1776 (1972)

G   |    |  Drama, Family, History


1776 (1972) Poster

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


7.6/10
7,242

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  • Howard Da Silva and William Daniels in 1776 (1972)
  • Ken Howard at an event for 1776 (1972)
  • 1776 (1972)
  • William Daniels in 1776 (1972)
  • Howard Da Silva and William Daniels in 1776 (1972)
  • 1776 (1972)

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Cast & Crew

Top Billed Cast



Director:

Peter H. Hunt

Writers:

Peter Stone (book), Sherman Edwards (based on a conception of), Peter Stone (screenplay)

Reviews & Commentary

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User Reviews


12 December 2002 | Grafton81
10
| Reviewer Revels in 1776
1776 is a masterful representation of the emotion, logic and debate, leading to the critical creation and signing of the Declaration of Independence. It captures, beautifully and subtly, the moment the colonies crossed the line, one by one, to leave England's rule.

The writing is superb, and the direction is perfection itself. The music and lyrics add a bold exclamation point, for they range from funny to serious, simple to complex, in the richness of sound and appropriateness of placement.

Leading the charge is the cantankerous character of John Adams (William Daniels). It is nothing less than a remarkable and brilliant portrayal, probably one of the most difficult, and yet one of the best ever played. Daniels walks a very fine line, depicting the essence of a man who grates on his friends and foes, yet quickly pulls the audience to his side. You can't help but feel the desperation, frustration and passion of Adams, as he tries to persuade and pull reluctant and loyalist colonial representatives to his cause.

Frank Da Silva's Ben Franklin is equal to the challenge of the quality performance given by Daniels. Franklin is certainly the more popular figure among the characters, but nevertheless has many complexities, expertly brought out by the quality writing and Da Silva's fine skill as an actor of high caliber.

It is hard to write a review of such a fine film, without mentioning all the magnificent performances by a remarkably talented cast. It is far easier, and much more pleasurable, to simply view the film. Pay attention to the lighting and choreography. Watch the meeting room transform from a rather plain space, to one of intensity, as the room goes from static and flat, to lively and dramatic. It follows the mood of the film, as the issue of independence is moved from a side issue, to weave its way to the forefront. The oversized calendar reminds one of the ticking of a clock, as the days move inevitably to July 4th. And while we know the outcome of the events, it is too easy to be drawn into the process, and become captured by the suspense of those last six weeks leading to the formation of a new nation. The tally board, which records the votes of the colonies, also looms large on the wall. The movement from left to right, for and against independence, also adds to the suspense and drama of the film.

There are lighthearted moments, and witty banter, among the characters, as one would expect. But there are surprises too. And the viewer gets to see an amazing transformation of the irritable Adams to a much softer person, when he corresponds with Abigail. Please add 1776, with confidence, to your list of must-see movies. I think it is as fresh today as it was 30-years ago. It is time for a film re-release, or at least a revival on Broadway, but since such things rarely happen, do yourself a favor and rent or buy the movie. Personally, I think it was the finest of its kind. Can one rate it higher than a ten? Would that I could, for it deserves it. Kudos to the writer, director, and amazing cast. It was, for many, their very best performances, both behind the scenes and in front of the camera.

Critic Reviews



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Did You Know?

Trivia

Lin-Manuel Miranda is a fan. The song "The Adams Administration" from "Hamilton" has Alexander Hamilton shouting "Sit down john, you fat mother....." in response to Adams' referring to Hamilton as a "creole bastard". This is no doubt a callback to "Sit Down, John."


Quotes

McNair: 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...
McNair: What do you keep coming up ...


Goofs

Richard Henry Lee talks as he mounts his horse, yet his mouth is closed.


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.


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.


Soundtracks

Momma Look Sharp
Music and Lyrics by
Sherman Edwards
Performed by Stephen Nathan, William Duell, and Mark Montgomery

Storyline

Plot Summary


Synopsis (WARNING: Spoilers)


Genres

Drama | Family | History | Musical

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