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

Director:

Peter H. Hunt

Writers:

Peter Stone (book), Sherman Edwards (based on a conception of) | 1 more credit »
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Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 1 win & 1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
William Daniels ... John Adams (MA)
Howard Da Silva ... Dr. Benjamin Franklin (PA)
Ken Howard ... Thomas Jefferson (VA)
Donald Madden ... John Dickinson (PA)
John Cullum ... Edward Rutledge (SC)
Roy Poole ... Stephen Hopkins (RI)
David Ford ... Congressional President John Hancock (MA)
Ron Holgate Ron Holgate ... Richard Henry Lee (VA)
Ray Middleton ... Col. Thomas McKean (DE)
William Hansen ... Caesar Rodney (DE)
Blythe Danner ... Martha Jefferson
Virginia Vestoff ... Abigail Adams
Emory Bass Emory Bass ... Judge James Wilson (PA)
Ralston Hill Ralston Hill ... Congressional Secretary Charles Thomson
Howard Caine ... Lewis Morris (NY)
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Storyline

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

Taglines:

The Great Holiday Show That Sets The Screen Aglow See more »


Certificate:

G | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Ron Holgate did all of his own riding (except for the trick mount at the end) in "The Lees of Old Virginia," even though he'd never been on a horse before. See more »

Goofs

When the Declaration is signed, John Dickinson leaves the Congress without signing the document. Though he was a non-signer, he did not resign. At the time the Declaration of Independence was passed, he was on the committee that drafted the Articles of Confederation (part of Richard Henry Lee's resolution). See more »

Quotes

[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 »

Alternate Versions

For the 2002 DVD release (and Turner Classic Movies showings), the film has been shortened slightly from the laserdisc version, to 166 minutes. The overture and entr'acte music have been removed and the songs "Piddle, Twiddle, and Resolve" and "Lees of Old Virginia" (the latter's reprise has been removed) have inexplicably been cut back to their original release lengths. On the other hand, a short piece of footage following "Cool, Considerate Men" has been found and reinserted. The replaced footage has been repaired, giving the DVD a much better look visually than the laserdisc. See more »


Soundtracks

He Plays the Violin
Music and Lyrics by Sherman Edwards
Performed by Blythe Danner, Howard Da Silva, and William Daniels
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User Reviews

 
A great musical...if you understand it
11 April 2005 | by caspian1978See all my reviews

Musicals are often looked at as foreign movies. Since most younger generations are not familiar with the musical genres of the 1930's and the 1970's, they don't understand the art form and style of communication / entertainment that the musical is. To screen this movie to a group of 7th graders, it will be a challenge to get them to enjoy let alone get "it". The entire cast is perfect. Each actor is their character. Although actors William Daniels and Howard Da Silva are known for other roles, here they are Adams and Franklin. 30 years since its premiere in cinemas, many of the actors are long gone. Many have been dead for a good ten years. Still, their performances live on for modern audiences to enjoy. More then that, it remains one of the better musicals made in a movie. Especially for a post 2001 audience, there are moments interesting to watch. The issues of protection, fear and terrorism are made clear, even for 1776. This remains a great film even though its audience is small.


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Frequently Asked Questions

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Details

Official Sites:

Official site

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

17 November 1972 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

1776 See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$4,000,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Columbia Pictures See more »
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Technical Specs

Runtime:

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

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color (Eastmancolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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