- Acting of Lead Performers
- Acting of Supporting Cast
- Music Score
- Title Sequence
- Historical Importance
- Would You Recommend?
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Stunning designs! Colonial Philadelphia -- an entire street, including hawkers, ladies of the evening, brigands, pigs, geese, hens, and yes, Congress delegates -- is created in the backlot at Warner Brothers! Heartfelt performances by all the cast, especially William Daniels as John Adams, and a, to me, unknown actor as the infirm Caesar Rodney. A previous reviewer wrote that he thought this the worst film musical ever made. Clearly he did not watch it carefully, and also clearly he has not seen Lucille Ball in Mame!
A 4th of July Classic....
- Ethel barrymore
I am not saying this is the greatest film of all time or that it is second to best like the eternal classic of gone with the wind. This film Is nice to watch for the Fourth of July, it's a classic to watch every year, a little laugh here and there and maybe singing along with a few tunes but, it isn't that bad like most '70 films you see, we shouldn't trash a film like this, we shouldn't take so seriously to the historical facts or that maybe some of the characters sort of ridicule the plot and the point of tale of how our nation gained independence. We should just laugh and enjoy the film and I say this film is a must see if you love to laugh and like history!
Nothing more to be said about this disgrace of a movie.
An American classic of an American classic!
- Loren Harding
Hurrah, again, for TCM! This afternoon they are screening 1776, which is a musical about the creation of the Declaration of Independence in Philadelphia in 1776, 248 years ago today. It is a great musical, very witty and patriotic. I saw it onstage in an outdoor theatre in Kansas City in, guess, July 1976. Richard Henry Lee, the delegate from Virginia, rides in like some superhero. Benjamin Franklin, an old man at this point, serenely has his portrait painted. John Adams, everyone's gadfly, pokes and prods and cajoles to get the paper signed by everyone. Thomas Jefferson, exhausted by writing the document, would far rather be at home in his hilltop mansion in Virginia, Monticello (I have seen it!) and playing violin, than being in hot Philadelphia. Most poignant of all is Caesar Rodney, the delegate from tiny Delaware, who is dying from an incurable skin cancer, but who rides all the way from Dover to Philadelphia -- no mean thing in those days -- to sign the paper. Needless to say, I shall enjoy it all over again!
"It's hot as Hell in Philadel-phia"
- D. Knoop
"It's hot as hell in Philadel-phia." The great 1972 film adaptation of the Broadway musical (by Peter Stone and Sherman Edwards) about the events leading up to July 4, 1776. Yes, it's a musical, but it's a ton of fun and features a stirring lead performance by William Daniels as John Adams.
- Michael Juran
I have watched this movie every years since about 1980 (when a British headmaster at an American boarding school I was at showed it once a year). I was pleasantly surprised to see the "full" version on TMC last year. Every time I watch it, and listen to John Adams lament about the goings on in the Congress, I find my self realizing that it seems nothing much has changed about Congress since 1776!
1776 in 2013
I am a liberal Democrat living in SC. I love this movie! I've seen the stage play, way back when a touring company came to El Paso--I lived in NM at the time. Loved it then, watch the movie every time I have a chance. It has not modified my liberal leanings or convinced me that it is a true depiction of everything that happened when our nation was born. However, it always makes me feel good, makes me feel patriotic (which I am anyhow) and I've watched it and given it to my children and grandchildren. I also like Yankee Doodle Dandy, Independence Day, Born on the 4th of July, Stars and Stripes Forever and many other old musicals and movies that smack of history, even if they are not "historicaly accurate" or "politically correct." Gotta throw The Patriot in there too. Get a grip, folks, the purpose of entertainment is to be, well, entertaining. Happy 4th and Happy Birthday, USA!
Good tunes, good points, and pretty good history
Despite, the aimless and slightly incoherent comments posted by some here, this is a good movie of a good play. Good not great. What seems to elude some reviewers is that this is a "Musical". This movie is often attacked by two sets of critics: the first are musical comedy fans who are use to lighter,brighter shows., the second are epic history film fans who want realism, violence, and conflict. This is one of those plays/movies that you have to put within the time it was constructed. In its day it was trying humanize our founding fathers and mothers and to show how difficult the debates for revolution were. Even now there seems to be many viewers of TV news who do not understand that politics is the art of the skillful compromise to achieve needed mutual goals. So the movie succeeds in that area very well. On those terms it has several good performances, William Daniels and Howard DaSilva are excellent. Several good tunes. I think the Adams angle is strong but the story of the Jeffersons comes up as kind of forced. Watch and enjoy. Not everyone's cup of tea or mug of rum, but give it a try.
B-Way lays an egg
After watching the restored version, I'm convinced that Richard Nixon should have been a film editor.
I can't believe they forced my eighth grade class to watch this interminable crap movie during the bicentenial year of 1976. Mercifully, it was the shortened version. As far as this silly, cartoon-like movie is concerned, the shorter the better.
This movie may be the worse musical ever made. I saw it when it was playing in Radio City Music Hall. The audience laughed out loud at the awful songs. "He plays the violin, he puts it under his chin"? Terrible music, over the top acting and silly sub-plots. This movie should not have been made. It's an embarrassment.
Long Time No See
It's been a long time since I've seen 1776. I first saw a stage production put on by our local Light Opera Co. when I was in high school and then the movie when it came out. Seeing it again yesterday brought back fond memories. I woke up this morning humming tunes from the movie. Thanks TCM for showing this great movie.
I remember watching this movie for the first time the year of the Bicentennial - 1976. It was wonderful then and I enjoy it just as much today! William Daniels is marvelous as John Adams and I love Ken Howard and Howard Da Silva. I have read some of the earlier reviews on this site from people who are obviously teachers and show it to their students. What a great idea! I wish that some of my history teachers had shown this in class; it should be required viewing in every US history class. Yes, it's had a little "Hollywood treatment", but it is still fun and fascinating to watch and was one of the things that piqued my interest in this part of our country's history. Thank you TCM for showing it!
Great movie--but *not* the full version!
I adore this movie, but TCM, please do your homework before scripting Robert Osborne to describe something as the "complete film"! You're showing the DVD release that omits a chunk of "Piddle, Twiddle, and Resolve," the reprise of "Lees of Old Virginia," etc. So disappointing!
- Nan V.
A fine, fine, movie. After seeing it, I understood much more about our countries history and it led me to delve deeper. Look forward to seeing it again this4th.of July. Didn't know Daniels was so talented.
A look at the Congress thru songs and drama
This movie recreates the events that leads to the signing ofThe Declaration Of Independence and the founding of America. The script is powerful,the musical score lush and entertainingand the performances by the leads and supporting players..great.BTW:This is the uncut and complete version of the movie.
I Love This Movie!
- Carole P
I, like a previous poster, always look for this movie around the 4th of July and was delighted to find it on TCM. I have loved it for years and have lost count of how many times I have seen it.
This kind of history never gets old...!
As previous posters have said, I also use this movie to help teach about this period in American history. Is it completely accurate? Of course not -- and that is a good discussion, as well. But "1776", better than anything else I've encountered, is able to convey the human side of the great difficulties faced by the Second Continental Congress in making the terrifying decision to break from England. Moreover, the music is wonderful and used to excellent effect -- and the humor liberally scattered throughout keeps things from getting too "heavy". My students remember this movie long after they've left my classroom -- and many of them will be tuning in to TCM to watch it tonight! (P.S. -- the Director's Cut IS now available on DVD; I have it!)
1776 is the best!
I have been a fan of 1776 since my college days 30 years ago! It should be required viewing for every student, as it is historically accurate enough to be used as a teaching tool, plus it is just so darn entertaining (great songs, and Molasses to Rum to Slaves is positively chilling). I look for it every year on July 4, and my family tires of hearing me say what I just said in my previous sentence! My son gave me the DVD for Christmas, so now I can watch to my heart's content. William Daniels and all of the cast members are great!(taking nothing away from Blythe Danner, I would have loved to see Betty Buckley, who played the part on Broadway, as Martha Jefferson) God bless America!
Great to see!
I was first introduced to this film in Honors History in high school. We were actually wishing we had a copy earlier this week!
Great Food for Thought...
The film, 1776, is a great way to explain how truly difficult it was to reach a consensus on American independence. The students I teach watched the movie for study of the Declaration of Independence and most were impressed by the sheer humanity of the characters.These are the Founding Fathers and unfortunately we sometimes forget they were actually people! 1776 helps remind us. My students were amused at Franklin, angered with Adams, and impressed by Jefferson, these all being standard reactions, I realize. But as their instructor, I was gratified to introduce them to the endless world of worthwhile movies that do not include car chases, explosions, or burning buildings! I highly recommend 1776 as a teaching tool for any age group. May I say that even older students are not as sophisticated as they think or as sharp on their Revolutionary War history as they SHOULD be! 1776 helps.-Margery
what a surprise I saw last night
I am a huge fan of 1776 and had no idea this version was even available. Sadly the full version--laserdisc--isn't available on dvd. Seeing it last night answered a lot of questions for me about the movie. Great job TCM and when will it be shown again.
The definitive version...
...is the laserdisc since it is the only fully filmed version of the Pulitzer Prize winning play with a few added extras like the lamplighting scene and the fire brigade call. Had this version been released theatrically, 1776 would have been proclaimed one of the finest stage-to-screen musical adaptations in film history. Once you have seen it, you will never want to go back to the others.
This is one of my favorite musicals, because it not only provides an opportunity to see the magnificent original Broadway cast including Howard Da Silva, and Ken Howard, but the incandescent Blythe Danner, and the wonderful portrayal by William Daniels who demonstrates why he has had such a long and distinguished career from KITT to St. Elsewhere. To see this version which is so close to the original production was wonderful, since it has usually been cut disasterously. It's a treasure, and I can only suggest that TCM also show some other Braodway productions, some of which were taped during the theatrical run.
1776 - Thank you
Great movie! One of my favorites. Broadcasting it during election season is perfect - I hope TCM doesn't forget about the 4th of July, Flag Day and whenever they need to fill a hole in the schedule
Although the authors themselves admit to playing with the timeline of events in this movie to make for better drama, it is primarily based on the writings of the Founding Fathers and is a hugely entertaining and engrossing tale. Some of the characters are composites, so if you hear something come out of someone's mouth that you know belongs to another author, don't call it an error. William Daniels is, and always will be, the DEFINITIVE John Adams! I don't know if they are showing the original release or Director's restored version, but either one is worth the viewing!