143 user 36 critic

1776 (1972)

A musical retelling of the American Revolution's political struggle in the Continental Congress to declare independence.



(book), (based on a conception of) | 1 more credit »
3,170 ( 2,987)

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Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 1 win & 1 nomination. See more awards »





Cast overview, first billed only:
... John Adams (MA)
... Dr. Benjamin Franklin (PA)
... Thomas Jefferson (VA)
... John Dickinson (PA)
... Edward Rutledge (SC)
... Stephen Hopkins (RI)
... Congressional President John Hancock (MA)
Ron Holgate ... Richard Henry Lee (VA)
... Col. Thomas McKean (DE)
William Hansen ... Caesar Rodney (DE)
... Martha Jefferson
... Abigail Adams
Emory Bass ... Judge James Wilson (PA)
Ralston Hill ... Congressional Secretary Charles Thomson
... Lewis Morris (NY)


The film version of the Broadway musical comedy of the same name. In the days leading up to July 4, 1776, Continental Congressmen John Adams and Benjamin Franklin coerce Thomas Jefferson into writing the Declaration of Independence as a delaying tactic as they try to persuade the American colonies to support a resolution on independence. As George Washington sends depressing messages describing one military disaster after another, the businessmen, landowners and slave holders in Congress all stand in the way of the Declaration, and a single "nay" vote will forever end the question of independence. Large portions of spoken and sung dialog are taken directly from the letters and memoirs of the actual participants. Written by Dave Heston <heston@iName.com>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


The Great Holiday Show That Sets The Screen Aglow


G | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:



Official Sites:

Official site



Release Date:

17 November 1972 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

1776 - Rebellion und Liebe  »


Box Office


$4,000,000 (estimated)

Gross USA:

See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


| (director's cut) | (Laserdisc) | (extended Blu-Ray cut)

Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?


The Broadway musical was conceived by a history teacher. See more »


Position of Col. McKean's hands when he fires the musket. See more »


[first lines]
McNair: [Adams stands with the Liberty Bell, lost in thought] Mr. Adams? Mr. Adams? Mr. Adams! Well, there you are. Didn't you hear me calling, Mr. Adams? You could have shouted down something, save me climbing up four flights. A man that likes to talk as much as you do, I think...
[Adams turns and gives McNair a hard stare]
McNair: What do you keep coming up here for, Mr. Adams? Afraid someone's gonna steal our bell?
[he chortles]
McNair: Well, no worry. Been here more than fourteen years and it ain't been ...
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Crazy Credits

The theatrical version has no credits at the beginning other than "Columbia Pictures presents" and the film's title. The Director's Cut and the extended laserdisc edition includes a main title sequence at the opening. See more »


Referenced in Undercover Brother (2002) See more »


He Plays the Violin
Music and Lyrics by Sherman Edwards
Performed by Blythe Danner, Howard Da Silva, and William Daniels
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

Hugely enjoyable
4 January 2009 | by See all my reviews

I don't usually like musicals but I absolutely loved this. The songs were entertaining, the dialogue very witty and the acting was of an extremely high calibre - a cut above most films in my opinion. I'm a big history buff and I studied early US history in college last year so I found the storyline, particularly the debates over the Declaration of Independence, fascinating.

William Daniels as John Adams stole the show. He was the best actor in a very strong cast and I was captivated from the very first scene. He has such a cool voice. (But no matter what he's done in his career, he's always be Mr. Feeny to me!) I've always admired the real John Adams to boot so he made an engaging protagonist. Howard de Silva as Benjamin Franklin was another definite highlight acting wise.

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