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1776 (1972)

7.6
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Ratings: 7.6/10 from 5,751 users  
Reviews: 125 user | 28 critic

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

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Title: 1776 (1972)

1776 (1972) on IMDb 7.6/10

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

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Cast

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

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>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG for language | See all certifications »

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Details

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Release Date:

17 November 1972 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

1776 - Rebellion und Liebe  »

Box Office

Budget:

$4,000,000 (estimated)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (director's cut) | (Laserdisc)

Sound Mix:

Color:

(Eastmancolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

William Daniels, who portrays John Adams, also portrayed John Quincy Adams (John & Abigail Adams' oldest son and sixth President of the United States) in the mini series The Adams Chronicles (1976), Samuel Adams (John Adams' second cousin and also a signer of the Declaration of Independence) in the TV movie The Bastard (1978) and John Adams again in the TV movie The Rebels (1979). See more »

Goofs

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 »

Quotes

John Dickinson: [to John Hancock] Don't forget that most men with nothing would rather protect the possibility of becoming rich than face the reality of being poor.
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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 »

Connections

Featured in Playing Columbine (2008) See more »

Soundtracks

Cool, Cool, Considerate Men
Music and Lyrics by Sherman Edwards
Performed by Donald Madden, John Cullum, David Ford, and the Cast
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
"Our Lives, Our Fortunes, And Our Sacred Honor"
4 July 2009 | by (Buffalo, New York) – See all my reviews

Probably even before the musical 1776 finished its run on Broadway of 1217 performances from 1969 to 1972 this film was getting ready for release. The musical won a Tony Award for being the best in that category for Broadway and a pity it wasn't similarly honored by the Academy. All it received was a nomination for cinematography.

None of the score, excellent though it is by Sherman Edwards, was calculated to make the hit parade. The songs don't really stand alone, but they are part and parcel of the telling of the tale of the American Declaration of Independence. But what 1776 does is tell just how difficult it was to achieve a consensus for American independence even after we had been fighting the might of the British armies in the northern colonies for over a year.

Two of the men at the Second Continental Congress John Adams (William Daniels) and Thomas Jefferson (Ken Howard) became American presidents. Others there are more or less widely known, depending how deeply one has read into American history or paid good attention in class during school. I think most people would have more than a nodding acquaintance with Benjamin Franklin (Howard DaSilva). All three of these players came over from the original Broadway cast as did most of the film's players.

All of these people as Franklin said are the cream of their colony's society even if that society was built on human slavery. That the South's peculiar institution as they liked to phrase it came from the mother country is sometimes conveniently forgotten by critics of the USA. But slavery's existence was the biggest stumbling block towards building that consensus as 1776 graphically shows.

The founding fathers as we Americans call these guys are shown to be flesh and blood. Franklin who was the wisest one in the bunch deprecated in the film and in real life the demigod status that would attach to them. One founding father however does get a raw deal from 1776. James Wilson was not in the indecisive ninny who only craved obscurity. Emory Bass who also came over from Broadway played him that way because he was written that way. In fact Wilson who should have had the Scottish burr in his speech that was given to Ray Middleton's Thomas McKean, was a man of great distinction and learning. If he didn't shine at the 2nd Continental Congress, he more than made up for it at the Constitutional Convention. A lot of what is in the Constitution is there because of him. He was also one of the original members of the Supreme Court that George Washington appointed. Not at all like the fellow you see in 1776.

The ladies aren't ignored, Martha Wayles Jefferson appears in the flesh to give Tom Jefferson some relief from some tension he was having and is played by Blythe Danner. Virginia Vestoff plays Abigail Adams who only appears in William Daniel's imagination. It's fascinating to see Adams yearning for the wife, but still tending to business. When he became our second president, Abigail stayed in Braintree, Massachusetts which was their home and John spent as much time as he could with her and not really staying on top of things in Philadelphia and later in the new capital of Washington, DC. That's another subject for another film.

In fact watching these gentlemen reach the consensus for American independence is watching them reach said consensus, but also knowing how they all became some really bitter enemies later on after the nation's freedom was secured. I hope some who read this review and see 1776 will take the time and trouble to see just what happened with the rest of these people.

And if the film stirs your curiosity about how America was founded, than 1776 will be well worth watching.


7 of 7 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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Recent Posts
How historically correct is this? AllesKanBeter
Best Line in the Film... evanevan
I absolutely love the film. My wife hates it. JKearse
Watching it right now! VValkyrie
Actor playing John Dickinson reminded me of Phil Hartman! fortunato-1
Unalienable / Inalienable nannyjo
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