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Favorite Irish gangster movies!

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  • Favorite Irish gangster movies!

    This particular subject definitely holds wide appeal, while never ceasing to fascinate & captivate this broad, very diverse audience, as it falls within the criminal genre featured in film.

    For working class, urban, & criminally prone Irish hard guys have definitely become these solid, fearsome & at times revered icons of American toughness, clannish pride, fierceness, old-school traditions, ethnic loyalty & cultural isolation. For within the context of film ((& real life circumstances centered in certain American neighborhoods!)) they have indeed become this force to be reckoned with!

    My question is, what are your three favorite movies based upon Irish-American gangsters & criminals???

    For my money I'd go with--

    Road to Perdition. For I found it quite Spectacular, as all the various elements (the acting/music/cinematography/directing) came flowing together so seamlessly into this brilliant work of art! For this movie is a masterpiece, beautiful, compelling & poetic in its presentation of themes both tragic & heroic. It's definitely the finest & most superbly crafted Irish gangster movie ever!

    For it was this GREAT flick indeed, as it was beautifully crafted & set to this rather compelling, though often melancholy & meditative, musical sound-track that, in accordance with the emotion & circumstances of the scene, definitely fit & revealed the overall mood & atmosphere of the particular scene that it was helping to enliven. Also, the acting was first rate & brilliant. Very gripping & emotionally powerful film indeed!

    I would even rank it above The Departed ((my 2nd choice!)), though granted they were both indeed rather grim, dark & blood-splattered.

    Though in terms of inner turmoil, emotional depth, psychological complexity & the often gritty circumstances that the main characters found themselves in, Road to Perdition was definitely more compelling & riveting than its early 21st century, Boston Irish flavored counterpart ((Road to Perdition took place in Chicago back in the very early 30's!)). Though to each his own I guess!

    Yet they were both GREAT, violent, full of tribal identification, strongly, thoroughly & powerfully Irish, & based upon visceral loyalty being put to the ultimate test.

    Also, the theme of redemption was one of the basic elements driving Road to Perdition, as it was more deeply emotional & gripping, especially in the father/son dynamic that was prominent throughout. Also, Tom Hanks & Paul Newman were amazing, superbly convincing & flawlessly symbolic of the dark & conflicted characters that they were depicting. Road to Perdition definitely gets my vote as best Irish gangster movie of all time, & not just because of its sublime & peerless cinematography.

    More-over, the scene in the rain near the end, during one of the final confrontations when Tom Hank's Sullivan wipes out Paul Newman's crime lord Rooney & six of his men, was epic, just epic ((& heart-breaking!)), this beautiful work of art.

    Though Scorsese's The Departed was also this GREAT & superbly filmed movie that was brilliantly conveyed through its searing, excellent & first-rate acting, its compelling storyline, deeply intricate & expertly woven plot, witty & sharp dialogue, & its overall, working class Irish themed atmosphere. Though with some exceptions the Boston accent as depicted by certain actors was a bit shaky, quite off, & in one or two cases a wee bit awful. It's all good though!

    What's especially interesting is how the secret lives of two of the main protagonists ((Sullivan & Costigan!)), both moles ((one working for the Mass. State Police, the other the Irish mob!)), eventually come colliding together near the end, culminating in this thrilling, revealing & explosive climax that ranks as one of the finest in recent movie history.

    For themes of loyalty & betrayal are at the fiercely gripping, Irish flavored core of The Departed, this rather outstanding movie that, although not as compelling nor as intense as Scorsese's other gangster masterpiece--Goodfellas--was indeed this wonderfully exciting & riveting flick, full of many classic, witty inter-actions, nerve wracking suspence, & various surprises featuring Boston Irish cops & criminals. I loved it---((& not just because I'm this thoroughbred, dyed-in-the-wool, wise ass Boston Irishman!))!

    Jack Nicholson was also very competent & convincing, this spot on dead ringer for the real life gangster, Whitey Bulger, whom his violent, deadly & cunning Irish-American character was based upon.

    For Nicholson's rendering of the fictitious Boston Irish mob kingpin Frank Costello was indeed very impressive & scary, as he channelled his trademark insidious, sadistic charm, evil smile & gleeful ruthlessness into Costello, making his ((Nicholson's!)) performance all the more believable & authentic.

    Furthermore, both The Departed & Road to Perdition had excellent musical soundtracks.

    Though the Boston Irish movie's soundtrack was more mainstream, uplifting, modern & hip, featuring GREAT singing & lyrics, while the music in the Tom Hank's movie had no singing, as it's classical sound was definitely more mellow, subdued, meditative, at times slightly rollicking, at other times upbeat & slightly vigorous, though mostly deeply melancholic. Yet its music was always well inserted to fit the mood & atmosphere of the scene. Brilliant!!!

    My third favorite Irish gangster film was Ben Affleck's The Town, this excellent & exciting crime caper about 4 professional Irish-American bank robbers/armored car thieves from Charlestown, Massachusetts ((this Boston neighborhood that was, throughout much of the 20th century till the early 1990's, on this per capita basis, the most Irish neighborhood in the entire country!)).

    Although far from flawless, it did indeed feature some fine & very convincing acting, along with much adrenaline inducing excitement, fiery drama, sufficient Irish symbolism, clannish "Townie" pride, edge-of-your-seat suspense, this powerful, visceral loyalty & ultimate sacrifice. So despite its stereotypical aspects & rather formulaic elements ((plot, action sequences!)), I thoroughly enjoyed it!

    For The Town was fueled & driven by some rather credible, &, at times, superb performances, featured much blazing & mesmerizing action, chilling revelations, desperate gun battles, spectacular chase scenes, intimate friendships, much Irish pride, brutal character inter-actions, savvy & expert criminal planning, & this clannish, urban, insular ethos that was peculiar to Irish Charlestown. Very thrilling & eye-opening indeed ((though granted much of the movie was quite derivative in certain areas, though the subtle variations between this film & others of the same vein only add on to the general excitement, credibility, visceral impact & drama of this basically original, well shot, & very working class, Irish-American orientated film injected with sharp dialogue & these rather fresh filming techniques!))!

    Also, the GREAT, late Pete Postlethwaite, as always, gave this brilliant & magnificent performance as ruthless & malevolent Fergie, the local crime boss (("I'll clip your nuts like I clipped your Daddy's.")). He will be sadly missed. RIP Pete!

    Furthermore, all three movies featured this heavy dose of Emerald Isle fighting elan' & this Celtic warrior ethos for which working class Irish-Americans from Boston, New York City, Chicago & other urban areas are famed & renowned!

    Well that's my preferred list, though most others would put forth other, equally compelling movies featuring Irish gangsters.
    Last edited by Taylor Ahern; 22 Jan 11, 16:58.

  • #2
    Miller's Crossing; the Cohens had the sense to cast an actual Irishman.

    "They're inviting us to defeat them! We must oblige them!"
    -Baron Munchausen

    "Ah, 'tis midsummer madness, the music is my temples, the hot blood of youth! Come, Kapellmeister, let the violas throb. My regiment leaves at dawn!"
    -Groucho Marx


    • #3
      Other than the 4 already mentioned, how many more have there been?

      So long as men worship the Caesars and Napoleons, Caesars and Napoleons will duly rise and make them miserable.

      Aldous Huxley: Ends and Means (1937)


      • #4
        All good choices so far. Let me also add Boondock Saints.


        • #5
          Have there been any plans to make a 3d? So love the first two.
          Delegate, MN GOP.




          • #6

            Great post, as per usual, mate. However, I would add one other film - State of Grace, with Sean Penn, Gary Oldman and Ed Harris. The film is partly based on the Irish "Westies" gang of Hells Kitchen, NY.

            After a long absence, Terry Noonan (Penn) is welcomed back to Hell's Kitchen by his oldest childhood friend, Jackie Flannery (Oldman), a violent hothead who works as a gunman for an Irish-American gang led by his older brother, Frankie Flannery (Harris). With Jackie's blessing, Noonan seeks to join the gang. Unbeknownst to the Flannerys, however, Noonan is a cop working undercover to bring down Frankie Flannery, who's close to allying with the New York Mafia.


            • #7
              The General; a movie about Martin Cahill.

              Irish charm and gangland violence come together in this engrossing biography of Dublin godfather Martin Cahill. Irish journalist Williams recounts Cahill's rise from poverty to infamy as Ireland's most notorious crime boss, dubbed "the General" for his audacious and meticulously planned robberies. Cahill was a brutal thug (he literally crucified one underling he suspected of having crossed him) but also devoted lover (to his wife and her sister), a pillar of the slum communities where he grew up, and, as his fame for his spectacular jewelry and art heists grew, something of a folk hero. Combining thorough research and well-paced storytelling, Williams brings to life Cahill's exploits, his long war of wits with the often inept Irish police, and the clannish underworld where criminal gangs, IRA commandos, Protestant paramilitaries and police officials conducted their battles on weirdly intimate terms. Along the way he paints a picture of Dublin's social transformation in the 1970s and 80s, as an epidemic of heroin and guns, fueled by the conflict in Northern Ireland, brought big-city crime to its formerly safe and sleepy streets.
              Last edited by The Highwayman; 23 Jan 11, 02:51.
              "They're inviting us to defeat them! We must oblige them!"
              -Baron Munchausen

              "Ah, 'tis midsummer madness, the music is my temples, the hot blood of youth! Come, Kapellmeister, let the violas throb. My regiment leaves at dawn!"
              -Groucho Marx


              • #8
                I agree with Skob, State of Grace was excellent.


                • #9
                  "The past is a foreign country: they do things differently there."


                  • #10
                    I dunno about a top 3 Irish gangster films, but Millers Crossing is a fovourite of mine (I just have to be in the right mood to watch it).

                    On the subject of the film 'The Departed', I would urge anybody who hasn't already done so to watch the film on which it was based, the Hong Kong made 'Infernal Affairs' which spawned two sequels. It knocks The Departed into a cocked hat.

                    I also struggle to take seriously any film featuring Leonardo Di Caprio. He couldn't act his way out of an already ripped paper bag.
                    HONNEUR ET FIDÉLITÉ

                    "Believe me, nothing except a battle lost can be half so melancholy as a battle won." - Duke of Wellington at Waterloo.


                    • #11
                      A new film coming out this year.

                      I don't know, it appears a bit cheesy. I don't think the rock music backing the second half of the trailer fit the feel. I'll still more than likely end up seeing it though.
                      Last edited by Lucky 6; 27 Feb 11, 23:52.
             useless it was to struggle against fortune, this being the burden of wisdom which the ages had bequeathed to him.


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by HiredGoon View Post

                        Scorsese is an absolute genious of the cinima. But Gangs of New York has to be one of the stupidest big budget films ever made. It was like watching the kids musical Oliver except Oliver Reed was a much more convincing hard man than Di Caprio - Day Lewis et al.


                        • #13
                          I rented Gangs of New York back when. I had been anticipating it for some time. I watched it and don't remember much about it other than I didn't like it.
                          "The secret of life is honesty and fair dealing. If you can fake that, you've got it made."
                          — Groucho Marx


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Dogsbody67 View Post

                            On the subject of the film 'The Departed', I would urge anybody who hasn't already done so to watch the film on which it was based, the Hong Kong made 'Infernal Affairs' which spawned two sequels. It knocks The Departed into a cocked hat.
                            Based on what analysis? Do you have the credentials to compare films and determine which is better?

                            Could you explain to us which elements offended the senses in a side-by-side comparison?

                            Or did you just "like" the Hong Kong films more, and that's why you "feel" they are superior?

                            Originally posted by Dogsbody67 View Post

                            I also struggle to take seriously any film featuring Leonardo Di Caprio. He couldn't act his way out of an already ripped paper bag.
                            Yeah, he sucks. But his performance in The Departed was top-shelf by any standard.
                            "This life..., you know, "the life." You’re not gonna get any medals, kid. This is not a hero business; you don’t shoot people from a mile a way. You gotta stand right next to them... blow their heads off."



                            • #15
                              would you consider"michael collins"as an irish gangster film?


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