Mrs. Miniver

1942

Mrs. Miniver

Critics Consensus

An excessively sentimental piece of propaganda, Mrs. Miniver nonetheless succeeds, due largely to Greer Garson's powerful performance.

92%

TOMATOMETER

Total Count: 26

85%

Audience Score

User Ratings: 6,041
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Movie Info

As Academy Award-winning films go, Mrs. Miniver has not weathered the years all that well. This prettified, idealized view of the upper-class British home front during World War II sometimes seems over-calculated and contrived when seen today. In particular, Greer Garson's Oscar-winning performance in the title role often comes off as artificial, especially when she nobly tends her rose garden while her stalwart husband (Walter Pidgeon) participates in the evacuation at Dunkirk. However, even if the film has lost a good portion of its ability to move and inspire audiences, it is easy to see why it was so popular in 1942-and why Winston Churchill was moved to comment that its propaganda value was worth a dozen battleships. Everyone in the audience-even English audiences, closer to the events depicted in the film than American filmgoers-liked to believe that he or she was capable of behaving with as much grace under pressure as the Miniver family. The film's setpieces-the Minivers huddling in their bomb shelter during a Luftwaffe attack, Mrs. Miniver confronting a downed Nazi paratrooper in her kitchen, an annual flower show being staged despite the exigencies of bombing raids, cleric Henry Wilcoxon's climactic call to arms from the pulpit of his ruined church-are masterfully staged and acted, allowing one to ever so briefly forget that this is, after all, slick propagandizing. In addition to Best Picture and Best Actress, Mrs. Miniver garnered Oscars for best supporting actress (Teresa Wright), best director (William Wyler), best script (Arthur Wimperis, George Froschel, James Hilton, Claudine West), best cinematography (Joseph Ruttenberg) and best producer (Sidney Franklin). Sidebar: Richard Ney, who plays Greer Garson's son, later married the actress-and still later became a successful Wall Street financier. Mrs. Miniver was followed by a 1951 sequel, The Miniver Story, but without the wartime setting the bloom was off the rose. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

Cast

Greer Garson
as Kay Miniver
Walter Pidgeon
as Clem Miniver
Teresa Wright
as Carol Beldon Miniver
Richard Ney
as Vin Miniver
Dame May Whitty
as Lady Beldon
Henry Travers
as Mr. Ballard
Clare Sandars
as Judy Miniver
Christopher Severn
as Toby Miniver
Brenda Forbes
as Gladys, the Housemaid
Rhys Williams
as Horace Perkins
Marie de Becker
as Ada, The Cook
Helmut Dantine
as German Flier
Mary Field
as Miss Spriggins
Aubrey Mather
as George, the Innkeeper
John Abbott
as Fred, the Porter
Connie Leon
as Simpson, The Maid
Billy Bevan
as Conductor
Florence Wix
as Woman with Dog
Bobby Hale
as Old Man
Alice Monk
as Lady Passenger
Ottola Nesmith
as Saleslady
Clara Reid
as Mrs. Huggins
Harry Allen
as William
Leslie Vincent
as Dancing Partner
John Burton
as Halliday
Leonard Carey
as Haldon's Butler
Clare Sanders
as Judy Miniver
Guy Bellis
as Barman
Ian Wolfe
as Dentist
Arthur Wimperis
as Sir Henry
David Clyde
as Carruthers
David Dunbar
as Man in Store
Art Berry Sr.
as Man in Store
Sidney D'Albrook
as Man in Store
Gene Byram
as Glee Club Member
Virginia Bassett
as Glee Club Member
Aileen Carlyle
as Glee Club Member
Irene Denny
as Glee Club Member
Herbert Evans
as Glee Club Member
Eula Morgan
as Glee Club Member
Vernon Steele
as Glee Club Member
Vivie Steele
as Glee Club Member
Marek Windheim
as Glee Club Member
Tudor Williams
as Glee Club Member
Kitty Watson
as Contestant
Hugh Greenwood
as Contestant
Sybil Bacon
as Contestant
Flo Benson
as Contestant
Thomas Lockyear
as Mr. Verger
Miles Mander
as German Agent
Billy Engle
as Townsman
Louise M. Bates
as Miniver Guest
Walter Byron
as Man in Tavern
Ted Billings
as Man in Tavern
Dan Maxwell
as Man in Tavern
Frank Atkinson
as Man in Tavern
Henry King
as Man in Tavern
Gil Perkins
as Man in Tavern
John Power
as Man in Tavern
Thomas Louden
as Mr. Verger
Stanley Mann
as Workman
Frank Baker
as Policeman
Colin Kenny
as Policeman
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Critic Reviews for Mrs. Miniver

All Critics (26) | Top Critics (8) | Fresh (24) | Rotten (2)

Audience Reviews for Mrs. Miniver

  • Jan 09, 2014
    This Greer Garson's pinnacle and Walter Pidgeon is just along for the ride. I always find it interesting that the actor who plays her son here ended up becoming her husband in real life. It is certain propaganda for the war effort but nonetheless a good film.
    John B Super Reviewer
  • Nov 30, 2013
    A middle-class family endures World War II. Essentially propaganda, Mrs. Miniver exalts the bravery of common people in extraordinary circumstances. Of course, "common" in this uniquely British sense involves a life of luxury, and while the class issues of British society are treated tangentially, the most pressing aspect of the film is how the characters rise to their circumstances. Mrs. Miniver's courage when confronted by a marooned German soldier, Mr. Miniver's excursion on a fishing boat, and their son's flying missions are all examples of common bravery. Most of these scenes are subtle and individually compelling, but the film amounts to a simple extolling of the everyday, and as a result it becomes locked in its political message. One scene that bothered me from a feminist perspective involves Mr. Miniver smacking his wife on the bottom after he finds out she is responsible for the marooned German's capture. The patriarchal necessity that the man be the locus of courage was yet another reminder that this film is confined to its era. Overall, while there is some good acting, war propaganda can only go so far.
    Jim H Super Reviewer
  • Aug 12, 2013
    It takes a great deal of time for 'Mrs. Miniver' to get interesting, but when its emotional core starts to heat up, it's hard not to become invested in the characters. Yes, it is incredibly, almost annoyingly sentimental, but that sentimentality becomes bearable as the film progressed and kind of lends itself to the power of the final 45 minutes. Greer Garson, Walter Pidgeon and (especially) Henry Travers are just wonderful in their performances.
    Stephen E Super Reviewer
  • May 14, 2012
    Its well acted but it is pretty shameless propaganda. Viewed in hindsight, I don't think it has much to offer outside of a exploration into how Hollywood helped sell the war effort in the 1940s.
    Alec B Super Reviewer

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