6.7/10
18,450
333 user 84 critic

The Birth of a Nation (1915)

Not Rated | | Drama, History, War | 21 March 1915 (USA)
The Stoneman family finds its friendship with the Camerons affected by the Civil War, both fighting in opposite armies. The development of the war in their lives plays through to Lincoln's assassination and the birth of the Ku Klux Klan.

Director:

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 »
Reviews
Popularity
4,663 ( 270)

Watch Now

From $3.99 (SD) on Amazon Video

ON DISC
2 wins. See more awards »
Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Drama | History
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  

The story of a poor young woman, separated by prejudice from her husband and baby, is interwoven with tales of intolerance from throughout history.

Director: D.W. Griffith
Stars: Lillian Gish, Douglas Fairbanks, Mae Marsh
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

A frail waif, abused by her brutal boxer father in London's seedy Limehouse District, is befriended by a sensitive Chinese immigrant with tragic consequences.

Director: D.W. Griffith
Stars: Lillian Gish, Richard Barthelmess, Donald Crisp
Short | Action | Western
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

A group of bandits stage a brazen train hold-up, only to find a determined posse hot on their heels.

Director: Edwin S. Porter
Stars: Gilbert M. 'Broncho Billy' Anderson, A.C. Abadie, George Barnes
Les vampires (1915)
Action | Adventure | Crime
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

An intrepid reporter and his loyal friend battle a bizarre secret society of criminals known as The Vampires.

Director: Louis Feuillade
Stars: Musidora, Édouard Mathé, Marcel Lévesque
Short | Adventure | Fantasy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 X  

A group of astronomers go on an expedition to the Moon.

Director: Georges Méliès
Stars: Georges Méliès, Victor André, Bleuette Bernon
Drama | History | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  

Two orphaned sisters are caught up in the turmoil of the French Revolution, encountering misery and love along the way.

Director: D.W. Griffith
Stars: Lillian Gish, Dorothy Gish, Joseph Schildkraut
Way Down East (1920)
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  

A naive country girl is tricked into a sham marriage by a wealthy womanizer, then must rebuild her life despite the taint of having borne a child out of wedlock.

Director: D.W. Griffith
Stars: Lillian Gish, Richard Barthelmess, Mrs. David Landau
Drama | History
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  

In the midst of the Russian Revolution of 1905, the crew of the battleship Potemkin mutiny against the brutal, tyrannical regime of the vessel's officers. The resulting street demonstration in Odessa brings on a police massacre.

Director: Sergei M. Eisenstein
Stars: Aleksandr Antonov, Vladimir Barskiy, Grigoriy Aleksandrov
Fantasy | Horror | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  

Hypnotist Dr. Caligari uses a somnambulist, Cesare, to commit murders.

Director: Robert Wiene
Stars: Werner Krauss, Conrad Veidt, Friedrich Feher
Documentary
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

In this silent predecessor to the modern documentary, film-maker Robert J. Flaherty spends one year following the lives of Nanook and his family, Inuits living in the Arctic Circle.

Director: Robert J. Flaherty
Stars: Allakariallak, Nyla, Cunayou
Cabiria (1914)
Adventure | Drama | History
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

Three centuries before Christus. Young Cabiria is kidnapped by some pirates during one eruption of the Etna. She is sold as a slave in Carthage, and as she is just going to be sacrificed to... See full summary »

Director: Giovanni Pastrone
Stars: Italia Almirante-Manzini, Lidia Quaranta, Bartolomeo Pagano
Nosferatu (1922)
Fantasy | Horror
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  

Vampire Count Orlok expresses interest in a new residence and real estate agent Hutter's wife.

Director: F.W. Murnau
Stars: Max Schreck, Greta Schröder, Ruth Landshoff
Edit

Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Elsie - Stoneman's Daughter
...
...
Col. Ben Cameron (as Henry Walthall)
...
...
Lydia - Stoneman's Mulatto Housekeeper
...
...
...
...
Tod - Stoneman's Younger Son
...
Jeff - The Blacksmith (as Wallace Reed)
...
Abraham Lincoln (as Jos. Henabery)
Elmer Clifton ...
Phil - Stoneman's Elder Son
...
...
...
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 | War

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
Edit

Details

Country:

Release Date:

21 March 1915 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

In the Clutches of the Ku Klux Klan  »

Box Office

Budget:

$100,000 (estimated)

Gross:

$10,000,000 (USA)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| | (video) | (DVD)

Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See  »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

While the film was the first to be shown at the White House, President Woodrow Wilson's statement that it was tantamount to "history written in lightning" has been disputed. Many suggest that original playwright Thomas Dixon Jr. coined the phrase in a shameless act of self-publicity. Indeed, Wilson sought to distance himself from the film, later calling it an "unfortunate production". See more »

Goofs

The position of the window in the small cabin changes. See more »

Quotes

intertitle: 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 conceded to the art of the written word - the art to which we owe the Bible and the works of Shakespeare.
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

Featured in To Boldly Flee (2012) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

 
Something Every Filmmaker (or Filmwatcher) Must Contemplate
18 September 2005 | by (San Francisco) – See all my reviews

"Birth of a Nation" is a film that occupies a unique space in film history. It is the movie that started all movies. It was the first blockbuster and provided a textbook on editing, cinematography, and film story structure. It has been studied endlessly over the years and Griffith's techniques were copied and expanded by the Soviets in the 20s. However, that being said, it is also the most racist and offensive film ever put on screen. It indoctrinated many people into racist action and hurt many African communities.

When anyone thinks about being a filmmaker, one has to consider that "Birth of a Nation" started it all. One has to ask are they really supporting a medium that was started by a hateful film? Are they contributing to the problem? This applies to people who watch movies to.

These questions cannot be answered by censoring the film or by marginalizing it. The film must studied, broken down, challenged by people who understand it and want to defeat it. To censor racism is to resort to the ignorance that is racism. The only way to truly combat the power of this film is to understand its power and fight back.


10 of 16 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for:
?