How Green Was My Valley is fondly remembered by fans of director John Ford for its loving recreation of a Welsh coal mining village. Spanning some fifty years in the life of its protagonist, the film presents an often poignant portrait of the good and bad of small town life. At the center of the story is the dehumanization brought by increasing technology; the scenes in which more efficient machinery makes some of the mines' best workers unneeded and unemployed remain relevant to today's audiences and our environment of shifting corporations and uncertain security. Ford scholars differ on where to rank How Green Was My Valley -- indeed there is no clear consensus on what film critics and historians consider to be Ford's greatest -- but it was a popular choice as the best film of 1941, winning five Oscars, including Best Picture and Best Director.
by Richard Gilliam review