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Give Me Liberty (1936)

Patrick Henry's rousing speech before the Virginia legislature argues for colonial independence.



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Won 1 Oscar. See more awards »


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Complete credited cast:
Doxie Henry
Capt. Milton
Boyd Irwin ...
British Commissioner
Gordon Hart ...
Anti-Rebel Delegate Speaker
Shirley Lloyd ...
Party Guest Giving Patrick a Violin
Ted Osborne ...
Randolph Peyton (as Theodore Osborne)


George Washington tries to encourage gifted orator Patrick Henry to use his considerable powers to argue the case for colonial independence before the Virginia House of Burgesses, but the lawmaker's promise to his wife initially deters him. When the political climate changes, she eventually gives her consent, and Henry delivers his rousing "Give Me Liberty" speech to an enthusiastic legislature. Written by Gabe Taverney (duke1029@aol.com)

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Release Date:

19 December 1936 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Broadway Brevities (1936-1937 season) #12: Give Me Liberty  »

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?


Vitaphone production reels #7766-7767. See more »


The guests at General Washington's house are shown dancing to Beethoven's "Minuet in G," which was not composed until 1796. In fact, Beethoven was only born in 1770, i.e. five years after the events shown at the beginning of the film. See more »


Patrick Henry: What is it that gentlemen wish, what would they have? Is life so dear or peace so sweet as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God! I know not what cause others may take, but as for me, give me liberty or give me death!
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Edited into My Country 'Tis of Thee (1950) See more »


aka "My Country 'tis of Thee"
Music from "God Save the King"
Lyrics by Samuel Francis Smith
Sung by a chorus at the end
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User Reviews

John Litel plays Patrick Henry in Warner short subject...
13 February 2008 | by (U.S.A.) – See all my reviews

It's surprising to see how perfected three-strip Technicolor was, as early as 1936, when GIVE ME LIBERTY was filmed, an historical short subject starring JOHN LITEL as Patrick Henry giving his famous "Give Me Liberty!" speech in Virginia during the American Revolution.

This short appears on the Errol Flynn Signature Collection for CHARGE OF THE LIGHT BRIGADE, and is evidence that the handsomely mounted Technicolor short was the Warner way of testing its color equipment in preparation for the full-length features to come.

It's the sort of film we used to see in the school auditorium when I was a kid, educational and usually not very well acted or produced. This is fairly well done, although I have to admit that--much as I like John Litel as a character actor in the Warner stock company--his flamboyant method of delivering the speech is more than a little over the top for dramatic effect.

Again, the most impressive thing about the feature is the Technicolor photography which makes the costumes and sets glow with vivid shades of color that are pleasing to the eye.

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