1776 - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

1776 Reviews

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July 25, 2017
My favorite musical. Witty and engaging.
Super Reviewer
July 5, 2017
Undoubtedly, the best Fourth of July film ever. The songs are -- for the most part -- unmemorable. The acting varies from good to pedestrian. Cinematography is bland and uninspired. Sets are -- well, early 1970's studio-chic. Costumes are marginally good. Nevertheless, "1776" is captivating and a wonderful, family-friendly history lesson on America's independence journey, with warts and all.
December 1, 2016
rotten tomato gave 70% to the recent ghostbuster movie...
November 13, 2016
I absolutely love this musical. It's fairly accurate, very funny, and strangely sexually driven. (Seriously, sooo many sex jokes. Not to mention the entire plot of Thomas Jefferson is based on banging his wife.)
If you're looking for a fun history based musical, this is going to be on of the best you find.
June 16, 2016
This movie inspired me to love history. Sure it takes creative license with some facts. But it's a great film. Wonderful songs b
½ July 26, 2015
I think this story would be better fitted for a 2 hour drama, but the drama within this musical is still good and holds up the film nicely. I wasn't sure if I would be bothered by the fact that it is a musical, but honestly there wasn't as much music as I expected anyway, and I only thought one or two songs were unnecessary.

In my opinion this film doesn't seem overly long even though it is a 2 hour 45 minute film. In fact, the best scenes in the film are the long, dramatic debates which the characters have with each other inside the Congress building. It keeps the film very enticing and questions ethics instead of just explaining how the Declaration came to be.

The character of Benjamin Franklin is surprisingly very funny in this film. At one point, he even seems to make a phallic reference which I never thought would be part of the content for this film - but then again Shakespeare had hidden sexual jokes in his plays as well, and that was centuries before movies were made.

One part of a scene that could have been omitted from the film in my opinion is when one of the colonies wants Jefferson's mention of slavery removed from the declaration. Since this movie was about America declaring their independence, this didn't seem to be a crucial part of the story, but this movie was highly about ethics so I suppose the filmmakers thought it was in the film's best interest to include this short debate.

This is one of my new favorite "patriotic" movies, and I'll probably be watching it again around this time next year along with Yankee Doodle Dandy.
July 3, 2015
I watch it every July 4th. It gets boring at some parts, but overall, it's a great movie!
April 25, 2015
The founding myth of America is reenacted with toe-tapping glee, and without as much of the vapid flag-waving and yankee-doodling as lesser talents would have brought to it. A cast pretty much brought over directly from the original Broadway production (with a handful of exceptions) brings, if not life, then wit to an ensemble of unrealistic, but mythologically plausible, characters as they fight over the drafting of the Declaration of Independence. The characters may be historical caricature, but the Philadelphia they inhabit is vivid, beautifully designed, and tangible. The songs aren't perfect (they tend to swing back and forth between operatic bombast and Broadway kitsch), but a few of them are sublime (just try not getting chills when a young Continental soldier hauntingly croons a folksy tune about a mother looking for her son on the battlefield). And how about that direction? Scenes of the Congress bickering are brilliantly claustrophobic, and even the weaker musical numbers are either sprightly or daringly artistic. Blythe Danner (Will's pill-popping mother on "Will & Grace") also makes a brief but breathtaking appearance as Thomas Jefferson's eager young wife. Her energetic waltz with John Adams and Ben Franklin injects the viewer with just enough energy to breeze through the film's slow second half. Not a perfect movie, and definitely not the "history lesson" some critics dismiss it as, but certainly an event worth dropping by for.
½ April 2, 2015
Mr. Feeny singing! I feel like such a nerd for enjoying this so much, combing music with with my love of history. William Daniels (Feeny) is very good, though it's oft-putting listening to him sing. I;m not huge on the actual music, I enjoyed it more for its non music elements, though it definitely goes on way too long.
February 21, 2015
An all time great, must see movie.
½ October 13, 2014
Not at all as bad as we'd anticipated. LONG.
½ September 21, 2014
A surprisingly good history lesson for a musical. It's a shame that it really only has two interesting songs.
August 1, 2014
Just plain stupid. Really changed a lot of facts to the stories detriment
July 11, 2014

Musical drama chronicling the drafting of the Declaration of Independence. I don't watch many musicals, but 1776 wss one of the best I have seen. Campy musical sequences and barely passable for historical accuracy, but the drama brought to life by a fine cast make this an enjoyable view albeit a bit long at 166 minutes. The cast skillfully brought the Founding fathers to life particularly Williams Daniels as John Adams, Ken Howard as Thomas Jefferson and Howard da Silva as Benjamin Franklin.
July 10, 2014
½ July 7, 2014
Entertaining musical with some fun songs, and a nice way to see a familiar story. The movie does slow down a bit, and gets a little talky when it isn't a musical scene. Howard Da Silva steals every scene he is in, playing Benjamin Franklin, a role he also played in the film shown at Ben Franklin's house in Philadelphia!
July 4, 2014
One of my favorite movies of all time
½ December 31, 2013
1776 offers a glimpse of how the Continental Congress declared American independence, granted several liberties were naturally taken. William Daniels is truly outstanding in this and portrays John Adams very passionately. The one thing I think this film could have been better without is the sexual combustibility. The innuendo was disgracefully overdone at times and felt out of place. Other than that there were a few songs I didn't care for, but it remains a fine patriotic musical on the whole. (First and only full viewing - Early July 2013)
October 1, 2013
1776 is an enchanting musical drama of on the founding of the United Stats of America based on the award-winning Broadway production. It pretty much leads everything up to the signing of the Declaration of Independence. It is the perfect way for ALL of us to get to know our history. The songs and music are downright wonderful and surprisingly helps bring up the tension in the film. The performances are highly stellar. The thing that REALLY brings this movie musical together is the dialogue and interaction. Every character, despite being based on actual persons, are really interesting to see when they move, talk, or sing. Ben Franklin is really likable and funny in this one. I think most people will like HIM the most. Overall, 1776 is a wonderful way to not only kick back and relax, but also to get to know our true history in a musical way. I am giving this film a 5/5 stars. Check it out! You will love it!
½ July 26, 2013
For a musical, this musical certainly doesn't have much music. I've never heard much about "1776" and I now understand why. It may be historical, but there has to be a better way to portray history in musical than by having extensive scenes continue on for twenty minutes without a song. The story (though not entirely historically accurate) is interesting and the acting brings it to life, but the musical just isn't that good. I think that there was a lot of wasted potential, both in the love story of John Adam and his wife, as well as the incorporation of historically recorded dialogue and letters into the script. If the movie wasn't 3 hours long, the content would have been fine. But the excessive dragging on of the film left me wanting something more than "all guys, all the time." I spent an hour listening to John Adams speak and couldn't stop thinking "I know that voice, it is so familiar... who could it possibly be?" And then it hit me like a bolt of lightning (Ben Franklin pun intended), IT'S MR. FEENY!!!! I guess that there was life before "Boy Meets World" for him. His acting was wonderful and, though his character was a bit annoying, that's the part that he needed to play. I love the interaction between Adams, Franklin, and Jefferson, particularly in the song "But, Mr. Adams." Without question, that was the highlight of the film... and it was all downhill from there. "1776" has its magical moments as one of the most important moments in United States history comes to pass, but I'd rather see a dramatic interpretation than this comedy masquerading as a musical by throwing in a song ever once in a while.
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