Skip to content

Best Films About the IRA

Best Films About the IRA

Films about the IRA have been popular for years. They tell captivating stories that explore conflict’s complexities. They shine a light on historical events and delve into personal struggles. With their bold narratives, these films open a window for us to see the Troubles. This was a story of political unrest and violence across Northern Ireland, Ireland, Britain, and Europe for many years.

The top IRA films range from intense thrillers in Belfast to stories of personal growth. They offer a wide range of narratives about this difficult time. Talented directors and great actors bring these stories to life. They help us understand the conflict’s gritty reality and its big effect on people and places. These movies make us think deeply.

Key Takeaways:

  • The top films about the IRA provide fresh and controversial perspectives on the Troubles, the political conflict that plagued Northern Ireland, Ireland, Britain, and Europe for decades.
  • These films offer gripping tales of conflict, history, and personal struggle.
  • They range from tense thrillers set in bomb-torn Belfast to intimate character studies.
  • Each film provides a unique perspective and adds to our understanding of this tumultuous period.
  • By exploring the personal struggles, injustices, and impacts of the conflict, these films offer a deeper understanding of the Troubles and its complex history.

’71 (2014)

Directed by Tony Luraschi, ’71 takes us to Belfast in 1971. It tells the story of a British soldier, played by Jack O’Connell. He gets lost from his army and is now behind enemy lines. He has to figure out who in the local forces is friend or foe.

This film is a thrilling look at the mayhem and risks in Belfast at the time.

The Outsider (1980)

The Outsider, directed by Pat Murphy and John Davies, showcases the Belfast Troubles’ hardship. In this film, an Irish-American war veteran seeks to unite his ancestral land. He ends up in the IRA, only to face the true complexity of the conflict.

This movie dives into the struggles of the IRA members. It shows the toll on their emotions and lives in Belfast’s dangerous setting. The Outsider prompts viewers to think about the hard choices people make for their beliefs.

The Outsider

Maeve (1981)

Maeve, directed by Pat O’Connor, is a drama that looks at the Troubles from a feminist angle. This engaging film is set in Belfast and follows Maeve’s story. She comes back after years in London to face sexism from both Irish and British soldiers.

Maeve fights for equal rights and urges her boyfriend, who supports the republic, to focus on the present. The film highlights the challenges women faced during the conflict.

It shows the strength and will of the women in Belfast during the chaos. By showing Maeve’s point of view within the IRA and the Troubles, the movie gives an important view of that time.

Feminism and Empowerment in Belfast

The movie Maeve looks at feminism in Belfast during the Troubles. It shows how women gained strength and fought in difficult times. It explores the battle against patriarchal rules and the fight for rights.

  • It’s powerful because it focuses on Maeve, a determined woman, showing women’s ability to change their lives.
  • Maeve challenges the expected roles of women, pushing for change in society.
  • The film reminds us that feminism crosses borders and remains key even in times of conflict.

In conclusion, Maeve, directed by Pat O’Connor, is a key film that looks at feminism during the Troubles. Through Maeve’s story, it highlights the struggles women faced. It’s a captivating look at the link between gender, politics, and conflict in Belfast.

Cal (1984)

Cal, directed by Pat O’Connor, is a story about a young man involved in the IRA who faces the guilt of a murder. The setting is the tense streets of Belfast. Cal constantly battles with his conscience over past deeds while surrounded by the threat of violence.

Discarded and alienated by other IRA members, Cal looks for forgiveness in helping the widow of a man he was involved in killing. He aims to erase the pain he caused through this kindness. Yet, his path is not easy. He faces aggression from loyalist groups against his efforts.

The movie dives into the deep sorrow caused by sectarian violence. It looks at how the families of the victims and the soldiers themselves suffer. The focus is on Cal, showing his emotional wounds and the struggles he faces with his loyalties.


Cal draws its audience in with a powerful depiction of Belfast’s chaos and war. It stirs up profound thoughts about forgiveness and redemption during times of strife. The film is both heart-wrenching and thought-provoking, offering an insight into the complexities of war and the hopes for peace.

Elephant (1989)

Elephant is a powerful film by Alan Clarke. It shows the Troubles in Northern Ireland. The film doesn’t have any talking or reasons for the murders.

It makes you see the cruel, cold side of the conflict. Unlike many movies, it doesn’t make the violence look cool or clean. Elephant is remembered as a genuine and deep film about the Troubles.

The Crying Game (1992)

The Crying Game, directed by Neil Jordan, wins over viewers with its twists. It’s set during the IRA and the Troubles. The story focuses on an IRA fighter tangled in secrets and emotion.

The movie starts with an IRA member named Fergus and a British soldier, Jody, who become friends. Unfortunately, their friendship is tested and ends in tragedy. Fergus faces tough choices and struggles with his past. The film dives into themes like loyalty, violence, and personal identity.

The movie is famous for its surprising twists. It keeps viewers on the edge of their seats. The twist is one of cinema’s most talked-about moments. It makes us think and question our beliefs.

Besides its thrilling plot, The Crying Game explores love and connection. Fergus’ relationship with Dil is at the heart of the film. It touches on desire, sexuality, and the chance for a new start.

The Crying Game shows Neil Jordan’s talent. It’s a deep dive into human nature during conflict. It mixes love, sadness, and mystery in a way that makes us think about our emotions and actions in hard times.

Key Themes:

  • Masculinity and its complexities
  • The impact of violence on individuals
  • The blurred lines between loyalty and betrayal
  • Unsettling secrets and unresolved pasts
  • The transformative power of unexpected relationships

In the Name of the Father (1993)

In the Name of the Father, directed by Jim Sheridan, brings an emotional story to the screen. It’s about the Guildford Four and their fight for justice after being wrongly imprisoned. A father and son duo struggles against the British legal system to prove their innocence.

This movie is not just a story; it’s a lesson in loyalty, the fight for truth, and resilience. Daniel Day-Lewis and Pete Postlethwaite deliver outstanding performances. They show the deep emotional impact of wrongfully being accused.

In the Name of the Father also explores the IRA’s bombings and their effects. It goes beyond the news to show the pain of the people affected. This film tells a powerful tale about seeking truth and fighting back against injustice.


Films about the IRA show lots of views on Northern Ireland’s history. They include action, suspense, and drama. These films help us see the personal stories and the big effects of the Troubles.

’71 shows a torn Belfast, while Maeve looks at it from a feminist view. These stories highlight the real-life challenges and tough choices people faced during the conflict.

Watching these films makes us understand Northern Ireland’s story better. They show the lasting effects of the Troubles and remind us how peace and understanding are important.


What are the best films about the IRA?

Some top films on the IRA include ’71, The Outsider, Maeve, Cal, and In the Name of the Father. Also, Elephant and The Crying Game are recommended.

What is the film ’71 about?

’71 is a thrilling movie set in Belfast in 1971. It’s about a British soldier who gets lost from his unit. He’s stuck behind enemy lines during the IRA conflict. He tries to find allies he can trust.

What is The Outsider about?

The Outsider is about an Irish-American who joins the IRA to fight for Irish unity. But, he learns the fight isn’t simple and becomes a target. It shows his personal struggles and the war in Belfast.

What is Maeve about?

Maeve focuses on a woman who faces sexism from Irish and British soldiers. She questions her boyfriend’s fixations on the past. The film shows women’s struggles during the Troubles.

What is Cal about?

Cal is about a young IRA member trying to change after a murder. The movie shows how violence affects both families and fighters. It’s a story of seeking forgiveness and redemption.

What is Elephant about?

Elephant shows the brutality of the Troubles with 18 killings. There’s no motive or talk, just the raw violence. The movie forces you to face the reality of war without glamorizing it.

What is The Crying Game about?

The Crying Game surprises with its story. It starts with an IRA member kidnapping a British soldier. Their relationship brings out past ghosts. The film explores themes of loyalty and violence.

What is In the Name of the Father about?

In the Name of the Father tells the story of the Guildford Four’s wrongful conviction. It’s about a father and son’s fight for justice. The movie highlights the injustice by the British legal system.

What do films about the IRA offer?

Films about the IRA give different views on the Troubles. They show the personal struggles and impacts of the conflict. These films offer unique insights into this historic period.

Source Links

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *