David Lean's earthy drama takes place in a small village on the wild Irish seacoast. World War I is raging in Europe, but the villagers have their own war - against the British soldiers who are camped nearby. Teenager Rose Ryan (Sarah Miles), has a schoolgirl crush on her middle-aged teacher (Robert Mitchum) and dreams of becoming his wife. When they do marry, she is immediately disillusioned and seeks passion in the arms of the enemy, English Major Doryan (Christopher Jones).
Sarah Miles is perfect as the willful and conflicted young girl, and Mitchum, though an odd casting choice, is convincing as her kindly husband. Trevor Howard gives a wonderful performance as the town priest who knows everybody's business, and John Mills certainly deserved his Best Supporting Actor Oscar, playing a pitiful mute.
The rough and wild coast is beautifully photographed in the director's sweeping style, and Maurice Jarre's soundtrack is haunting. I was enchanted by this movie when it first came out, and still find it a lovely, sensual, and impressive film.