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Friendly Persuasion (1956)

Unrated | | Drama, Romance, War | 25 November 1956 (USA)
1:52 | Trailer

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



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



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Little Jess Birdwell
Phyllis Love ...
Mattie Birdwell
Gard Jordan (as Mark Richman)
Professor Quigley
Joel Fluellen ...
Theodore Newton ...
Major Harvey
Caleb Cope
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


When You Looked At Jess Birdwell YOU LOOKED UP See more »


Drama | Romance | 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?


Fearing location shooting in Indiana would be too expensive, Allied Artists rented director Rowland V. Lee's ranch in the San Fernando Valley, which the design team turned into a duplicate of the Indiana countryside of the 1860s. They also planted cornfields and sycamore trees in place of the Southern California vegetation. Interiors were shot in the old Republic Studios in North Hollywood. See more »


When Jess places the butt of the rifle on the ground after letting the Confederate soldier go, the trigger is on the side closest to him in the long shot. In the close shot, the trigger is on the side of the rifle away from him. See more »


Josh Birdwell: I don't want to die. I don't think I could kill anyone if I tried. But I have to try, so long as other people have to.
See more »


Referenced in Newhart: Unfriendly Persuasion (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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