Give 'em Hell, Harry!

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Give 'em Hell, Harry!
Give 'em Hell, Harry! FilmPoster.jpeg
Theatrical release poster
Directed bySteve Binder
Peter H. Hunt (stage production)
Written bySamuel Gallu
Produced byBill Sargent
Joseph E. Bluth
StarringJames Whitmore
CinematographyKen Palius
Edited bySteve Binder
Music byPearl Kaufman
Distributed byTheater Television
Release date
September 18, 1975 (1975-09-18)
Running time
104 minutes
CountryUnited States
Box office$11,000,000[1]

Give 'em Hell, Harry! is a biographical play and 1975 film, written by playwright Samuel Gallu. Both the play and film are a one-man show about former President of the United States Harry S. Truman. Give 'em Hell, Harry! stars James Whitmore, and was directed by Steve Binder and Peter H. Hunt.

Title origin[edit]

The title comes from an incident that took place during the 1948 presidential election campaign. In Bremerton, Washington, Truman delivered a speech attacking the Republicans. During the speech, a supporter yelled out, "Give 'em Hell, Harry!" Truman replied, "I don't give them Hell. I just tell the truth about them, and they think it's Hell." Subsequently, "Give 'em Hell, Harry!" became a lifetime slogan for Truman supporters.


The play previewed in Hershey, Pennsylvania, followed by its official opening at Ford's Theatre in Washington, D. C. Its April 17, 1975, premiere was hosted by Truman's daughter Margaret, and attended by President Gerald Ford. The play then went on to a six-city tour, during which it was videotaped for film on the stage of the Moore Theatre in Seattle, using a live editing process called Theatrovision.[2] It was also recorded and released by United Artists Records.

Although the play has been regularly revived, it did not make its New York debut until July 2008 at St. Luke's Theatre.


Award Category Nominee Result Ref.
Academy Awards Best Actor James Whitmore Nominated [3]
Golden Globe Awards Best Actor in a Motion Picture – Drama Nominated [4]
Grammy Awards Best Spoken Word Recording Won [5]

Give 'em Hell, Harry! is only the third film to have its entire credited cast (Whitmore) nominated for an Oscar, the first two being Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? in 1966, for which almost all members excluding the extras were nominated, and Sleuth in 1972.[6]


  1. ^ Box Office Information for Give 'Em Hell, Harry! Box Office Mojo. Retrieved June 13, 2018.
  2. ^ Ebert, Roger (January 1, 1975). "Review: Give 'em Hell, Harry!". Chicago Sun-Times.
  3. ^ "The 48th Academy Awards (1976) Nominees and Winners". Archived from the original on 2014-11-09. Retrieved 2011-10-02.
  4. ^ "Give 'em Hell, Harry! – Golden Globes". HFPA. Retrieved July 5, 2021.
  5. ^ "James Whitmore". Grammy Awards. Retrieved December 18, 2021.
  6. ^ "Follow these clues to the original 'Sleuth'". USA Today. October 11, 2007. p. 2D.

External links[edit]