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The Birth of a Nation (1915)

 -  Drama | History | Romance  -  3 March 1915 (USA)
6.9
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Ratings: 6.9/10 from 14,430 users  
Reviews: 303 user | 63 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.

Director:

Writers:

(adapted from his novel: "The Clansman: An Historical Romance of the Ku Klux Klan"), (play), 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.

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Cast

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

The Fiery Cross of the Ku Klux Klan! 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  »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

The original budget for the film was $40,000, but D.W. Griffith spent $110,000, the largest amount ever spent on a film up to that time. 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: If in this work we have conveyed to the mind the ravages of war to the end that war may be held in abhorrence, this effort will not have been in vain.
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 »

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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