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1776 (1972)

PG  |   |  Drama, Family, History  |  17 November 1972 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.6/10 from 6,091 users  
Reviews: 127 user | 35 critic

A musical retelling of the American Revolution's political struggle in the Continental Congress to declare independence.



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Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 1 win & 1 nomination. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Howard Da Silva ...
Roy Poole ...
David Ford ...
Ron Holgate ...
William Hansen ...
Emory Bass ...
Ralston Hill ...
Lewis Morris (NY)


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 <>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG for language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:



Official Sites:



Release Date:

17 November 1972 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

1776 - Rebellion und Liebe  »

Box Office


$4,000,000 (estimated)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


| (director's cut) | (Laserdisc) | (extended Blu-Ray cut)

Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


The original Broadway production of the musical "1776" opened at the 46th Street Theater on March 16, 1969 and ran for 1217 performances. William Daniels (portraying John Adams (MA)), Howard Da Silva (portraying Dr. Benjamin Franklin (PA)), Ken Howard (portraying Thomas Jefferson (VA)), Roy Poole (portraying Stephen Hopkins (RI)), Virginia Vestoff (portraying Abigail Adams), David Ford (portraying Congressional President John Hancock (MA)), Ron Holgate (portraying Richard Henry Lee (VA)), William Duell (portraying Andrew McNair, Congressional Custodian),Ralston Hill (portraying Congressional Secretary Charles Thomson), Jonathan Moore (portraying Dr. Lyman Hall (GA)) and Charles Rule (portraying Joseph Hewes (NC)) all recreated their roles in the movie. The original Broadway production won 1969 Tony Awards for Best Musical, Best Featured Actor in a Musical (Ron Holgate) and Best Direction (Peter H. Hunt also directed the Broadway musical), and received nominations for Best Featured Actress in a Musical (Virginia Vestoff), and Best Scenic Design. William Daniels was also nominated for his role of John Adams in the Best Featured Actor category, but declined to compete because he felt Adams was a Leading role. See more »


During "Sit Down, John", a Southern delegate knocks over a lit candle when he stands up to sing. See more »


[first lines]
McNair: [Adams stands with the Liberty Bell, lost in thought] Mr. Adams? Mr. Adams? Mr. Adams! Well, there you are. Didn't you hear me calling, Mr. Adams? You could have shouted down something, save me climbing up four flights. A man that likes to talk as much as you do, I think...
[Adams turns and gives McNair a hard stare]
McNair: What do you keep coming up here for, Mr. Adams? Afraid someone's gonna steal our bell?
[he chortles]
McNair: Well, no worry. Been here more than fourteen years and it ain't been ...
See more »

Crazy Credits

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 »


Referenced in Tales from the Warner Bros. Lot (2013) See more »


The Egg
Music and Lyrics by Sherman Edwards
Performed by Howard Da Silva, William Daniels, and Ken Howard
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

24 August 1999 | by (CARDIFF,WALES) – See all my reviews

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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Recent Posts
Boring as anything, BUT... lanceus
A Fourth of July tradition? Whistling_Pete
How historically correct is this? AllesKanBeter
Watching it right now! VValkyrie
Best Line in the Film... evanevan
I absolutely love the film. My wife hates it. JKearse
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