Worst Irish Accent Ever?

Brando’s Irish sounded like a parody of a parody of a bad accent


Today is St. Patrick’s Day, and in honour of that, I’ll pose this question: what’s the worst Irish accent you have ever heard in a movie, TV show or something else? I find it interesting that when histories of bad accents are written, there usually aren’t that many Irish accents on the lists (though Sean Connery in The Untouchables is usually there), even though the movies have probably had more ridiculous Irish accents than any other. Maybe we’re all so used to terrible Irish accents that they don’t stand out quite as much as, say, Dick Van Dyke’s Cockney accent.

Still, as usual when it came to terrible accents, Marlon Brando managed to make something special of his insane Irish brogue in The Missouri Breaks. Like many of Brando’s accents, it sounds like a parody of a parody of a bad accent. In his essay on bad accents, Joe Queenan wrote: “It is my earnest belief that in using that diabolically wee Irish accent, Brando was attempting nothing short of a linguistic revolution: speaking, not as he imagined a nineteenth-century Irish gunslinger might, but as he imagined a nineteenth-century Irish gunslinger — and, indeed, all Irish people — should.

What’s your own choice for the K.O. Kelly Memorial Accent Defamation Trophy?


Worst Irish Accent Ever?

  1. Orson Welles in The Lady from Shanghai. Of course, my opinion of it may just be coloured by the fact the whole movie was an enormous mess…

  2. Can't disagree more with Matthew, altho Welles' accent was pretty thin. I can't think of any worse imitation than Brando trying to channel Barry Fitzgerald.
    But what's wrong with the Stafford Rep Memorial? Did the Rep family lawyers get to you that quickly?

  3. I just thought it would be fun to have an excuse to post that panel of K.O. Kelly talking about how awesome Canada is.

  4. I seem to remember Tommy Lee Jones doing a pretty bad accent in Blown Away.

  5. Gerard Butler in P.S. I love you. It was horrible. I saw it on a plane once and started watching half way through. Even though I'm from Ireland I still had to ask the person beside me what accent it was supposed to be because there was no way it was Irish!

  6. Leo in Gangs of New York. It seemed like it would alternate between Irish and his normal accent every five minutes. "Oh yeah, I'm supposed to be Irish! I forgot!"

  7. If we're giving an award to Connery for a bad Irish accent, we'd better award it for the Irish soldier he plays in The Longest Day, rather than for the Irish cop in The Untouchables.

  8. Throwing in Darby O'Gill and the Little People, Connery sure has played a lot of Irish characters for a Scot….

  9. Anybody catch 30 Rock last week? When Liz Lemon was doing a Jamaican accent and it morphed into an Irish one so she had to rush off the phone? Heh, loved it, because often that happens in reverse– someone will try to do speak with an Irish brogue and end up sounding Jamaican by the end of the sentence. Begorra, irie!

  10. Oh come on, Brad Pitt in The Devil's Own, from what I remember of that movie his accent was not good.

  11. I believe Tom Cruise's Irish accent in "Far and Away" was pretty bad. I can't check, however, because I've had my computer specially programed, as a preventive measure, so that any attempt to play a Youtube clip from that particular movie results in a high-voltage shock being sent through my fingers to my nervous system, rendering me unconscious.

    • lol – that's Great!

  12. By the way, best Irish-Canadian movie ever: 1964's "The Luck of Ginger Coffey," starring Robert Shaw and the streets of Montréal.

  13. Cliff Robertson in "The Devil's Brigade". Not just because it is an awful attempt at an Irish accent, but because it was adopted for no apparent reason, other than he couldn't figure out how to do a "Canadian" accent.

  14. Accent is accent and there is no worst if not exaggerated. Thanks for sharing this video.

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