To celebrate 50 years of the Belfast Festival at Queen's we have decided to reveal your favourite Irish film of the past half century.

It has been an amazing 50 years for Irish cinema, which has seen filmmakers, film stars and great movies from Ireland break box office records at home and win the very best film awards around the world.

Resident UTV film critic Brian Henry Martin has selected five films from the last 50 years for you to vote from.


What is your favourite Irish film of the last 50 years?
What is your favourite Irish film of the last 50 years?


The winning film based on your votes will be screened at a gala event at the QFT in Belfast on Friday 26 October (7pm). Thank you for taking part.

How did Brian decide which films to shortlist?

"It was a very difficult decision" Brian said of the shortlisting. "The first tricky question you are faced with is what is an Irish film? Is it story? Is it actors? Is it location? I decided to choose five Irish films by Irish film directors. Then I wanted to choose the landmark films that transformed Irish cinema. Five films from four different decades that were innovative, entertaining and captured our hearts and imaginations."

Angel (1982) - Directed by Neil Jordan

It was almost impossible to pick only one of Neil Jordan’s fine films. No other director has contributed more to Irish cinema, from The Crying Game to Michael Collins, The Butcher Boy to Breakfast On Pluto. However, I have chosen his startling debut film Angel, which stars Stephen Rea as a melancholy saxophonist who after witnessing a brutal double murder seeks revenge. Poetic and profound, Angel was a landmark film that heralded the arrival of new Irish cinema.

My Left Foot (1989) - Directed by Jim Sheridan

Nominated for five Oscars and winner of two for exceptional performances by Daniel Day-Lewis and Brenda Fricker, My Left Foot is the astonishing true story of Christy Brown. In director Jim Sheridan’s inspirational and unsentimental biography, Day-Lewis plays Brown, born with cerebral palsy and written off by all but his indomitable mother, played by Brenda Fricker. Remarkably using only his left foot, Brown grows up to become a successful author and artist and even finds love along the way.

December Bride (1990) - Directed by Thaddeus O'Sullivan

Politics and passion are at the heart of this visually stunning film adaptation of Sam Hanna Bell’s classic 1951 novel December Bride. Saskia Reeves plays the eponymous lead with Donal McCann and Ciarán Hinds the battling brothers caught up in a scandalous ménage-à-trois at the turn of the century. Director Thaddeus O’Sullivan uses the beauty of the landscape and raw emotions to reveal the heartache and hardship of conservative life in a rural Presbyterian community in Ulster.

Once (2006) - Directed by John Carney

Shot in just 17 days on the streets of Dublin for a tiny budget, this enchanting love story charmed the pants off audiences around the world in 2006. Director John Carney designed Once to be an arthouse musical, a visual album whose characters have no names and very little dialogue. Instead Dublin street busker and vacuum salesman Glen Hansard and Czech immigrant piano player Marketa Irglova sing their hearts out and capture ours.

The Guard (2011) - John Michael McDonagh

This has to be the funniest Irish film ever. The Guard is certainly the most successful Irish comedy ever, after taking the box office by storm in 2011. This is a no nonsense, all guns blazing comic blast from first-time Writer / Director John Michael McDonagh. Not for the faint hearted, the writing is razor sharp, the jokes cut to the bone and the central performance from Brendan Gleeson as the unorthodox Sergeant Gerry Boyle is joyous.

We are looking for champions for each film, so if you are amorous about Angel or wild about Once, let us know!