->Memory... Strange that the mind will forget so much of what only this moment has passed, and yet hold clear and bright the memory of what happened years ago; of men and women long since dead.
->[[TitleDrop How green was my valley]] then, and the valley of them that have gone.
-->Last line of the novel.
A 1939 novel by Richard Llewellyn, ''How Green Was My Valley'' was adapted into a 1941 TwentiethCenturyFox film directed by Creator/JohnFord and starring Walter Pidgeon, Donald Crisp, Creator/MaureenOHara, and Roddy [=McDowell=], with a score by Creator/AlfredNewman. It tells the story of Huw Morgan, the youngest son of a mining family in the Welsh village of Cwm Rhondda. Through his eyes, we see such events as his brother Ivor's wedding, the consequences of his sister Angharad's chaste romance with preacher Mr. Gruffydd (as well as her loveless and failed marriage into the mine owner's family), and a miner's strike in his town.
The film was a great financial success and later won five [[UsefulNotes/AcademyAward Oscars]], including [[AwardSnub a now-controversial win as Best Picture of 1941]], over a little picture by a [[Creator/OrsonWelles novice director]] called ''Film/CitizenKane'', and another little ditty by name of ''Film/TheMalteseFalcon''. Some only talk about it as the film that shouldn't have won those Oscars, which is somewhat unfair, since it is an excellent movie in its own right. In 1990, it was selected for inclusion in the UsefulNotes/NationalFilmRegistry of the LibraryOfCongress.
!!This novel and film provides examples of:
* AsTheGoodBookSays: Angarhad uses Jesus' words to the sinful women when she protests the elders' condemnation of an unwed mother: "Go now and sin no more."
* AsYouKnow: "Mr. Evans! The mine owner himself!"
* BookEnds: The scenes in the film both following mine accidents, where Gwillym cradles his son Ivor's dead body on the elevator, and where Huw similarly cradles his father's dead body on the same elevator.
* BoxingLesson: To deal with the bullying Huw is getting - he's the poor kid at an upper-class school - his father gets boxing champion Dai Bando to teach Huw how to box. Huw's father also promises to pay Huw a certain amount for each bruise and black eye he comes home with.
* CaliforniaDoubling: The film was originally intended to be made in the UK, but WorldWarII made that idea all but impossible. So, it was filmed on the 20th Century Fox backlot. According to movie lore, the move to California meant that the movie would have to be filmed in black and white, rather than color as originally intended, because the colors of the flowers and other vegetation in California would not match the colors in Wales.
* ComingOfAge: Huw grows up quite a bit over the course of the movie.
* CutHimselfShaving: After Huw comes back home with a bloody face from being beaten at school he claims he "fell down on the mountain." Nobody believes it.
* DefeatMeansFriendship: Once Huw proves himself to be a decent fighter against one of the boys who picked on him before, he earns his classmates’ deep respect.
* DiedInYourArmsTonight: When the rescuers bring up Huw's father on the shaft elevator. Maybe a PietaPlagiarism.
* DownerEnding: An ending that was unusually bleak for Hollywood films of the day. Huw's father is killed in the mine. His brothers have scattered off around the world due to the lack of good jobs in Wales. Mr. Gruffyd and Angharad don't get together--in fact, Mr. Gruffyd leaves the town, disgusted with the small-minded people in his congregation. And in the FramingDevice, when Huw is leaving the valley as an old man, it's been spoiled and befouled by the pollution of coal mining. The last line is "How green was my valley ''then''."
* EvilIsPetty: The Evans's housekeeper Mrs. Nicholas starts the malicious rumors about Angarhad and Mr. Gruffyd, simply because she doesn't like serving the lower-class Angarhad.
* GossipyHens: The old ladies, starting with the maid, who spread rumors of Angarhad's love for Mr. Gruffyd throughout the town.
* GrowingUpSucks: In that you have to leave school behind and take up adult responsibilities.
* HandicappedBadass: Dai Bando the blind ex-boxer. He teaches Huw to box, delivers a well-deserved beating to Mr. Jonas, and is the first to volunteer for a dangerous mine rescue.
* HolierThanThou: The deacons, led by Parry, seem far more interested in rooting out sinners to publicly condemn than shepherding the flock.
* HotForPreacher: Angharad and Mr. Grufydd.
* InnocenceLost: Huw's growing up includes half his family driven away for their pro-union activities, his sister marrying a man she doesn't love, being forced by circumstances to take a job with coal mine, his town elders driving away the good priest who mentored Huw, and the death of his father in a mining accident. By the end of the movie and novel, his green valley is no more. [[BittersweetEnding All that remains are the memories of his loved ones]].
* ItIsDehumanizing: The SadistTeacher reacts to Huw's arrival by not addressing him and telling the rest of the class "what a dirty little sweep it is" and then "they expect me to make a scholar of it" when Huw says he's from the miner's town.
* LaserGuidedKarma: After Mr. Jonas canes Huw to the point of fainting for boxing in the schoolyard, Dai Bando drops into the school to demonstrate proper technique.
* MamaBear: Beth Morgan. When striking miners threaten Gwillym for his opposition to the strike, she crashes a strikers' meeting and threatens to kill anyone who harms her husband, with her bare hands. And it's very clear she's not bluffing.
* OffhandBackhand: Dai Bando renders Mr. Jonas unconscious with some "innocent" gesticulating as he lectures about Marquis of Queensbury rules.
* OohMeAccentsSlipping: While the characters in the film are Welsh, cast members who were from John Ford's stock company use their native Irish accents. And Walter Pidgeon, a Canadian native, uses his own natural accent.
* PrecociousCrush: Huw is instantly smitten with Bronwyn.
* NothingIsScarier: After a mining accident, when any of the elevator cars [[OhCrap are empty]]...
* PrecisionFStrike: Beth Morgan has a couple of 1941-style moments. First, she begins her ReasonYouSuckSpeech to the striking miners with, "I am Beth Morgan, as you damn well know!" Later, after Ivor is killed just before his child's birth she questions God's will. When Gwillym warns her about incurring God's wrath, she answers, "To Hell with the wrath!"
* ReasonYouSuckSpeech: Mr. Gruffydd's last sermon to his congregation, who are driving him out due to groundless rumors. He strongly criticizes them for hypocritically calling down God's vengeance, while forgetting God's love. Sadly, it seems like his words don't take.
* SadistTeacher: Mr. Jonas, who looks down on Huw as a miner's son and beats him unconscious.
* SceneryPorn: It *is* a John Ford movie, after all. And the film did win the Oscar for Best Cinematography (Black and White).
** Beating out ''[[RunningGag Citizen Kane]]''.
* ServileSnarker: The Evans’ housekeeper, who doesn’t even try to conceal her contempt for her employers.
* SliceOfLife: A portrait of life in a small Welsh mining town and how poverty breaks families apart.
* TemptingFate: Gwillym declares that if the congregation goes ahead with their condemnation of Angharad and Mr. Gruffydd, he'd never set foot in the church again. They do, and he doesn't. He's mortally injured in a mine explosion that night.
* TitleDrop: Huw's last line of narration.
* UnableToSupportAWife: Mr. Gruffyd is allowed to marry as a Presbyterian, but has resolved not to because he doesn't want to subject someone he loves to a life of poverty.
* UnreliableNarrator: Huw's sentimental narration contrasts pretty strongly with what the film actually depicts: The disintegration of the family unit, and the end of the way of life that had sustained the town for years.
* YourCheatingHeart: Averted. Despite her unhappy marriage to Mr. Evans's son - Angharad keeps her distance away from her real love Mr. Gruffyd. This doesn't stop Mrs. Nicholas from spreading malicious rumors about a divorce however.