The Plough and the Stars (1936)





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John Ford, whose fierce pride in his Irish heritage often manifested itself in his work, directed this historical drama which uses as its backdrop the 1916 Easter Rebellion of Irish patriots against British rule. Nora Clitheroe (Barbara Stanwyck) runs a rooming house in Dublin and tries to stay away from the political turmoil raging around her, so she becomes quite upset when she learns that her husband Jack (Preston S. Foster) has joined a militia of Irish rebels trying to drive out the British. Nora fears for Jack's safety and begs him to keep his distance from the revolutionary forces. Jack assures her that he'll step back from their activities, but it's not until it's too late that Nora learns that Jack has done just the opposite -- and has become a commander with the Irish Citizen Army as they plan an ill-fated raid on the Dublin Post Office. John Ford had several bitter disputes with RKO Pictures while making The Plough and the Stars, especially after the studio re-shot several scenes with another director to tone down the film's politics; while he distributed several independent productions through the studio, he never shot another picture for RKO. ~ Mark Deming, Rovi
Action & Adventure , Drama
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Criterion Collection


Barbara Stanwyck
as Nora Clitheroe
Arthur Shields
as Padraic Pearse
Denis O'Dea
as The Young Covey
Brandon Hurst
as Sgt. Tinley
Una O'Connor
as Maggie Cogan
Barry Fitzgerald
as Fluther Good
Doris Lloyd
as Woman at Barricades
Moroni Olsen
as Irish leader, James Connolly
Bonita Granville
as Mollser Cogan
J.M. Kerrigan
as Peter Flynn
Wesley Barry
as Sniper
Mary Gordon
as Woman at Barricades
Erin O'Brien-Moore
as Rosie Redmond
Neil Fitzgerald
as Lt. Kangon
Cyril McLaglen
as Cpl. Stoddart
Eileen Crowe
as Bessie Burgess
F.J. McCormick
as Capt. Brennon
Lionel Pape
as Englishman
Robert E. Homans
as Tommy the Barman
Preston S. Foster
as John Clitheroe
Michael Fitzmaurice
as IRA Irregular
Mary Quinn
as Woman at the Barricades
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Critic Reviews for The Plough and the Stars

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Audience Reviews for The Plough and the Stars

John Ford, showcasing his pride of his Irish heritage, made this emotional and realistically violent film about the 1916 Easter Rebellion of Irish patriots revolting against their British rulers. The film is captured brilliantly and is filled with loads of destruction and the devastating effects on the Irish people. RKO studios had another Director come in to reshoot the more political tones that Ford wanted, causing him to never make another film with the studio again. If you're a fan of John Ford and Classic films, this is one to give a spin.

Chris Browning
Chris Browning

Super Reviewer

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