Media item

Spirit of '76

Film from the Paper Print Collection of the Library of Congress.


Dramatic recreation of the ca. 1875 painting "The spirit of '76" by Archibald M. Willard. Film opens on a stage with a painted backdrop of a battlefield and stage props of dirt, stones, and a broken wagon wheel. From stage left marches a trio of Revolutionary soldiers in a fife and drum corps. As in the painting, the center drummer is a tall, older, white-haired man in a white shirt and dark vest. On his left, the other drummer is a young boy dressed in a uniform with a tricorner hat and boots to the knee. On the right marches a dark-haired fife player with a bandaged head, dressed in an unbuttoned uniform. When they reach center stage, the three march in place and play a tune as smoke from the battlefield drifts behind them. The soldiers then turn around, march towards the backdrop, and off stage right. A flash of smoke on stage simulates canon fire, after which the drummers and fife player march back onstage, still playing. After they have performed briefly, a man in a uniform and tricorner hat enters behind them, waving a large American flag. The corps continues to march in place and play as the flag waves.

Filmed May 19, 1905, in the Biograph New York City studio.

See also the entry for this film on the Library of Congress American Memory website

American Mutoscope and Biograph Company
Publication date:
18 May 1905


G.W. &quot
Bitzer (camera)
Original format:
Library of Congress