How Green Was My Valley

Watch How Green Was My Valley

"Rich is their humor! Deep are their passions! Reckless are their lives! Mighty is their story!"
  • NR
  • 1941
  • 1 hr 58 min
  • 7.7  (26,137)
  • 88

How Green Was My Valley is a 1941 drama film directed by John Ford and stars Walter Pidgeon, Maureen O'Hara, and Anna Lee. Set in a Welsh mining town in the late 1800s, the film follows a young boy named Huw Morgan (played by Roddy McDowall) as he grows up in a close-knit family and faces the challenges of a changing world. The film begins with an older Huw (narrated by Irving Pichel) reflecting on his childhood in the valley, where his family lives in harmony with nature and each other. His father, Gwilym (Pidgeon), is a respected mine worker and leader in the community, while his mother, Beth (Sara Allgood), is a loving and devout woman who instills strong values in her children.

As Huw grows older, he becomes more aware of the hardships faced by the town as the demand for coal increases and the mining companies become more ruthless. He witnesses the struggles of his older brothers, Ianto (John Loder) and Davy (Patric Knowles), as they fight for better working conditions and wages. He also experiences the pain of first love as he falls for Angharad (O'Hara), the beautiful and headstrong daughter of the local pastor.

Despite the challenges, the Morgan family sticks together and maintains their faith and traditions. They share joyful moments together, such as a wedding celebration and a harvest festival, which reflect the beauty and simplicity of their way of life. However, their world is threatened by the arrival of a new mine superintendent, Mr. Gruffydd (played by Pidgeon), who is sympathetic to the workers and advocates for their rights. His presence creates tension within the town and leads to a confrontation with the mining company that has far-reaching consequences.

How Green Was My Valley is a visually stunning film, shot in black and white by cinematographer Arthur C. Miller, who won an Oscar for his work. The sweeping landscapes of Wales and the intricate details of the town and its inhabitants create a sense of authenticity and place that is both enchanting and foreboding. The film's score, composed by Alfred Newman, is also memorable, featuring a haunting melody that captures the melancholy and nostalgia of the story.

The performances in the film are uniformly strong, with McDowall delivering a sensitive and nuanced portrayal of Huw. Pidgeon is also excellent in his dual role as the stern and proud Gwilym and the compassionate and intelligent Gruffydd. O'Hara shines as Angharad, bringing depth and vulnerability to her character, while Anna Lee stands out as Huw's older sister, Bronwyn, who struggles with an unrequited love for Ianto.

How Green Was My Valley was a critical and commercial success upon its release, winning five Oscars, including Best Picture, Best Director for Ford, Best Supporting Actor for Donald Crisp (who played Gwilym's brother), and Best Cinematography. The film's themes of loyalty, family, and community, as well as its depiction of the harsh realities of industrialization, resonated with audiences around the world.

In conclusion, How Green Was My Valley is a timeless classic that continues to inspire and move audiences with its powerful storytelling and vivid images. It portrays a way of life that has long since disappeared, but its message of love, resilience, and hope remains as relevant today as it was over 70 years ago.

How Green Was My Valley is a 1941 drama with a runtime of 1 hour and 58 minutes. It has received mostly positive reviews from critics and viewers, who have given it an IMDb score of 7.7 and a MetaScore of 88.

How Green Was My Valley
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  • Release Date
  • MPAA Rating
  • Runtime
    1 hr 58 min
  • Language
  • IMDB Rating
    7.7  (26,137)
  • Metascore