The Quiet Man Movie Poster Image

The Quiet Man



Old-fashioned charmer for the family.
  • Review Date: May 11, 2003
  • Rated: NR
  • Genre: Drama
  • Release Year: 1952
  • Running Time: 129 minutes

What parents need to know

Positive messages

Some prejudice against Sean as an American and an outsider.

Positive role models

Great depictions of religious tolerance between Catholics and Protestants that still is relevant today.


Fist-fighting, but very mild by modern interpretations.


References (fairly subtle) to the fact that Mary Kate and Sean do not sleep together following their wedding.

Not applicable
Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking

A lot of drinking in pubs, references to Michaeleen's "terrible thirst," drunkenness.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that some critics have claimed that this is an anti-feminist movie, but that is a very superficial perspective. There's a flashback to Sean's professional boxing career, in which he accidentally killed another boxer, the reason he is reluctant to fight in Ireland. References to ability of married couples to hit each other. Some prejudice against Sean as an American and an outsider. Very nice depiction of religious tolerance, as the Catholic priest tells his parishioners to pretend they are congregants of the Protestant minister, so he can impress his bishop with how many members he has in his congregation. Brief references to a (non-violent) IRA.

What's the story?

In THE QUIET MAN, tall American Sean Thornton (John Wayne) arrives in Innisfree, Ireland, where he was born, to buy back his family home and settle there. Over the objections of "Squire" Will Danaher (Victor McLaglen), a huge firey man, Sean buys the cottage, called White O'Morning, from the wealthy Widow Tillane (Mildred Natwick). Sean sees Will's sister, Mary Kate Danaher (Maureen O'Hara) out in a field and is immediately struck by her. He approaches her as he would an American girl, but customs are different in Ireland and if he wants to court Mary Kate, he must do it according to the rules and with the permission of her brother. Thus begins Sean's troublesome courtship of Mary, in which her pride, and her dowry, come into play.

Is it any good?


Some critics have claimed that this is an anti-feminist movie, but that is a very superficial perspective. The furniture and money are important to Mary Kate because she wants to enter the relationship as an equal. She believes that without them she will be to Sean what she was in Will's house, just someone to do the work. She says, "Until I've got my dowry safe about me, I'm no married woman. I'm the servant I've always been, without anything of my own!" But it is just as important to Sean to let her know that what he cares about is his love for her, and that alone is enough to make her an equal partner.

Sean also has to conquer his fear of fighting, which requires him to open up emotionally. As "Trouper Thorn," a professional boxer in the U.S., he accidentally killed an opponent in the ring. This left him afraid to let go. In fights with Will and Mary Kate he learns that he can let go physically and emotionally and strengthen his relationships.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about how Sean and Mary Kate loved each other very much, but had a hard time understanding each other. Why was Mary Kate's dowry so important to her? How did Sean show he understood that? Why did they burn the money? Was that a good way to solve the problem of the dowry for both of them? How did Sean's friends persuade Mary Kate's brother to let Sean marry her? Was that fair? Why did Sean and Will like each other better after fighting each other?

Movie details

Theatrical release date:September 14, 1952
DVD release date:March 23, 1999
Cast:Barry Fitzgerald, John Wayne, Maureen O'Hara
Director:John Ford
Studio:Twentieth Century Fox
Run time:129 minutes
MPAA rating:NR

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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Teen, 13 years old Written byOisin Cleary May 9, 2015
I think this is a good family movie, but some parts may be a little iffy for younger and more sensitive children. There is quite a bit of domestic violence in this, for example, in one scene the main character drags his wife along roads and over hills for 5 miles. There is slapping and hitting as well, in the home. If you think your child is mature enough to understand that this is not a casual or even an okay thing to do, then they should be okay. However if they are very impressionable and sensitive then you might want to be careful. It is a good movie though, with positive messages, so you could just skip over the more risqué parts.
What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models
Too much violence
Teen, 15 years old Written bywho3697cares January 28, 2009
Not counting The Grapes of Wrath and The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance, and mabye The Searchers, this is my favorite John Ford movie.
Adult Written byCSM Screen Name... April 9, 2008


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