The Irish accent is a tough one to imitate, and many non-Irish actors have attempted it with cringe-worthy results. Here are the top 10 worst Irish accents in movies.
Ah, the Irish brogue—it can be wild and tricky to try and tame at the best of times.
We admit and understand that it is a difficult accent to master when it’s not your native one, but for the love of god, directors, please take note that if a non-Irish actor can’t do it, then there are many great Irish actors and actresses out there who would only be too happy to do the true Irish accent justice. So perhaps look to them first when casting your next Irish character!
With that said, in our previous article we listed 10 non-Irish actors who in our opinion beat the odds and did a convincing job at speaking with Irish accents. Here, however, we are going to name and shame 10 actors who butchered the Irish brogue and made it sound like something straight out of a Lucky Charms advert!
(We’re sure these actors are great at other accents, but Irish just isn’t one of them.)
10. Sean Bean in Patriot Games (1992)
While certainly not the worst offender on our list, Sean Bean’s attempt at the Northern Irish accent falls short of being a decent attempt, as it doesn’t really sound like a Northern accent or any true Irish accent for that matter.
9. Brad Pitt in The Devil’s Own (1997)
While Brad Pitt pulled off an impressive accent in Snatch, his attempt at a Belfast accent in The Devil’s Own is memorable for all the wrong reasons. Pitt’s accent throughout the movie seems to have an identity crisis as it wavers constantly between a Northern Irish accent and some generic Irish accent.
Saying “Aye” after every sentence does not make a good Northern Irish accent, Brad. Sorry!
8. Julia Roberts in Michael Collins (1996)
In the ’90s, Julia Roberts was a superstar that could do no wrong as she starred in excellent movie after movie. However, her role as Kitty Kiernan in Michael Collins left a lot to be desired. Julia steals every scene she is in during Michael Collins, but only because her Irish accent is so distractingly bad that it takes you out of the experience.
7. Kevin Spacey in Ordinary Decent Criminal (2000)
While undoubtedly good at his craft, Kevin Spacey played a stinker when it came to portraying the Belfast accent in this film. His attempts at this Northern Irish accent come out very cartoonish throughout the film.
6. Tommy Lee Jones in Blown Away (1994)
Another big actor—and another embarrassment for Irish accents. Tommy Lee Jones’s attempts at playing a Northern Irish IRA man in the 1994 film Blown Away was downright terrible. You may be starting to notice a recurring theme at this stage when it comes to attempts at Northern Irish accents.
5. Gerard Butler in P.S. I Love You (2007)
When Gerard Butler was cast in the role of Irishman Gerry Kennedy in the movie adaption of P.S. I Love You (originally a novel by Cecilia Ahern), there were high hopes that the Scotsman could convey a convincing Irish accent. These hopes were unfortunately very ill-placed.
The accent was so bad, in fact, that Gerard Butler even issued an apology to the Irish public on his behalf. Gerry, we accept your apology, but your Irish accent was still terrible.
4. Sean Connery in Darby O’ Gill and the Little People (1959)
Like Gerard Butler, Sean Connery was another Scotsman who failed to accurately replicate the Irish brogue. Sean Connery starred in what must be one of (if not the) most clichéd Irish movies to ever hit the big screen in his role as Michael McBride in the Walt Disney classic Darby O’Gill and the Little People. His accent really hits peak stereotypical ‘Oirishness’ in this movie.
3: Kim Cattrall in The Tiger’s Tail (2006)
Probably one of the lesser-known movies on our list but still no less deserving of notable condemnation, this Irish production stars Sex and the City actress Kim Cattral alongside Brendan Gleeson, but how Cattrall was cast is anyone’s guess. Her accent is terrible from beginning to end in this forgettable film.
2. Russell Crowe in Winter’s Tale (2014)
“Are you not entertained?!” Entertained, yes, Russell, but impressed? Oh god no! Even though Russell Crowe seems to love visiting Ireland, his experience here hasn’t helped his Irish accent at all.
1. Tom Cruise in Far and Away (1992)
Tom Cruise is another household name who could not master the Irish twang. His attempt at the Irish accent in Far and Away as the 19th-century Irish peasant Joseph Donnelly was criminally bad. This was far and away Tom’s worst performance of his career.
So there you have, in our opinion, the ten worst Irish accents to ever disgrace the big screen. Let’s hope there aren’t many more!