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Fifth of July

3.89  ·  Rating Details  ·  424 Ratings  ·  18 Reviews
Ken Talley, a Vietnam vet who lost his legs in combat, lives in a farmhouse in rural Missouri with his lover, Jed. Traumatized and bitter, Ken struggles to find meaning in his life. As he contemplates selling the farmhouse, old friends and family members descend for a vacation. A bittersweet portrait of the rock n roll generation at the precise moment they realize the fire ...more
Unknown Binding, 86 pages
Published March 12th 2011 by Dramatists Play Service (first published 1978)
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Community Reviews

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Roger Lakins
Aug 12, 2012 Roger Lakins rated it it was amazing
"Fifth of July" certainly will have a very special significance to those of us who were young adults in the 70s. Yet, I think that what it has to say about love, facing adversity, family, growing up, and growing old will fall on receptive ears of sensitive hearts and souls for some time to come. Structurally, the work is a masterpiece. While taking place within a two day time frame, the pertinent histories of the relationships and characters are revealed as needed through the amazingly believabl ...more
Gregory Knapp
Jul 26, 2013 Gregory Knapp rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: plays
I saw this amazing play on Broadway early in 1981 with Christopher Reeve, Jeff Daniels, Swoosie Kurtz, and Amy Wright.

Lanford Wilson will have to slug it out with Sam Shepard for Best American Playwright of the last quarter of the 20th Century.
Jan 24, 2013 Jeff rated it really liked it
Just a great play. I was in it in college but haven't revisited it since. I still marvel at how subtlety Wilson creates the multi-faceted relationships between these characters--it's like we have known them forever.
Jay Eckard
Nov 17, 2013 Jay Eckard rated it it was ok

For a training actor, this work has place as a useful vehicle for ensemble work, and there are one or two wildly separated good dramatic moments, but as an active work of current theatre? Its moment has come and gone, I think. And in that moment, in 1980 -- when the avocado ugliness of the 1970s had yet to yield to the harsh neon personality of 80s, leading to a ugly hybrid of historical utter insignificance between either decade -- it /did/ say something. A Pulitzer Prize-winning somethi
Apr 04, 2010 Tony rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: drama
Wilson, Lanford. 5TH OF JULY. (1978). ***. Lanford Wilson, an American playwright, is considered the founder of the Off-off-Broadway theater movement. Born in Lebanon, Missouri, he has received many awards and honors for his dramas. His play, “The Hot l Baltimore” won the New York Drama Critic’s Circle Award and an Obie. In 1979 he received the Pulitzer Prize for Drama for his play, “Talley’s Folly.” This play, “5th of July,” is the first in a trilogy, which also includes “Tally’s Folly,” and “T ...more
Feb 21, 2014 Tom rated it it was amazing
Loved it. Read a long time ago as well as watched the movi eofthe play. Still have lines I say form this.
Couldn't help but think of The Big Chill and Coming Home while reading this.
Jul 14, 2014 Kaethe rated it really liked it
Shelves: format-script
In Missouri, there is life after war, and it can be good. I like Wilson's writing.
I was really confused in reading this play. After reading a few reviews, apparetnly that is intentional.

I really appreciate the mostly real-people way that the main character's sexual
identity and disability are written, except that the plot gets a bit predictable in that he's the troubled disabled guy who needs everyone else to help him get over himself.
Read on the recommendation of my playwriting professor and oh gosh I loved it so much. These characters are characters: distinct, and with their own motivations, and fascinating and shifting interpersonal connections. This is a play.
Definitely my favorite play with a central gay couple whose sexuality is never commented upon. It's so satisfying and engaging and warm; I'd love to see it staged.
Terence Carlisle
A wonderful ensemble piece, perhaps Wilson's best play. Aging hippies look back in anger (and laughter). Very entertaining, poignant writing.
Chambers Stevens
Aug 08, 2013 Chambers Stevens rated it it was amazing
Shelves: plays
Another great play from Lanford Wilson.
Part of a trilogy.
Start with Tally's Folly.
Nov 27, 2010 Dennis rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: plays
Second Act is better than the first. Play could be cut by thirty pages.
Jul 26, 2012 Norm rated it it was amazing
For dead-on dialogue, there is no one like Lanford Wilson.
Jun 06, 2013 Robert rated it liked it
Read with Portland Playreaders
Dan Annie
Jun 10, 2012 Dan Annie rated it liked it
Saving grace at the very end.
Dec 30, 2015 Michelle rated it really liked it
dated but still would like to see it on stage
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Lanford Wilson was an American playwright, considered one of the founders of the Off-Off-Broadway theater movement. He received the Pulitzer Prize for Drama in 1980, was elected in 2001 to the Theater Hall of Fame, and in 2004 was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Letters.

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“After they had explored all the suns in the universe, and all the planets of all the suns, they realised that there was no other life in the universe, and that they were alone. And they were very happy, because then they knew it was up to them to become all the things they had imagined they would find.” 3 likes
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