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Road to Independence

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

The year is 1774 and John Adams, a brash, young lawyer from Boston has just been appointed to the 1st Continental Congress. He is obnoxious and not very well liked until he meets the quiet, pleasant young man named Thomas Jefferson. These men along with Ben Franklin (Emmy Award winner Jay Thomas) George Washington and Patrick Henry discover that 2/3 of American colonists have no interest in their "glorious cause". Undaunted they embark on one of history's most famous yet incorrectly told epochs. Director Mike Church takes us on an exciting sometimes hilarious journey down America's Road to Independence.

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Mike Church has really hit it out of the park this time! The Road to Independence tells a much-abused story in a thrilling way that is (get ready for it) historically accurate. Finally! No other movie does it so well. --Kevin R C Gutzman, JD, PhD Professor of History Western Connecticut State University

In his stunning new animated film, The Road to Independence, Mike Church challenges the prevailing notions, such as they are, regarding the American Founding. Neither Abraham Lincoln nor Ronald Reagan, he notes, were of the Founding generation, but, within the political right especially, these two men greatly have fundamental shaped our understanding of 1776 and 1787. And, from the opening of the film to its end, Church points out that the prevailing interpretations of the Declaration of Independence especially if focused on all men are created equal are, at best, misinterpretations of the text and of the historical moment in which the text was written. He does this through Jefferson s own words from a 1821 interview. Indeed, the entire film is based on original research and primary documents, all of which reveal the essence of the Revolution. From a cinemagraphic standpoint alone, there is much to love in this movie. Some of the visuals are simply stunning, as are many of the camera angles and movements. The backgrounds, especially, are always interesting. In one modern scene, for example, an eager, intelligent student attempts to answer a question. Near this bespectacled boy sits a cynical girl, chained to her cell phone, a slave to texting, while the teacher professes what is true and best about the American Founding. In the background of this classroom, the famous picture of Friedrich Hayek, taken at the Institute for Humane Studies in the 1970s, hangs on the wall. It s a nice and important touch; he looks friendly and bemused. In the scenes from the 1770s, the animators have captured the essence of the time and of the Founders. John Adams is brilliant, driven, anxious, and full of integrity. He clearly loves Abigail (presented as extremely attractive), and teases her. Jefferson is pompous and stern, learned. Franklin is befuddled and dumpy. Dickinson is handsome and overly confident. Washington is, naturally, ramrod straight, and he suffers no fools. Mason is bright, inquisitive, and argumentative. John Quincy Adams is young, eager to please his father. Martha Washington is fearsome and wise. Colonel Patterson is effeminate and sniveling. Discussions or laws, rights, balance, and sovereignty abound throughout the movie. Virtue and manhood matter as well. Only those who are willing to fight for their rights (God given or not) have the right to enjoy liberty and independence. Church does an excellent job of making the ideas real; he also shows how important struggle and integrity are to any struggle and especially the willingness not to compromise for the sake of convenience or expediency. The animators have chosen to focus on the eyes and the mouth of each person capturing his or her personality while leaving the bodies rather stiff. The effect works, as it forces the viewer to consider the deep character of each participant of the story. Perhaps the best animation, though, comes from the opening credits. As the words of the Declaration scroll onto the screen, the name of all of those involved appears, then disappear, as the correct words of the Declaration continue. It s a brilliant and captivating effect. If the estimate given at the Internet Movie Database is correct, Founding Father Films spent over 125,000 dollars producing this film. After watching it, I have no doubt this is true. This is a film worth watching over and over again. There are many layers to it, and, while it moves quickly in terms of story and visuals, it also demands an intelligent eye and an active mind to enjoy it fully. It will prove equally effective as a movie in lassrooms, in church and civic meeting halls, and in family rooms. It is certainly scholarly and well researched, but it is also, at times, properly mischievous and intelligent, artful as well as direct. --Bradley Birzer, Professor of History, Hillsdale College

There are so few movies out there about American history that are truly accurate. And few of those are the kind from which you truly learn something. The Road to Independence, an animated movie, is one of them. It s the story of the Founding Fathers debate whether or not to declare independence from the British and how from 1774 to 1776, we were headed on a path in which independence was unlikely to happen. This movie is especially good for family viewing and educating school-aged children and even college and grad students on something they ll never learn elsewhere. The movie involves Thomas Jefferson, in old age, recounting to a newspaper reporter, what happened in his philosophical fight and debate for America s independence. We not only see the debate between the states at the Continental Congress, but also General Washington s demoralized discussions with his wife about the state of his troops during the fighting in the Revolutionary War. We also see the battle plan that eventually beat the British at Bunker Hill and the battle plans for Long Island. John Dickinson, one of Pennsylvania s delegates to both the First and Second Continental Congresses, eventually become Governor of that state. But he wasn t that gung ho on the whole independence thing, speaking out fervently against it and being moved out of voting on it so that the vote would be unanimous. In opposing the Declaration of Independence, Dickinson demands that we wait until France (and other foreign powers) recognizes the new American state and establishes foreign relations. Huh? We were supposed to let our independence ride on the whim of the Frogs? That was Dickinson s position. And he had a lot of others among the Founding Fathers considering his position. But, in the movie and his real life dialogue, Dickinson s words show something I ve always known about the Founders, even those who opposed independence or strongly debated it. He and all of the Founders no matter whether they were loyalists to the King or ready to move on to our own nation were men of great intelligence, intellect, and oratorical and written skill, whose depth was so immense that today s leaders and elected officials almost all of them from both major parties are embarrassingly bankrupt in comparison. We were so lucky to have such great men developing this inchoate nation. We are so unfortunate, today, to have the morons, ne er-do-wells, and frauds, who simply are insects urinating on the sidewalk in comparison to such giants like Jefferson, Dickinson, and Adams. You knew that. I knew that. But this movie really brings it out in such a stark way. But Road to Independence isn t just Jefferson and Dickinson. John Adams plays quite a big role in the movie. And he s shown contrary to most contemporary portrayals as kind of a slob, in both appearance, dress, and demeanor. But a brilliant, patriotic slob. Mike Church, who is truly a scholar of American history, says that this was the real Adams, and he wanted to capture and bring that forth. His wife isn t sure he should be so involved in the forefront of America s independence, and neither is he, at first. But, then, he is resolved to go forth. And he really shoots down the more polished (at least, in appearance) Dickinson s arguments against the new nation emerging. It s debate like that you rarely see today, and definitely don t see in a Congress. There are also the best and some of the greatest speeches given by Patrick Henry and Benjamin Franklin (played by Jay Thomas). We know the ending: America eventually declared independence, and we became a nation. But it s how we almost didn t get there and the heated debate between great men that is well presented here. --Debbie Schlussel-Nationally Syndicated Film Critic

Special Features


Product Details

  • Actors: Jay Thomas, Ben Jaeger Thomas, Jean Hetherington, Steve Cook, Bo Walker
  • Directors: Mike Church
  • Format: NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Region: All Regions
  • Number of discs: 2
  • Rated: G (General Audience)
  • Studio: Founding Father Films
  • DVD Release Date: April 10, 2012
  • Run Time: 136 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (130 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B004AN1VJ2
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #74,733 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Bob Hall on June 14, 2011
Format: DVD
The true history of the founding of the United States and the signing of the Declaration of Independence. Fantastic and put together well. It is not animation like Pixar but more like the animations from the 70s kind of reminds me of a version of a Christmas Carol that I saw as a kid. It is all from the actual letters and minutes from the meetings and the people of the time. I enjoyed it immensely.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Austin L. Holthaus on June 9, 2011
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Mike Church brings to life the real history of the move to American independence. This movie brings to life true patriots...individuals who stood up for their rights of self-government, self-determination, and liberty. A must watch for every American who wants to know how the British American colonies became free and independent States.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on June 26, 2011
Format: DVD
Tired of being guided down a road of inaccurate, biased and leading views of American history? Hollywood, the public noneducational system, history channel, and most forms of information available, have attempted to program our views of ourselves, our culture and history. This documentary allows the viewer an unbiased view of the struggle our fore fathers faced attempting to secure there natural born right to liberty, and gave all those who would follow the ability to pursue the same.
Though not a visually stunning movie, the content is pure and clear, and the story easy to become captivated by. We are the only civilization in history that has had the opportunity to live freely, and with liberty, and this is the story of how it came to be.
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18 of 24 people found the following review helpful By Albert W. Pettibone on July 26, 2011
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
I heard the inspired audio of this film on July 4th this year on XM radio.

I was moved to purchase the DVD, especially after reading so many "rave" reviews. Unfortunately I will depart from the rave reviews and comment that the animation in this film is just awful. I admit it, I am a big fan of great animation, and have been spoiled by Pixar, and other first class animation.

I realize that this film is not about the animation but the extremely important historic content. My review does not take away from that part. The audio is fine too. I just found myself wishing I could turn off the visually distracting one dimensional characters to at least enjoy the message. I actually hoped to inspire my 15 year old son with this film, but we ended up chuckling at what he called the "bobble heads." Okay, enough. I know the intentions and efforts of the producer and his crew were sincere and I do not wish to make light of the effort.

This film does teach, and thank you Mike Church, and your crew, for your efforts. I hope some fine well-healed patriot comes along and makes a great and generous contribution to your company so you can hire some better animators, because the content is so important and so deserves the best production available.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Peter R on June 21, 2011
Format: DVD
Have you ever wished you could go back in time and witness some of the great historical events that shaped the world and the country you live in? Mike Church may not have invented a time machine but through stunning amination and detail to true historical events painstakinly reserched he has brought us to 1774 where ayoung Mr Adams heads to the first continental congress with the intent to convice the rest of the delegates it is time to declare our Independance, Mr Church takes you to England where Dr Franklin is put on trial to Bunker Hill where the long lines of British regulars attack the contental army up the slope of Breeds Hill, Witness as Dr' Franklin and Mr Adams convince Mr Jefferson to write the Declaration of Independance.

Road to Independence The Movie is both for the young and the old, This is not a documentary but a movie, even though i knew the out come of the events i was glued to my TV as events unfolded, watching the Boston Tea Party and the Boston Massacre as if i was there as a unseen observer. I am thankful Mr Church and Founding Farthers Films is there to bring to life the true history of our country's founding. I owen this movie along with The Spirt of 76 and recomend both to anyone who wishes to learn the truth of our founding.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By mel g on June 16, 2011
Format: DVD
The Road to Independence illustrates one of the most important time periods in our history, and yet most have never heard this whole story It discusses the events leading up to the signing of the Declaration of Independence. No other single source goes into the details of this time period. Few of these are discussed in school. IT discusses the trials and tribulations that the founders of this country underwent to convince that there was a need for independence, and the steps taken to create a new republic of states.

Additionally, it shows how just a single generation after the sacrifices of these great men and women, history was already changing and being misunderstood. The debates brought to life in this movie are engaging, and thought provoking. Few realize how much arguing and debating actually took place. People had to be convinced that independence is what was needed. This is different from the tone in school that everyone agreed that it was time for independence. This is not a glossed over version of history. This is an in depth and accurate view of the path to independence and one that I intend to share with my children in the future
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Topic From this Discussion
does it take one to two months to ship?
I don't know if that is true or not. If it is you can get a copy from Mike Church's website. There is ships within a couple of days
Jun 16, 2011 by mel g |  See all 4 posts
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