1776 (film)

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1776 is a 1972 American musical film directed by Peter H. Hunt. The screenplay by Peter Stone was adapted from his libretto for the 1969 stage musical of the same name. Portions of the dialogue and some of the song lyrics were taken directly from the letters and memoirs of the actual participants of the Second Continental Congress. The song score was composed by Sherman Edwards. The film focuses on the representatives of the Thirteen original colonies who participated in the Second Continental Congress. 1776 depicts the three months of deliberation and acrimonious debate that led up to the signing of one of the most important documents in the History of the United States, the Declaration of Independence.

John Adams[edit]

  • I have come to the conclusion that one useless man is a disgrace, that two are called a law firm, and that three or more become a Congress! And by God, I have had this Congress! For ten years, King George and his Parliament have gulled, cullied, and diddled these colonies with their illegal taxes! Stamp Acts, Townshend Acts, Sugar Acts, Tea Acts! And when we dared stand up like men, they have stopped our trade, seized our ships, blockaded our ports, burned our towns, and spilled our BLOOD! And still, this Congress refuses to grant ANY of my proposals on independence, even so much as the courtesy of open debate! Good God, what in hell are you waiting for?
  • The Declaration will be a triumph, a triumph I say. (pauses) And if it isn't, we still have 4 days to think of something else.

Dr. Benjamin Franklin[edit]

  • What do you think, Doctor (to Lyman Hall)? Democracy. What Plato called "A charming form of government, full of variety and disorder." I never knew Plato had been to Philadelphia.
  • (to Dr Lyman Hall) What's the matter? Haven't you ever seen a great man before?

Other[edit]

  • John Dickinson: Don't forget that most men with nothing would rather protect the possibility of becoming rich than face the reality of being poor.
  • Richard Henry Lee: Resolved: That these United Colonies are, and of right ought to be, free and independent States, that they are absolved from all allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain is, and ought to be, totally dissolved. That it is expedient forthwith to take the most effectual measures for forming foreign Alliances. That a plan of confederation be prepared and transmitted to the respective Colonies for their consideration and approbation.

Dialogue[edit]

Abigail Adams:(in John's imagination singing) John, John! Is that you carrying on John?
John Adams: Oh, Abigail! Abigail--I have such a desire to knock heads together!
Abigail Adams: I know dearest. I know. But that's because you make everything so complicated. It's all quite simple, really: (singing) Just tell the Congress to declare independency/ Then sign your name, get out of there and/ Hurry home to me

Dr. Benjamin Franklin: Treason is a charge invented by winners as an excuse for hanging the losers.
John Adams: (scoffs) I have more to do than stand here and listen to you quote yourself.
Dr. Benjamin Franklin: Oh, that was a new one!

Richard Henry Lee: You've come to the one colony that can get job done: Virginia. The land that gave us our glorious commander in chief, George Washington, will now give the congress its proposal on independence. Where Virginia goes the south is bound to follow. And where the south goes, the middle colonies go! Gentlemen, a salute to Virginia, the mother of American independence!
John Adams: Incredible, we're free and he hasn't even left yet! What makes you think you can do it?
Richard Henry Lee:(singing)My name is Richard Henry Lee; Virginia is my home

Secretary Thomson: (calling for a vote) Where's Rhode Island?
McNair: Rhode Island's out visiting the necessary.
John Hancock: Well, after what Rhode Island has consumed, I can't say I'm surprised. We'll come back to him, Mr. Thomson.
Secretary Thomson: Rhode Island passes.
(Roar of laughter from the Congress)

(Dickinson has been banging a cane on table to emphasize a point)
Dr. Benjamin Franklin: Please Mr. Dickinson, but must you start banging? How is a man to sleep?
(laughter from Congress)
John Dickinson: Forgive me, Dr. Franklin, but must YOU start speaking? How is a man to stay awake?
(More laughter)
John Dickinson: We'll promise to be quiet - I'm sure everyone prefers that you remained asleep.
Dr. Benjamin Franklin: If I'm to hear myself called an Englishman, sir, I assure you I prefer I'd remained asleep.
John Dickinson: What's so terrible about being called an Englishman? The English don't seem to mind.
Dr. Benjamin Franklin: Nor would I, were I given the full rights of an Englishman. But to call me one without those rights is like calling an ox a bull. He's thankful for the honor, but he'd much rather have restored what's rightfully his.
(laughter)
John Dickinson: When did you first notice they were missing, sir?
(laughter)

John Dickinson: Fortunately, the people maintain a higher regard for their mother country.
Dr. Benjamin Franklin: Higher, certainly, than she feels for them. Never was such a valuable possession so stupidly and recklessly managed, than this entire continent by the British crown. Our industry discouraged, our resources pillaged... first of all our very character stifled. We've spawned a new race here, Mr. Dickinson. Rougher, simpler; more violent, more enterprising; less refined. We're a new nationality. We require a new nation.

(debating Virginia's resolution on independence)
John Dickinson: Mr. Jefferson, Mr. Lee, Mr. Hopkins, Dr. Franklin, why have you joined this... incendiary little man, this BOSTON radical? This demagogue, this MADMAN?
John Adams: Are you calling me a madman, you, you... you FRIBBLE!
Dr. Benjamin Franklin: Easy John.
John Adams: You cool, considerate men. You hang to the rear on every issue so that if we should go under, you'll still remain afloat!
John Dickinson: Are you calling me a coward?
John Adams: Yes... coward!
John Dickinson: Madman!
John Adams: Landlord!
John Dickinson: LAWYER!
(a brawl breaks out)

( Adams and Franklin are at a loss for explaining why a written declaration is needed)
Samuel Chase MD: Answer straight: what would be its purpose?
Thomas Jefferson: To place before mankind the common sense of the subject, in terms so plain and firm as to command their assent.
(winks at Adams and Franklin)

John Adams: (reading a note tossed down from Jefferson) "Dear Mr. Adams, I am taking my wife back to bed. Kindly go away. Your obedient, T. Jefferson." Incredible!
Dr. Benjamin Franklin: (chuckles) You know, perhaps I should have written the Declaration. At my age there's little doubt that the pen is mightier than the sword.

(debating on America's national bird)
John Adams: The eagle.
Thomas Jefferson: The dove.
Dr. Benjamin Franklin: The turkey.
John Adams: The eagle.
Thomas Jefferson: The dove.
John Adams: The eagle!
Thomas Jefferson: (considers) The eagle.
Dr. Benjamin Franklin: The turkey.
John Adams: The eagle. The eagle is a majestic bird!
Dr. Benjamin Franklin: The eagle is a scavenger, a thief and coward. A symbol of over ten centuries of European mischief.
John Adams: And the turkey?
Dr. Benjamin Franklin: The turkey is a truly noble bird. Native american, a source of sustenance to our original settlers, and an incredibly brave fellow who wouldn't flinch from attacking a whole regiment of Englishmen single-handedly! Therefore, the national bird of America is going to be...
John Adams: The eagle!
Dr. Benjamin Franklin: The eagle!
(Franklin is dumbstruck)

Cast[edit]

Williams Daniels as John Adams (MA)
Howard Da Silva as Dr. Benjamin Franklin (PA)
Ken Howard as Thomas Jefferson (VA)
Donald Madden as John Dickinson (PA)
John Cullum as Edward Rutledge (SC)
Roy Poole as Stephen Hopkins (RI)
David Ford as John Hancock (MA)
Ron Holgate as Richard Henry Lee (VA)
Ray Middleton as Thomas McKean (DE)
William Hansen as Caesar Rodney (DE)
Blythe Danner asMartha Jefferson
Virginia Vestoff as Abigail Adams
Emory Bass as James Wilson (PA)
Ralston Hill as Secretary Charles Thomson
Howard Caine as Lewis Morris (NY)
Patrick Hines as Samuel Chase (MD)
William Duell as Andrew McNair
Daniel Keyes as Josiah Bartlett (NH)
Leo Leyden as George Read (DE)
Stephen Nathan as Courier
Jonathan Moore as Lyman Hall (GA)
James Noble as Reverend John Witherspoon (NJ)
John Myhers as Robert Livingston (NY)
Rex Robbins as Roger Sherman (CT)
Charles Rule as Joseph Hewes (NC)

External links[edit]

Wikipedia
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