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This TV film is based correctly on historical events developed in April
19,1775 , beginning hostilities for a shot was fired and starting the
American Revolution, skirmishes among the British troops and the
colonial militia were in Lexington and Concorde(Massachusetts); the
deeds are the following : The first battle of the American War of
Independence was in Lexington,northwest of Boston.Anticipating a
rebellion ,The British general Thomas Gage sent 800 troops to seize
stores at Concord and arrest John Hancock and John Adams ,two prominent
American rebels.The rebellious were warned by Paul Revere(Vlasta
Vrana).An advance party under Major Pitcairn encountered a party of
about 50 Minutemen ,American rebel militia troops,on Lexington
Common.They refused to disperse when ordered to do so,and Pitcairn
ordered his troops to open fire. Eight Minutemen were killed and the
remainder retired.Fervants patriots(Tommy Lee Jones,Chad Lowe and
Robert Urich) against redcoats were led by Salomon Chandler(Rip Torn).
The British party turned back for Concord and was later ambushed ;it
was only saved by reinforcements sent out from Concord .The total
losses in two actions were 73 British killed and 174 wounded,49
Americans killed and 39 wounded.
The movie is a good adaptation upon the notorious historic events and based on a Howard Fast's(Spartacus) novel . The film is produced by Robert Halmi Jr from ¨Hallmark , Hall of fame¨ TV , which has produced several films and series about historical happenings and known personages , as : Cleopatra, Odyssea(Ulises), Hercules , Jason and the Argonauts, Joan of Arc, Lion in Winter( Henry II and Leonor Aquitania), Prince and pauper( Henry VIII and Edward VI ), among others . The movie is well directed by Delbert Mann (Marty). The flick will appeal to American history buffs.
i thought this movie was great! i saw it in my social studies class, and loved it. they really gave you some great information about how the war began. it may have been about a fictional boy and how he wanted to join the militia to impress his dad, but it had some real things that happened. one of them was not when the guy was riding on the horse screaming about the British coming. someone in my class thought that his job was cool because he got to ride on a horse through the town screaming about the British coming.. he then said if the British caught him, he would cover his eyes. i'm very glad my social studies teacher had us watch this movie, because it taught me more about how the war began. i give this movie two thumbs up.
After disposing of the fact that this film was significantly under
budgeted, and, in spots, more than a bit overacted, what remains is a
realistically cold and existential account of the first day of the
American Revolution. While the principal characters have decided to
take a stand against British domination, most are a bit vague in their
feelings and haven't judged exactly how far they are willing to go.
Yet, the events of the Day assume a life of their own and sweep
I was most impressed by the way the film depicts the confusion of war and the mostly improvised pattern of resistance against the redcoats. Firing is heard all around, though no one is exactly sure from where or by whom. Men move through the woods with their guns, forming ad hoc groups to ambush the roadbound British columns---whose primary mission was the confiscation of privately owned firearms. The tactics are historically accurate. They fire, and retreat to concealed positions to reload. Most of these men are reluctant warriors, resigned to an unpleasant task, yet resolved to carry it through. A fine illustration of the ultimate Check and Balance of an armed citizenry; a concept enshrined in our Constitution yet too readily dismissed by many who claim to believe in democratic principles.
Another interesting and rather rare touch is the fact that the scriptwriters made a real effort to have the characters speak as people of the time would have. I have found that in many "historical" films the actors use words, sentence structure and alliterative devices from modern times. In some instances, well intentioned editors concerned with realism overcompensate to the point where the dialogue is overly formalized, archaic, and stilted. Not so here. The actors really sound like what one would read in contemporary, primary sources describing the event. This by itself gives the film considerable educational value.
A good "war is hell" movie still suitable for younger viewers due to its lack of gratuitous gore, and a memorable portrayal of ordinary people facing up to the bold task of confronting tyranny.
On April 18, 1775, along a Massachusetts road, Solomon Chandler is
secretly delivering shot and gunpowder to colonists who want to stand
up to the British. He is captured and beaten by Redcoats.
The people of Lexington are divided on how exactly to handle the situation, but if the British are coming, they want to be ready. 15-year-old Adam, whose father does not respect him, wants to join the militia. Amazingly, Adam's father does not try to stop him. His mother fears Adam will be killed if the circumstances lead to gunfire.
Eventually, the people are warned that, in fact, "The British are coming!" (This exact quote is not in the movie.) The men have to be ready for anything. Those who know history have some idea what will happen next.
Tommy Lee Jones did a great job as Moses, though he was somewhat more low-key than Agent K or Samuel Gerard. The fact that he came across so differently than those more outspoken characters proves he has acting skill.
Rip Torn gave the standout performance here as Solomon. Most of the other actors playing Americans also did a good job. I couldn't help but feel the British were portrayed as buffoons, but this was nothing like "Hogan's Heroes".
I thought a little too much time was devoted to the relationship between Adam and Ruth. I did like Ruth, though.
What is important here is that this movie makes the American Revolution personal. Regardless of how much a man wants to be free, can he actually shoot and kill another human being? What if that other human being wants to kill him? Was all the killing really necessary, or could the situation have been handled better? The face-off in Lexington that April morning was an impressive thing to watch. Perhaps no one had to die that day, but we all know that would have been unlikely. I won't say exactly what did happen there, but before the movie was over, at least one major character lay dead on the field of battle.
I would recommend this movie for high school or even junior high school history classes. The violence was not that explicit, and it was necessary to the story.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
This summary contains spoilers.
For Revolutionary War buffs (yes the species does exist) the pickings in the film industry are pretty slim, this winter's "The Crossing" and this summer's "The Patriot" notwithstanding. Medieval movies are easy to find, WW II movies are everywhere, and Civil War movies are always an on screen favorite. Yet for some reason, the American Revolution is largely ignored by Hollywood.
One of the excellent films in this small genre is April Morning, a Hallmark hall of fame presentation that was aired in 1988. The film focuses on a 15-year-old lad named Adam Cooper who lives in the sleepy little hamlet of Lexington, Massachusetts Bay Colony in April 1775. Life for Adam consists of doing his farm chores, courting his sweetheart Ruth Simmons (Meredith Salenger), daughter of Joseph Simmons (Robert Urich), and desperately trying to win the approval of his gruff, temperamental yet good-hearted father Moses (Tommy Lee Jones - before he was ultra-famous). Other characters include Adam's mother Sarah (Susan Blakely), his Granny (Joan Heney) and local firebrand Solomon Chandler (Rip Torn). Lexington is a quiet town, and would remain so if it didn't have the misfortune of being the halfway point along the main road from Boston to Concord MA, where patriot militia groups have been stockpiling arms and gunpowder. On the night of April 18th 1775, the British launch a secret raid with the goal of surprising Concord and securing the contraband. Col. Francis Smith commands the expedition of 1000+ red coated soldiers. Nothing goes right for the redcoats. The surprise is blown even before the march begins as Paul Revere and his co-riders ride through the countryside and warn every little town, including Lexington.
When the morning of April 19th dawns, 70 or so men are drawn up on the green as the British march through the town. Inexplicably, Maj. John Pitcairn, commanding the advance party, picks a fight with the men, even though they do not block his path. He demands their dispersion and the surrender of their weapons. Refused, he forms a line of battle and advances on the minutemen. Someone, somewhere fires a gunshot. To this day his (or, for all we know, her) name is unknown. For dramatic purposes, the movie has Chandler pulling the trigger. Believing themselves under attack, the soldiers charge and shoot down Lexingtonians left and right. 10 are killed and 8 wounded. Moses is one of the fatalities, Adam, Joseph and Solomon running for their lives.
The English reform, and continue their already much-delayed march to Concord. Solomon predicts that "It'll be easier for them to go down that road then it will be for them to come back." He's right. The soldiers find almost nothing of value in Concord, the contraband having been recently removed. After skirmishing with more militia there, the British return to Boston via the same route they came. What follows is an English slaughter. The road is practically walled with farmers with guns, whipped up into a bloodthirsty and lethal rage by the carnage at Lexington. The colonists, including Adam, Solomon, and Joseph fire on the redcoats from every tree, rock, fence, and bush. The British take most of the casualties, but not all. By the time the day is out, Solomon is dead, and Adam and Joseph return to Lexington, quite aware that quiet peaceful days are gone forever for Lexington, Massachusetts, and the 13 colonies.
To the best of my knowledge this movie stands with Disney's ancient "Johnny Tremain" as the only two films to depict the beginning of the Revolutionary War. True, the body count at Lexington wasn't much, but for starting a war, it was enough.
The battle sequences are well set up and photographed, one of the most striking audile effects being the drums of the advancing English force, which we hear through the trees for a full minute and a half before the lobsterbacks come into view. The steady increase of fear in the militia is palpable. So too are all the details of the mighty British host preparing to advance. From the rasp and clank of bayonets being fixed to the shouts of hurrah, every effort was made to make the British army look as scary and mechanical as possible.
Tommy Lee Jones and Chad Lowe both went on to successful careers, and this movie proves that they had their acting chops down long before they were famous (April Morning Pre-dates Life goes on and Under Siege). This movie also serves as notches in the acting guns of Urich and Torn.
Meredith Salenger of "The Journey of Natty Gann" and more recently "Lake Placid" is lovely and wholesome as Ruth, and portrays her character with an excellent blend of support, worry, faith, and horror for the two men in her life - her father Joseph and Adam. Ruth is what any man who is forced into a war so desperately wants to come home to. The fact that Ms. Salenger is not as recognizable in the movie world as her costars of this film are is proof to me that there is not enough justice in Hollywood.
This movie is a treat for all fans of history, Lowe, and Jones. Contrary to what this database says, it IS available on home video, if you look hard enough. Check out your nearest Blockbuster or Movies Unlimited and find the guy/girl who most looks like he knows what he's doing. They'll probably be able to set you up. It's worth the search.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Synopsis: On "April Morning," April 19 1775, a shot fired on Lexington
green changed the world forever.
The prosecution of Robert Goldstein for the movie Spirit of 1776 put down the Revolution in the theatre. Literature has produced greats in the genre but only a short list of motion pictures embraces a subject with issues which remain contemporary.
American leftist Howard Fast produced several notable novels on the Revolution: April Morning about the Battles of Lexington and Concord, The Unvanquished about the disastrous Battle of Brooklyn, "The Crossing" about the battle of Trenton and Citizen Thomas Paine about the apostle of democratic revolution.
Two of Fast's critically acclaimed books were made into movies: The Crossing and April Morning. Neither movie version drew large audiences.
Often compared to Red Badge of Courage, April Morning dawns over the sleepy hamlet of Lexington where 15-year-old Adam Cooper's main concern is the chores on the family farm, courting his girl and hanging out with his friends. Creeping toward the quiet town, is a red coat column bound to destroy the patriot's caches of arms at Concord.
Forewarned the local militia musters some men to stand on the green. Inexplicably, Major John Pitcairn, commanding the advance party, orders the militia to disperse. Refused, the British advance on the minutemen. A shot rings out. Firing begins.
When the smoke clears, 10 locals are killed and 8 more wounded. Adam and his friends are sent packing. As English lines continue the march to Concord, Adam's friend Solomon predicts "It'll be easier for them to go down that road then it will be for them to come back." After skirmishing with militia at Concord, the British return to Boston down a road walled with angry farmers whipped up into a rage by the incursion. Redcoats face hostile fire according to legend from every tree, rock, fence, and bush.
The British take casualties, but inflict not a few on their aroused adversary clinging to the protection of the bush. A more mature Adam returns home with the painful knowledge that peaceful joys are over.
The battle sequences are well staged with the drums of the advancing British beating a terrifying warning of the approach of the mighty British host whose clanking bayonets and the accompanying huzzahs send a soul splitting chill.
Based on the idea that war is hard on the families of those who fight in them. It was written from news articles of the Revolutionary War during the Veitnam War and showed that nothing changes when it's your family facing the fight for freedom no matter in what the time period.
This is a made-for-TV movie adaptation of Howard Fast's novel "April
Morning," one of the few assigned novels I enjoyed reading in school -
a story about Adam and Moses Cooper and their involvement in the battle
that initiated the American war for independence.
From what I remembered in this film, the teleplay does follow the novel pretty well and it is a fascinating movie that I thought included some decent acting, interesting history overview of the American Revolution, some exciting action and suspenseful elements. Just the part where Adam Cooper (Chad Lowe) attempt to conquer his fear and fight alongside his fellow soldiers in battle is intriguing to watch.
The setting, make-up and costumes used in the film represented that period in time very well. Though a movie based on war, there is an absence of gore and graphic scenes, which makes it suitable for a larger audience including children. In addition, Director Delbert Mann took great care in making the movie interesting minus all the excessive gore and violence and, instead, relied on the substance, history, drama and character impact.
Overall, this is one of the few war movies I could remember that I've found suitable and enjoyable for the entire audience.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
While the movie takes some liberties with actual historical events, the
over arching story is real history. I thought that this version of the
battle was even-handed. It did not demonize the British or the
While there were times I caught myself saying to the main character "oh grow up" I would quickly realize that his reactions were very human and realistic to his age and experiences. I thought his and the supporting cast performances were very believable. This movie asks us the audience to grapple with the same difficult questions that the characters face: fear, courage, just-war, the right to kill another human being.
"April Morning" tells of the skirmish between colonial militia and the English army at Lexington, MA which is regarded as the beginning of the American Revolutionary War. The film is a melodramatic made-for-tv drama which spends more time with fictional accounts of the April 19th battle than it does with matters of history and warfare. Obviously conceived to be palatable for prime time viewing and sell commercial products, this film is a poor American history lesson. Nonetheless, poor may be better than none at all.
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