The Howards of Virginia (1940) - Rotten Tomatoes

The Howards of Virginia1940

The Howards of Virginia (1940)





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The Howards of Virginia Photos

Movie Info

Hollywood films about the Revolutionary War almost invariably lost money at the box office, and The Howards of Virginia was no exception, despite the presence of Cary Grant in the lead. Most of the story takes place in the colonial capital city of Williamsburg, Virginia, where Matt Howard (Cary Grant) dedicates himself to the causes of Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness. Remaining faithfully at Matt's side through his early years as a frontiersman and on into his life among the "landed gentry" is his wife Jane Peyton Howard (Martha Scott), the sister of unregenerate royalist Fleetwood Peyton (Cedric Hardwicke). Most of the high points of the Revolution are herein recreated, including the Stamp Act riots, the Boston Tea Party, and Patrick Henry's "Give me Liberty" speech. Curiously, however, director Frank Lloyd stages these scenes in a flat, near-throwaway fashion; even the inflammatory Henry (Richard Gaines) is hampered by unimaginative camera angles. Other historical personages parading through the film include Thomas Jefferson and George Washington, played respectively by Richard Carlson and George Houston. Though it's rather rough sledding in its feature-length version, The Howards of Virginia plays quite well in the half-hour abridgement prepared by Columbia for schoolroom showings.


Cary Grant
as Matt Howard
Martha Scott
as Jan Peyton-Howard
Cedric Hardwicke
as Fleetwood Peyton
Alan Marshal
as Roger Peyton
Richard Carlson
as Thomas Jefferson
Paul Kelly
as Captain Jabez Allen
Irving Bacon
as Tom Norton
Elisabeth Risdon
as Aunt Clarissa
Elizabeth Risdon
as Aunt Clarissa
Anne Revere
as Mrs. Betsy Norton
Tom Drake
as James Howard at Age 16
Richard Alden
as James Howard
Phil Taylor
as Peyton Howard at Age 18
Rita Quigley
as Mary Howard at Age 17
Richard Gaines
as Patrick Henry
George Houston
as George Washington
Sam McDaniel
as Uncle Robert, the Butler
Virginia Sale
as Neighbor
Ralph Byrd
as James Howard
Dick Jones
as Matt Howard at Age 12
Buster Phelps
as Thomas Jefferson at Age 11
Wade Boteler
as Uncle Reuben
Mary Field
as Susan Howard
R. Wells Gordon
as Colonel Jefferson
Charles Francis
as Mr. Douglas
Olaf Hytten
as Gentleman
Emmett Vogan
as Representative
J. Anthony Hughes
as Tidewater Representative
Alan Ladd
as Neighbor
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Critic Reviews for The Howards of Virginia

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Audience Reviews for The Howards of Virginia


A good cast and handsome production but there wasn't enough of drama to the Revolutionary War they had to throw in a family soap opera too?

jay nixon
jay nixon

Super Reviewer


This was on very late the other night, so I watched most of it, but I didn't get to see the end, I was too tired. Grant is energetic and sexy in this historic film of a man who is pursuing his dreams in America, and the wife from an aristocratic background that conflicts with his lifestyle. I liked this movie so far, but I really need to see how it ends, I hope they play it again sometime.

Aj V
Aj V

Super Reviewer

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