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1776 (Restored Director's Cut) (1972)

William Daniels , Howard Da Silva , Peter H. Hunt  |  PG |  DVD
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (667 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: William Daniels, Howard Da Silva, Ken Howard, Donald Madden, John Cullum
  • Directors: Peter H. Hunt
  • Writers: Peter Stone, Sherman Edwards
  • Producers: Jack L. Warner
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Anamorphic, Closed-captioned, Color, Director's Cut, Dolby, Subtitled, Widescreen, NTSC
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 5.1)
  • Subtitles: English, French
  • Subtitles for the Hearing Impaired: English
  • Region: Region 1 encoding (US and Canada only)
    Some Region 1 DVDs may contain Regional Coding Enhancement (RCE). Some, but not all, of our international customers have had problems playing these enhanced discs on what are called "region-free" DVD players. For more information on RCE, click .
  • Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: PG (Parental Guidance Suggested)
  • Studio: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: July 2, 2002
  • Run Time: 166 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (667 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000067D1R
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #8,787 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "1776 (Restored Director's Cut)" on IMDb

Special Features

  • Restored director's cut edition
  • Screen tests for William Daniels (John Adams), Ray Middleton (Colonel Thomas McKean), James Noble (Rev. Jonathan Witherspoon), Leo Leyden (George Read), and Rex Robbins (Roger Sherman)

Editorial Reviews

Additional Features

The 2002 DVD release of 1776 offers the 168-minute "director's cut" version of the film, which is about 20 minutes longer than the VHS release (though still shorter than the previously released 180-minute laserdisc, which director Peter H. Hunt has said included some material he didn't care for). Among the additions are a main title with overture, an introductory verse to "He Plays the Violin," and more balance to the conservative Southern bloc of the Congress, especially in the musical number "Cool Considerate Men," which--according to Hunt and screenwriter Peter Stone on the DVD's commentary track--was removed at the request of President Nixon and supposed to have been destroyed. Hunt and Stone also offer historical background, comparisons to the original Broadway show (which they also directed and wrote), comments on what the cast is doing 30 years later, and satisfaction with this restoration (perhaps it will also lead to a long-awaited CD release of the soundtrack?). Picture and sound are very good, the widescreen anamorphic picture preserves the film's wide tableaux, and five brief screen tests are worth watching once. In sum, it's a very satisfying and often engrossing treatment of a lesser known but much loved musical. --David Horiuchi

Product Description

You'll be seeing stars and stripes as the most fascinating leaders in American history come to life in 1776, a musical about the birth of a nation! With the Boston Harbor still stained from over-taxed British tea, a revolution is brewing in the colonies! And now England has thousands of troops headed for America's shores to squelch her subjects' freedom-loving spirit! It's up to John Adams, Benjamin Franklin and Thomas Jefferson to convince a stubborn congress of British colonists to unite as American patriots turn the inevitable war with England into a Declaration of Independence!

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
272 of 274 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The movie to watch every year on the Fourth of July July 20, 2001
Format:VHS Tape
Every 4th of July I watch "1776," the musical that has our Founding Fathers singing and dancing their way to Independency, and every time John and Abagail Adams sing goodbye to each other ("Till Then" and "Yours, Yours, Yours"), I get choked up. William Daniels has his role of a lifetime as John Adams, the obnoxious and disliked Massachusetts delegate to the Continental Congress who is the most fervent advocate of independence ("Piddle, Twiddle and Resolve"). Virginia Vestoff plays his wife Abigail, and their exchanges are based on the "Dearest Friend" correspondences they wrote to each other during the crucial summer of 1776. However, the most unforgettable performance in "1776" comes from Howard Da Silva as Dr. Benjamin Franklin. The actor, who played movie villains for years, manages to convey not only Franklin's wit but also his firm belief in the new race of "Americans." Ken Howard plays Thomas Jefferson and joins with Adams and Franklin in the show's two cutest numbers, "But, Mr. Adams" and "The Egg." I have never cottoned "The Lees of Old Virginia," the song sung by Richard Henry Lee (Ron Holgate) and where every lyric line ends with "LY," but at the other end of the spectrum is the chilling "Molasses to Rum to Slaves," the song about the Triangle Trade sung by South Carolina's Edward Rutledge (John Cullum). The ensemble cast brings the Second Continental Congress alive, with Roy Poole as Stephen Hopkins, David Ford as John Hancock and William Hansen as Caesar Rodney standing out. Most of the cast members were in the Tony Award winning original Broadway cast, although Blythe Danner replaces Betty Buckley as Martha Jefferson ("He Plays the Violin"). Read more ›
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155 of 157 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars For God's Sake, John, Sit Down... April 18, 2003
First, let me say that I'm not a big fan of movie musicals. However, I've always made an exception for 1776. I suppose it's my abiding interest in history, and in the popular presentation of history, that keeps me coming back to this film. For the uninitiated, 1776 is the story of the signing of the Declaration of Independence, and was first presented on Broadway in the late 1960s. Set in Philadelphia in June and early July of 1776, the action centers around John Adams's attempt to get a reluctant Continental Congress to declare the 13 colonies independent of Great Britain. Adams, and his allies (including Ben Franklin and Thomas Jefferson), is opposed at every step by the conservatives in Congress, led by John Dickinson of Pennsylvania. Although we know the ending, it is to scriptwriter Peter Stone's credit that we realize things may have turned out rather differently.
My first recorded version of this movie was taped off of a local television station that had drastically edited it for length and content. When I finally got around to buying the VHS version of 1776, I was amazed at what had been left out, particularly when it came to the earthier dialogue. Imagine my reaction to the new DVD director's cut edition of this musical; it was like watching a completely new movie. Bridging scenes that had been edited out now provide a nearly seamless narrative flow, and the musical number "Cool, Considerate Men" has been restored, providing for greater balance between the conservatives and radicals in Congress.
The cast, a number of whom reprise their roles from the Broadway production, is nearly flawless. William Daniels IS John Adams, hard-headed, driven, passionate, "obnoxious and disliked".
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191 of 195 people found the following review helpful
In April of 1991, Joseph Caporiccio approached his bosses at Pioneer with the idea of letterboxing this lost classic and giving it a true stereo soundtrack for the first time ever. Only mono tracks believed to exist but approval was soon given based on the continued popularity of the previous laser disc release. Director Peter H. Hunt confirmed that the music was recorded in stereo, but its location was anybody's guess. He also informed Mr. Caporiccio of an entire musical number cut after only two preview screenings in New York and Phoenix.

"Cool Considerated Men" was as powerful and entertaining as any song in the film, a personal favorite of the director. But after a negative reaction from the White House regarding the scene's anti-conservative tone, studio executives agreed to remove eight solid minutes. So great was the pressure that the original negative and all known parts of the scene were destroyed. A search began for any version of the missing footage.

Meanwhile, the option of using the soundtrack album as a source of stereo music was rejected because of the heavy reverberation added prior to release. Columbia Records later provided access to the original sixteen-track master tapes of the songs, background music and some of the reprises, but unmixed and unbalanced. Complete sound for "Cool Men" was located in this massive collection. The final sound for this laserdisc was essentially reassembled from scratch.

The movie premiered in 1972, approximately forty minutes shorter than Mr. Hunt's original cut! Legendary producer Jack L. Warner personally supervised a series of cuts intended to accommodate additional showings on daily schedules, a necessity happily irrelevant to home video.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars U. S. History in Music
Excellent movie! American history ces alive in music. Great acting and acting. Makes you proud to be an American!
Published 10 hours ago by BTrue
5.0 out of 5 stars cool movie/musical
saw this movie when I was in high school. I enjoy watching it on 4th of July. I just had to own it.
Published 2 days ago by Lynnie
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
Good old movie with some great acting and singing. A 4th of July classic!
Published 4 days ago by David Dellinger
5.0 out of 5 stars Absolutely love this movie
Absolutely love this movie, it's actually reasonably accurate historically, except of course for the singing and dancing. Read more
Published 5 days ago by jan suchomel
4.0 out of 5 stars American History as Great Theater: or if you can only tolerate...
I understand why he created and left in the "Minuet to the Right" given when he made this film but it was not a concept that would be understood and hold up for all time... Read more
Published 9 days ago by Cecilia Becker
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Film
Wonderful musical, makes you laugh, cry and proud to be an American
Published 10 days ago by Beth
5.0 out of 5 stars Made my kids enjoy history!
Great movie, good actors, memorable music!
Published 10 days ago by Mark
4.0 out of 5 stars Manages to show the founders as people rather than icons while...
Should be compulsory viewing for every citizen. Moments of greatness intermingled with humor and honesty about our origins as a nation. Read more
Published 12 days ago by Daniel Sichel
5.0 out of 5 stars Great viewing for Independence Day!
Love the information and great adaptation of historical events in this musical. Very entertaining as well as educational.
Published 16 days ago by Annt
5.0 out of 5 stars Brings our history and it's figures to life.
Brings our history and it's figures to life.
Published 16 days ago by S. Schwartz
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Director's Cut?
Better look again, fellas this DVD is 166 minutes. It includes the 21 minutes of footage cut by Jack Warner in 1972. At least mine does, and I have had it since 2004. Unless they issued a new DVD recently, and are still showing the 2002 copy's cover art, etc.
Jul 2, 2011 by Eric Pregosin |  See all 3 posts
Some of the actors in this movie are really unknowns
The director used most of the actors from the Broadway production, hence the "unknown" factor. Jack Warner even made him screen test them all!
Jul 5, 2014 by J. Childerhose |  See all 2 posts
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