I have been in many conversations with a plethora of political and patriotic people over the past few weeks, and, with growing consternation, learned that many I consider friends had never viewed, much less heard of a certain little gem that encapsulates the glory of the American Spirit in one film.
After proselytizing till I was red in the face, I later realized with an even greater perturbation that if these well educated, apple pie-loving Americans had never heard of this film, how much less have others who are not as involved in we-the-peopleing and fire crackers? Thus the reason of this piece, which, now that the vent session is concluded, will commence into the recommendation.
1776 is a musical comedy of America’s fight for independence. Released to the public in 1972, the film follows John Adams (masterfully played by William Daniels) in his obnoxious pursuit of persuading a lethargic Continental Congress to rid America of the oppressive hand of fat George III and the tyrannical Parliament. Adams is joined in his endeavor by the sage, rapier witted Benjamin Franklin (the brilliant Howard Da Silva) and a lovesick Thomas Jefferson (wonderfully acted by Ken Howard), along with a cast of other actors I could fangirl over for pages.
A second flood, a simple famine, plagues of locusts everywhere, or a cataclysmic earthquake, I’d accept with some despair. But no, You sent us Congress! Good God, Sir, was that fair?John Adams, Twiddle, Piddle, and Resolve
This film was originally a book-turned-Broadway-production by one Peter Stone. I mention this tidbit because all one needs to know of the music is that it was original Broadway. Some of the greatest lyricism, melodies, and rhythms to exist are within 1776. All who watch marvel and adore the songs–even the blemishes upon mankind who have the audacity to state they despise musicals, and what’s worse, believe they do.
The story beings with an engaging sequence of Adams raging at the apathy of his colleagues to declare war on Great Britain, to which they respond with the fabulous number: “Sit Down, John”
[ADAMS] Good God! Consider yourselves fortunate that you have John Adams to abuse, for no sane man would tolerate it!
John, you’re a bore; we’ve heard this before
Now for God’s sake, John, sit down!
Not a part of this movie is disengaging, even though it runs a little over 2 hours. Both sides of the debate are given fair presentation; in acting, dialogue, humor, and musical numbers.
As I do not want to spoil any subplots or songs, I will conclude by stating that this film is an underrated goldmine of cinema. It is flawless, poetic, hilarious, historically accurate (mostly), epigrammatic, sobering, jolly, profound, entrancing, and thought provoking. If you are star-spangled-banner waving, ‘murica loving bald eagle admirer, do yourself a favor this fabulous holiday and watch 1776. You will not regret it.