The film version of the Broadway musical comedy of the same name. In the days leading up to July 4, 1776, Continental Congressmen John Adams and Benjamin Franklin coerce Thomas Jefferson into writing the Declaration of Independence as a delaying tactic as they try to persuade the American colonies to support a resolution on independence. As George Washington sends depressing messages describing one military disaster after another, the businessmen, landowners and slave holders in Congress all stand in the way of the Declaration, and a single "nay" vote will forever end the question of independence. Large portions of spoken and sung dialog are taken directly from the letters and memoirs of the actual participants. Written by
Dave Heston <heston@iName.com>
John Adams was portrayed by actor William Daniels, who later starred in the television show St. Elsewhere (1982) in which his character, Dr. Mark Craig, was a supposed descendant of John Adams. "St. Elsewhere" was filled with references to 1776 (1972) and quotes from the movie. During one "St. Elsewhere" episode, filmed in Philadelphia, Dr. Craig declares that "it's hot as hell in Philadelphia" and that he is "obnoxious and disliked", quoting his character from this film and also comparing Dr. Craig to John Adams by inference. See more »
While attempting to write the Declaration in his apartment, Thomas Jefferson throws the paper about and finally tosses his quill and picks up the violin. As John Adams and Benjamin Franklin enter the apartment, the quill has reappeared in the inkwell on the desk in front of Jefferson. But the change in lighting (from darkness to broad daylight) indicates that many hours have passed between the two moments. See more »
Fortunately, the people maintain a higher regard for their mother country.
Dr. Benjamin Franklin:
Higher, certainly, than she feels for them. Never was such a valuable possession so stupidly and recklessly managed, than this entire continent by the British crown. Our industry discouraged, our resouces pillaged... first of all our very character stifled. We've spawned a new race here, Mr. Dikinson. Rougher, simpler; more violent, more enterprising; less refined. We're a new nationality. We require a new nation.
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The theatrical version has no credits at the beginning other than "Columbia Pictures presents" and the film's title. The Director's Cut and the extended laserdisc edition includes a main title sequence at the opening. See more »
This movie scarcely saw the light of day in Britain and has not been seen on T.V. there for 20 years and this is their loss as this intelligent,witty and tuneful musical is up there with the best of its genre. Okay,so no-one goes round whistling these tunes like they do for the likes of Rodgers and Hammerstein and Lerner and Loewe but the music and lyrics provided for "1776" work like a dream and all are zestfully performed.As for the cast,you imagine that if you were to travel back in time these 200 years and more and asked the likes of Thomas Jefferson and Benjamin Franklin to sing to you,this is what they would have sounded like and these are the words they would have sung.William Daniels,short in stature but long in charisma was perfect here as John Adams.A shame that the big screen did not make greater subsequent use of this gifted performer.Full marks to all of those involved.
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