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Give Me Liberty (1936)

Patrick Henry's rousing speech before the Virginia legislature argues for colonial independence.


B. Reeves Eason


Forrest Barnes (story and screenplay)
Won 1 Oscar. See more awards »


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Complete credited cast:
John Litel ... Patrick Henry
Nedda Harrigan ... Doxie Henry
Carlyle Moore Jr. ... Captain Milton
Robert Warwick ... George Washington
George Irving ... Thomas Jefferson
Boyd Irwin Boyd Irwin ... British Commissioner
Gordon Hart Gordon Hart ... Anti-Rebel Delegate Speaker
Myrtle Stedman ... Martha Washington
Shirley Lloyd Shirley Lloyd ... Party Guest Giving Patrick a Violin
Ted Osborne Ted Osborne ... Randolph Peyton (as Theodore Osborne)


George Washington tries to encourage gifted orator Patrick Henry to use his considerable powers to argue the case for colonial independence before the Virginia House of Burgesses, but the lawmaker's promise to his wife initially deters him. When the political climate changes, she eventually gives her consent, and Henry delivers his rousing "Give Me Liberty" speech to an enthusiastic legislature. Written by Gabe Taverney (duke1029@aol.com)

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


"GIVE ME LIBERTY," a soul-stirring depiction of the magnificent story of Patrick Henry, Filmed in Technicolor. (Print Ad-Thrift-News, ((Fayetteville, NY)) 27 May 1937) See more »


Approved | See all certifications »

Did You Know?


Vitaphone production reels #7766-7767. See more »


An intertitle states that the delegates moved to St John's Church in Richmond, but in the following scene, when the delegates are shown leaving the church, the sign on the door reads "St. Paul's Church." See more »


Patrick Henry: Better a glorious death, Peyton, than an inglorious life.
See more »

Crazy Credits

[Prelude]Our country's struggle for independence brought forth many great men. Some who earned their greatness by sword -- others by pen.

One there was, whose name is immortal because he had a gift of oratory and the courage to use it. This is the story of that man -- Patrick Henry.

Virginia 1765 See more »


Edited into My Country 'Tis of Thee (1950) See more »


Minuet in G
Music by Ludwig van Beethoven
Played as dance music at Washington's house
See more »

User Reviews

"Let George III profit by their example"
13 June 2008 | by bkoganbingSee all my reviews

Give Me Liberty was the first of three short subjects in which character actor John Litel played the fiery Virginia bred founding father. This one is a competently made film which gives the essence of the real Patrick Henry.

One of the other reviewers mentioned that he thought Litel was old fashionedly flamboyant as Henry. But in point of fact that's what he was in real life. He was indeed the kind of spell binding orator whose words did move men. Henry was one of the leaders of the Virginia bar as well as a Delegate in the Virginia House of Burgesses, his summations to the jury were legendary.

That aroused a lot of jealousy among his contemporaries. Thomas Jefferson whose forte was writing not speaking, trained as a lawyer as a young man. I recall reading Dumas Malone's multi-volume Jefferson biography where Jefferson wrote in his diary about how hard he worked on researching precedents and that all Patrick Henry did was bamboozle juries with bull. Nothing's changed in over 230 years as far as lawyers in this country. Jefferson gave up law practice and it was Patrick Henry's stock in trade.

He was a mercurial man Henry, you never knew which side of an issue he'd wind up on. He was at various stages after the Revolution, a Federalist and an anti-Federalist whatever the mood struck him.

Don't look for consistency with Henry, but this film will give you a good idea what he was like in his glory days of the Revolutionary War.

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Release Date:

19 December 1936 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Technicolor Specials (1936-1937 season) #2: Give Me Liberty See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Warner Bros. See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »

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