Friendly Persuasion


Friendly Persuasion

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Movie Info

Adapted from the best-selling novel by Jessamyn West, Friendly Persuasion is set in Southern Indiana in the early days of the Civil War. Gary Cooper plays Jess Birdwell, patriarch of a Quaker family which does not believe in warfare. Birdwell's son Josh (Anthony Perkins) wishes to adhere to his family's pacifism, but is afraid that if he doesn't sign up for military service, he'll prove to be a coward. Josh joins the Home Guard, which disturbs his mother Eliza (Dorothy McGuire). But Jess Birdwell realizes that his son must follow the dictates of his own conscience. Josh proves his courage to himself when he is wounded during a Rebel raid, while the elder Birdwell is able to stay faithful to his religious calling by not killing a Southern soldier when given both a chance and a good reason to do so. Allegedly, writer Jessamyn West nearly scotched her deal with producer/director William Wyler and distributor Allied Artists when Gary Cooper, taking his fans into consideration, insisted upon including a scene in which he forsakes his pacifism and takes arms against the Rebels. If true, then wiser heads prevailed, since no such scene exists in the final release print. Though uncredited due to his status as a blacklistee, Michael Wilson wrote the screenplay for Friendly Persuasion--and even won an Oscar nomination. Also nominated was the film's chart-busting theme song, "Thee I Love" (by Dmitri Tiomkin and Paul Francis Webster). The story was remade as a 2-hour TV pilot film in 1975.

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Gary Cooper
as Jess Birdwell
Dorothy McGuire
as Eliza Birdwell
Anthony Perkins
as Josh Birdwell
Marjorie Main
as Widow Hudspeth
Richard Eyer
as Little Jess
Phyllis Love
as Mattie Birdwell
Robert Middleton
as Sam Jordan
Peter Mark Richman
as Gard Jordan
Walter Catlett
as Prof. Quigley
Richard Hale
as Elder Purdy
Theodore Newton
as Army Major
Mary Carr
as Emma, Quaker Woman
Edna Skinner
as Widow Hudspeth's Daughter
Marjorie Durant Dye
as Widow Hudspeth's Daughter
Frances Farwell
as Widow Hudspeth's Daughter
Richard Garland
as Bushwhacker
James Dobson
as Rebel Soldier
John Compton
as Rebel Lieutenant
James Seay
as Rebel Captain
Earl Hodgins
as Shooting Gallery Operator
Diane Jergens
as Young Girl Elizabeth
Ralph Sanford
as Businessman
Jean Inness
as Mrs. Purdy
Nelson Leigh
as Minister
Helen Kleeb
as Old Lady
William Schallert
as Young Husband
Frank Jenks
as Shell Game Man
Jack McClure
as Soldier
Chuck Courtney
as Reb Courier
Tom Irish
as Young Rebel
Jean Innes
as Mrs. Purdy
Mary Jackson
as Country Woman
Joe Turkel
as Poor Loser
James Anderson
as Poor Loser
Ivan Rasputin
as Billy Goat
Donald Kerr
as Manager
Steve Warren
as Haskell
Earle Hodgins
as Shooting Gallery Operator
John Pickard
as Ex-Sergeant
Frank S. Hagney
as Lemonade Vendor
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Critic Reviews for Friendly Persuasion

All Critics (8)

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