Six family friendly movies to watch on St. Patrick’s Day

Usually this blog reviews products or services that I am testing out.  But today is St. Patrick’s day and I just had an awesome breakfast of green eggs and spam, green apples, green grapes, and a green orange Julius. The kids are now off to school and I’m left wondering… what would be a fun movie to watch with the family tonight?  St. Patty’s day weekend needs at least one or two good Irish films, but most good Irish films are not kid friendly.  So I jogged my memory and did some research to figure out the best choices for my family (four kids under the age of 12).  Several of the films I found are less than amazing, but you have slim pickins when it comes to family entertainment and St. Patrick’s Day.  Here’s what I was able to come up with.

  • The Classics: Darby O’Gill and the Little People (1959), The Gnome Mobile (year)
  • Historical fiction and non-fiction: Far and Away (1992), Evelyn (2002)
  • Comedy and Romantic Comedy: Waking Ned Devine (1998), Leap Year (2010)
  • Television and Cartoon episodes: Listed at bottom

The Classics

Darby O’Gill and the Little People (1959).  This old Disney classic features a 29 year-old Sean Connery in his first and last singing role.  It is the story of an old storyteller—Darby O’Gill (Albert Sharpe)—who is fascinated with leprechauns and banshees. He finally stumbles across a leprechaun named King Brian, who much grant him three wishes.  But King is a trickster so Darby has a hard time getting the leprechaun gold that he desires.

The Gnome Mobile (1967). This is another old Disney classic with the Marry Poppins kids.  It is about an eccentric millionaire and his grandchildren that stumbles into some gnomes in the redwood forest.

Historical Fiction and Non Fiction

Far and Away (1992). This was one of little Ronnie Howard’s (the Andy Griffith Show) early directing efforts, and like all his other work, it is fantastic.  The film is historical fiction centered around the Oklahoma Land Run of 1893, with Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman starring as Irish immigrants who are in pursuit of the American dream of owning their own land.

Evelyn (2002).  I’m surprised how few people have seen this great, based-on-a-true-story film of a single father fighting to keep his children.  It stars ? as Desmond Doyle, an unemployed Irish family man is devastated when his wife leaves the family on the day after Christmas and then the courts place the kids in orphanages due to his unemployment.  This movie is about his custody battle with the Irish courts and it’s a tear jerker.

Comedy and Romantic Comedy

Waking Ned Devine (1998). Ian Bannen stars as Jackie O’Shea, a resident of a tiny Irish coastal village that discovers that someone else in his village has won the national lottery.  He goes to great lengths to find the winner (Ned Devine) so he can share the wealth.  He does find him, but finds him dead from shock after winning the 6.9 million pound reward.  So O’Shea and his best friend David Kelly create a plan to make Devine seem alive so they can collect his winnings. I don’t remember much about this movie, just that it is funny and that shows old naked men riding a motorcycle.

Leap Year (2010).  This is a super cheesy romantic comedy starring Amy Adams (The Office, Enchanted) is filmed in Ireland.  It is the story of Anna Brady (Adams) who chooses February 29th to propose to her boyfriend in Dublin.  Apparently there is an Irish tradition that women make marriage proposals to men on Leap day.  Anyhow, she falls in love with someone else and cheesy, cheesy, cheesy.  If you want romance go with Far and Away, but if you want a romantic comedy this might be your only choice (slim pickins’).

A few other options include:

  • The Fugitive (1993). A great film of escaped fugitive Dr. Kimble (Harrison Ford) who is seen eluding the US Marshals by joining the St. Patrick’s Day parade in Chicago.
  • Any of the Shrek movies. He has an Irish accent and he’s green.
  • So I Married an Axe Murderer (1993). I don’t remember how “Irish” this movie is, but I do remember haggis, so there’s that.

There are also some family friendly animated shows and television episodes that have a St. Patrick’s day theme.  Here are a few of them:

  • Extreme Ghostbusters (1997) “The Luck of the Irish”
  • The Real Ghost Busters (1987) “The Scaring of the Green”
  • ALF (1989) “Superstition”
  • Bewitched (1966) “The Leprechaun”
  • Home Improvement (1998) “Desperately Seeking Willow”
  • The Office (2010) “St. Patrick’s Day”
  • Sabrina the Teenage Witch (1999) “Salem, the Boy”
  • Punky Brewster (1985). The cartoon version has a leprechaun and rainbow in it.

Am I missing any?  Put your favorite St. Patrick’s day family films in the comments below.

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