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Johnny Tremain is a 1957 film made by Walt Disney Productions, based on the 1944 Newbery Medal-winning children's novel of the same name by Esther Forbes, retelling the story of the years in Boston, Massachusetts prior to the outbreak of the American Revolution. It was directed by Robert Stevenson. It was made for television, then ultimately released to theatres, and finally wound up on television a year after that, on the Walt Disney anthology television series. It was shown on television in two episodes rather than as a complete film on a single evening. The song "Liberty Tree", with music by George Bruns and lyrics by Tom Blackburn, became familiar when it was placed on the Disney Record album entitled "Happy Birthday and Other Holiday songs".


Johnny Tremain is an arrogant and exceptionally skilled apprentice silversmith to Mr. Lapham, who dreams of one day owning his own shop and becoming wealthy and respected. All of this is abruptly taken from him when his hand is badly burned in a silver accident. He ends up joining the Sons of Liberty in the movement for American independence. Along the way he befriends several historical giants including Paul Revere, Samuel Adams, and Joseph Warren. The story reaches its climax with the start of the American Revolution and the actions taken by so many notable figures of the time to lead a young America into her first battles.


  • Hal Stalmaster as Johnny Tremain
  • Luana Patten as Priscilla Lapham
  • Jeff York as James Otis
  • Sebastian Cabot as Jonathan Lyte
  • Richard Beymer as Rab Silsbee
  • Walter Sande as Paul Revere
  • Whit Bissell as Josiah Quincy
  • Rusty Lane as Samuel Adams
  • Walter Coy as Dr. Joseph Warren
  • Will Wright as Mr. Lapham
  • Virginia Christine as Mrs. Lapham
  • Ralph Clanton as General Gage
  • Geoffrey Toone as Major Pitcairn

Walt Disney's daughter, Sharon Mae Disney, also had a small uncredited role as Dorcas, a young friend of Johnny and Priscilla's (who was one of Priscilla's sisters in the novel).

Educational films

Portions of the film were used in 1968 for educational purposes. Two distant sequence of the films were issued under the titles of The Boston Tea Party and The Shot Heard ‘Round the World.


After the film was released, Walt Disney intended to build Liberty Street at Disneyland as an annex to Main Street USA. However, the project was never materialized. Years later, after his death, the concept was revived and turned into the much more expansive Liberty Square at Walt Disney World, which opened on October 1, 1971.

Furthermore, an elm tree found on the Disney property (originally 6 miles from where the Magic Kingdom is located) was moved and transplanted by Disney engineers and now serves as the Liberty Tree. Adorning it are 13 lanterns, representing the original 13 colonies.

Louis Marx and Company released an American War of Independence playset featuring character figures of the actors in the show as a film tie-in.

The film's copyright was renewed on January 24, 1985.[1] The copyright to the book it is based on was also renewed.[2]



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