Press "Enter" to skip to content

Every Leprechaun Movie Ranked by Historical Accuracy

Biopics are a tricky business. It’s a difficult task to summarize anyone’s life in a single film, especially when the subject is someone prolific and culturally important. In the interest of cinematic contrivance, there is a strong tendency to mix facts, omit important details, and overall print the legend over the reality. Case in point, the Leprechaun franchise.

Since today is St. Patrick’s Day we feel like it’s the perfect time to enrich your cultural education by revisiting the films that depict the life of Ireland’s most significant export, the Leprechaun. But of the 8 films that have endeavored to tell the tale of this wise-cracking limerick-loving murderous gold miser, which does the best job at separating fact from fiction?

We’ve revisited all of the Leprechaun movies in preparation for the holiday, and ranked them by which one does the best job of separating the little man from the big myths that surround him:

8. Leprechaun Origins (2014)

The phrase “I expect better from WWE Studios” sounds inherently stupid until you watch this garbage. Whoever wrote this thing (we won’t even dignify them with a check on IMDB,) has clearly never seen a Leprechaun movie or maybe even heard of the mythological creature. If you’ve ever watched the Boston Celtics on television you have officially done more research than the writer of “Leprechaun: Origins.” The Leprechaun is not a naked Golem with sharper teeth, he doesn’t have Predator vision, he is not mute, and he doesn’t kill people just for having gold on their person. He’s from Ireland. They got that right. That’s about it.

7. Leprechaun: Back 2 tha Hood (2003)

2003 just wasn’t a good year for, well, anything. Not even historically accurate to the first “Leprechaun in the Hood” movie. This is basically a made-for-cable melodrama morality play with the Leprechaun sort of sprinkled in. It does get a few things right. According to lore, Leprechauns do bleed tiny CGI yellow bubbles. Leprechauns and psychics are fierce adversaries. You can make a lot of money selling just weed at basketball courts, like enough to warrant armed security. Outside of that, wildly inaccurate.

6. Leprechaun Returns (2018)

Though ignoring the events of “Leprechaun 2” through “Leprechaun in the Hood,” which scholars now maintain to be mostly accurate, this movie makes an earnest attempt to capture the spirit of the real-life Leprechaun. Despite the absence of noted Leprechaun reenactor Warwick Davis, it’s quite possibly the most historically accurate Sci-Fi Original Movie since “Swamp Shark,” and we do not say that lightly.

5. Leprechaun (1993)

The first attempt to bring the story of the Leprechaun to the big screen was a bit uneven, but there’s a lot they got right. The Leprechaun really did spend ten years trapped in a wooden box, though it was oak, not cedar as shown in the film. The Leprechaun’s penchant for quickly assembling little murder gocarts comes directly from Celtic folklore, and he is indeed a foot fetishist. Scholars now believe there really was a Jennifer Aniston, though speculate that she could act better than what we see in the film.

4. Leprechaun 2 (1994)

The sequel showcases a far more accurate depiction of Ireland’s favorite murderous imp than its predecessor. It reflects our modern understanding that the Leprechaun’s magic can pretty much do anything as long as it’s funny and/or bloody, provided that it keeps the plot moving. His gocart-building abilities, which were depicted as rudimentary in the first film, are more accurately shown to be advanced. There are flame decals, skull adornments over the headlights, and even a little crossed-out clover on the hood.

3. Leprechaun in the Hood (2000)

In this ambitious straight-to-video offering, filmmaker Rob Spera attempts to answer the burning question “Where do the origins of LA gangster rap and the mythos of the Leprechaun intersect?” The result is one of the most true-to-life depictions of both subjects ever captured on film. The golden flute Ice-T used to make “Cop Killer” a hit is featured prominently, as is the Leprechaun’s penchant for cannabis and fly girls. Though a controversial view at the time, modern biblical scholars are now, for the most part, in consensus that Jesus’s disciples were indeed some bad mofos’. There really was a Coolio, and from time to time he would just randomly show up places and not say anything.

2. Leprechaun 4: In Space (1996)

How can a film set in the future be historically accurate? When it perfectly extrapolates our modern culture and predicts things that are sure to pass. Everything about our modern times, our environmental crisis, our global political conflict, and our dwindling resources, all of it brings us closer and closer to Leprechaun in space every day. If we don’t act now, eventually we will all be space marines like in “Aliens,” except our spaceships will be crude CGI and below escape room quality sets. If we can’t find a way to heal the divide in our own country, how will we prevent the Leprechaun from abducting and marrying a space princess who takes her top off for no reason?

1. Leprechaun 3 (1995)

The Leprechaun has had a long and storied life, and encapsulating it fully into a single 90-minute film just isn’t possible. When covering a subject so prolific, sometimes it’s best to focus on a single period of their lives rather than the whole picture, and that’s exactly what the makers of “Leprechaun 3” did. The film focuses exclusively on the Leprechaun’s infamous Vegas period. It’s all here. His competitive friendship with Elvis, his proclivity for making asses so big they explode, his tendency to get drunk and turn other people into leprechauns by biting them, this unflinching portrait pulls no punches. Even the set design is period perfect, right down to the 1st gen desktop computers that came loaded with animated slideshows about leprechauns and how to destroy them.