Movies to inspire your student life in Dublin
See Dublin on screen through these thought-provoking movies that put the city in the spotlight. Get to know the city and Ireland’s love of storytelling through the delightful films that were a hit with audiences and continue to be a source of pride for Dubliners.
When you’re studying at University College Dublin, make time to catch a few of these Dublin-based movies and see how they influence your cultural understanding of the city and its people.
It would be impossible not to include this 1991 Alan Parker film. The Commitments, based on the book by Dubliner Roddy Doyle, became Ireland’s highest grossing movie.
The Commitments is about a local soul band that causes a stir in Dublin’s Northside. There are arguments, stolen kisses, and moments of pure joy as the band rehearse and just about get themselves together to perform live. Set and shot in Dublin, this is a brilliant film to watch with friends, and afterwards you will probably want to put on some great soul tunes, or even the movie soundtrack.
This historical biopic by Neil Jordan tells the story of the Irish republican leader and revolutionary instrumental in the forming the Irish Free State. Beginning with the Easter Rising of 1916, the film takes you on a journey through unflinching horrors to negotiations in London and Michael Collins’ eventual assassination.
It’s an epic movie led by Liam Neeson putting on a career-best performance. As a student, you’ll will get an insight into Ireland’s political history and the charismatic man nicknamed The Big Fellow. Look out for shots of Dublin Castle, Grafton Street, and Kilmainham Gaol when you’re watching.
This low-budget Dublin drama spawned an Oscar-winning song and became a hit Broadway musical. Yet it’s still relatively unknown. Once is about a busker (played by Glen Hansard) and a Czech migrant (Marketa Irglova), both struggling to get by. They meet and, together, make beautiful music. But this heart-warming film is no simple romance and life gets in the way. Expect your heart to soar and the songs to linger long after the credits roll. Shot all across Dublin, you’ll recognize many of the locations when you’re studying here.
My Left Foot
This is the 1989 film adaptation of Christy Brown’s autobiography about a Dublin boy born in 1932 with paralyzing cerebral palsy and who grows up in poverty with 12 siblings. He discovers an ability to use his one controllable limb, his left foot, to write and paint.
What follows is a story of his determination to be understood, desired, and taken seriously as the talented man he was. Christy is played by Daniel Day-Lewis in an Oscar-winning performance that was an important portrayal of a complex character that avoided disability stereotypes still commonly seen at the time. Today, it’s likely there would be conversations over casting, instead, an actor with cerebral palsy for such a part. But it’s worth watching for the true story of a remarkable man.