Why the Dropkick Murphys Song is in So Many Movies and Shows

Why the Dropkick Murphys Song is in So Many Movies and Shows

It’s hard not to know I’m Shipping Up to Boston by the Dropkick Murphys. Whether it’s at a hockey game, football game, a TV show, or a movie, you’ve definitely heard this song. Considering how ingrained the song is in our media, it’s surprising that it was only released around only 2006. The song has its own energy that makes the audiences’ ears perk up when they hear it; you can’t help but get excited and pumped up by the ultimate hype song. However, the song also has an aggressive overtone that makes you get angry and simultaneously excited for what’s to come.

In other words, I’m Shipping Up to Boston is the perfect song for any and all forms of visual media. It can arguably fit in just about every movie and TV show at some point in time in the story. Okay, maybe Marley & Me would be a bit tough to find a place for the Dropkick Murphys, but hey, it was literally in the teaser trailer for Pixar’s Brave, so it’s not that much a stretch.

The song has been used literally dozens of times in TV shows, trailers, movies, and video games, from Rizzoli & Isles to Daddy’s Home 2, The Mindy Project to King of the Hill. The shows and film below utilize this song exactly as it is meant to be, to evoke the intense emotion in the audience that the character is feeling at the same time.

5 Mythic Quest: Raven’s Banquet

Rob McElhenney punches a mannequin in Mythic Quest
Apple TV+

No spoilers, as if you haven’t yet watched Mythic Quest (or as the first season is titled Mythic Quest: Raven’s Banquet), you most definitely should in preparation for its third and fourth seasons. In the seventh episode of one of the best Apple TV+ shows, I’m Shipping Up to Boston is used perfectly in order to garner the emotion it was meant to, simultaneous rage and joy.

Related: 12 Movies from the Early 2010s with Great Soundtracks

Again, no spoilers, but in episode seven, the Mythic Quest team must defeat their biggest enemy, a masked man taking over their game. Thus, the song is used to hype up viewers and eventually revel in the characters’ accomplishments, so that the audience feels like they are a part of the team with the characters.

4 Kevin Can F**k Himself

The main woman has crazy hair and a devilish smile in Kevin Can F Himself

I’m Shipping Up to Boston is used very briefly in the fourth episode of Kevin Can F**k Himself as a ringtone. However, despite its minimal use, the song is used to say a lot about the character who uses it and why. As it is known on the show, Allison, the main character, has a terrible relationship with her husband Kevin, but everything is played off as a hilarious sitcom. During a road trip in episode four, Allison’s phone rings with a call from Kevin; his personal ringtone on her phone just happens to be I’m Shipping Up to Boston. This shows audiences just how much Allison dislikes her husband; an aggressive song by the Dropkick Murphys is not exactly one that is paired with someone you really like. In this case, I’m Shipping Up to Boston does not need to be played in full in order to have its emotional effect. It also perfectly compliments the Massachusetts setting of the show, which was renewed for season two at AMC.

3 Derry Girls

The uniformed cast of Derry Girls
Channel 4 / Netflix

As a show about being a teen in Northern Ireland in the 90s, Derry Girls leans into their Irish background when it comes to music. Despite I’m Shipping Up to Boston being released years after the show’s time period, the song fits perfectly in the mood and tone of the show as a whole. The Dropkick Murphys song has immense Irish influences, and also has the angry teen angst that fits perfectly with teens of any era, and especially shows about high school life and being a teenager.

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An instrumental version of the song is played throughout the series to establish the tone and angst that is felt by the characters, and the working-class sentiment of the song (with lyrics incorporated from Woody Guthrie, king of the working class) fits perfectly in the world of Derry Girls. Despite an instrumental version of I’m Shipping Up to Boston being used, the song is still unmistakable and makes the viewers want to get up and scream right alongside the characters.

2 The Simpsons

The Simpsons Family and blue clouds
20th Television

Season 19, Episode 13 of The Simpsons, titled “The DeBarted,” is an obvious play on the film The Departed. I’m Shipping Up to Boston is famously on the soundtrack of the film and thus tends to be used when the film is referenced in any way. In this episode, Bart lives his own personal version of The Departed, just with no mob ties, and a lot of Principal Skinner. The show took the chance to hop on the I’m Shipping Up to Boston train and includes the song in this episode perfectly. It may have been easier for The Simpsons creators to utilize the song as it was an emulation of the song’s usage in The Departed, but it was done seamlessly nonetheless.

1 The Departed

DiCaprio points a gun at Matt Damon on the roof in The Departed
Warner Bros.

Last but not least, the song was originally used for the first time in the Martin Scorsese film The Departed. As such, I’m Shipping Up to Boston was released both on an album by the Dropkick Murphys and on The Departed soundtrack. The film centers around the Irish-American mob in Boston and its police force affiliation in the city. Since the film is set in Boston, I’m Shipping Up to Boston makes sense with the location but also the overall angry tone of one of the best Martin Scorsese films.

As previously stated, the song has an aggressive tone that is hard not to notice. This perfectly fits with the crime, pent-up anger, and mob moves of the characters in the film. Also, I’m Shipping Up to Boston is probably the perfect song for an action sequence, and should definitely be used in those more. The Departed originated the use of I’m Shipping Up to Boston, but someone else may use it better in the next 10 years, since it seems to just fit in any movie or show if you try hard enough.


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