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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:
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Elsie - Stoneman's Daughter
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Col. Ben Cameron (as Henry Walthall)
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Lydia - Stoneman's Mulatto Housekeeper
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Tod - Stoneman's Younger Son
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Jeff - The Blacksmith (as Wallace Reed)
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Abraham Lincoln (as Jos. Henabery)
Elmer Clifton ...
Phil - Stoneman's Elder Son
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Spottiswoode Aitken ...
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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 supreme picture of all time! (Reissue ad). 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:

$100,000 (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

After this film was released and criticized as being racist, D.W. Griffith was very hurt. He decided to make Intolerance: Love's Struggle Throughout the Ages (1916) as a follow-up, to show how damaging and dangerous people's intolerance can be. See more »

Goofs

When John Wilkes Booth is in the corridor outside the President's box preparing to assassinate Abraham Lincoln, he draws and cocks his handgun then enters the box with the gun in his hand. Yet once inside the box, he reaches into his coat with the same hand (now empty) and draws out the gun again. 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 »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
Consider--it's 90 years old!
3 October 2005 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

As I read these comments on this most controversial film, what is coming across is a surfeit of emotion that any film rarely engenders. I wonder if any of our modern films will be able to evoke such passionate response 90 years from now and the fact is, I think not. Yes, the film is racist. Yes, the film is a watershed for cinema. And no matter what you think of it, it's still got people stirred up, ready to scream and yell and be appalled, disgusted, outraged, etc. Can there be any doubt as to its greatness if it still has such a life today? Its greatness certainly doesn't lie in its subject matter, but in the fact that this silent film can provoke such reactions in a generation weaned on computer graphic images, a generation that views the silents much as they view watching a parade of fossils drift by. I am literally stunned by the power of a piece of film to move so many so long after it came into the world. Perhaps its greatest lesson is the impact films have on us and our society and how powerful those moving images can really be. Something tells me that 90 more years will go by and this message board--if it's still here--will be still be getting impassioned opinions from those who have just seen Birth of a Nation. My word--what immortality!


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