How Green Was My Valley

Synopsis: Life is hard in a Welsh mining town and no less so for the Morgan family. Seen through the eyes of the family's youngest, Huw, we learn of the family's trials and tribulations. Family patriarch Gwilym and his older sons work in the mines, dangerous and unhealthy as it is. Gwilym has greater hopes for his youngest son, but Huw has his own ideas on how to honor his father. Daughter Angharad is the most beautiful girl in the valley and is very much in love with Mr. Gruffydd, who isn't sure he can provide her the life she deserves. Times are hard and good men find themselves out of work and exploited by unseen mine owners.
Genre: Drama, Family
Director(s): John Ford
Production: Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment
  Won 5 Oscars. Another 8 wins & 6 nominations.
Rotten Tomatoes:
118 min

I am packing my belongings in the shawl

my mother used to wear to the market,

and I am going from my valley.

And this time I shall never return.

I am leaving behind me

my 50 years of memory.


Strange that the mind will forget so much

of what only this moment is passed,

and yet hold clear and bright

the memory of what happened years ago,

of men and women long since dead.

Yet who shall say

what is real and what is not?

Can I believe my friends all gone,

when their voices are still a glory in my ears?

No. And I will stand to say no and no again,

for they remain a living truth within my mind.

There is no fence nor hedge

around time that is gone.

You can go back and have what

you like of it, if you can remember.

So I can close my eyes on my valley

as it is today and it is gone,

and I see it as it was when I was a boy.

Green it was, and possessed

of the plenty of the earth.

In all Wales, there was none so beautiful.

Everything I ever learnt as

a small boy came from my father,

and I never found anything he ever told me

to be wrong or worthless.

The simple lessons he taught me

are as sharp and clear in my mind

as if I had heard them only yesterday.

In those days, the black slag,

the waste of the coal pits,

had only begun to cover the side of our hill,

not yet enough to mar the countryside,

nor blacken the beauty of our village.

For the colliery had only begun to poke

its skinny black fingers through the green.

I can hear even now

the voice of my sister Angharad.



Coal miners were my father

and all my brothers, and proud of their trade.

- Gwilym Morgan, three pounds seven.

- Thank you, sir.

Lanto Morgan, three pounds seven.

Ivor Morgan, three pounds seven.

Davy Morgan, two pounds five.

Owen Morgan, two pounds five.

Young Gwilym Morgan, one pound ten.

Someone would strike up a song,

and the valley would ring

with the sound of many voices.

For singing is in my people

as sight is in the eye.

Then came the scrubbing,

out in the back yard.

It was the duty of my sister Angharad

to bring the buckets of hot water and cold,

and I performed what little tasks I could

as my father and brothers

scrubbed the coal dust from their backs.

Most would come off them,

but some would stay for life.

It is the honourable badge of the coal miner,

and I envied it

on my father and grown-up brothers.

Scrub and scrub,

Mr Coal would lie there and laugh at you.

There was always a baron of beef or

a shoulder or leg of lamb before my father.

There was never any talk

while we were eating.

I never met anybody

whose talk was better than good food.

My mother was always on the run,

always the last to start her dinner,

and the first to finish.

For if my father was the head of our house,

my mother was its heart.

After the dishes had been washed,

the box was brought to the table

for the spending money to be handed out.

No one in our valley had ever seen a bank.

We kept our savings on the mantelpiece.

My father used to say

that money was made to be spent,

just as men spend

their strength and brains in earning it,

and as willingly.

But always with a purpose.

Thank you, Dadda.

Out of the house and across the street,

as I had run a hundred times before.

Softly now, for respect for chapel

was the first thing my father taught us.

Then straight to Mrs Tossal the Shop,

for that toffee which you could

chew for hours, it seems to me now.

And even after it had gone down,

you could swallow

and still find the taste of it

hiding behind your tongue.

It is with me now, so many years later.

It makes me think of so much

that was good that is gone.

It was on this afternoon

that I first saw Bron - Bronwyn.

She had come over from the next valley

for her first call on my father and mother.

Is this Gwilym Morgan's house?

You must be Huw.

- Is that you, Bronwyn?

- Yes.

There's lovely you are.

I think I fell in love with Bronwyn then.

Perhaps it is foolish to think a child could

fall in love, but I am the child that was,

and nobody knows how I felt, except only me.

- I'm so proud for lvor.

- I'm the one to be proud.

You think well of our lvor?

It seems only a few months

since he was scratching around here

like this one, with his mouth open.

This is Bronwyn, Huw,

who's to be your sister.

We have met already.

Be careful of the basket.

There's shortcake in it.

This is not for you. You will have

your time to come. Run along now.

Bronwyn and lvor were to be married

by the new preacher, Mr Gruffydd,

who had come from the university at Cardiff.

This was my first sight of him.

# Now here's a man won't get drunk,

can't get drunk, shan't get drunk

# Here's a man won't get drunk, Peter O'Pea

# From my heel to my toe,

from my toe to my knee

# I'll walk the line, chalk the line, Peter O'Pea

- Good evening, Mr Morgan.

- Yes, indeed, sir.

- Excuse me.

- Thank you.

Come now, boys. Back to work.

Ivor, find Dai Griffiths and Idris John

and bring them to Mr Evans' office.

- Will we come with you?

- No. This is a matter for the older men.

- Home to your mother.

- But...

Leave it now, Davy.

Well, come.

- Why aren't you washed?

- We were waiting for you.

The cut is only a few shillings.

There will still be plenty for us.

A bit of supper now, is it, girl?

It is because they are not

getting the old price for coal.

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Philip Dunne

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Submitted on August 05, 2018

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