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This is one of my very favorite movies, and it rings as true today as it did in 1972, when it was first released. Michael Winship of Public Affairs Television writes:
In some ways, this sparkly paean to patriotism is a subversive little hand grenade, its liberal politics woven into the plot at a time when Richard Nixon was still in the White House. In an exchange that stings now even more than it did then, John Hancock tells John Dickinson, "Fortunately there are not enough men of property in America to dictate policy," and Dickinson replies, "Perhaps not. But don't forget that most men without property would rather protect the possibility of becoming rich, than face the reality of being poor."
When the movie version was released its producer, Jack Warner -- allegedly at the behest of Nixon -- removed a song, "Cool, Cool Considerate Men," sung by loyalist, conservative delegates who smugly shout, "We have land, cash in hand, self-command, future planned!" According to "1776" writer Peter Stone, "The opponents of independence were very much involved in commerce and profits, so they were very much allied to modern conservatives. Nixon didn't want Americans to be reminded of this as he faced re-election in 1972, and the country was preparing to celebrate its bicentennial. I think that's why he hated the song, and why Jack Warner took it out."
Luckily, the missing footage was found and has been restored to the version we see today on TV and DVD.