One of our finest local thespians – the one and only Brendan Gleeson – turns 63 today and we thought we’d mark the occasion by looking at some of the finest performances he has given us.

We have to admit now, choosing just five was no easy task. The man has close to a hundred credits to his name and has starred in some major features over his three decades-long career.

He starred in Braveheart, Michael Collins, Mission Impossible II, 28 Days Later..., Gangs of New York, Troy, the Harry Potter series, Edge of Tomorrow, and last year’s surprise hit Paddington 2. That’s just looking at his movies, and only a few of them at that!

Call us old fashioned but we’re feeling patriotic, so we’ve chosen five of our favourite scenes of Brendan Gleeson’s from Irish movies. Let us know your favourite performance of his in the comments.


5. I Went Down – Bath tub scene

If I Went Down slipped past your radar, make time to watch it because over twenty years on, it remains one of the best comedies and parodies Ireland has produced. Gleeson is note-perfect as Bunny and has many a hilarious conversation with his partner-in-crime Git in the car (it’s all very Pulp Fiction-esque) but his cussing when he confronts their captive Frank in the bath is just gas.



4. The General – The nail scene

Gleeson’s range as an actor is probably best exemplified in The General, where he plays notorious Irish gangster Martin Cahill. A working class hero and family man, but cruel and disturbed, this scene shows Cahill torture his friend and subsequently comfort him as he takes him to the hospital.


3. In Bruges – “You’re a c*** now and you’ve always been a c***”

It’s hard to pick a favourite scene from In Bruges because they’re all effin hilarious but there’s nothing quite like seeing two great actors face-off and Gleeson definitely meets his match in Ralph Fiennes here - that sense of tension couple with them saying c*** to each over and over is too damn funny. Warning: NSFW (obvs)


2. The Guard – “I thought only black lads are drug dealers?”

We don’t know how Gleeson or anyone else in this scene managed not to break but here we have another example of Gleeson’s brilliant comedic timing in acclaimed comedy The Guard.


1. Calvary – Death scene

It’s not the first tragic death scene Gleeson has beautifully performed – In Bruges stands out – but the finale of Calvary really took the biscuit because his performance up to that point is so wonderfully pure and emotive, and his death here is so self sacrificial.