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How Green Was My Valley is a 1941 Americanmarker drama film directed by John Ford. The film was produced by Darryl F. Zanuck, written by Philip Dunne, and based on the Richard Llewellyn novel of the same name. The film stars Walter Pidgeon, Maureen O'Hara, Anna Lee, Donald Crisp, and Roddy McDowall. It was nominated for ten Academy Awards, winning five and beating out such classics as Citizen Kane, The Maltese Falcon, and Sergeant York for Best Picture. However, How Green has become a classic in its own right.

The film tells the story of the Morgans, a close, hard-working Welshmarker family at the turn of the twentieth century in the South Wales coalfield at the heart of the South Wales Valleysmarker. It chronicles a socio-economic way of life passing and the family unit disintegrating.

In 1990, How Green Was My Valley was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congressmarker as being "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant".


The story is told through the eyes, and with the voice-over narration of Huw Morgan (Roddy McDowall), now a middle-aged man leaving the mining town of Cwm Rhondda, recalling the events that most impressed his younger self. The boy Huw is played by Roddy, but the voice-over is that of actor Irving Pichel, who is never seen in the film.

His first memories are of the marriage of his brother, Ivor (Patric Knowles), and the burgeoning, unspoken, and ill-fated romance of his sister, Angharad (Maureen O'Hara) with the new preacher, Mr. Gruffydd (Walter Pidgeon). Because of the forbidden nature of the romance, Angharad marries another man, whom she later divorces, and Mr. Gruffydd leaves his church in disgust after being subjected to untrue town gossip - his romance with Angharad is never consummated, nor do they ever marry. Still too young to work in the local coal mine like his father, Gwilym (Donald Crisp), and his five older brothers, Huw senses the seriousness of an imminent strike by the rift it creates between his father and the other boys when three of them move out of the family abode.

During the tensions of the strike, Huw saves his mother (Sara Allgood) from drowning and in so doing temporarily loses the use of his legs. As Gruffydd aids in Huw's recovery, insisting on a positive attitude, he suggests that it is only the first of many trials the boy will have to face. Other subplots are featured in the film. The film concludes with the death of the father in a mining accident.


William Wyler, the original director, saw the screen-test of McDowall and chose him for the part. Wyler was replaced later by director John Ford. Ford wanted to shoot the movie in Wales, but events in Europe during World War II made this impossible. Instead, he built a replica of the mining town at the nearly Fox Ranch in Malibu Canyon.

The cast had only one genuinely Welsh actor in a minor role, Rhys Williams.



Academy Award wins

Academy Award nominations


Adaptations to Other Media

How Green Was My Valley was adapted as a radio play on the March 22, 1942 broadcast of the Ford Theatre, with Sara Allgood, Donald Crisp, Roddy McDowell, Maureen O'Hara and Walter Pidgeon. It was also adapted on three broadcasts of Lux Radio Theater (September 21, 1942, March 31, 1947 & September 28, 1954) the first with Allgood, Crisp, O'Hara, McDowell and Pidgeon, the second with Crisp and David Niven, the third with Crisp and Donna Reed.

See also


  1. Reel Classics

External links

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