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Friendly Persuasion (1956)

Unrated  |   |  Drama, War, Western  |  25 November 1956 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.5/10 from 4,702 users  
Reviews: 55 user | 19 critic

The pacifist attitude of a Quaker family is tested as a result of the American Civil War.



(book), (screenplay), 1 more credit »
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Nominated for 6 Oscars. Another 5 wins & 4 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Richard Eyer ...
Little Jess Birdwell
Robert Middleton ...
Phyllis Love ...
Mattie Birdwell
Gard Jordan (as Mark Richman)
Walter Catlett ...
Professor Quigley
Joel Fluellen ...
Theodore Newton ...
Major Harvey
John Smith ...
Caleb Cope
Edna Skinner ...
Opal Hudspeth
Marjorie Durant ...
Pearl Hudspeth
Frances Farwell ...
Ruby Hudspeth


The story of a family of Quakers in Indiana in 1862. Their religous sect is strongly opposed to violence and war. It's not easy for them to meet the rules of their religion in everyday life but when Southern troops pass the area they are in real trouble. Should they fight, despite their peaceful attitide? Written by Olaf Mertens <olafbahg@w210zrz.zrz.tu-berlin.de>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Anthony Perkins, the most exciting screen discovery since James Dean! See more »


Drama | War | Western


Unrated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

25 November 1956 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Mr. Birdwell Goes to Battle  »

Box Office


$3,000,000 (estimated)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(Westrex Recording System)


(as De Luxe)

Aspect Ratio:

1.75 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Trailers and publicity for the film heralded Anthony Perkins as the new James Dean, which was standard practice for young actors at the time. See more »


When Jess Birdwell sends the children upstairs after mother Eliza retires to the barn, he says, "up stairs to bed, all of thee!" In Quaker dialect, the pronoun thee is used as the objective case of thou, and is used only when addressing an individual. He should have said, "up stairs to bed, all of you!". See more »


Jess Birdwell: I'm just his father, Eliza, not his conscience. A man's life ain't worth a hill of beans except he lives up to his own conscience.
See more »


Referenced in Legacy of the Hollywood Blacklist (1987) See more »


Marry Me, Marry Me
Music by Dimitri Tiomkin
Lyrics by Paul Francis Webster
Performed by Marjorie Durant (uncredited), Frances Farwell (uncredited), Edna Skinner (uncredited) and Gary Cooper (uncredited)
See more »

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User Reviews

An exceptional film!

Wyler's "Friendly Persuasion" and "The Big Country" entitle an authentic and significant theme which is somewhat expressed in stronger terms in "Friendly Persuasion" but which meet with the impressive "The Big Country."

The story is simple, lovely and sensitive...

Gary Cooper, head of a Quaker family, is a loving husband and a caring father who has to consider his position at the outbreak of the Civil War in Southern Indiana... Cooper believes - as a father - that a man must be guided by his own conscience...

Anthony Perkins takes the part of Cooper's son which he plays beautifully... He is the 'peace-loving' young man who does not believe in fighting... He is like his mother shattered and teared apart by the events, but also feeling uncertainty about his capacity to meet danger without giving way to fear... Perkins sees that he has to convince himself that he is not a coward, so he becomes a member of the Home Guard, ready to defend the community...

Dorothy McGuire emits pleasant emotions as the Quaker mother, projecting inner beauty to her family...

Sentimental and well done, "Friendly Persuasion" is superbly acted and directed, beautifully shot in color... The film was nominated for Best Picture, Best Directing, Best Supporting Actor, Best Sound Recording and Best Song...

37 of 48 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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