1776: The Movie


The Pennsylvania State House
John Adams
Thomas Jefferson
Benjamin Franklin
John Dickinson
James Wilson
Abigail Adams
Silent Men of Congress
Historical Accuracy in 1776
1776 Tidbits
1776 Laserdisc

Let's get ready to rumble! 1776 style!

I was hobnobbing on the imdb.com message boards and I saw someone asking about the differences between the VHS and the DVD. Being the truly devoted fan I am, I (of course) had drawn up such a document after watching the DVD for the *ahem* fourth time the first day I had it in my hands. Well, so I decided that, inquiring minds want to know. This is what I came up with, more or less complete. If you have something to add, e-mail me, please. I would like to know. Two eyes or more are better than one. Thank you.


Any further questions can be directed to me via e-mail. I am the proud owner of both versions and am not unwilling to watch both (at the same time if needed) to fine-tune this page.

1776: Differences between the DVD and the VHS. Added scenes on the DVD version are in red.
  • A new opening scene is present, showing drawings of people from the time period going about daily activities. The scene also contains opening credits and the Overture, akin the one on the original Broadway cast recording CD.
  • The entire movie on the DVD is in the widescreen format, and in that formatting, the camera is able to capture more of any given scene around the edges, allowing us to see actions on the side that were lost in the full screen format.
  • Overall, the DVD has better quality sound and picture. Something to be expected from a remastered DVD.
  • In the beginning of the scene where Adams is looking for Franklin and Franklin is having his likeness painted, the VHS has music to the tune of ‘The Egg’. The DVD doesn’t have this music.
  • In ‘The Lee’s of Virginia’, when Franklin and Adams are following Lee and Franklin is asking him when he is leaving, the second time they stop and Adams nearly runs into Franklin, the widescreen edition on the DVD allows us to see Adams’ reaction. This comical tidbit is lost in the full screen formatting on the VHS.
  • When Dr. Hall is introduced to the Southern delegates, because of the full screen formatting, the camera must pan to show Rutledge, Hopkins, and Hall while they are speaking. In the widescreen formatting, the camera is able to have one continuous shot of the three men, so it moves around less.
  • When Caesar Rodney asks Dr. Hall if they may speak in private, the VHS cuts right to John Dickinson’s entrance in a carriage. In the DVD, there is a new scene, showing the conversation between Rodney and Dr. Hall.
  • When Adams enters the congress and asks where Lee is, there is a new scene on the DVD where Dickinson and Wilson talk about the ill wind of independence finally blowing itself out.
  • On the VHS, when Lee makes his entrance with the resolution on independence, the DVD contains a scene where when McNair opens the window, instead of hearing Lee’s ‘Woo hoo’s’, McNair informs the congress that a fire wagon is going by. Everyone rushes outside to see what building is on fire. It is then that Lee makes his entrance.
  • On the DVD, there is more to Adams’ and Dickinson’s argument. It includes the line that is said by Dickinson, “No army, no navy, no arms, no ammunition, no treasury, no friends…” that can be heard, even on the VHS, when Adams is recalling all that has been said to him. This line seems to have been missed when fully cutting out this scene. Bravo for ‘scratching’ it back in.
  • When Adams and Dickinson are having their stick fight and as Rodney is leaving, on the VHS there is music, some of it being the tune from ‘Is Anybody There?’. This is absent from the scene on the DVD.
  • Franklin has a few extra lines before Reverend John Witherspoon and the New Jersey delegation arrive.
  • John and Abigail have a longer exchange, including a conversation that resembles their later talk they have in the bell tower.
  • There is a prelude to Franklin and Adams meeting Martha Jefferson. This scene explains how Martha knew the two men were outside Jefferson’s apartment the next morning.
  • Martha Jefferson singing the prelude to ‘He Plays the Violin’ is restored.
  • There’s a lot of prelude to Adams, Franklin, and Chase leaving for New Brunswick. This scene is quite comical (it contains a sort of running joke about congressional committees) and it’s good that it’s back.
  • The largest missing scene on the VHS is, by far, the song ‘Cool, Cool, Considerate Men’. This is a fantastic scene and song. It really showcases the actor who plays Dickinson. It also shows Dickinson’s side of the argument against independence.
  • There are additional lines in the revision of the Declaration.

This is not a complete list, for many of the changes are subtle and difficult to describe. However, this mentions the largest and most noticeable changes.

My question is: why would anyone want the VHS when they can have the DVD? Barring not having a DVD player, the DVD may be longer, but worth the time. I promise. Someone brought up the point that he'd rather see the Laserdisc version. I agree, but unless you have a laserdisc or someone willing/able to make a copy for you, we all must make due with what we have. What I have is a wonderful computer ready to play DVDs! Huzzah!
Credit for this site must go largely to Mr. Richard Nixon, former president of the United States. But for him, the sequence including 'Cool, Cool, Considerate Men' would no not have been cut. I must thank him for giving me one more reason to create this web page.