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Friendly Persuasion (1956)

Passed | | Drama, Romance, War | 25 November 1956 (USA)
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The pacifist attitude of a Quaker family is tested as a result of the American Civil War.

Director:

William Wyler

Writers:

Jessamyn West (book), Michael Wilson (screenplay)
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Nominated for 6 Oscars. Another 5 wins & 4 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Gary Cooper ... Jess Birdwell
Dorothy McGuire ... Eliza Birdwell
Anthony Perkins ... Josh Birdwell
Richard Eyer ... Little Jess Birdwell
Robert Middleton ... Sam Jordan
Phyllis Love Phyllis Love ... Mattie Birdwell
Peter Mark Richman ... Gard Jordan (as Mark Richman)
Walter Catlett ... Professor Quigley
Richard Hale ... Purdy
Joel Fluellen Joel Fluellen ... Enoch
Theodore Newton ... Major Harvey
John Smith ... Caleb Cope
Edna Skinner ... Opal Hudspeth
Marjorie Durant Marjorie Durant ... Pearl Hudspeth
Frances Farwell Frances Farwell ... Ruby Hudspeth
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Storyline

The story of a family of Quakers in Indiana in 1862. Their religous sect is strongly opposed to violence and war. It's not easy for them to meet the rules of their religion in everyday life but when Southern troops pass the area they are in real trouble. Should they fight, despite their peaceful attitide? Written by Olaf Mertens <olafbahg@w210zrz.zrz.tu-berlin.de>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

You'll love SAMANTHA, THE GOOSE! (re-release print ad - all caps) See more »

Genres:

Drama | Romance | War | Western

Certificate:

Passed | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

25 November 1956 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Mr. Birdwell Goes to Battle See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$3,000,000 (estimated)

Gross USA:

$8,000,000, 31 December 1956
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Westrex Recording System)

Color:

Color (as De Luxe)

Aspect Ratio:

1.75 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Anthony Perkins developed a close friendship with the film's costume designer, Dorothy Jeakins. He was a frequent guest at her home on weekends and accompanied her to several prominent Hollywood functions. See more »

Goofs

When the two Rebel scouts come upon the creek, and one of them rides into the water, the light from a reflector panel becomes clearly visible across his face. See more »

Quotes

Jess Birdwell: I'm just his father, Eliza, not his conscience. A man's life ain't worth a hill of beans except he lives up to his own conscience.
See more »

Connections

Version of Friendly Persuasion (1975) See more »

Soundtracks

Indiana Holiday
(1956)
Music by Dimitri Tiomkin
Lyrics by Paul Francis Webster
See more »

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User Reviews

Quite Satisfying, With Thoughtful Drama & Many Good Lighter Moments
22 October 2004 | by Snow LeopardSee all my reviews

This fine adaptation of "Friendly Persuasion" is quite satisfying, with thoughtful drama that takes place in an interesting and believable setting, plus many good lighter moments. Though the story ultimately focuses on just a couple of the characters' concerns, along the way it provides an effective overview of their lives as a whole.

Gary Cooper is surprisingly believable in a somewhat atypical role as a Quaker father. Dorothy McGuire is well-cast as the sometimes fretful mother, and Anthony Perkins works very well as the son torn between his family and what he perceives as his duty. Walter Catlett is a bit over-the-top as the organ salesman, but he is entertaining, and his character is used well. In fact, the subplot with the organ is an interesting contrast with the main plot about the war, mirroring a couple of the same themes in a much less consequential context.

The setting in the American Civil War is well-conceived, and the family's dilemmas are portrayed sympathetically and convincingly. It is such a nice contrast with the type of movie that has to make its points through heavy-handed, contrived events, and it offers some worthwhile thoughts without pretending to offer easy, superficial answers.

Besides all that, it's a thoroughly enjoyable movie because of the many lighter, amusing moments. Director William Wyler and the cast work them in nicely with the more serious material, and the film maintains a harmonious balance throughout. It all makes for a very worthy and memorable picture.


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