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999 Ratings

How Green Was My Valley

Directed by John Ford
United States, 1941
Drama, Family


The story of a Welsh valley’s turn-of-the-century descent from pristine paradise to despoiled coal mining region, is told in flashback form by Huw Morgan, an old man who has decided to leave the valley forever

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How Green Was My Valley Directed by John Ford

Awards & Festivals

Academy Awards

1942 | 5 wins including: Best Picture

1942 | 5 nominations including: Best Film Editing

National Film Preservation Board

1990 | Winner: National Film Registry

The subjective nature of the visual storytelling explains why this child protagonist, portrayed by Roddy McDowell in one of cinema’s finest ever child performances, doesn’t seem to age even though the narrative spans many years. (Huw appears to be “too young” at the end of the movie in the same poignant way that John Wayne and Jimmy Stewart are “too old” in the flashback sequences of THE MAN WHO SHOT LIBERTY VALANCE.)
December 15, 2017
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It is a film whose overpowering sense of nostalgia is built into every frame, each an apex of classical formal perfection, visions that are inextricable from the eyes of the child through which these moving landscapes unfold. Ford is in full expressionistic mode here, employing the simplest of gestures to contribute to an unbearably affecting poetic whole.
January 13, 2016
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Ford depicts a working-class solidarity based on morality, tradition, and community; he conveys his nuanced and tender sociology with surprising sound effects and expressionistic tableaux that feature the sort of angles that made Welles famous (and which the younger man borrowed, in turn, from Ford’s “Stagecoach”).
November 16, 2015
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