Ireland’s World Cup success, life is good here and so is business. Things start to go south pretty quickly though when the health inspectors start getting involved. This movie is part of Irish culture and everyone here knows it. Go on Ireland!

the van roddy doyle

The Snapper

Preceded by The Commitments and followed by The Van, The Snapper is part two in the Roddy Doyle trilogy. Young Sharon Curley becomes pregnant, but refuses to tell anyone who the father is. She decides to keep the baby (“snapper”) and her family, each in their own way, eventually decide to support her. Another Irish classic that always pops up on the TV at Christmas time.

the snapper

HONOURABLE MENTIONS: The Wind That Shakes the Barely, The General, Michael Collins, Intermission, Darby O’Gill & The Little People.

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    • Christopher Ratcliff

      19 March, 2017 at 1:16 pm


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