Arriving in Dublin brought memories of many brilliant Irish films, mostly true accounts. Scandal, drugs, the IRA, and some personal affliction are the themes of most every Irish movie to date - except maybe Circle of Friends, which follows a young Chris O’Donnell and the romantic pursuits of three girls in the 1950’s Irish countryside. The opposite of drugs and affliction.

Here are my picks for the top five films based on Irish political and class warfare, oppression and crime:

The Magdalene Sisters -Three young women attempt a harrowing escape from the Catholic laundry asylums for “wayward” girls. Riveting.

Veronica Guerin - Journalist Veronica Guerin covers a series of drug crimes for the Irish news, and becomes a target for exposing the truth behind the drug culture.

In the Name of the Father - One of the most momentous and powerful scenes in film occurs more than once in this account of the Guildford Four, falsely accused of an IRA pub bombing in London. They spent 15 years in prison trying to prove their innocence.

Bloody Sunday - An alternative angle of the well-known protest that resulted in the death of several nationalist activists. A classic film on “the troubles.” 

My Left Foot - The legendary Christy Brown uses his only functioning limb to paint, write, and communicate his mind despite the physical frustrations and limitations of cerebral palsy and poverty.