The Vicar's final rousing speech was printed in magazines like "Time" and "Look". President Franklin D. Roosevelt ordered that it be broadcast on the Voice of America, and copies of it were dropped over Europe as propaganda. This speech has come to be known as The Wilcoxon Speech, in tribute to actor Henry Wilcoxon's stirring delivery of it.
William Wyler openly admitted that he made the film for propaganda reasons. Wyler - who was born in Germany - strongly believed that the US should join the war against Nazism, and was concerned that America's policy of isolationism would prove damaging, so he made a film that showed ordinary Americans what their British equivalents were undergoing at the time. The film's subsequent success had a profound effect on American sympathy towards the plight of the British. The US was already supporting the British Empire through Lend-Lease and the Destroyers for Bases Agreement. Lend-Lease had also been extended to the Soviet Union in the summer of 1941.
After completing the film, William Wyler joined the US Army and was posted to the Signal Corps; he was overseas on the night he won his first Oscar. He later revealed that his subsequent war experiences made him realize that the film actually portrayed war in too soft a light.
After first-choice Norma Shearer rejected the title role (as she refused to play a mother), Greer Garson was cast. Although she didn't want the part either she was contractually bound to take it, and won the Academy Award for her performance.
When Clem and his boat is requested with other small craft to Ramsgate this is in reference to 'The Little Ships of Dunkirk" that assisted in the evacuation of Dunkirk during the days of May 26 to June 4 1940. One of the boats was piloted by the 2nd Ofcr from the Titanic Charles Lightoller and his son with sea scout Gerald Ashcroft, the last name of the man in the boat with Clem Miniver.
The closing speech, delivered by the vicar (Henry Wilcoxon) at the end of the film, was actually written by Wilcoxon and director, William Wyler, the night before it was filmed. Wyler had grown dissatisfied with the speech the screenwriters had come up with, and convinced Wilcoxon to help him improve it. The speech proved to be integral to the film's success, and was distributed across America and Europe in order to boost wartime morale amongst soldiers and civilians alike.
Nazi Propaganda Minister Joseph Goebbels wrote that Mrs. Miniver (1942) "shows the destiny of a family during the current war, and its refined powerful propagandistic tendency has up to now only been dreamed of. There is not a single angry word spoken against Germany; nevertheless the anti-German tendency is perfectly accomplished."
Jan Struther's book of essays, on which the film is based, was published in 1939. While some of the essays reflect the fear that England might be in a war, only the last essay occurs after war is declared. Some of the book's characters are the same as the movie's, but the events (the book has no plot) are completely different.
This film received its USA television premiere in Los Angeles Friday 19 October 1956 on KTTV (Channel 2), followed by Philadelphia Friday 7 December 1956 on WFIL (Channel 6), and by New York City Saturday 2 February 1957 on WCBS (Channel 2); in San Francisco it was first telecast 8 February 1958 on KGO (Channel 7).
The United States officially joined World War II a month after filming began. Japan declared war on the United States and the British Empire on 7 December 1941. Four days later Germany and Italy declared war on the US due to Lend-Lease.