1776

( 42 )

Overview

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...
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Overview

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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Special Features

Director and screenwriter commentary; screen tests; bonus trailers; production notes
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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: 7/2/2002
  • UPC: 043396058910
  • Original Release: 1972
  • Rating:

  • Source: Sony Pictures
  • Region Code: 1
  • Aspect Ratio: Cinemascope (2.35:1)
  • Presentation: Wide Screen
  • Sound: Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround
  • Language: English
  • Time: 2:46:00
  • Format: DVD
  • Sales rank: 2,465

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 Score Composer, Songwriter
Onna White Choreography
Harry Stradling Jr. Cinematographer
Ray Heindorf Musical Direction/Supervision
George James Hopkins Set Decoration/Design
George Jenkins Art Director
Al Overton Jr. 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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Menu

Side #1 --
   Play Movie
   Subtitles
      English
      French/Fran├žais
      Subtitles Off
   Scene Selections
   Special Features
      Commentary With Director Peter Hunt and Writer Peter Stone: On
      Commentary With Director Peter Hunt and Writer Peter Stone: Off
      Screen Tests
         William Daniels (John Adams)
         Ray Middleton (Colonel Thomas McKean)
         James Noble (Rev. Jonathan Witherspoon)
         Leo Leyden (George Read)
         Rex Robbins (Roger Sherman)
         Play All
      Trailers
         1776 (Teaser Trailer)
         Oliver!
         The Taming of the Shrew
         Pal Joey
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 42 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(27)

4 Star

(11)

3 Star

(2)

2 Star

(1)

1 Star

(1)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 42 Customer Reviews
  • Posted October 1, 2010

    What Really Happened in 1776...

    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.

    5 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 1, 2010

    One of my absolutely favorite movies!

    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?".

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 1, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    A great primer on why we fight.

    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.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 1, 2010

    1776

    THIS SHOULD BE SHOWN TO ALL STUDENTS IN HIGH SCHOOL. DO NOT CUT ANY SCENES. NOR LANGUAGE. IT GRABS AND HOLDS. EVERYONE SHOULD SEE THIS. IT'S ABOUT OUR COUNTRY. I'VE PASSED IT TO SO MANY FRIENDS.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    EXCELLENT

    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.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Best Musical Ever

    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

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 16, 2010

    This a really good movie. If you watch it you will live it.

    Best movie I've ever seen.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 1, 2010

    Still love it, but....

    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.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Great Show, but Wide Screen Ruins the DVD

    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.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 24, 2001

    A wonderful rendition of history

    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.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 11, 2000

    History to Music!

    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.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 1, 2010

    I LOVE THIS RESTORED VERSION!!!!

    "1776" is required watching every 4th of July in my house. Of course, I'm prejudiced because the idea of the USA is practically a religion with me and I grew up during the musicals of the 1950's and '60's, so I find the combination irresistible. This film was instrumental in developing my own son's love of this country and he, too, loves this version. If you think you know everything about how this country started, watch this anyway--it's fairly accurate historically, too.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    outstanding

    This film is not only entertaining, it's as historically accurate as a musical can be.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    A great movie

    I love this movie! I ve seen it so many times I can quote it and not just the funny parts ether. i love willam danels he plays a great John adams. and mr.jefferson is aways cute. My favroite songs are He plays the violn, sit down jhon, But mr.adams and may more. I hope you enjoy this movie as much as I did. ANd for those who are turned off by history stuff don't worry it's a comdey after all.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Awesome Movie

    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!!!!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    He Plays the Violin!

    This is the one movie you would want to watch over and over again. Ken Howard, who plays Jefferson is really amazing and William Danailes is and always will be Mr.John Adams. This is a great movie to watch on fourth of july. I love ths movie so much. I've watched it 14 times. I've seen the show a long time ago it was amazing. Richard Henry Lee is pretty funny a bit scary in some parts. This is a great way to find out who signed the delcaration. I love it alot you will too.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Let me talk you into this one...

    When people ask me my favorite musical and I come out with "1776" they tend to look at me funny. What? Not Rent? Not Phantom? No. Try explaining how a musical based on the writing of the Declaration of Independence could be at all entertaining or relevant. You'll just have to trust me that this one works. Think it of it as more of a jumping off point than a factual time line of the events. Franklin puts it best in this show: "Who will history think we were? Demi-gods? We're men. No more, no less." I'm still moved by the themes today, even though I've watched and listened a humdred times.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    A must see for every American

    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.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Make it an Independence Day tradition!

    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.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Watch-able many times over

    First of all, having seen the original Broadway production back in 1969, be aware that the film actually trims some content (probably more due to the political content of that material, and the temper of the times), particularly notably the tune COOL CONSIDERATE MEN. This does not diminish this excellent film musical, but realize that if 1776 turns up at a stage near you, it is very much worth the trip and will have a few extra treats. One of the things I particularly appreciated about the way this tale is told is how we are made to at least understand (if not empathize with) those parties that were reticent about coming on board with the Declaration of Independence. You'll have a new-found appreciation of the significance of our Declaration of Independence. Plus the songs are tuneful and varied - there's the humous (THE EGG), the emotive (MAMA LOOK SHARP), and the passionate (MOLASSES TO RUM), and my favorite, HE PLAYS THE VIOLIN. Sure it's stagey, but I think that is what has served this film well over the years, allowing it to have a rather unique distinct quality.

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 42 Customer Reviews