Our Town (1940 film)

Our Town
Directed by Sam Wood
Produced by Sol Lesser
Written by Thornton Wilder
Starring William Holden
Martha Scott
Fay Bainter
Music by Aaron Copland
Cinematography Bert Glennon
Edited by Sherman Todd
Sol Lesser Productions
Distributed by United Artists
Release dates
  • May 24, 1940 (1940-05-24) (United States)
Running time
90 minutes
Country United States
Language English

Our Town is a 1940 American drama romance film adaptation of a play of the same name by Thornton Wilder starring Martha Scott as Emily Webb, and William Holden as George Gibbs. The cast also included Fay Bainter, Beulah Bondi, Thomas Mitchell, Guy Kibbee and Frank Craven. It was adapted by Harry Chandlee, Craven and Wilder, and directed by Sam Wood.

The film was a faithful reproduction of the play except for two significant changes: the film used scenery, whereas the play had not; the events of the third act, which in the play revolve around the death of one of the main characters, were turned into a dream from which Emily awakens — she is then able to resume a normal life. Producer Sol Lesser worked with Wilder in creating these changes.

A radio adaptation of the film on Lux Radio Theater on May 6, 1940, used the altered film ending.

The U.S. copyright of the film was not renewed after its first term expired in 1968. However, because it is a derivative work from a play that is still under U.S. copyright, it is not deemed to be in the public domain.



The film was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Picture.[1] Scott, who repeated her stage role as Emily Webb, was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Actress. Aaron Copland was nominated for Best Score and Thomas T. Moulton was nominated for Best Sound.[2]


  1. "NY Times: Our Town". NY Times. Retrieved 2008-12-13.
  2. "The 13th Academy Awards (1941) Nominees and Winners". oscars.org. Retrieved 2011-08-13.
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