The Plough and the Stars (film)

Last updated

The Plough and the Stars
The Plough and the Stars 1936.jpg
Film poster
Directed by John Ford
Produced by Cliff Reid
Written by Dudley Nichols
Seán O'Casey
Starring Barbara Stanwyck
Preston Foster
Music by Roy Webb
CinematographyJoseph H. August
Edited by George Hively
Distributed by RKO Radio Pictures
Release date
  • January 15, 1937 (1937-01-15)
Running time
72 minutes
CountryUnited States

The Plough and the Stars is a 1937 American drama film directed by John Ford based on the play of the same name by Seán O'Casey.



Nora Clitheroe runs a rooming house in Dublin while trying to stay away from the political turmoil raging around her in Revoluntary Ireland. However, try as might, she discovers that her husband Jack has joined a militia of Irish rebels seeking to oust the British from Ireland. Nora fears for Jack's safety and begs him to keep his distance from the revolutionary forces. Jack assures her that he'll step back from their activities, but it's not until it's too late that Nora learns that Jack has done just the opposite -- and has become a commander with the Irish Citizen Army as they plan to occupy the Dublin Post Office as part of the Easter Rising. [2]




Director John Ford wished to reuse the entire cast of the original play for the film; however, RKO insisted upon two stars for the leading roles to make the production more appealing at the box office, hence the inclusion of Barbara Stanwyck and Preston Foster in the almost all-Irish cast. [3]


John Ford had several bitter disputes with RKO Pictures while making The Plough and the Stars, leading RKO to re-shoot many scenes with a different director in an effort to tone down the film's politics. Ford disowned the finished product, complaining RKO "completely ruined the damned thing." [4]

See also

Related Research Articles

Barbara Stanwyck American actress

Barbara Stanwyck was an American actress, model and dancer. A stage, film and television star, she was known during her 60-year career as a consummate and versatile professional for her strong, realistic screen presence. A favorite of directors including Cecil B. DeMille, Fritz Lang and Frank Capra, she made 85 films in 38 years before turning to television.

<i>The Informer</i> (1935 film) 1935 dramatic film by John Ford

The Informer is a 1935 dramatic film, released by RKO. The plot concerns the underside of the Irish War of Independence, set in 1922. It stars Victor McLaglen, Heather Angel, Preston Foster, Margot Grahame, Wallace Ford, Una O'Connor and J. M. Kerrigan. The screenplay was written by Dudley Nichols from 1925 the novel of the same title by Liam O'Flaherty. It was directed by John Ford. The novel had previously been adapted for a British film The Informer (1929).

<i>The Quiet Man</i> 1952 film by John Ford

The Quiet Man is a 1952 Technicolor American romantic comedy-drama film directed by John Ford. It stars John Wayne, Maureen O'Hara, Barry Fitzgerald, Ward Bond and Victor McLaglen. The screenplay by Frank S. Nugent was based on a 1933 Saturday Evening Post short story of the same name by Maurice Walsh, later published as part of a collection titled The Green Rushes. The film is notable for Winton Hoch's lush photography of the Irish countryside and a long, climactic, semi-comic fist fight. It was an official selection of the 1952 Venice Film Festival.

Barry Fitzgerald actor

William Joseph Shields, known professionally as Barry Fitzgerald, was an Irish stage, film and television actor. In a career spanning almost forty years, he appeared in such notable films as Bringing Up Baby (1938), The Long Voyage Home (1940), How Green Was My Valley (1941), Going My Way (1944), None but the Lonely Heart (1944) and The Quiet Man (1952). For Going My Way (1944), he won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor and was simultaneously nominated for the Academy Award for Best Actor. He was the older brother of Irish actor Arthur Shields.

The year 1950 in film involved some significant events.

<i>Ball of Fire</i> 1941 film by Howard Hawks

Ball of Fire is a 1941 American screwball comedy film directed by Howard Hawks and starring Gary Cooper and Barbara Stanwyck. This Samuel Goldwyn Productions film concerns a group of professors laboring to write an encyclopedia and their encounter with a nightclub performer who provides her own unique knowledge.

George Brent Irish-American actor

George Brent was an Irish-American stage, film, and television actor.

Van Heflin American actor

Emmett Evan "Van" Heflin Jr. was an American theatre, radio and film actor. He played mostly character parts over the course of his film career, but during the 1940s had a string of roles as a leading man. Heflin won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for his performance in Johnny Eager (1942). He also had memorable roles in Westerns such as Shane (1953), 3:10 to Yuma (1957), and Gunman's Walk (1958).

Niamh Cusack is an Irish actress. Born to a family with deep roots in the performing arts, Cusack has been involved as a performer since a young age. She has served with the UK's two leading theatre companies, the Royal Shakespeare Company and the Royal National Theatre and has performed in a long line of major stage productions since the mid-1980s. She has made numerous appearances on television including a long-running role as Dr. Kate Rowan in the UK series Heartbeat (1992–1995) which made her a household name and favourite. She has often worked as a voice actress on radio, and her film credits include a starring role in In Love with Alma Cogan (2011).

Arthur Shields Irish actor

Arthur Shields was an Irish actor on television, stage and film.

The Plough and the Stars is a four-act play by the Irish writer Seán O'Casey that was first performed on February 8, 1926 at the Abbey Theatre. It is set in Dublin and addresses the 1916 Easter Rising. The play's title references the Starry Plough flag which was used by the Irish Citizen Army.

<i>Remember the Night</i> 1940 film by Mitchell Leisen

Remember the Night is a 1940 American Christmas romantic comedy trial film directed by Mitchell Leisen, and starring Barbara Stanwyck and Fred MacMurray. The film was written by Preston Sturges, and it was the last of his scripts shot by another director, as Sturges began his own directorial career the same year with The Great McGinty.

<i>Variety Girl</i> 1947 film by George Marshall

Variety Girl is a 1947 American musical comedy film directed by George Marshall and starring Mary Hatcher, Olga San Juan, DeForest Kelley, Frank Ferguson, Glenn Tryon, Nella Walker, Torben Meyer, Jack Norton, and William Demarest. It was produced by Paramount Pictures. Numerous Paramount contract players and directors make cameos or perform songs, with particularly large amounts of screen time featuring Bob Hope and Bing Crosby.

<i>Annie Oakley</i> (1935 film) 1935 American biographical film directed by George Stevens

Annie Oakley is a 1935 American biographical film directed by George Stevens and starring Barbara Stanwyck, Preston Foster, Melvyn Douglas, and Moroni Olsen. The film is based on the life of Annie Oakley.

Tina Kellegher, is an Irish actress, best known for her role as Niamh Quigley in BBC television series Ballykissangel. She is also a well-known voice on BBC Radio 4, having played policewoman Tina Mahon in the first four series of Baldi. She is married to Gordon Wycherley, location manager on, among other projects, Ballykissangel. They have two sons, Michael, who was born in 2003, and Brian, who was born in 2007. Her brother-in-law is fellow Ballykissangel star Don Wycherley.

<i>The Story of Seabiscuit</i> 1950 film by David Butler

The Story of Seabiscuit is a 1949 American Technicolor drama film directed by David Butler and starring Shirley Temple and Barry Fitzgerald in a semi-fictionalized account of racehorse Seabiscuit, the top money winner up to the 1940s. The screenplay was written by John Taintor Foote, uses the actual racehorse names, but changed the names of people involved.

<i>Young Cassidy</i> 1965 film by John Ford, Jack Cardiff

Young Cassidy is a 1965 film directed by Jack Cardiff and John Ford and starring Rod Taylor, Julie Christie, and Maggie Smith. It is a biographical drama based upon the life of the playwright Seán O'Casey.

<i>Rooney</i> (film) 1958 film by George Pollock

Rooney is a 1958 British comedy film directed by George Pollock and starring John Gregson, Muriel Pavlow and Barry Fitzgerald. The film depicts the life of James Ignatius Rooney, a Gaelic sportsman at the weekends, and a Dublin rubbish collector during the week. It was based on a novel of the same name by Catherine Cookson.

<i>California</i> (1947 film) 1947 film by John Farrow

California is a 1947 American western film directed by John Farrow and featuring Ray Milland, Barbara Stanwyck, and Barry Fitzgerald. Barbara Stanwyck's singing voice was dubbed by Kay St.Germaine.

Shelah Richards, was an Irish actress, manager, director and producer.


  1. "The Plough and the Stars: Detail View". American Film Institute. Retrieved April 10, 2014.
  2. "The Plough and the Stars (1936)" . Retrieved January 25, 2019 via
  3. "The Plough and the Stars - The Cinematheque". Retrieved January 25, 2019.
  4. "The Plough and the Stars" . Retrieved January 25, 2019.