April Morning is based on Howard Fast’s 1962 novel, which depicts the struggles, tension, and hostility of the American Revolution. While there have been many movies made about the American Revolution, this 1988 film gives a very moving depiction of colonial life and the event that led the shot heard around the world on the 19th of April 1775.
The film presents both sides of the Revolutionary War and is a story of maturation. It tells the story of how boys became men of decency and humility out of a situation that forced them into manhood. The movie has a great cast featuring Tommy Lee Jones (Moses Cooper), Chad Lowe (Adam, son of Moses), Meredith Salenger (Ruth Simmons, Adam’s love interest), Robert Urich (Joseph Simmons, father of Ruth), and Susan Blakely (Sarah Cooper, Adam’s mom).
The central character is Adam Cooper, a 15-year-old boy who is thrust by the war into manhood before his time. Constantly at odds with his father Moses, Adam feels like his father hates him and that in his father’s eyes he can never do anything right. Little does Adam know his father merely thinks that he could do better if only he applied himself more, after all “there isn’t anything that a Cooper man can’t do.” Moses is stern and hard on Adam but underneath it all he is a father trying to shape his boy into a man.
This story depicts a father-son relationship that some may be able to relate to as parents always feel their children can do better while the children just feel as if their parents are riding them unnecessarily. It’s wonderful to observe the relationship between Moses (father) and Adam (son) as it develops into a more mature father-son relationship. Sarah’s love for her son, Adam, is very supportive and she tries to encourage Moses to show his love for their son in order to help their line of communication.
Adam wants to follow in his father’s footsteps, protecting not only the family homestead but their way of life in general. Moses doesn’t want Adam to fight in the war because, after all, what father wants to see their children go into battle? However Adam forces the issue and his father relents. This one decision changes not only their lives but the lives of their loved ones. By volunteering for the war, Adam has to leave behind his budding romance with Ruth, a young woman who lives nearby.
The scenery and costumes really make this film come alive. April Morning is an ideal film for anyone who loves American history and the values upon which this nation was built. This movie may be 20 years old but it stands strong in story and depicts a time of love, conflict, and the events that changed American history and is highly recommended for its historical clarity.
While this film fictionalizes certain aspects of this war, the story is very moving. You see a father and son who were being torn apart by the fathers stern approach to raising his son eventually attempt to come together under the stress of war.
This is a great movie for use in an educational setting to show students what life was like during this era. It highlights the struggles and hardships of the war, but also underlines the value of family—and how even broken bonds can be mended. Sometimes the things that challenge us the most are the things that make us who we were destined to become. Pain and suffering; love and triumph – it’s all in this film.
NOTE: This DVD is part of the Limited Edition Collection and bonus features are not included on this DVD. It is about 120 minutes and is a fullscreen presentation.