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How Green Was My Valley (1941)

Walter Pidgeon , Maureen O'Hara , John Ford  |  NR |  DVD
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (238 customer reviews)

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How Green Was My Valley + Mrs. Miniver + The Best Years of Our Lives
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Product Details

  • Actors: Walter Pidgeon, Maureen O'Hara, Anna Lee, Donald Crisp, Roddy McDowall
  • Directors: John Ford
  • Writers: Philip Dunne, Richard Llewellyn
  • Producers: Darryl F. Zanuck
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Black & White, Closed-captioned, NTSC
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono), English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo), French (Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono), Spanish (Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono)
  • Subtitles: English, Spanish
  • Dubbed: Spanish
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: 20th Century Fox
  • DVD Release Date: January 14, 2003
  • Run Time: 118 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (238 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00006RCO3
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #7,327 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "How Green Was My Valley" on IMDb

Special Features

  • Audio Commentary by Anna Lee Nathan and Film Historian Joseph McBride
  • AMC Backstory Episode
  • Still Gallery
  • Theatrical Trailer

Editorial Reviews

Sixty year-old Huw Morgan looks back on his life as a boy (Roddy McDowall) in a small Welsh mining town. His reminiscences reveal the disintegration of the closely knit Morgans, and his devoted parents (Donald Crisp, Sara Allgood), while capturing the sentiments and issues of their time. Maureen O'Hara and Walter Pidgeon co-star in this acclaimed screen classic, the story of one family's dreams, struggles and triumphs.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
76 of 82 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Into The Valley February 21, 2003
Format:DVD
John Ford's 1941 film How Green Was My Valley tells the story of a Welsh mining family, the Morgans, through the eyes of the youngest member of the family, ten-year old Huw (Roddy McDowell). Mr. & Mrs. Morgan (Donald Crisp & Sara Allgood) have seven children and struggle to keep their family afloat. Mr. Morgan is a miner, but he refuses to join a newly formed union and join in on their strike. This creates tensions within the family and violence erupts. Through it all the family survives, but their hometown and culture begin to decline. Mr. Ford poignantly portrays the fading of childhood innocence and the good side and down side of life in a small town. The film is still relevant today as Mr. Ford shows how technology dehumanizes society as machinery that is more efficient and cost-effective starts to replace many of the mine's best workers and renders them unneeded and forces them into unemployment. The film beat out what is considered the greatest movie of time, Citizen Kane, to win the 1941 Academy Award for Best Picture and Mr. Ford beat Orson Welles to win his second consecutive Best Director Award (and the third of his total of four). The film won three other Oscars including Best Supporting Actor for Mr. Crisp. The film was to be shot in color on location in Wales, but due to the escalation of World War II, filming was moved to California and shot in black & white to help create the dreariness of South Wales. This worked out brilliantly as the lack of color helps create more a bleaker mood and Arthur C. Miller was rewarded with an Oscar for Best Cinematography.
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69 of 75 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
Format:VHS Tape
This movie is impeccably crafted, written, performed, and directed. It's impossible not to be drawn in emotionally. Both HOW GREEN and Ford's pervious film, THE GRAPES OF WRATH, are realistic depictions of the effects of severe economic and social conditions upon a family. But while GRAPES centers more on the social conditions, VALLEY focuses primarily on the family itself. Indeed, it mourns the loss of family unity. The legendary Irish-American Ford was known for his gruff, crusty exterior, but pictures like this one show his sentimentality and his belief in the basic values of human life.
HOW GREEN WAS MY VALLEY is about a large, close-knit family, the Morgans, in a small Welsh mining town. The family is headed by a firm father and a gentle, wise mother, and comprises six sons and one daughter. The five grown sons are, like their father, coal miners, and it is their hope that the sixth son, sensitive and intelligent Huw (Roddy McDowall), will become a scholar. It is through Huw's eyes that the story is told. He looks back as an older man and reflects on his family, his valley, and its people.
He grows up in a time of change, watching in confusion as a secure way of life is altered for the worse by mine owners who overwork the mines and alienate the miners, leading his brothers to call for unionism, a concept which his father abhors. This is the central decision from which the other threads of this compelling story evolve, and the film is ultimately a beautifully moving drama, one of the best films about family ever made.
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47 of 51 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "Trees" Also Grow in Wales October 10, 2003
Format:DVD
Frankly, I had forgotten how excellent this film is until seeing it again recently. (It received the Academy Award for best film in 1941in competition with Citizen Kane and the other nominees.) The impact on me of a film at a given time is almost wholly dependent on how accessible I am when seeing it. I first saw How Green Was My Valley as a child and then again several years later. Probably because since then I have become a father and then a grandfather, I am much more appreciative now than I was before of what director John Ford achieves in his portrayal of a Welsh mining town and of a specific family there which struggles so courageously to enable one of its own, not only to escape from the mines but from the limits of a culture (albeit loving and supportive) to fulfill his human potentialities which would otherwise be denied. The film covers a 50-year period as an adult Huw Morgan recalls it (he is played by Roddy McDowell), with the primary focus on his ordeals as the youngest of several children. Donald Crisp received an Academy Award as best actor in a supporting role as Morgan family's patriarch. Many believe this is Ford's best film and I would be hard-pressed to disagree with them. It really has everything. With Philip Dunne's screenplay based on Richard Llewellyn's novel, How Green Was My Valley combines superior acting and cinematography with Alfred Newman's complementary musical score. For me, this film's greatness is found in its graphic portrayal of hardship and despair in a bleak mining town which are offset by a proud family's enduring faith in Huw and their determination to protect and support him. Ford affirms their essential dignity with a respect and admiration he invites us to share.
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25 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "Who Is For Wil Morgan?" ~ A Life In Retrospect July 26, 2006
Format:DVD
Of all the unforgettable classic b/w films made in the 40's during the "Golden Age" of Hollywood, `How Green Was My Valley' released in '41 is my personal favorite. Who could ever tire of watching this timeless tale focusing on a poor Welsh coal mining community at the beginning of the 20th century. Done in narration style you will be transported back to a difficult, but simplier time to relive the life of young Huw Morgan (Roddy McDowall) and his loving memories of family, friends and assorted members of the township. His lifetime unfolds before the viewer, moments of happiness and hardship, triumphs and failures, life and death.

Directed by the legendary John Ford and performed by a cast which includes some of the finest actors and actresses of that generation it's no surprise this film won numerous Academy Award in '41, including the Oscar for "Best Picture".

Starring Roddy McDowall, Walter Pidgeon, Maureen O'Hara, Donald Crisp and a myriad of notables. This is a film that belongs in everyone's DVD collection.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars ... is a classic black and white movie with a good moral tale about...
This is a classic black and white movie with a good moral tale about greed and love....describes the difficult lives of the miners in Whales in the early 1920s.
Published 1 day ago by Fred R. Buck
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Wonderful old movie. Love seeing it from time to time.
Published 1 day ago by Shirley A. Purdon
5.0 out of 5 stars This is an enduring classic film about the necessity to ...
This is an enduring classic film about the necessity to overcome the deepest of hardships in life as befall a Welsh mining family. Read more
Published 4 days ago by The Professor
5.0 out of 5 stars love stories. thank you
oldtime classic.
can you give us more old time classics...esp. love stories.
thank you.
Published 7 days ago by rebecca schneirson
5.0 out of 5 stars I have 3 favorite movies. How Green Was My Valley
I have 3 favorite movies. How Green Was My Valley, Sentimental Journey and The Robe. "Valley" mesmerizes me every time I see it, and now I will be able to see it "at... Read more
Published 9 days ago by Charlotte B. Rogers
5.0 out of 5 stars a favorite film of a dear friend and was delivered to ...
a favorite film of a dear friend and was delivered to me quickly
Published 10 days ago by Richard Buttery
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
I love this movie!
Published 15 days ago by Diane Kirstine
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Great movie. Jack
Published 18 days ago by jack
5.0 out of 5 stars How Green Was My Valley
I loved this old, old movie. It is black and white but shows faith, family, loyalty, dependability, and hard work...some of the virtues not seen much anymore.
Published 18 days ago by Jane P. Cox
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Great film. Fun too. Applies to issues still faced today. Beautiful cinematography.
Published 20 days ago by UnbiasedReviewer
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