7.4/10
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Friendly Persuasion (1956)

Passed | | Drama, Romance, War | 25 November 1956 (USA)
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1:53 | Trailer
The pacifist attitude of a Quaker family is tested as a result of the American Civil War.

Director:

William Wyler

Writers:

Jessamyn West (book), Michael Wilson (screenplay)
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Nominated for 6 Oscars. Another 5 wins & 4 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Gary Cooper ... Jess Birdwell
Dorothy McGuire ... Eliza Birdwell
Anthony Perkins ... Josh Birdwell
Richard Eyer ... Little Jess Birdwell
Robert Middleton ... Sam Jordan
Phyllis Love Phyllis Love ... Mattie Birdwell
Peter Mark Richman ... Gard Jordan (as Mark Richman)
Walter Catlett ... Professor Quigley
Richard Hale ... Purdy
Joel Fluellen Joel Fluellen ... Enoch
Theodore Newton ... Major Harvey
John Smith ... Caleb Cope
Edna Skinner ... Opal Hudspeth
Marjorie Durant Marjorie Durant ... Pearl Hudspeth
Frances Farwell Frances Farwell ... Ruby Hudspeth
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Storyline

The story of a family of Quakers in Indiana in 1862. Their religous sect is strongly opposed to violence and war. It's not easy for them to meet the rules of their religion in everyday life but when Southern troops pass the area they are in real trouble. Should they fight, despite their peaceful attitide? Written by Olaf Mertens <olafbahg@w210zrz.zrz.tu-berlin.de>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

It Will Pleasure You in a Hundred Ways! See more »

Genres:

Drama | Romance | War | Western

Certificate:

Passed | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

25 November 1956 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Mr. Birdwell Goes to Battle See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$3,000,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Westrex Recording System)

Color:

Color (as De Luxe)

Aspect Ratio:

1.75 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Gary Cooper originally did not want to play a father of grown children. This was despite the fact that he was 55 in real life. Ironically, many critics in 1956 felt he looked too old to play Jess Birdwell. See more »

Goofs

When Jess is grazed by a Rebel bullet, the cut runs across his forehead. In the next scene, the cut runs up and down. See more »

Quotes

Little Jess Birdwell: She's a snake on stilts!
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Legacy of the Hollywood Blacklist (1987) See more »

Soundtracks

Marry Me, Marry Me
(1956)
Music by Dimitri Tiomkin
Lyrics by Paul Francis Webster
Performed by Marjorie Durant (uncredited), Frances Farwell (uncredited), Edna Skinner (uncredited) and Gary Cooper (uncredited)
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Funny as well as dramatic story about a Quaker family caught up in the American Civil War
20 January 2014 | by ma-cortesSee all my reviews

This is the interesting and solidly performed story of a family of Quakers in Southern Indiana in 1862 . This religious sect is strongly opposed to violence and war . The official name of the Quaker religion is Society of Friends , members of the faith are called Friends and nicknamed Quakers ; the book written by Jessamyn West is called "The Friendly Persuasion", meaning the faith , which more specifically refers to the Quakers' way of communicating. It concerns about "Jess Birdwell" (Gary Cooper , he initially turned the film down because he didn't believe the American public would accept him as Quaker , and role was originally intended for Bing Crosby) is the patriarch of a family of Quakers , a Christian sect that refuses to take part in wars . His son "Josh" (Anthony Perkins) wishes to adhere to pacifism but worried he's using his religion to hide his cowardice , he then enlists the army , causing angry on his mother (Dorothy McGuire , though Katharine Hepburn turned down the role and Jean Arthur was considered to play her) . Their children are very special : the little boy Jess Jr. (Richard Eyer) lives in conflict with the goose "Samantha" . And "Mattie" (Phyllis Love) falls in love with an Union soldier, "Gard Jordan" (Peter Mark Richman) . As Jess/Gary Cooper (before Cooper became involved Montgomery Clift was offered the role of Birdwell, but turned it down) along with his family attempt to remain to its ideals , despite the Civil War which touches their farm life .

This enjoyable film packs comedy , religious and familiar life , sense of mood , spectacular battles and lots of reflection . As it deals with the conflict between maintaining a religious belief and reality when takes place a bloody war ; as the flick utterly catches up the spectator in the family's troubles . This earnest picture captures a tender humor and mirth which pervades the whole story ; in addition , at the end occurs a stirring climax . Agreeable screenplay , originally released without screen writing credit due to blacklisting of Michael Wilson; credits restored in 1996 . Spectacular battle depicted in the film based on facts, as the final is very exciting , it was against the Confederate raiders led by General John Hunt Morgan ; on July 9, 1863, 450 members of the Indiana Home Guard met John Hunt Morgan's raiders in battle south of the town of Corydon, Indiana . Gary Cooper as a devout Quaker father and Dorothy McGuire as his wife are very well as the parents ; furthermore , Anthony Perkins is nice as the son fearing being taken for a coward . Good support cast such as Robert Middleton , Peter Mark Richman , Richard Hale , Russell Simpson and uncredited , almost extras : Robert Fuller , William Schallert , John Dierkes , Joe Turkel and Doug McClure . Spectacular and glowingly gorgeous scenarios , including amusing race horses . Colorful and glimmer cinematography by Ellsworth Fredericks in De Luxe Colour Photography . Sensitive as well as moving musical score by the classical composer Dimitri Tiomkin .

The motion picture come out of a minor Hollywood studio , Allied Artists , was compellingly directed by the maestro William Wyler . Wyler was considered by his peers as second only to John Ford as a master craftsman of cinema and the winner of three Best Director Academy Awards . Wyler was a great professional who had a career full of successes in all kind of genres as Film Noir : ¨Detective story¨ , ¨The desperate hours¨ , ¨Dead End¨ ; Western : ¨The Westener¨, ¨Friendly persuasion¨ , ¨Big Country¨ , but his speciality were dramas such as : ¨Jezebel¨ , ¨The letter¨ , ¨Wuthering Heights¨ , ¨The best years of our lives¨, ¨Mrs Miniver¨, ¨The heiress¨ , ¨the little Foxes¨ , ¨The collector¨ and Comedy as two films starred by Audrey Hepburn : ¨How to steal a million¨ and of course the immortal comedy-romance ¨Roman's holiday¨ . ¨Friendly persuasion¨ results to be a good film that catches up the audience . Rating : Better than average , worthwhile seeing .


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