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4.4 43
Director: Peter H. Hunt, William Daniels, Howard Da Silva, Ken Howard

Cast: Peter H. Hunt, William Daniels, Howard Da Silva, Ken Howard


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Patriotism and musical exuberance collide in Hollywood's retelling of American history with a newly restored director's cut of the musical 1776. Columbia's work on this 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen transfer is very nice. Sporting a solid array of colors and well-saturated black levels, this image appears to be very evenly produced save for a few instances of


Patriotism and musical exuberance collide in Hollywood's retelling of American history with a newly restored director's cut of the musical 1776. Columbia's work on this 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen transfer is very nice. Sporting a solid array of colors and well-saturated black levels, this image appears to be very evenly produced save for a few instances of edge enhancement in a few key scenes. The audio is presented in Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround in English and should please those with home theater systems. With many instances of directional effects and a crystal clear soundtrack, this disc's audio presentation should make fans sit up and sing. Also included on the disc are English and French subtitles. The extra features on 1776 are small but substantial. Included on this disc is: a very enjoyable commentary track by director Peter H. Hunt and screenwriter Peter Stone, as they discuss the restoration process of the film and how it was brought to the silver screen; a few screen tests of some of the actors in the film; and theatrical trailers for the film and other Columbia musical movies.

Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble
When 1776 debuted in 1972, the filmgoing public's thirst for musicals appeared to be slackening. Still, with songs and staging polished in 1776's successful Broadway run, and the country's bicentennial on the horizon, director Peter H. Hunt's screen adaptation performed moderately well at the box office. Years have added luster to this musical celebration of the Founding Fathers, and the restored director's cut now available on DVD is a truly delightful experience. Adapted from the Sherman Edwards/Peter Stone Broadway show, 1776 recounts events in Congress during the hot and stormy Philadelphia month leading up to the July 4th signing of the Declaration of Independence. A versatile cast -- led by William Daniels as the fiery John Adams and Howard Da Silva as the cagey Ben Franklin -- breathes life and humanity into the nation's defining moment. The film deftly mingles a variety of tones. The spellbinding political debates over the Declaration's text, for instance, remain mostly true to the historical record while benefiting from sharpened dialogue and dollops of wit. There is also whimsy and even romance, as the yearning, long-distance romance between John and Abigail Adams (Virginia Vestoff) is dramatized in split screens, as they act out their daily letters back and forth. Interspersed into the narrative are rousing refrains such as "But, Mr. Adams" and "The Egg," and tender tunes like "Till Then." For fans of the original film, or anyone interested in a playful interpretation of American history, this DVD release marks the triumphant return of a true musical classic.
All Movie Guide - Craig Butler
The subject of some controversy when produced (many objected to the characterization of the founding fathers, and the Nixon White House is alleged to have pressured the producers into deleting a song critical of conservatives), 1776 had all the ingredients of a wonderful musical film -- except for a skillful director. This is unfortunate, because the screenplay is literate and witty, full of memorable and exciting characters. The one-of-a-kind score is excellent, and the cast -- almost all direct from Broadway -- could not be better. Although director Peter Hunt manages to open up the proceedings, there's still a staginess that could have been avoided. Better yet, Hunt could have used the staginess to create a confined feeling that could have echoed both the stifling atmosphere of the Continental Congress meeting place and the stifling oppression against which John Adams fought. Hunt also showed very little imagination in shooting the musical numbers; the opening cries out for someone who can create the visual equivalent of the music's chaos. The use of the soft-focus lens for the scenes between Adams and his wife is hokey, and the static staging of "Mama, Look Sharp" dilutes that song's impact. When he does try something, the effect is often weak or distracting, as in the lightning cuts of Lee mounting his horse at the start of "The Lees of Old Virginia." As Adams, William Daniels gives a magnificent performance, capturing all of the facets of this complicated and fascinating man, and Howard Da Silva is a delight as Ben Franklin. The entire supporting cast is deserving of praise, but special mention must be made of John Cullum, whose "Molasses to Rum" is a chilling showstopper. Ultimately Hunt's direction damages the film, but its strengths are still significant.

Product Details

Release Date:
Original Release:
Sony Pictures
Region Code:
[Wide Screen]
[Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround]
Sales rank:

Special Features

Director and screenwriter commentary; Screen tests; Bonus trailers; Production notes

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
William Daniels John Adams
Howard Da Silva Benjamin Franklin
Ken Howard Thomas Jefferson
David Ford John Hancock
Roy Poole Stephen Hopkins
Andy Albin William Paca
Emory Bass James Wilson
William H. Bassett Thomas Heyward, Jr.
Howard Caine Lewis Morris
John Cullum Edward Rutledge
Blythe Danner Martha Jefferson
Jack de Mave John Penn
Gordon Devol Thomas Lynch, Jr.
Frederic Downs Samuel Huntington
William Duell Custodian Andrew McNair
Peter Forster Oliver Wolcott
William Hansen Caesar Rodney
Ralston Hill Secretary Charles Thomson
Patrick Hines Samuel Chase
Ron Holgate Richard Henry Lee
John Holland William Whipple
Daniel Keyes Josiah Bartlett
Leo Leyden George Read
Donald Madden John Dickinson
Richard McMurray Francis Lewis
Ray Middleton Thomas McKean
Mark Montgomery Leather Apron
Jonathan Moore Lyman Hall
John Myhers Robert Livingston
Stephen Nathan Courier
James Noble John Witherspoon
Barry O'Hara George Walton
Jordan Rhodes William Hooper
Rex Robbins Roger Sherman
Wabei Slyolwe Richard Stockton
Virginia Vestoff Abigail Adams
Ray Heindorf Conductor

Technical Credits
Peter H. Hunt Director
Peter Stone Screenwriter
Sherman Edwards & Donald Meyer Score Composer,Songwriter
Onna White Choreography
Harry Stradling Cinematographer
Ray Heindorf Musical Direction/Supervision
George James Hopkins Set Decoration/Design
George Jenkins Art Director
Al Overton Sound/Sound Designer
Arthur Piantadosi Sound/Sound Designer
Sheldon Schrager Asst. Director
Allan Snyder Makeup
Jack L. Warner Producer
Florence Williamson Editor
William H. Ziegler Editor
Patricia Zipprodt Costumes/Costume Designer

Scene Index

Side #1 --
1. Start [2:25]
2. Mr. Adams [2:46]
3. "Sit Down, John" [1:39]
4. "Piddle, Twiddle & Resolve" [4:32]
5. Benjamin Franklin [4:22]
6. "The Lees of Old Virginia" [10:49]
7. Congress Now in Session [22:06]
8. The Declaration Committee [10:46]
9. "But, Mr. Adams" [1:37]
10. Writer's Block [6:05]
11. Mrs. Jefferson Arrives [3:16]
12. "Till Then" [4:15]
13. Reintroducing Themselves [2:16]
14. "He Plays the Violin" [3:28]
15. Congressional Committees [5:48]
16. "Cool Considerate Men" [9:09]
17. "Mama, Look Sharp" [6:57]
18. Reading the Declaration [2:12]
19. "The Egg" [3:09]
20. Alterations, Deletions, Amendments [1:49]
21. Slavery [3:47]
22. "Molasses to Rum" [7:17]
23. Abigail's Advice [3:56]
24. "Yours, Yours, Yours" [8:42]
25. "Is Anybody There?" [3:39]
26. The Vote on Independence [3:04]
27. "The Resolution Is Adopted." [6:08]
28. July 4: Let Freedom Ring [8:05]


Customer Reviews

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1776 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 43 reviews.
clemmy More than 1 year ago
I absolutely adore this movie. It is perfectly hilarious. The characters are as unique as they were in real life, but candid and not stuffy and austere as they seem to be when they are read about (John Adams, Ben Franklin, John Hancock, Thomas Jefferson, etc.). Then there are characters that were not preserved for posterity, such as "Andrew McNair, Congressional Custodian." Then there are the dispatches, missing New Jersey, and George Washington forever complaining about the state of his troops. The very first song always makes me laugh - because not only is it funny, it reminds us that they weren't always serious or had their minds glued on independence their whole time in Philadelphia, especially in the summertime. Then there is the noble turkey, the bird Ben Franklin wanted to be the nation's symbol instead of the eagle, who he claimed was "a scavenger, a theif, and a coward." Or Abigail and John arguing about saltpeter and pins. This is a wonderful movie and well worth the time and money.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is one of the best musicals you will ever see in your life. It brings all the characters (especially that small, fiery man John Adams) to life and lets you see that they were not as stiff and serene and polite as their portraits and biographies indicate. A must-see.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This musical is a true rarity of strong acting, inspiring song,and patriotic fervor.It is surprisingly accurate as well(though i doubt anyone in the second continetal congress could sing that well). you can't go wrong
Anthony341 More than 1 year ago
Best movie I've ever seen.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I'm sorry. I love this show, and looked forward to the added portions and better DVD screening with great anticipation. But the wide screen, with it's tight black- edged framing destroys the beauty of the picture. Try watching John Adams with the top of his head cut off. You'll want to cry. Back to my good old VHS version, where I can truly sit back and enjoy the whole show.
LADYJAGUAR More than 1 year ago
FrustratedTraveller68 More than 1 year ago
This movie has always been a favorite of mine since seeing it on television when I was a kid. I have the movie on VHS, and on DVD. It is one of those movies that reminds you of how this country was built, formed and organized by just a few men that were elected or appointed by the states that they represented. Back then, that is when they represented their constituancy without putting their hand out for more money or asking "What's in it for me?".
CarrieSue More than 1 year ago
In a world where we are continually pushed into a left-right political mentality, it is refreshing to see a film where the ideals of liberty are championed so plainly. William Daniels plays John Adams (actually a combination of historical figures John and Samuel Adams) to script-chomping perfection. Every line crackles from his lips, and you can feel the pathos in every phrase. I don't know what one customer reviewer is talking about regarding the beautiful widescreen presentation here; no one's heads are cut off. Every frame is a work of art, and the ensemble of actors is never underused. The film was photographed for widescreen, and it's the only way to see this film. If you're wondering why the Tea Party Patriots are so upset, you couldn't do much worse than to see "1776." We need to get back to our Founding Fathers' principles of limited government and individual liberty. Once you're done viewing this film, read the Declaration of Independence and ponder the significance of what those great men did back then.
Guest More than 1 year ago
A truly inspired work that mostly flows easily in its retelling of the discussions and choices surrounding the attempt to declare independence from England. William Daniels' portrayal of John Adams was magnetic.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Originally, I watched this many years ago in school, and then saw the on stage version. For the younger veiwer it is a fantastic way to make a historically significant event come alive and be ''memorable''. The performances are top notch. And the facts close enough for most. A great family movie for all.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is one of the best cast, most hilarious, wonderful musicals ever made. Even 42 years later it makes my family laugh and cry - a thoroughly enjoyable family film for ages 8 and up.
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Guest More than 1 year ago
We've made this part of our 4th of July tradition. Although I'm sure our founding fathers were not all fabulous singers and dancers, it is a fun way to get the kids to understand that Independence Day is about more than fireworks and hotdogs on the grill. Ignore the historical inaccuracies and tell the kids (and adults) that it's based on events that changed the world.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This film has not diminished in stature one bit from the time I saw it in high school. It is every bit as entertaining today as it was then and also a good history lesson for the politics of the time. Five stars may not be high enough!
Guest More than 1 year ago
Great movie! A 4th of July classic. I'm so glad they put it on DVD. What a wonderful way to learn about our nation's history. Many big stars too.
Guest More than 1 year ago
For anyone who says that they don't want to watch ''1776'' because it is a 'Historical Movie' and it will be boring, we who have seen it can chuckle and know they haven't watched it. I really enjoyed watching this musical and the songs are just as comical as they are well sung.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is one of the best musicals I have ever seen!! I had to watch it in american history a few years back, and I loved it so much I just wanted to watch it again and again. It is very historically accurate, too. P.S.-William Daniels IS John Adams!!!!
PIpersMom09 More than 1 year ago
I have always loved this play and movie. I have the old VCR tape, and visuallly I prefer it. The widescreen version chops the heads off some of the characters. The plus side of the widescreen is that it has the full version of it. I had forgotten that some of the scenes were deleted in the tape version. It's nice to have them back. It does add to the content. If you can get passed the visuals then it is worth watching. This has always been a July 4 tradition. It will continue to be. I never get tired of it. It's funny, educational and well done. One of my favorite musicals of all times. I remember as a kid watching it in the movies theatre during the bicentennial. I have seen the broadway play too. Nice to have those memories. The nieces love it and it's a great way to introduce them to the history of our country. I do wish they could redo the widescreen version so that the characters heads aren't cut off. That would be a plus. Get it anyways. You won't be disappointed.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This movie is INCREDIBLY funny and very historically accurate. A must see for every American. I have seen it over 50 times and I never get tired of it. Each time I grow deeper in love with our Founding Fathers and their courage during that time period.