Review: The Quiet Man

Image Source: IMDb

In honor of St. Patrick’s Day this year, I thought I’d review a St. Patrick’s Day classic: The Quiet Man. The Quiet Man is directed by John Ford and follows the quiet ex-boxer Sean Thornton, played by John Wayne, returning to his family home in the small town of Innisfree, Ireland after accidentally killing another boxer in the ring. After a land dispute over the home, Sean makes enemies with the stubborn Will Danaher, played by Victor McLaglen. The situation gets complicated when Sean becomes romantically involved with Will’s sister Mary Kate, played by Maureen O’Hara. When the couple plan on getting married, Will spitefully refuses to hand over the dowry, which Mary Kate cannot be married without.

John Ford won his fourth and last Best Director Oscar for The Quiet Man, and it’s easy to see why. Ford makes great use of the beautiful Irish landscape to compliment the infectious chemistry between Wayne and O’Hara. The on-location scenery and the fact that most of the actors are actually from Ireland adds a great layer of authenticity to the film. The casting is perfect, with Wayne and O’Hara both playing their characters brilliantly. This is definitely a case where no other actors could have played these parts. The supporting cast is also impeccable, with Barry Fitzgerald contributing some great comedic relief, and Victor McLaglen executing a flawless balance of his character’s intensity and weakness.

The main reason this film is so endearing and rewatchable is not only the compelling love story and the beautiful scenery, but also the incorporation of humor. The aforementioned performance from Barry Fitzgerald is infinitely quotable, and the little quips and moments feel so natural. By the end, the movie basically becomes a slapstick comedy in the best way possible, with a huge fistfight between Sean and Will that the whole town, even the priest, comes to watch.

Movies from the 1950s aren’t for everyone, but The Quiet Man is a timeless classic, and perfect for a family viewing if you are celebrating St. Patrick’s Day.