|Directed by||Thomas Kail|
|Written by||Lin-Manuel Miranda|
|Based on||Alexander Hamilton|
by Ron Chernow
|Edited by||Jonah Moran|
|Music by||Lin-Manuel Miranda|
|Distributed by||Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures|
|Budget||$12.5 million (stage production)|
Hamilton is a 2020 American historical fiction musical drama film consisting of a live stage recording of the 2015 Broadway musical of the same name, which was inspired by the 2004 biography Alexander Hamilton by Ron Chernow. It was directed and produced by Thomas Kail and produced, written, and composed by Lin-Manuel Miranda. Miranda also stars as Treasury Secretary and Founding Father Alexander Hamilton, along with the musical's original principal Broadway cast.
Originally planned for theatrical release on October 15, 2021, Hamilton was instead released worldwide to stream on Disney+ on July 3, 2020. Acclaimed by critics for its visuals, performances, and direction, it became one of the most-streamed films of 2020. The film was named as one of the best films of 2020 by the American Film Institute, and was nominated for Best Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy and Best Actor in a Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy (for Miranda) at the 78th Golden Globe Awards, while Daveed Diggs was nominated for Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Male Actor in a Limited Series or Television Movie. Hamilton was also nominated for twelve Primetime Emmy Awards, and won two, including Outstanding Variety Special.
Main article: Hamilton (musical) § Synopsis
Divided in two acts, the musical depicts a dramatized account of the life and career of Alexander Hamilton, an orphaned immigrant from the Caribbean island of Nevis. The first act covers Hamilton's arrival in New York City in 1776, his work in the Continental Army as an aide-de-camp to General George Washington during the American Revolution, and his courtship and marriage to Eliza Schuyler. The second act covers Hamilton's postwar work as the first Secretary of the Treasury of the United States, his affair with Maria Reynolds, the death of his son Philip and finally his own death in a duel with Aaron Burr.
Carleigh Bettiol, Ariana DeBose, Hope Easterbrook, Sasha Hutchings, Elizabeth Judd, Austin Smith, and Seth Stewart also appear as ensemble members.
Main article: Hamilton (musical) § Musical numbers
The film is edited together from three performances of Hamilton at the Richard Rodgers Theatre in Midtown Manhattan in June 2016 with the original principal Broadway cast members, prior to the departure of Miranda, Leslie Odom Jr., Phillipa Soo, and Ariana DeBose from the production, combined with a few "setup shots" recorded without an audience present. These shots included numbers that were captured with the use of a Steadicam, crane and dolly. The footage, shot by RadicalMedia, was originally filmed to be spliced into the 2016 documentary Hamilton's America. The film includes a one-minute intermission.
The film features the majority of the original Broadway cast, minus ensemble members Betsy Struxness and Emmy Raver-Lampman who left in March and April 2016 respectively – their roles are performed by Hope Easterbrook and Elizabeth Judd. Jonathan Groff, who departed the role of King George III in April and was replaced by Rory O'Malley, returned to the production to reprise his role for the film. He also provides, in character, the voice of the pre-show announcer at the beginning of the film, welcoming the audience to the show.
On February 3, 2020, it was announced that Walt Disney Studios had acquired the worldwide distribution rights for the film for $75 million. Disney successfully outbid multiple competitors, including Warner Bros. Pictures, 20th Century Fox, and Netflix, which had all expressed interest in the film rights. The deal, reportedly one of the most expensive film rights acquisitions, was negotiated by Walt Disney Pictures president Sean Bailey and placed into motion after Disney CEO Bob Iger approached the producers with personal interest in acquiring the film rights. The film is produced by Miranda, Jeffrey Seller, and Kail.
The film was originally scheduled for an October 15, 2021 theatrical wide release by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures, but was later moved up to July 3, 2020, on Disney+, as announced by Disney and Miranda on May 12, 2020 in light of the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the film industry and the performing arts, which shut down the Broadway, West End, and touring productions. This move was also done to get the film released in time for the Fourth of July weekend, on the 244th anniversary of the independence of the United States.
Hamilton received a PG-13 rating by the MPA for "language and some suggestive material". Two instances of the expletive "fuck" were censored to avoid an automatic R rating; a third, partially unfinished one used in "Say No to This" is retained, making it the first film released by Walt Disney Pictures to feature the expletive. A fourth expletive, "motherfucker", used in "The Adams Administration" is also kept in, but it is intentionally bleeped on the second half of the word for comedic effect as part of the show and its cast album.
A behind-the-scenes documentary about the making of the film, entitled Hamilton In-Depth with Kelley Carter, premiered on The Undefeated and Disney+ the same day as the film. It features journalist Kelley L. Carter hosting a roundtable discussion with Thomas Kail and members of the cast about the musical's origins, its significance in pop culture, and how its story and portrayal of historical events resonate with the modern-day discussions about social injustice and systemic racism.
There were plans for home media distribution that were originally set for 2022, while the film was still scheduled for an October 2021 theatrical release.
On the weekend of the film's release, the Disney+ app was downloaded 266,084 times, a 72% increase from the past four weeks' total. TV analytics provider, Samba TV reported that 2.7 million U.S. households streamed the film in its first 10 days on Disney+. In August 2020, it was reported that a "staggering" 37.1% of subscribers (about 22 million) had watched the film over its first month (by comparison, the second-largest viewership portion on a platform was Netflix's Unsolved Mysteries with 13.7%). In November, Variety reported the film was the most watched straight-to-streaming title of 2020 up to that point. In December, research firm Screen Engine reported that Hamilton was the second-most watched straight-to-streaming title of 2020 behind HBO Max's Wonder Woman 1984.
On review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes, Hamilton holds an approval rating of 97% based on 199 reviews, with an average rating of 9.1/10. The site's critics consensus reads: "Look around, look around at how beautifully Hamilton shines beyond Broadway – and at how marvelously Thomas Kail captures the stage show's infectious energy." On Metacritic, the film has a weighted average score of 90 out of 100, based on 42 critics, indicating "universal acclaim".
Peter Debruge, in his review for Variety, wrote: "For those fortunate enough to see Hamilton on stage, this will be a welcome reminder of being among the first to witness such a revolutionary piece of American theater. And if you couldn't get tickets at the time (some of which fetched more than the value of Cares Act stimulus payments), this 2 1/2-hour release represents an incredible equalizing moment". Justin Chang of the Los Angeles Times wrote "For those of us who have never seen the stage show, and have compensated by spending many happy hours with the soundtrack, it's a particular pleasure to be figuratively ushered into the live Richard Rodgers Theater audience, whose applause you often hear and whose presence you sometimes glimpse in passing. Unaltered from that initial staging, apart from some seamless editing (by Jonah Moran) and the silencing of a few family-unfriendly expletives, this filmed Hamilton is somehow both a four-year-old time capsule and a timely encounter with the present."
Rafer Guzmán of Newsday gave the film 3 stars out of 4, writing "Directed with a steady hand by Thomas Kail, Hamilton doesn't quite capture the electricity of a live performance, though mid-song laughs and cheers can occasionally be heard from the audience (there's also a one-minute intermission). Hamilton will surely return when Broadway does, but for now this document will serve nicely in its stead." David Ehrlich of IndieWire gave the film a grade of A– and said: "This is Hamilton as you always wanted to see it, and it always will be. And with Disney+ releasing it just in time for the Fourth of July, it doubles as a perfect reminder that America is only worth celebrating because of what it aspires to be — the version of it we see in our minds' eye, and not the one that's petrified on the pages of our history books."
David Rooney, in his review for The Hollywood Reporter, praised Kail's directing by writing "The art of the filmed performance has evolved considerably since the days when a camera or two were plonked down at the rim of the stage and the show unfolded as a static theatrical facsimile. Since staging Hamilton, director Thomas Kail has been sharpening his skills on television work like Grease Live! — still by far the best of the recent spate of live TV musicals — and Fosse/Verdon, a striking hybrid of theatrical performance and conventional narrative."
A. O. Scott of The New York Times named the film a "Critic's Pick", praising the timeliness of its release stating "One lesson that the past few years should have taught — or reconfirmed — is that there aren’t any good old days. [...] This four-year-old performance of 'Hamilton,' viewed without nostalgia, feels more vital, more challenging than ever."
Following its release and acclaim, there was speculation on whether Hamilton would be eligible for Academy Awards consideration. Major publications pointed to previous instances of Academy Award-nominated films featuring stage recordings, such as Othello (1965) and Give ‘em Hell, Harry (1975), suggesting the possibility of recognition for Hamilton. However, on July 6, 2020, the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences disqualified Hamilton for the 93rd Academy Awards, citing a rule implemented in 1997 that "Recorded stage productions are not eligible for consideration." Disney included Hamilton in its awards consideration campaign and reportedly submitted the film to every organization and award guild, regardless of apparent eligibility. Unlike the Academy, other major organizations that present film awards—such as the Golden Globe Awards and the Screen Actors Guild Awards—have no specific restrictions against filmed theater, and thus recognized the film.
|2020||People's Choice Awards||The Movie of 2020||Hamilton||Nominated|||
|The Drama Movie of 2020||Won|
|The Drama Movie Star of 2020||Lin-Manuel Miranda||Won|
|2021||American Cinema Editors Awards||Best Edited Limited Series or Motion Picture for Television||Jonah Moran||Nominated|||
|American Film Institute Awards||AFI Special Award||Hamilton||Won|||
|Cinema Audio Society Awards||Outstanding Achievement in Sound Mixing for Television Non Fiction, Variety or Music – Series or Specials||Justin Rathbun, Tony Volante, Rob Fernandez and Tim Latham||Won|||
|Costume Designers Guild Awards||Excellence in Variety, Reality-Competition, Live Television||Paul Tazewell||Won|||
|Critics' Choice Television Awards||Best Television Movie||Hamilton||Won|||
|Directors Guild of America Awards||Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Movies for Television and Limited Series||Thomas Kail||Nominated|||
|Golden Globe Awards||Best Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy||Hamilton||Nominated|||
|Best Actor in a Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy||Lin-Manuel Miranda||Nominated|
|Hollywood Critics Association TV Awards||Best Streaming Limited Series, Anthology Series, or Live-Action Television Movie||Hamilton||Nominated|||
|Best Actor in a Leading Role in a Limited Series, Anthology Series, or Television Movie||Leslie Odom Jr.||Nominated|
|Best Actor in a Supporting Role in a Limited Series, Anthology Series, or Television Movie||Daveed Diggs||Nominated|
|Golden Reel Awards||Outstanding Achievement in Sound Editing – Single Presentation||Tony Volante, Dave Paterson, Nevin Steinberg, Dan Timmons and Derik Lee||Nominated|||
|Make-Up Artists and Hair Stylists Guild Awards||Best Period and/or Character Hair Styling in a Television Special, One Hour or More Live Program Series or Movie for Television||Frederick Waggoner||Won|||
|NAACP Image Awards||Outstanding Television Movie, Mini-Series or Dramatic Special||Hamilton||Nominated|||
|Outstanding Actor in a Television Movie, Mini-Series or Dramatic Special||Daveed Diggs||Nominated|
|Leslie Odom Jr.||Nominated|
|Outstanding Writing in a Television Movie, Mini-Series or Dramatic Special||Lin-Manuel Miranda||Nominated|
|Nickelodeon Kids' Choice Awards||Favorite Movie||Hamilton||Nominated|||
|Favorite Movie Actor||Lin-Manuel Miranda||Nominated|
|Primetime Emmy Awards||Outstanding Variety Special (Pre-Recorded)||Sander Jacobs, Jill Furman, Thomas Kail, Lin-Manuel Miranda and Jeffrey Seller||Won|||
|Outstanding Actor in a Leading Role in a Limited or Anthology Series or Movie||Lin-Manuel Miranda||Nominated|
|Leslie Odom Jr.||Nominated|
|Outstanding Actor in a Supporting Role in a Limited or Anthology Series or Movie||Daveed Diggs||Nominated|
|Outstanding Actress In a Supporting Role in a Limited or Anthology Series or Movie||Renée Elise Goldsberry||Nominated|
|Outstanding Directing for a Limited or Anthology Series or Movie||Thomas Kail||Nominated|
|Primetime Creative Arts Emmy Awards||Outstanding Picture Editing for Variety Programming||Jonah Moran||Nominated|
|Outstanding Sound Mixing for a Variety Series or Special||Tony Volante, Tim Latham and Justin Rathbun||Nominated|
|Outstanding Technical Direction, Camerawork, Video Control for a Special||Pat Capone, Jack Donnelly, Bruce MacCallum, Bill Winters, Maceo Bishop, Abby Levine and Joe Belack||Won|
|Producers Guild of America Awards||Outstanding Producer of Streamed or Televised Motion Pictures||Thomas Kail, Lin-Manuel Miranda and Jeffrey Seller||Won|||
|Satellite Awards||Best Motion Picture – Comedy or Musical||Hamilton||Nominated|||
|Best Actor in a Motion Picture – Comedy or Musical||Lin-Manuel Miranda||Nominated|
|Leslie Odom Jr.||Nominated|
|Screen Actors Guild Awards||Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Television Movie or Limited Series||Daveed Diggs||Nominated|||