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The Birth of a Nation (1915)

Not Rated  |   |  Drama, History, Romance  |  3 March 1915 (USA)
6.9
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Ratings: 6.9/10 from 15,328 users  
Reviews: 309 user | 72 critic

The 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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Three acts and a prologue. Act 1, a nation falls. Act 2, The heel of the conquerer. Act 3, the uprising two years later. Sequel to "Birth of a Nation" by the same author.

Director: Thomas Dixon Jr.
Stars: Lorraine Huling, Percy Standing, Arthur Shirley
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Elsie - Stoneman's Daughter
...
Henry B. Walthall ...
Col. Ben Cameron (as Henry Walthall)
...
...
Lydia - Stoneman's Mulatto Housekeeper
Ralph Lewis ...
Hon. Austin Stoneman - Leader of the House
...
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)
Edit

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:

Lincoln's Assassination. The fatal blow that robbed the South of its best friend. See more »

Genres:

Drama | History | Romance | War

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
Edit

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
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

After D.W. Griffith's death, Donald Crisp claimed to have personally directed the battlefield sequences. Historians dismiss this claim as total nonsense, as Griffith did not delegate second units but directed every scene himself. Crisp may or may not have been one of the dozen or so assistant directors who were sent into the action to help maneuver the extras. See more »

Goofs

The position and condition of the flag on the left-hand side of Lincoln's box at Ford's Theater varies between shots. In the first long shot after Elsie points out Booth, it is hanging downwards from the middle, whereas in the shots immediately before and after, it is shown draped across the front of the left-hand railing. Similarly, after Booth shoots Lincoln and jumps from the box, the flag falls to the left-hand side of the box and an audience member is later shown pulling it down twice. See more »

Quotes

intertitle: [Flora has jumped to her death to escape Gus] For her who had learned the stern lesson of honor we should not grieve that she found sweeter the opal gates of death.
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

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Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

 
One of the definitive early films
24 November 2013 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

I've heard about this film most of my life, and talked about it, and taught about it - but only recently watched the whole thing. Much to my surprise it was riveting, beautiful and emotionally soaring in places, the cinematography is breathtaking (particularly in light of every other film that had been made to that point), and there was even subtle touches of nuance amidst the spectacle. The themes and propaganda are indeed nauseating, and the revisionist history is hard to watch - but it is impossible not to get caught up in the story, and even begin to care for the characters.

This is a film that must be seen, if for no other reason than to witness the power that cinema provided for propaganda - allowing perception & opinion to become shared reality. We tend to forget how much films have shaped our concept of history & reality, and this film did a lot to justify segregation and perpetuate racism far beyond it's own shelf life.


3 of 3 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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