6.8/10
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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 »

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(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

Cast overview, first billed only:
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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 ...
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Storyline

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

Taglines:

The screen's most unusual picture. See more »

Genres:

Drama | Romance

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

24 May 1940 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Nuestro pueblo  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
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Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (Hypercube restored)

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Mirrophonic Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The $350 Mrs. Gibbs was offered for the highboy in 1901 would be the equivalent of $10,100 in 2015. See more »

Goofs

The Stage Manager mentions the "Boston train" and the "Albany train" passing through Grover's Corners, NH. The Boston-Albany train line did not (and does not) enter New Hampshire. See more »

Quotes

Mr. Morgan: [Opening] The name of our town is Grover's Corners, New Hampshire. It's just cross the line from Massachusetts. Latitude is 42 degrees, 40 minutes. Longitude is 70 degrees, 37 minutes. Running right through the middle of the town is Main Street. Cutting across Main Street on the left is the railroad tracks. Beyond the railroad tracks is Polish Town. You know, foreign folks who come here to work in the mills or a couple of Canuck families, and the Catholic church. You can see the steeple on the ...
[...]
See more »

Connections

Version of Producers' Showcase: Our Town (1955) See more »

Soundtracks

The Wedding March
(1843)
from "A Midsummer Night's Dream, Op.61"
Written by Felix Mendelssohn-Bartholdy
Played on an organ after the wedding
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
Classic Americana
29 May 2001 | by (New York, NY) – See all my reviews

Beautiful and poetic movie blends great score, direction and acting into a symphonic ode to small-town life in turn-of-the-century America. This movie is purely about the poetry behind human trials and tribulations. It is also a marvelous time capsule that should be shown to any literature class transmitting perfectly the soul of pre-war America. I recommend it as a family movie to all.

The rest of this review deals with the other reviewers since it has been made clear by what I have read that the IMDB "no spoilers" rule strangely does not apply to Our Town. True, the movie was no more Thornton Wilder's play than Yentl was Isaac Bashevis Singer's short story or Educating Rita was Willy Russell's play or Christine was Steven King's book to name just three which were radically changed to accommodate the director's vision of what a movie based on these materials should say to the moviegoing audience. King has said words to the effect that, "(paraphrasing...) My book is my book. When I sell my rights to the movie-makers to use my book as a platform for a film, it is precisely that which I do. The movie is not my book any more than How The West Was Won is history. It is merely the participating artists' vision of the source material." The late James Michener has voiced similar opinions.

Admittedly, others like Gore Vidal have felt damaged when three lines were omitted. They view their text as sacrosanct. My suggestion to them is to emulate J. D. Salinger. If you don't want your work changed, do not sell the rights; a movie is not a book or a play; it is a movie.

For what it is worth, I had read the play first, was depressed by it, and was personally surprised, delighted, and enraptured by the lyrical ending which, to me, remained more true to the entire spirit of the movie (a la Sam Wood's Goodbye Mr. Chips -- still one of my all-time favorites, also not 100% true to James Hilton's book)than the original bummer ending would have, since the tone had been lightened and lyricized throughout. But, this is what artistic expression and interpretation is all about. Different eyes, minds, and hearts see and interpret the same things differently. Sam Wood, like Thornton Wilder, was an artist, not a mechanic, as were the other artists involved in the movie. What lives is their interpretation of the source material to make a movie that is an ode to small-town American life rather than Wilder's essay on the unbearable lightness of being, as it were.




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