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Oscars Challenge #79: How Green Was My Valley (1941) Movie Review

How Green Was My Valley was popularly known not because it's one of the best movies of all time but due to its history being the Citizen Kane killer. A film that outlasted what many have argued as the G.O.A.T.

However, we are not going to compare this movie to the greatest. We are focusing more on what it's about and if it's enjoyable to watch.

Ironically, even if you want to watch and feel the title of this movie, you cannot fully grasp it because it's shot in black and white.

Plot Summary

The film begins with a monologue of an older Huw Morgan about his feeling about leaving his valley homeland permanently.

Huw, the youngest child of Gwilym and Beth Morgan, spends most of his time at home while his five older brothers work in a coal mine near their home, and his sister helps his mother to do household chores. His town is in a valley where people live a simple and lovely life. He lives in a household where everyone supports each other. The coal miners are satisfied with their wages, go home singing, and spend enough for their families.

Huw disapproves of his oldest brother Ivor's engagement with Bronwyn. Meanwhile, his sister meets with their town's preacher, Mr. Gruffydd, and develops an obvious mutual attraction.

Trouble begins in the town when the coal miners' wages decrease, and they start their strikes. Mr. Gruffydd tries to mediate the protests but begins to set himself apart from them. Beth tries to stop late-night strike meetings because she does not want to endanger her husband. Huw and her family struggle to survive amid their town's turmoil.


How Green Was My Valley may not be the most popular winner, but I think it deserves recognition. One could argue that Citizen Kane was better than this film which I think would probably be accurate, but it doesn't mean that this is not good.

This film delivers the necessary family drama and life lessons, an essential watch despite a confusing plot. The pacing may be out of place most of the time, but it still delivers. I personally like how it was structured, especially when it's being told from the point of view of the youngest character in the movie, Huw.

I think this film's strength relies on the performances of many characters, from Huw's family to their favorite preacher, Mr. Gruffydd. It's like all characters deliver award-winning performances, which is good.

Overall, How Green Was My Valley was probably not my cup-of-tea type of movie. It's not perfect, but it still delivers its message nicely.

A good 3.5 out of 5 stars.

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