Maureen O’Hara is possibly Ireland’s most iconic star of the silver screen, and her movies have resonated throughout the generations.
To mark what would have been her 101st birthday, here are the ten best Maureen O’Hara movies of all time.
Born Maureen Fitzsimmons in Dublin on 17 August 1920, O’Hara rose to fame as one of the most iconic names in Hollywood’s Golden Age.
With stereotypical Irish red hair, O’Hara was known for playing passionate but sensible heroines. She captured the hearts of all who witnessed her perform on the silver screen.
So, to honour one of Ireland’s greatest actresses, here are the best Maureen O’Hara movies of all time.
10. Our Man in Havana (1959) – a comedic spy thriller
Set in pre-revolutionary Cuba, this black-comedy thriller brings to life the book of the same name by Graham Greene.
O’Hara portrays Beatrice. She is a British spy sent to act as official secretary for James Wormold (Alec Guinness), a British ex-pat.
An MI6 agent approaches Wormold and asks him to become the agency’s operative in Havana. From here, action ensues.
9. How Green Was My Valley (1941) – a realist family drama
Based on the Richard Llewellyn novel of the same name, the 1941 hit movie How Green Was My Valley is definitely one of the best Maureen O’Hara movies of all time.
This was O’Hara’s first time working with director John Ford, with who she would go on to have a long-lasting professional relationship.
8. Rio Grande (1950) – a tale of family and war
This 1950 smash hit, also directed by John Ford, is the first time O’Hara starred alongside American actor John Wayne.
The poignant Western tells the story of a cavalry officer (Wayne), who is overly dedicated to his job. The movie shows the effects this dedication has on his family and personal life.
7. The Parent Trap (1961) – a family favourite
This family classic sees O’Hara star as the mother of identical twins Susan Evers and Sharon McKendrick, played by Hayley Mills.
This iconic 1961 film tells the story of twins separated at birth following their parents’ divorce, only to meet at a summer camp where they decide to switch places when it’s time to go home.
6. Mr Hobbs Takes A Vacation (1962) – a frenzied family holiday
Based on the Edward Streeter novel of the same name, Mr Hobbs Takes A Vacation is a must watch. It marks the first time O’Hara starred alongside Hollywood icon Jimmy Stewart.
This classic and heartwarming movie tells the story of a family vacation and reunion gone awry. Peggy, played by O’Hara, is an eternal optimist who brings lots of light and fun to this classic film.
5. McLintock! (1963) – a hilarious family Western
This 1963 comedic Western is one of the five movies that saw O’Hara star alongside Wayne.
Shakespeare’s The Taming of the Shrew inspires the hilarious film. It tells the story of estranged spouses fighting for custody of their daughter.
4. The Black Swan (1942) – a pirate’s adventure
Starring opposite Tyrone Power, who plays a carefree and amoral pirate, O’Hara gives an incredible performance as the fiery Lady Margaret in this 1942 hit.
A major inspiration for The Pirates of the Caribbean, The Black Swan is certainly one of the best Maureen O’Hara movies of all time.
3. The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1939) – no, not the Disney animation
This 1939 adaptation of Victor Hugo’s classic novel of the same name features O’Hara as the iconic Esmerelda.
Her appearance in The Hunchback of Notre Dame also happened to be O’Hara’s debut in American film and skyrocketed her journey to stardom in the States.
2. Miracle on 34th Street (1947) – a timeless Christmas classic
This timeless Christmas classic set in New York stars O’Hara as a successful single mother, Doris Walker.
This no-nonsense mother spends much of the film trying to teach her young daughter, played by Natalie Wood, that Santa Claus doesn’t exist. However, she later discovers that the man she has hired for the annual Christmas parade is actually the real deal!
1. The Quiet Man (1952) – an Irish favourite
Topping our list of the best Maureen O’Hara movies of all time is the timeless Irish classic The Quiet Man.
The sweet love story directed by John Ford stars John Wayne as John Thornton, a boxer from Philadelphia.
After killing his opponent in his last fight, Thornton moves to Ireland to escape his past. Here, he meets and falls in love with Mary Kate Danaher, played by O’Hara.
Many scenes from The Quiet Man were filmed throughout counties Mayo and Galway. Thus, making these spots popular with fans of the classic movie.