The first independent production of former studio mogul Jack Warner, 1776 was adapted from the hit 1969 Broadway musical by Peter Stone and Sherman Edwards. William Daniels, Ken Howard and Howard Da Silva are among the many actors who recreate their Broadway roles. The story is set during the Second Continental Congress, when the Declaration of Independence was drafted by such founding fathers as John Adams Daniels and Benjamin Franklin Da Silva. The script attempts to "humanize" these remote historical characters with wisecracks, scatology, and an abundance of sexual innuendo--particularly in the case of the libidinous Ben Franklin. Blythe Danner's character of Martha Jefferson is expanded for the film version to allow for an elaborate outdoor production number.