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The Birth of a Nation (1915)

Not Rated | | Drama, History, War | 3 March 1915 (USA)
The American Civil War divides friends and destroys families, but that's nothing compared to the anarchy in the black-ruled South after the war.

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Writers:

(adapted from his novel: "The Clansman: An Historical Romance of the Ku Klux Klan") (as Thomas F. Dixon Jr.), (play) (as Thomas F. Dixon Jr.) | 3 more credits »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Elsie - Stoneman's Daughter
...
...
Col. Ben Cameron (as Henry Walthall)
...
...
Lydia - Stoneman's Mulatto Housekeeper
Ralph Lewis ...
...
Walter Long ...
...
Tod - Stoneman's Younger Son
...
Jeff - The Blacksmith (as Wallace Reed)
Joseph Henabery ...
Abraham Lincoln (as Jos. Henabery)
Elmer Clifton ...
Phil - Stoneman's Elder Son
Josephine Crowell ...
Spottiswoode Aitken ...
George Beranger ...
Wade Cameron - Second Son (as J.A. Beringer)
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Storyline

Two brothers, Phil and Ted Stoneman, visit their friends in Piedmont, South Carolina: the family Cameron. This friendship is affected by the Civil War, as the Stonemans and the Camerons must join up opposite armies. The consequences of the War in their lives are shown in connection to major historical events, like the development of the Civil War itself, Lincoln's assassination, and the birth of the Ku Klux Klan. Written by Victor Munoz <vmunoz@macul.ciencias.uchile.cl>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

The Fiery Cross of the Ku Klux Klan! See more »

Genres:

Drama | History | War

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Release Date:

3 March 1915 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

In the Clutches of the Ku Klux Klan  »

Box Office

Budget:

$110,000 (estimated)

Gross:

$3,000,000 (USA)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (video) | (DVD) | (2011 Blu-ray Restoration Edition)

Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The Ford's Theatre scene was filmed on an outdoor set. See more »

Goofs

The South Carolina coastline does not have bluffs overlooking the ocean. See more »

Quotes

Abraham Lincoln: [Lincoln, on his policy for the defeated Southern states] I shall deal with them as though they had never been away.
See more »

Crazy Credits

The following was listed in the opening credits: A PLEA FOR THE ART OF THE MOTION PICTURE: We do not fear censorship, for we have no wish to offend with improprieties or obscenities, but we do demand, as a right, the liberty to show the dark side of wrong, that we may illuminate the bright side of virtue - the same liberty that is conceeded to the art of the written word - that art to which we owe the Bible and the works of Shakespeare. See more »

Connections

References His Trust Fulfilled (1911) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

Good start but degrades into lurid melodrama
7 July 2004 | by (Scottsdale, AZ) – See all my reviews

I have watched this film several times over the years, and I find the second half dealing with reconstruction a little harder to watch each time. Although its racist viewpoint may have mirrored much of America in 1915, it obviously was not the only viewpoint, since America had its abolitionists in the early 1800s. Griffith endorses just about every wretched stereotype put forth by the south during and after reconstruction, namely the venality of all northerners and the baseness of all blacks who did not completely bow to whites. A good example is that the disdainful depiction of the black-run state legislature is based on a cartoon, not an actual photograph or contemporary description. Griffith's portrayal of northerners and blacks is completely from the point of view of a white southern racist. Although I greatly admire much of his work, he deserved the criticism he got for this film. Aside from the political racism, much of the second half of the film is just silly melodrama, even based on 1915 standards and other Griffith work.


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