Movie Review: 1776 Musical, Restored Director’s Cut (1972)

“I have come to the conclusion that one useless man is called a disgrace, that two are called a law firm, and that three or more become a Congress.”

-John Adams character played by William Daniels in 1776 Musical

“Treason is a charge invented by winners as an excuse for hanging the losers.”

-Ben Franklin character played by Howard Da Silva in 1776 Musical

I loved this gem! 1776 captures the Founding Fathers’ fraught decision to declare independence from Great Britain, the world’s most powerful global superpower. The writers told the story using humor and gravitas. Men singing about rights, wives, slavery, and home made the Founding Fathers relatable and dramatic. It’s a wonderful addition to an American history curriculum, 10th grade and up. Maybe best appreciated by homeschoolers and musical lovers.

Even better was the DVD jacket’s description about former Warner Brothers Studio production chief Jack L. Warner, who hired the original Broadway cast (Forty-Sixth Street Theatre, 1969) to bring this story to larger audiences so they could also appreciate the spirit and struggles of the Founding Fathers. This Director’s Cut restores one song which President Nixon objected to and was removed.

By the end, I was relieved, proud, and thankful as the representatives reluctantly or determinedly signed their names to Thomas Jefferson’s much-argued and -amended Declaration of Independence.

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