• 1776
  • 1776


4.4 43
Director: Peter H. Hunt

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 ofSee more details below

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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 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.

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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.

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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

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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]

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