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Our Town (1940)

Not Rated | | Drama, Romance | 24 May 1940 (USA)
Change comes slowly to a small New Hampshire town in the early 20th century. People grow up, get married, live, and die. Milk and the newspaper get delivered every morning, and nobody locks... See full summary »



(play), (screenplay) | 2 more credits »

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Nominated for 6 Oscars. Another 1 win & 1 nomination. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Doro Merande ...
Philip Wood ...
Ruth Tobey ...
Rebecca Gibbs (as Ruth Toby)
Douglas Gardner ...
Arthur B. Allen ...
Professor Willard (as Arthur Allen)
Dr. Ferguson
Spencer Charters ...


Change comes slowly to a small New Hampshire town in the early 20th century. People grow up, get married, live, and die. Milk and the newspaper get delivered every morning, and nobody locks their front doors. Written by John Oswalt <jao@jao.com>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

birth | uncle | neighbor | farm | death | See All (52) »


I don't want to get married.....I'M AFRAID! See more »


Drama | Romance


Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

24 May 1940 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Nuestro pueblo  »

Filming Locations:


Company Credits

Production Co:

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Technical Specs


| (Hypercube restored)

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Mirrophonic Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?


Thornton Wilder won the Pulitzer Prize for the play the film is based on. The score for the film is by another Pulitzer Prize winner: Aaron Copland. See more »


If the town in near the Massachusetts/New Hampshire border as the narration says then the dialogue about going "down to Maine" is wrong. All of Maine is north of the Massachusetts/New Hampshire border. See more »


Mrs. Julia Hersey Gibbs: It seems to me, once in your life, before you die, you ought to see a country where they don't speak any English and they don't even want to.
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Remade as Our Town (2003) See more »


Art Thou Weary, Art Thou Languid?
Music "Stephanos" by Henry W. Baker (1868)
Greek words by Stephen of Mar Saba (Judea) (8th century)
Translated from Greek to English by John M. Neale (1862)
Played on an organ in church by Philip Wood and sung by the choir
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

Thornton Wilder's Mood-Rich Stage Piece Becomes an Equally-Memorable Film
28 February 2007 | by See all my reviews

Like "Harvey", "The Second Woman" and "Good Morning, Miss Dove", "Our Town" is set in an underpopulated United States town. Its 1901 look shares features with theirs, as do some of its story elements. Everyone knows practically everyone else; and the very fact that such towns are not the sort of place where important thing happens renders what does happen peculiarly intense, as if it had been placed under a magnifying lens in a powerful light. Author Thornton Wilder and his co-writers here adapt what was a most successful and atmospheric play into a deliberately-paced by I suggest an absorbing screenplay. It has the build perhaps of "Picnic" with the underlying calm of a good early western; only the setting here is Grover Corners, New Hampshire, a decidedly northeastern setting.. Sam Wood directed the film with his usual understated skill; and the writers I believe have retained the best of Mr. Wilder's crisp and often memorable dialogue. The film really divides into three parts--which I would nominate as Introduction, George and Emily and Two Futures(?). George Gibbs and Emily Webb in this film become two of the best remembered characters in U.S. fiction. Sol Lesser produced, with music by Aaron Copland, whose repressed melodies seem to me perfectly to serve this understated masterwork of dramatic construction. Production designer William Cameron Menzies and cinematographer Bert Glennon here tried for an uncompromising atmosphere rather than quaint or merely attractive compositions. Julia Heron did the remarkable interiors, with simple but effective wardrobe by Edward P. Lambert. Among the cast, Martha Scott is wonderfully young and unspoiled, and as Dr. Gibbs, Thomas Mitchell plays with Fay Bainter as his wife more-than-expertly. As their neighbors Editor Webb and his wife, Guy Kibbee is unusually restrained and Beulah Bondi as usual solidly dependable or better in every scene she is given. Stuart Erwin ad Frank Craven (as the stage manager) are quite good, and young William Holden shows to much better advantage than he did in several other films of the period. The supporting cast is not given a great deal to do but they do it very seamlessly, in my opinion. But what one remembers of "Our Town" I assert is its haunting, almost poetic quality. The production's pace is leisurely without being slow, electrically tense without being excited and focused without becoming too sad. The story here is about life, death, youth, love, honesty and fear--and the narrative evokes these emotions in the viewer honestly I claim because it is never pretentious and never striving for the effect that it admirably earns. It is I argue a touching black-and-white classic; and it is quite well acted also throughout.


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