How Green Was My Valley

1941

How Green Was My Valley

Critics 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.

90%

TOMATOMETER

Total Count: 42

81%

Audience Score

User Ratings: 7,917
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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 the same name by Richard Llewellyn, How Green Was My Valley won five Academy Awards in 1941, including Best Director, Best Supporting Actor (Crisp), Best Art Director, Best Cinematography, and Best Picture (beating Citizen Kane). The book was later adapted into a 1975 BBC miniseries. ~ Matthew Tobey, Rovi

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Critic Reviews for How Green Was My Valley

All Critics (42) | Top Critics (9) | Fresh (38) | Rotten (4)

  • Captures an idyll of youth that has been lost to the corrosive practices of modern business.

    Nov 16, 2015 | Full Review…
  • One of the outstanding film productions of the year.

    Feb 18, 2015 | Full Review…
  • 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.

    Feb 19, 2013 | Rating: B | Full Review…
  • Because his recollections ring true, they are certain to evoke a similar nostalgia in all but the most slab-sided of moviegoers.

    Feb 17, 2009 | Full Review…
  • 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.

    Jan 30, 2008 | Full Review…

    Abel Green

    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.

    Dec 12, 2006 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for How Green Was My Valley

  • Jun 13, 2016
    It definitely needed to be longer but the movie remains a deeply sad nostalgia piece that's filled with surprising complexity.
    Alec B Super Reviewer
  • Oct 27, 2013
    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.
    Jim H Super Reviewer
  • Oct 18, 2013
    Slightly overrated film but it is a good depiction of life in a coal mining town. We get to see young Roddy McDowall before he started wearing chimpanzee makeup. Nice imagery for an early film. The valley is clearly very green..or not.
    John B Super Reviewer
  • Apr 18, 2012
    I'd like to say that "How Green Was My Valley" was given the short end of the stick when it won the Best Picture Oscar in 1941 over "Citizen Kane" and that its poor reputation is entirely undeserved, but I'd be lying. The film is overly sentimental, sappy, uneven, and a real bore of a motion picture. From a critic's standpoint, it's a visual and technical feat, but as a member of the audience, I wasn't entertained for a second.
    Stephen E Super Reviewer

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