The comedy drama won John Ford the Academy Award for Best Director and Best Cinematography at the time, but the movie won itself a place in the world’s heart due to the lush photography of the Irish countryside and the slightly comic fist-fight and rows between the characters.
In 2013 the movie was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being “critically, historically, or aesthetically significant.”
And it’s certainly that. The town of Cong, Co Mayo sees over 50,000 tourists visit each year seeking to take in the sights and sounds of the beloved movie.
The light-hearted movie employed several actors from Irish theater as well as Irish extras and it’s one of the few Hollywood movies where the Irish language can be heard.
Filming took place in 1951, the same year Cong got its first electricity lines, to put it into perspective.
The outdoor scenes were all shot on location in County Mayo and Galway while the indoor scenes were captured at the Republic Studios, in Hollywood.
Here are some fun fast facts about the movie:
- Maureen O'Hara did her own singing.
- Green, the national color of Ireland, can be seen somewhere in every shot in this film, but not on any of the actors' costumes except for Maureen O'Hara green floral dress in the cemetery scene.
- A replica of the famous thatched cottage in the movie is located at Maam Cross, County Galway, in the west of Ireland.
- According to an interview in the Los Angeles Times on October 28, 2000 Maureen O'Hara said that she, John Ford and John Wayne made a handshake agreement in 1944 to do the film. When Ford pitched the idea to Hollywood producers, he was told that it was a "silly Irish story that won't make a penny."
- John Ford first acquired the rights to Maurice Walsh's short story, 'The Quiet Man' in 1936, but it would be another sixteen years before his dream of adapting the story to film would become a reality.
- Although made in 1951, it was Republic's first production shot outside the United States.
- Cohan's Pub in the movie was actually a grocery store in Cong, Co Mayo. It later became a souvenir shop, and was recently turned into a real Irish pub.
- During the scene where John Wayne first kisses Maureen O'Hara, she slaps his face. When he blocked the blow, she broke a bone in her hand. Since the movie was being filmed in sequential order, she couldn't wear a cast to fix the broken bone.
- Film editor Jack Murray wept when he began editing the film. He said that John Ford was such a master of his craft that the film required nothing from him as an editor other than sticking the bits of film together.
- This was the second of five movies that paired John Wayne and Maureen O'Hara.
- The famous fight scene was shot in the grounds of Ashford Castle in Cong. The stunt in which John Wayne punches Victor McLaglen into the river was performed by director John Ford's son, Patrick Ford (doubling for McLaglen).
- The horse racing sequence was shot at Lettergesh beach, Connemara, County Galway.