American Playhouse: Season 1, Episode 9

The Fifth of July (9 Mar. 1982)

TV Episode  -   -  Comedy | Drama
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Ken Talley is 32, strong, goodlooking and a Vietnam vet with both legs shot off seven years earlier. He is somewhat cynical. His lover Jed is bigger and stronger, a gardner, a good listener... See full summary »


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Episode complete credited cast:
Kenneth Talley Jr.
Jed Jenkins
Gwen Landis
Jonathan Hogan ...
John Landis
Joyce Reehling ...
June Talley (as Joyce Reehling Christopher)
Helen Stenborg ...
Aunt Sally Friedman
Shirley Talley
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Danton Stone ...
Weston 'Wes' Hurley


Ken Talley is 32, strong, goodlooking and a Vietnam vet with both legs shot off seven years earlier. He is somewhat cynical. His lover Jed is bigger and stronger, a gardner, a good listener. On Independence Day 1977 Ken's home in Lebanon Missouri is visted by the others. Much of their past relationships, pre- and post-Vietnam, must be pulled up and examined before any of them can decide their future. Written by Ed Stephan <>

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Comedy | Drama





Release Date:

9 March 1982 (USA)  »

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Did You Know?


The original Broadway production of "The Fifth of July" by Lanford Wilson opened at the New Apollo Theater on November 5, 1980, ran for 511 performances and was nominated for the 1981 Tony Award for the Best Play. Swoosie Kurtz (winner of the 1981 Tony Award Best Featured Actress in a Play), Jeff Daniels, Jonathan Hogan, Danton Stone and Joyce Reehling reprise their roles in the filmed production. See more »

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User Reviews

It's rare to see a play done well as a film, but this one does the original justice.

Playwrights are understandably nervous when their works are turned into films. But in the capable hands of the original stage director, Marshall W. Mason, this Showtime production of Wilson's play comes across with all the intimate care and character of the play. The cast recreates their roles from the Circle Rep production of 1980, including Richard Thomas and Jeff Daniels as gay lovers and Swoozie Kurtz as a delightfully dizty country singer. For audiences unfamiliar with Wilson's work (including Hot l Baltimore and Talley's Folly), this film is an excellent introduction to one of our best American playwrights. In 2001 many of the cast of "Fifth of July" reunited in Independence, Kansas, to recreate their roles in the play as well as several other plays of Mr. Wilson, including "Hot L Baltimore," "Talley's Folly," and "Burn This" at the William Inge Theatre Festival's tribute to the playwright who was honored with the Inge Award for Achievement in American Theatre.

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