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Friendly Persuasion (1956)

Unrated | | Drama, Romance, War | 25 November 1956 (USA)
The pacifist attitude of a Quaker family is tested as a result of the American Civil War.

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Writers:

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

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
...
...
Little Jess Birdwell
...
Phyllis Love ...
Mattie Birdwell
...
Gard Jordan (as Mark Richman)
...
Professor Quigley
...
Purdy
Joel Fluellen ...
...
Major Harvey
...
Caleb Cope
...
Opal Hudspeth
Marjorie Durant ...
Pearl Hudspeth
Frances Farwell ...
Ruby Hudspeth
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Storyline

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

Taglines:

Jess is a big man and he walks the Indiana earth in a big way... a man of few words and many strengths... a man born with the gift of laughter and the knack for love, a power for good, a man who doesn't hold with killing. But now Jess faces a big decision -- to keep faith with what he lives by -- or to fight for what he loves... Only so great a theme could make so great a motion picture! See more »

Genres:

Drama | Romance | War | Western

Certificate:

Unrated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

25 November 1956 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Mr. Birdwell Goes to Battle  »

Box Office

Budget:

$3,000,000 (estimated)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Westrex Recording System)

Color:

(as De Luxe)

Aspect Ratio:

1.75 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Gary Cooper was unhappy with his character, complaining to the director that audiences would expect him to get involved with the war. See more »

Goofs

When Josh leaves the house to fight off the Confederate raiders, he is carrying a small rifle, similar to a carbine. When he is at the river, he has a large musket. See more »

Quotes

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 »

Connections

Referenced in Laverne & Shirley: Friendly Persuasion (1981) See more »

Soundtracks

Indiana Holiday
(1956)
Music by Dimitri Tiomkin
Lyrics by Paul Francis Webster
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Funny as well as dramatic story about a Quaker family caught up in the American Civil War
20 January 2014 | by (Santander Spain) – See all my reviews

This is the interesting and solidly performed story of a family of Quakers in Southern Indiana in 1862 . This religious sect is strongly opposed to violence and war . The official name of the Quaker religion is Society of Friends , members of the faith are called Friends and nicknamed Quakers ; the book written by Jessamyn West is called "The Friendly Persuasion", meaning the faith , which more specifically refers to the Quakers' way of communicating. It concerns about "Jess Birdwell" (Gary Cooper , he initially turned the film down because he didn't believe the American public would accept him as Quaker , and role was originally intended for Bing Crosby) is the patriarch of a family of Quakers , a Christian sect that refuses to take part in wars . His son "Josh" (Anthony Perkins) wishes to adhere to pacifism but worried he's using his religion to hide his cowardice , he then enlists the army , causing angry on his mother (Dorothy McGuire , though Katharine Hepburn turned down the role and Jean Arthur was considered to play her) . Their children are very special : the little boy Jess Jr. (Richard Eyer) lives in conflict with the goose "Samantha" . And "Mattie" (Phyllis Love) falls in love with an Union soldier, "Gard Jordan" (Peter Mark Richman) . As Jess/Gary Cooper (before Cooper became involved Montgomery Clift was offered the role of Birdwell, but turned it down) along with his family attempt to remain to its ideals , despite the Civil War which touches their farm life .

This enjoyable film packs comedy , religious and familiar life , sense of mood , spectacular battles and lots of reflection . As it deals with the conflict between maintaining a religious belief and reality when takes place a bloody war ; as the flick utterly catches up the spectator in the family's troubles . This earnest picture captures a tender humor and mirth which pervades the whole story ; in addition , at the end occurs a stirring climax . Agreeable screenplay , originally released without screen writing credit due to blacklisting of Michael Wilson; credits restored in 1996 . Spectacular battle depicted in the film based on facts, as the final is very exciting , it was against the Confederate raiders led by General John Hunt Morgan ; on July 9, 1863, 450 members of the Indiana Home Guard met John Hunt Morgan's raiders in battle south of the town of Corydon, Indiana . Gary Cooper as a devout Quaker father and Dorothy McGuire as his wife are very well as the parents ; furthermore , Anthony Perkins is nice as the son fearing being taken for a coward . Good support cast such as Robert Middleton , Peter Mark Richman , Richard Hale , Russell Simpson and uncredited , almost extras : Robert Fuller , William Schallert , John Dierkes , Joe Turkel and Doug McClure . Spectacular and glowingly gorgeous scenarios , including amusing race horses . Colorful and glimmer cinematography by Ellsworth Fredericks in De Luxe Colour Photography . Sensitive as well as moving musical score by the classical composer Dimitri Tiomkin .

The motion picture come out of a minor Hollywood studio , Allied Artists , was compellingly directed by the maestro William Wyler . Wyler was considered by his peers as second only to John Ford as a master craftsman of cinema and the winner of three Best Director Academy Awards . Wyler was a great professional who had a career full of successes in all kind of genres as Film Noir : ¨Detective story¨ , ¨The desperate hours¨ , ¨Dead End¨ ; Western : ¨The Westener¨, ¨Friendly persuasion¨ , ¨Big Country¨ , but his speciality were dramas such as : ¨Jezebel¨ , ¨The letter¨ , ¨Wuthering Heights¨ , ¨The best years of our lives¨, ¨Mrs Miniver¨, ¨The heiress¨ , ¨the little Foxes¨ , ¨The collector¨ and Comedy as two films starred by Audrey Hepburn : ¨How to steal a million¨ and of course the immortal comedy-romance ¨Roman's holiday¨ . ¨Friendly persuasion¨ results to be a good film that catches up the audience . Rating : Better than average , worthwhile seeing .


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