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1776 [VHS]

4.6 out of 5 stars 1,303 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: Color, NTSC
  • Rated:
    Parental Guidance Suggested
  • Number of tapes: 1
  • Studio: Sony Pictures
  • VHS Release Date: July 28, 1998
  • Run Time: 141 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1,303 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: 0767813871
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #336,699 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Editorial Reviews

You'll be seeing stars ans stripes as the most fascinating leaders in American history come to life in "1776", a musical about the birth of a nation. 142 minutes. With William Daniels, Ken Howard, Blythe Danner, and John Cullum.

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Lawrance Bernabo HALL OF FAME on 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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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
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 Cool Considerate 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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Format: DVD
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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