St. Patrick’s Day is almost upon us, my lads and lassies! We want to celebrate it even if we aren’t Irish, because we believe it will bring us good luck, and it’s just good fun. If you have kids, a family movie night is a great way to celebrate Irish culture.
I have found some great movies celebrating Irish culture that are easy to get! Many are streaming on Netflix. So grab some green popcorn and a cup of golden apple juice and drink a toast to leprechauns and four-leaf clovers!
The Secret of Kells
For your movie night with kids eight and up, start here. Rated PG and streaming on Netflix, this Oscar-nominated film has lush animation in the style of ancient illuminated manuscripts. The story celebrates Irish lore and culture: after Vikings destroy his abbey home, a boy must complete a challenge in a magical wood in order to finish an illuminated mythical manuscript, the Book of Kells.
Song of the Sea
Nominated for an Oscar this year for Best Animated Feature, Song of the Sea (full review here) is from Tomm Moore, who also directed The Secret of Kells. In it a young girl, Saoirse, discovers that, when she puts on a magical coat belonging to her late mother, that she is really a selkie, a human who transforms into a seal when reaching the ocean. She possesses the key to the fairy world’s survival, but that’s all put at risk when she is forced to move away from the sea to the big city. The movie has some sad moments with her mother passing away right at the beginning, but overall I’m recommending for ages six and up. The film is a great choice for a St. Patrick’s Day movie. Screen for free on Amazon Prime. The movie is also available on DVD at Amazon.
Netflix viewers are very enthusiastic about this documentary chronicling the Irish Dancing Championships. This movie follows the dancers and explores their competitive world. The film is rated PG and streaming for free on Amazon Prime.
The Secret of Roan Inish
This is a beautiful movie from 2000 directed by John Sayles. It’s another movie with the mythic theme of the selkie. A young girl, Fiona, discovers that her ancestor may have married a selkie, at least that’s how the stories in the Irish village of Donegal go. She lost her baby brother when the ocean carried his cradle away. Can he now be found among the seals? Fiona must find out. This movie is rated PG and good for older kids. It’s unfortunately hard to find, but add it to your watch list on Amazon Prime. The DVD can be ordered on Amazon, but unfortunately it’s $50 because it’s a rare find. Hopefully this one will get a well-deserved re-release soon.
A Very Unlucky Leprechaun
This very popular family film for St. Patty’s Day is unfortunately a little hard to find. A young girl named Molly must save her new home, aptly called Misfortune Mansion, with the help of a leprechaun. Check your local library or record store that sells DVDs, or if you have a video store close to you like me, see if they have it.
The Magical Legend of the Leprechauns
This fantasy movie from 2000 starring Randy Quaid and Whoopie Goldberg is reported to be enchanting. Unfortunately, it is also a little harder to get. The DVD can be ordered on Amazon but it’s very expensive (about $50). The film is not rated. Walmart.com also has it.
The Last Leprechaun
The Last Leprechaun is a tale of siblings who find themselves in Ireland. They must foil their future stepmother’s plans to destroy the Leprechan king. Rated G, the overall the consensus is that, while the acting is not great, the movie is fine for young kids. Available for streaming on Amazon Prime.
Dwegons and Leprechauns
What would you do if you moved into a house that protected a magical world of leprechauns? A family finds themselves in this predicament in Dwegons and Leprechauns. The film is rated PG and received mixed reviews on Netflix, where it used to be available for streaming, particularly regarding the somewhat intense death of a major character. My recommendation to parents is to preview this one at least in part to make sure its right for your family. The film is now available on Amazon Prime for streaming.
Darby O’Gill and the Little People
As much as I love Disney, I really don’t love this movie and can’t recommend it for a family movie night. Not only is it incredibly dated, but it’s meandering and too scary for young kids. Modern day older kiddos will find it boring. Plus, there is WAY too much drinking in this movie for comfort. It’s only saving grace? Young Sean Connery is quite dashing. Rent instantly or find it on DVD on Amazon.