- Award Snub: In this case, a snub of a snub. Thanks to a Tony Awards technicality, William Daniels wound up nominated in the supporting actor category, along with One-Scene Wonder Ron Holgate (Richard Henry Lee). Daniels promptly refused the nomination. Holgate won.
- Awesome Music:
- "Is Anybody There?" again.
- "Yours, Yours, Yours" is an achingly poignant look at the demands of honor and duty, and how love can endure despite them.
I am, as I ever was, and ever shall be...
- "Molasses to Rum", a thorough musical spanking for the entire North with an incredible orchestration to boot.
- And of course, most magnificent-Lee, "The Lees of Old Virginia".
- Designated Villain: John Dickinson, the other Pennsylvania delegate (sorry, Judge Wilson), and Edward Rutledge, the South Carolina delegate and de facto speaker for the Deep South. Neither of them are true villains (the real Rutledge didn't even care all that much for slavery), but just happen to have different ideas about what is best for America and their own colonies/states. The Dickinson of film is admittedly an Anti-Villain who merges with the historical one when he leaves Congress to join the Army, but seems to be perfectly all right with accepting whatever conditions England sets. The historical Dickinson, however, co-wrote On the Necessity of Taking Up Arms with Jefferson (it was Dickinson's work that Adams quotes in "But, Mr. Adams") and his opposition was founded primarily on his belief that a peaceful rapprochement was more desirable than attempting to defeat the powerful British army.
- Draco in Leather Pants:
- Dickinson. Over half the fanbase is more in love with Dickinson than they are with Adams. Although how much of a Draco he actually was is up for debate; see Designated Villain above.
- John Cullum's golden singing voice gets Rutledge a few fans.
- Ear Worm: Sit down, John! Sit down, John! For God's sake, John, sit down!
- Here a Lee, there a Lee... everywhere a Lee, a Lee!
- Estrogen Brigade: Adams. Dickinson. Jefferson. Rutledge. Pick any character with so much as one line, and there's probably a group of fans out there with the hots for him.
- Fandom Rivalry: Fans of Hamilton have been known to warn people away from watching this show just because Adams and Hamilton hated each other. Never mind that Lin-Manuel Miranda is a stated fan of 1776, includes several Shout Outs to it, and that in a joint interview William Daniels asked for Hamilton tickets which Miranda offered to arrange— only for Daniels to tell him no, he wanted to pay, because he knew the investors were watching! (Not to mention that loads of people hated both Adams and Hamilton and generally had good reason to.)
- Foe Yay: Adams and Dickinson.
- "Funny Aneurysm" Moment:
- If you pay attention in history class: You know who was also one of the Lees of Old Virginia? Robert E. Lee, general of the Army of the Confederacy. Richard Henry Lee, the delegate from Virginia, is his uncle, and he mentions Robert's father, "Light Horse Harry" Lee, in the song.
- Speaking of the Civil War: All of South Carolina's posturing about claiming to speak for the Deep South and threatening not to deliver on unanimity? No points for guessing which state was the first to secede from the Union.
- Martha Jefferson's lines in the last verse of "He Plays The Violin":
When Heaven calls to me
Sing me no sad elegy
Say I died loving bride
Loving wife, loving life.
- She died only six years after the period portrayed in the film — in fact, those are said to actually be the words on her tombstone.
- Genius Bonus: Sharp-eyed viewers will note that, during the choreography for the song "Cool Considerate Men," specifically during the chorus ("ever to the right, never to the left") at no time do any of the singers ever step directly to the left. Even when they move to the left, they do so by making three right turns.
- Harsher in Hindsight: Adams, in an attempt to brighten up his wife's mood, mentions that women in Virgina were "pale, puny things." Martha would later die in childbirth, and Jefferson was heartbroken.
- Hilarious in Hindsight: "Wake up, Franklin! We're going to New Brunswick!" Well, it was funny a few years ago, anyway.
- "No one will ever remember the name of James Wilson."
- Ho Yay:
- Dickinson and Wilson.
- Adams and Jefferson.
- Rutledge and Hall.
- And though the General doesn't appear, the way Thomson speaks of him reads like a crush. "It's almost as if he's writing them to me."
- Magnificent Bastard: Rutledge, Dickinson
- Ben Franklin playing James Wilson like a harp at the last minute also qualifies him for the description.
- Nightmare Fuel: "Molasses to Rum." Rutledge pantomimes slave transport ("stuff them in the ships!") and a slave auction.
- One-Scene Wonder: Well, Two Scene Wonder. We see Martha Jefferson snogging Thomas, and then she sings "He Plays the Violin" before she goes off to snog Thomas again.
- Tear Jerker: "Mama, Look Sharp"
- Watch It for the Meme:
- The film has had a very small revival amongst William & Mary students who first learn about it by seeing a clip of Jefferson's and Adams' argument over "inalienable," in which their school is treated as superior to Harvard.
- Thanks to Hamilton, the comments on Youtube videos for "Sit Down, John" tend to be filled with people finishing "...YOU FAT MOTHERFUCKER!"
- Although, according to Lin-Manuel Miranda, it should be "YOU FAT MOTHER FUCKSTICK!