Action / Drama / Family / History / Musical

Rotten Tomatoes Critics - Certified Fresh 68% · 19 reviews
Rotten Tomatoes Audience - Upright 84% · 5K ratings
IMDb Rating 7.6/10 10 10550 10.6K


Top cast

Howard Da Silva as Dr. Benjamin Franklin
Blythe Danner as Martha Jefferson
William Daniels as John Adams
Virginia Vestoff as Abigail Adams
720p.BLU 1080p.BLU
1.03 GB
English 2.0
23.976 fps
2 hr 21 min
Seeds 3
2.28 GB
English 2.0
23.976 fps
2 hr 21 min
Seeds 11

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by DeanNYC 10 / 10

A Must See For Every American

Sherman Edwards was a modest teacher of history when he got the idea of creating a musical telling of the tale of the birth of the United States. As it turned out, even though the story of the Declaration of Independence was one most every American schoolchild knew, there was a lot more to it than the signing of a paper and the ringing of a bell.

The Broadway version of "1776" became a sensation with audiences and went on to win the Tony Award for Best Musical of 1969.

During this era of film-making, the musical was still considered to be a draw for audiences, so it was natural to take this show and bring it to the big screen. And best of all, John Warner brought the bulk of the cast from the show to the film. William Daniels IS John Adams to a lot of people, and his portrayal of the feisty proponent for independence is one of the great performances of any "real life" character. Daniels is equaled by his fellow Congressional cohorts, Ken Howard as the author of the document, Thomas Jefferson, and the amazing Howard Da Silva as the good doctor, Benjamin Franklin.

To me, the most remarkable element is the facts of the story are pretty much accurate, the timing of the events, measured with a wall calendar, keeps the tension going as we count down to that particular date... July 1st, 2nd, 3rd...

But it's more than just the story of the founding of the country, it's a love story, or really two, with the Jeffersons Martha, played by Blythe Danner and the Adams pair, with the incredible Virginia Vestoff as John's Abigail who interacts with her husband only in his mind.

For a musical, it is something of a "warts and all" examination of the process, as the south refuses to sign a declaration that freed their slaves, as Jefferson had intended in the original draft. John Cullum brilliantly voices this discussion as the genteel South Carolinian, Edward Rutledge, in the hypnotic and haunting "Molasses to Rum." In fact, every song in the score is well thought out, clever, truthful and very entertaining!

Maybe this isn't *exactly* how the USA began, but, at least once a year, let's say it is.

Reviewed by Isaac5855 9 / 10

An Imaginative and Brilliantly Original Musical Gem...

1776 is the 1972 film version of the groundbreaking Broadway musical that chronicles the people and events that led to the writing and signing of the Declaration of Independence. The musical centers on soon to be second President, John Adams, who according to this musical was a tireless but obnoxious advocate for the thirteen colonies independence from Great Britain and it was his zeal for this cause that led him to being central to the creation of the Declaration of Independence. William Daniels brilliantly recreates his Tony-winning Broadway role as John Adams, the restless and ever-vocal spokesperson for Independence who would not be silenced. He receives solid support from Howard da Silva, who does a scene stealing turn as Benjamin Franklin, Ken Howard as Thomas Jefferson, John Cullum as Edmund Rutledge, and the lovely Blythe Danner as Martha Jefferson. Virginia Vestoff also recreates her Broadway role as Abigail Adams, John's wife who is presented as communicating with John through letters brought to life. The heart-pumping musical score features highlights such as "Sit Down, John", "He Plays the Violin", "Yours, Yours, Yours", "But Mr. Adams", "The Egg", "The Lees of Old Virginia", and the haunting "Molasses to Rum" (brilliantly performed by Cullum). One number, "Cool Considerate Men" was cut during the film's original release but has been restored to some prints. If you're a musical comedy fan with an open mind willing to experience something a little different, give this treasure a try.

Reviewed by mark.waltz 9 / 10

A rousing musical triumph that makes you proud to be an old-fashioned American.

O.K., that is if you are descendants of the original 13 colonies and not descended from a a slave and not a woman who during this time and was still treated like a second class citizen. So America's first several centuries certainly had its faults, the most obvious of which was its European explorers who claimed to have discovered it yet basically banished or enslaved the natives who were already here and had already discovered it. But as the American colonies grew, so did the desire for those under British rule to form a new nation, and the congress congregated in Philadelphia were even divided about that. These long-ago patriots included famous inventors and future presidents, several state governors and notorious rebels. Here, the focus is on three of these men with others given moments in the spotlight to share their history. Future presidents John Adams and Thomas Jefferson, who have had their own more truthful tales revealed through T.V. and movies, and Benjamin Franklin, inventor extraordinary who has had more controversy revealed yet remains one of our greatest non-presidential figures ever in the American history books.

The Broadway musical shocked everybody with its success, most theater people convinced that a musical about a basic High School History lesson would bomb quicker than the Americans over Hiroshima. But the way in which the story was told, passionately, elegantly and quaintly, surprised even the most cynical of critics, and the show ran for years, producing this motion picture as a result and later a successful revival that managed to extend past its intended limited run. The secret to the success of the show is the passion put into each of these characters, not simply American folk heroes whom we've only seen paintings of, but flesh and blood men and a few women who had dreams, passions and ideals, even if some of them have been a bit soiled over the years.

William Daniels heads the pack as John Adams, the future "second president" (and first V.P.) who realized he was too obnoxious and disliked to write the Declaration of Independence. Adams may not be the most popular man in the congress (which he considers three or more useless men to be considered), but as you see his intentions and his desperation (told with sweet vignettes concerning his wife, seen in dream sequences describing their letters to each other), you can't help but like him. Benjamin Franklin, as played by Howard da Silva, is a lovable rascal, a bit perverted (although history has insinuated it to be more so), and every inch the "bigger than life" man his legacy has made him out to be. Future "White Shadow" Ken Howard is the soft spoken Thomas Jefferson, and while his controversial life as father to one of his slaves' children has since been revealed, here, it is his silent love for writing and his beautiful wife (Blythe Danner in one of her earliest roles) that makes him get down to write the most famous document in American history. Virginia Vestoff is tender as the feisty but loyal Abigal, and her singing several romantic duets with Daniels is one of the film's many highlights.

For Daniels, Da Silva and Danner, there is the show-stopping "He Plays the Violin" where Danner confides the quiet Jefferson's secret of lovemaking to them. It leads into a lively dance sequence that proves you don't need tons of chorus people to make you tap your feet. Daniels and Da Silva are joined by Howard for "The Egg" in which they seemingly fictionally imagine what bird will be made the symbol of their hopeful new nation. In spite of its obvious falsity, the sequence is a symbol of hope that probably every patriot of a new nation felt as they stepped forward to change the course of history.

The other congress people are a magnificent bunch of Broadway and Film actors, especially Ron Holgate as Richard Henry Lee, repeating his Tony Winning role with the show-stopping "Lee's of Old Virginia", theater legend John Cullum as Edward Ruthledge who is determined to keep slavery alive in spite of objections of the northerners in congress, Roy Poole as the drunken Stephen Hopkins, William Hansen totally moving as the seemingly dying Cesar Rodney, original "Annie Get Your Gun" co-star Ray Middleton as the very Scottish Thomas McKean, David Ford as Congressional President John Hancock (the first man to sign the declaration, hence the slang term "give me your J.H.") and John Myhers as the portly Robert Livingston. Along with Rex Robbins, Daniels, Da Silva, Howard and Mhyers sing the rousingly unforgettable "But Mr. Adams" in which the declaration committee argues over who will actually write it.

Also memorable is William Duell as the feisty Andrew McNair, the congressional custodian who gets his own moment when he sings a bit of the moving "Mama, Look Sharp", an obviously anti-war song about what was going on at the time in Vietnam with young innocent men being killed or maimed. Future "Benson" governor James Noble is obviously recognizable as one of the New Jersey delegates. Fans of the 1984 Academy Award Winning Best Film "Amadeus" will recognize a few of the smaller roles here from that later masterpiece which ironically took place at the same time yet many thousands of miles away. You can't call all of this "the truth" although many of the lines have been proved to have been actually spoken by the men who say them on screen here. Beautifully photographed and scored with an opening credit scene that reminded me of paintings of Charles Dickens novels, "1776" is a must see, not only for theater fans and history students, but practically everybody else who loves what America stands for.

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