American Playhouse: Season 1, Episode 9

The Fifth of July (9 Mar. 1982)

TV Episode  |   |  Comedy, Drama
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Ratings: 8.1/10 from 121 users  
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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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Title: The Fifth of July (09 Mar 1982)

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Episode complete credited cast:
Jonathan Hogan ...
Joyce Reehling ...
June Talley (as Joyce Reehling Christopher)
Helen Stenborg ...
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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. 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

Wonderful cast and sweet spoilers
18 November 2005 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

FIFTH OF JULY is a wonderfully sweet, bitter, funny, and ultimately enjoyable play and this film captures those qualities to a T. It's openness about what some consider taboo subjects is amazing for a film from 1982. AIDS hadn't been fully discovered just yet and in Lanford Wilson's work we have a gay couple who are not threatened by the ravages of disease, like so many post-discovery films. This isn't AND THE BAND PLAYED ON, or LOVE, VALOUR, COMPASSION but the importance of it is almost equally valid. Here is a an American family, disrupted by the Vietnam War, the radical dreams of the 1960s, the desire to be different than the generation before. These are real people with real agendas, painted with a brush that might be more familiar with them then it leads us to believe. Mr. Wilson weaves a tapestry worth enjoying. Netflix has this film available in their collection so I recommend checking it out if you have a lazy Saturday afternoon to spare... pour some lemonade, make yourself a grilled cheese sandwich, and pop this into your DVD player.

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