How Green Was My Valley (1941)

TOMATOMETER

AUDIENCE SCORE

Critic Consensus: Though it perhaps strays into overly maudlin territory, this working-class drama is saved by a solid cast and director John Ford's unmistakeable style.


Movie Info

Spanning 50 years, director John Ford's How Green Was My Valley revolves around the life of the Morgans, a Welsh mining family, as told through the eyes of its youngest child Huw (Roddy McDowall). Over the years, the family struggles to survive through unionization, strikes, and child abuse. As they do so, their hometown and its culture begins to slowly decline. Donald Crisp portrays Gwilym, the patriarch of the Morgan household, who dreams of a better life for young Huw. Based on the novel of … More

Rating: Unrated
Genre: Drama , Kids & Family , Classics
Directed By:
Written By: Philip Dunne , Richard Llewellyn
In Theaters:
On DVD: Mar 7, 2000
Runtime:
Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment

Cast


as Mr. Gruffydd

as Mr. Morgan

as Huw Morgan

as Bronwen

as Mrs. Morgan

as Ivor Morgan

as Mr. Jonas

as Cienwen

as Davy Morgan

as Dai Bando

as Mr. Evans

as Mrs. Nicholas

as Meillyn Lewis

as Lestyn Evans

as Gwinlyn Morgan

as Motschell

as Owen Morgan

as Gossiper

as Ceinwen

as Narrator

as Miners' Wife

as Shopkeeper

as Dr. Richards
Show More Cast

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Critic Reviews for How Green Was My Valley

All Critics (37) | Top Critics (8)

One of the outstanding film productions of the year.

Full Review… | February 18, 2015
New York Daily News
Top Critic

The acting is strong, and Arthur Miller's Oscar-winning photography gives the images a spooky luster, but a little bit of Ford's salt-of-the-earth piety goes an awfully long way.

Full Review… | February 19, 2013
Entertainment Weekly
Top Critic

Because his recollections ring true, they are certain to evoke a similar nostalgia in all but the most slab-sided of moviegoers.

Full Review… | February 17, 2009
TIME Magazine
Top Critic

How Green Was My Valley is one of the year's better films, a sure-fire critic's picture and, unlike most features that draw kudos from crix, this one will also do business.

Full Review… | January 30, 2008
Variety
Top Critic

Expert performances from Donald Crisp, Walter Pidgeon, Maureen O'Hara, and a host of brilliant character actors enhance a magnificent movie experience.

Full Review… | December 12, 2006
Chicago Reader
Top Critic

An elegant and eloquent film, nevertheless, even if the characteristically laconic Fordian poetry seems more contrived here.

Full Review… | June 24, 2006
Time Out
Top Critic

Audience Reviews for How Green Was My Valley

A boy comes of age in a Welsh village.
A sprawling, ambitious epic of a film, How Green Was My Valley wreaks of nostalgia, in the voice over, in the salt-of-the-earth characters, and the cursory treatment it gives its themes. While many of these nostalgia films achieve a universality, I found the characters ultimately unrealized and unexplored. For example, Angharad's love affair with the preacher, which is aborted by her marriage to an upper class man, is portrayed only slightly, and the next time we see her, she is miserable. But what about the interceding time? What about the preacher's life between then and now? Whereas a good epic like War and Peace leaves none of its main characters ignored, this one satisfies itself with episodic fragments.
Overall, epics like this one are tricky, and I think director John Ford bit off more that he could chew.

hunterjt13
Jim Hunter

Super Reviewer

½

If I'm not mistaken, this film is probably best remembered as the won that scored an upset victory over Citizen Kane at the Oscars by nabbing five out of the ten awards it was nominated for (the most signicant being best Picture, Best Director, Best Cinematography (black and white), and Best Art Direction (black and white). Donald Crisp also won for his acting, but that wasn't an upset over CK.

The story here spans a few decades and concerns a working class mining family named the Millers in Wales in the early 20th Century in a small community going through significant change. The story is told from the perspective of the youngest Miller, Huw (a very young, but impressive Roddy McDowall). Maureen O'Hara plays his sister, and she's also quite good, but then again, when is she not?

A lot of what goes on in the film is still relatable- socio economic change and hardships, and they affect they have on family life and dynamics, but, to be honest, as decent as this film is, it's not really all that special or significant. Ford has never made a film I haven't gotten some sort of enjoyment out of, but this is one of his weaker ones for me. Also,, I really start to lose interest after a while and become fidgety. The film never totally failed to lose my interest, but still, boredom began to set in.

That aside, the performances are good, the cinematography is pretty nice, and the music (especially the music) is quite wonderful. This film isn't amazing, but it's still pretty decently made and an okay variation on a theme, despite its flaws.

cosmo313
Chris Weber

Super Reviewer

Other than getting to see a young Roddy McDowall, there wasn't anything of interest in this movie. I did just watch the beginning, really, but it's a very long movie spanning 50s years of the character's life! And what a boring life it was. Maybe some people like these real life dramas, but not me.

ajv2688
AJ Verser

Super Reviewer

How Green Was My Valley Quotes

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– Submitted by Chris P (4 years ago)

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