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"Lucky 7" Movies for a Happy St. Patrick's Day

John Wayne and Maureen O'Hara share a kiss in The Quiet Man (1952)
The rocky road to romance: John Wayne
and Maureen O'Hara in The Quiet Man.

Like any good Irish storyteller, the ability of movemakers to transport audiences to the Erin Isle on St. Patrick's Day is what movie magic is all about.

From "The Quiet Man" starring movie veterans John Wayne and Maureen O'Hara, to comedies such as "Waking Ned Devine," movies with an Irish theme attract viewers year round whenever they appear on TV, in movie festivals, or online.

Of course, they're never so popular as on the day when you celebrate beinging Irish (or wish your were.)

Look for these movie classics on Netflix, YouTube TV, Amazon Premium, or your favorite streaming service,

Download them, buy the DVDs, or watch for cable or network TV listings this March 17 to watch a lucky handful of very entertaining films just right for St. Patrick's Day:

1. The Quiet Man (1952)

John Wayne stars as the American who comes to Ireland to escape his shadowy past, Maureen O'Hara, plays the local redhead with the fiery temper. And Barry Fitzgerald pulls out all the stops as a witty village curmudgeon. If that's not enough, there's the stunning Galway countryside that co-stars in this St. Patrick's Day classic that never gets old.

Best moment:
the old Irish graveyard in the rain, as Wayne and O'Hara act out one of the steamiest but most tender love scenes in movie history.

2. Waking Ned Devine (1998)

With a winning lottery ticket in hand, Ned Devine has fallen dead from shock -- when his neighbors decide to profit from his good/bad luck. The plan? One of them will impersonate the deceased to collect the jackpot and split it with the rest of the town. Success centers around the film's star attraction, the Irish actor David Kelly, playing the hapless Ned impersonator.

Best quote:
"But he's never told a lie in his life!" "Well, he's making up for it now."

3. The Commitments (1991)

Follow the travails and triumph of a rag-tag band of misfits trying to introduce American soul music to the Dublin music scene. Mix in a startling connection between the working class Irish and the American civil rights movement, and you have all the makings of a funny, gritty, and memorable film.

Best quote: "The Irish are the blacks of Europe, Dubliners are the blacks of Ireland, and the North Siders are the blacks of Dublin ... so say it loud -- I'm black and I'm proud!"

Best moment: a soulful and moving performance of "Try a Little Tenderness".

4. The Secret of Roan Inish (1994)

Little Fiona is sent off to live with her grandparents in a fishing village in Donegal to discover the ancient Irish myth (or is it?) of the mysterious Selkie, a seal who can shape shift into a human. As the spectacular scenery and lush musical score wash over you, the intriguing plot will pull you far out to sea.

5. The Matchmaker (1997)

This minor romantic comedy gem casts funny lady Janeane Garofalo as an assistant to a sleazy US politician who dispatches her to Ireland to research his Irish roots so he can win the Irish vote back home.

On arrival, her hard-bitten character comes under special scrutiny of the village's annual matchmaking festival. Needless to say, she eventually hooks up with a charming and strapping Irishman, and falls under Ireland's spell in the fine tradition of a 40's screwball comedy. Watch it for the laughs, the Irish music sound track, and (shot in Galway) the scenery.

6. Darby O'Gill and the Little People (1959)

Still considered one of the lesser known Disney classics, movie magic is spun in the form of leprechauns, banshees, and a main love interest played out by Janet Munro and a young Sean Connery.

Best trivia tidbit: In one of the more improbable (but true) stories to come out of Hollywood, Sean Connery gained instant stardom following this performance. His next movie role? Playing Bond -- James Bond -- in "Dr. No".

7. Going My Way (1944)

A sentimental favorite, if only for Bing Crosby as Father O'Malley singing "Too Ra Loo Ra Loo Ra...".

Best quote: Barry Fitzgerald as Father Fitzgibbons: "Hope? You know, Chuck, when you're young, it's easy to keep the fires of hope burning bright. But at my age, you're lucky if the pilot light doesn't go out."

More about St, Patrick's Day movies around the Web:

Top 10 St. Patrick's Day Movies - The countdown on their favorites along with disonorable mentions and what to avoid, with related resources.

A roundup of notable Irish films - feature with a slideshow and reviews of top and offbeat movie selections including My Left Foot, The Guard, Hunger, and more.

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