Watch Friendly Persuasion
- 2 hr 17 min
Friendly Persuasion is a charming and heartwarming 1956 drama film directed by William Wyler and adapted from Jessamyn West's 1945 novel "The Friendly Persuasion." The movie follows the Quaker Birdwell family from Southern Indiana in the 1860s, and their struggles with their pacifist beliefs during the American Civil War. The head of the Birdwell family is Jess (Gary Cooper), a quiet and peaceful man who is dedicated to his Quaker faith and values. Jess is married to his gentle and loving wife Eliza (Dorothy McGuire), and they have two children, Joshua (Anthony Perkins) and Little Jess (Richard Eyer). The family lives a simple and contented life, raising crops, tending to their animals, and going to Quaker meetings.
As the Civil War approaches their small town, the Birdwells face various challenges that test their beliefs and resolve. They encounter Confederate soldiers passing through their farm and Union soldiers camping nearby, which leads Jess to question his faith and his role as a Quaker. Meanwhile, the children face their own conflicts as they try to find their place in the world and make sense of the war.
Throughout the movie, the themes of love, faith, and family are explored in a nuanced and sensitive way. The relationship between Jess and Eliza is especially touching, as they show their love for each other in small, everyday moments. Perkins delivers a standout performance as Joshua, a young man struggling with the idea of fighting for what he believes in and defying his pacifist upbringing.
The film is shot in beautiful Cinemascope and Technicolor, capturing the lush landscapes of Indiana and contrasting the peaceful lives of the Quakers with the brutal reality of war. The score by composer Dimitri Tiomkin adds to the emotional resonance of the film, with its sweeping melodies and haunting themes.
One of the most memorable scenes in the movie involves a Quaker meeting where Jess delivers a powerful speech about his beliefs in non-violence and love for all human beings. The scene highlights the film's themes of tolerance and understanding, as Jess calls on his fellow Quakers to open their hearts to those with different beliefs and ways of life.
Ultimately, Friendly Persuasion is a touching and thought-provoking film that explores the complexities of the human experience. It offers a glimpse into the lives of a simple Quaker family and their struggles to maintain their pacifist beliefs in the face of war and violence. With its exceptional performances, stunning visuals, and moving story, Friendly Persuasion is a classic that still resonates with audiences today.
Friendly Persuasion is a 1956 drama with a runtime of 2 hours and 17 minutes. It has received mostly positive reviews from critics and viewers, who have given it an IMDb score of 7.3.