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Director John Ford acquired the film rights to Maurice Walsh's 1933 Saturday Evening Post story in February 1936. According to news items in Hollywood Reporter and Film Daily in May 1937, The Quiet Man was to be the first John Ford production of Renowned Artists, for release by United Artists. The production was not realized at that time; then, in May 1947, according to a Los Angeles Daily News news item, it was set to begin filming in Ireland sometime in 1948. In April 1948, a Hollywood Reporter news item noted that the film was to be produced with "frozen funds" that were part of the "Anglo-American film agreement." A 1950 Hollywood Reporter news item indicated that half the film was to be shot in Ireland and half in Italy, but no additional references to Italian location filming have been found.
Reviews and contemporary news items note that filming took place near Galway, Ireland, in Connemara, and modern sources specified Lettergesh Beach, Oughterard and Teernakil, where the cottage "White O'Mornin" stood. Exteriors of the fictional village of "Innisfree" were filmed in Cong, County Mayo. According to an August 1951 New York Times article by screenwriter Frank Nugent, Ashford Castle in Cong, which was built by the Guinness Stout fortune, was used as a headquarters. The castle's farmhouse posed as "Will Danaher's" house in the film. In his article, Nugent mentioned that scenes were shot at the nearby cliffs of Mohr; Salbrook near Killary Bay; a Ballyglunin, Galway railway station; and the village streets of Tuam and Ballynahinch. A July 1951 Hollywood Reporter news item reported that interiors were shot at the studio's Burbank lot on sets replicating those in Ireland. Composer Victor Young incorporated Irish pub tunes into his score, among them, "The Rakes of Mallow" and "The Kerry Dancers."
In various interviews, John Ford stated that he wrote "bits" of the script for The Quiet Man and used his own parish priest as a technical advisor on the film. Modern sources credit John Wayne and Patrick Ford, the director's son, as second unit directors, and include actors Bob Perry and Frank Baker in the cast. John Wayne's children, Patrick and Melinda, appear in the scene before the horse race, asking "Mary Kate" if she will "put up her bonnet." According to modern sources, they are joined by siblings Antonia and Michael in the horse race scene. Actor Charles FitzSimmons was actress Maureen O'Hara's younger brother, and actor Ken Curtis was director John Ford's son-in-law. The Quiet Man marked the last picture John Wayne made for Republic, the studio where he made most of his films.
The film received Academy Awards for Best Cinematography and Best Direction, and was nominated for awards in the following categories: Best Picture, Best Screenplay, Best Sound Recording, Best Art Direction and Best Supporting actor (Victor McLaglen). Screenwriter Nugent won the Screen Writers Guild award for Best Written Comedy of 1952. The film was also voted best picture of 1952 by the General Federation of Women's Clubs, and placed second in Film Daily's ten best pictures of 1952.
The storm scene from The Quiet Man appears in Steven Spielberg's 1982 Universal production E.T., the Extra-Terrestrial. According to the AMPAS Library file for the film, a restored version of The Quiet Man was shown at the Galway Film Festival in Galway, Ireland in July 1991. Donnybrook!, a short-lived musical based on Walsh's story and produced by Fred Hebert and David Kapp, opened in 1961 and ran for sixty-eight performances. According to a December 1959 Hollywood Reporter news item, Johnny Burke, the composer-lyricist of the musical, negotiated for Gordon MacRae and Maureen O'Hara to play the lead roles, but was unsuccessful. A November 2000 Screen International news item reported that Tranzaqua Entertainment announced plans to produce Connemara Days in the spring of 2001, in which, according to several August 2000 news items, actor Luke Perry was to portray an assistant director on the set of The Quiet Man. As of 2005, that picture had not yet been produced. In 2002, The Quiet Man was rated number seventy-six in the AFI's list of one hundred greatest film love stories.