IMDb > The Birth of a Nation (1915)
The Birth of a Nation
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The Birth of a Nation (1915) More at IMDbPro »

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Overview

User Rating:
6.7/10   17,766 votes »
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Popularity: ?
Down 12% in popularity this week. See why on IMDbPro.
Director:
Writers:
Thomas Dixon Jr. (adapted from his novel: "The Clansman: An Historical Romance of the Ku Klux Klan")
Thomas Dixon Jr. (play) ...
(more)
Contact:
View company contact information for The Birth of a Nation on IMDbPro.
Release Date:
21 March 1915 (USA) See more »
Genre:
Tagline:
Mighty Spectacle See more »
Plot:
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. Full summary » | Full synopsis »
Awards:
2 wins See more »
NewsDesk:
(15 articles)
Top 20 New Year TV episodes
 (From Den of Geek. 1 January 2017, 11:49 PM, PST)

The Birth of a Nation Movie Review
 (From ShockYa. 2 October 2016, 12:46 PM, PDT)

Why Is the Most Racist Movie of All Time Considered a Masterpiece?
 (From Cinelinx. 18 November 2015, 9:48 PM, PST)

User Reviews:
Bad History See more (328 total) »

Cast

  (in credits order) (complete, awaiting verification)

Lillian Gish ... Elsie - Stoneman's Daughter

Mae Marsh ... Flora Cameron - The Pet Sister

Henry B. Walthall ... Col. Ben Cameron (as Henry Walthall)

Miriam Cooper ... Margaret Cameron - Elder Sister

Mary Alden ... Lydia - Stoneman's Mulatto Housekeeper

Ralph Lewis ... Hon. Austin Stoneman - Leader of the House

George Siegmann ... Silas Lynch - Mulatto Lieut. Governor (as George Seigmann)

Walter Long ... Gus - A Renegade Negro

Robert Harron ... Tod - Stoneman's Younger Son

Wallace Reid ... Jeff - The Blacksmith (as Wallace Reed)

Joseph Henabery ... Abraham Lincoln (as Jos. Henabery)
Elmer Clifton ... Phil - Stoneman's Elder Son

Josephine Crowell ... Mrs. Cameron
Spottiswoode Aitken ... Dr. Cameron

George Beranger ... Wade Cameron - Second Son (as J.A. Beringer)
Maxfield Stanley ... Duke Cameron - Youngest Son
Jennie Lee ... Mammy - The Faithful Servant

Donald Crisp ... Gen. U.S. Grant
Howard Gaye ... Gen. Robert E. Lee
rest of cast listed alphabetically:

Monte Blue ... Minor Role (uncredited)
Harry Braham ... Cameron's Male Servant (uncredited)

Bob Burns ... Klan Leader (uncredited)

Edmund Burns ... Klansman (uncredited)
Edward Burns ... Klansman (uncredited)
Fred Burns ... Klansman (uncredited)
David Butler ... Northern Soldier / Confederate Soldier (uncredited)
Peggy Cartwright ... Young Girl in Cabin (uncredited)
William E. Cassidy ... Minor Role (uncredited)
Dark Cloud ... General (uncredited)
Lenore Cooper ... Elsie's Maid (uncredited)

Sam De Grasse ... Sen. Charles Sumner (uncredited)
William De Vaull ... Nelse (uncredited)
Charles Eagle Eye ... Man Who Falls from Roof (uncredited)

John Ford ... Klansman on Horse Holding Up Hood with Hand (uncredited)
Alberta Franklin ... Minor Role (uncredited)
William Freeman ... Jake / Sentry at Hospital (uncredited)

Gibson Gowland ... Minor Role (uncredited)
Olga Grey ... Laura Keene (uncredited)

D.W. Griffith ... Himself (1931 reissue version) (uncredited)
Fred Hamer ... Minor Role (uncredited)

Russell Hicks ... Minor Role (uncredited)

Walter Huston ... Himself (1931 reissue version) (uncredited)

Charles King ... Undetermined Role (uncredited) (unconfirmed)

Alberta Lee ... Mrs. Lincoln (uncredited)

Elmo Lincoln ... Blacksmith (uncredited)
Betty Marsh ... Child with Dr. Cameron (uncredited)
Donna Montran ... Belle of 1861 (uncredited)

Eugene Pallette ... Union Soldier (uncredited)
Vester Pegg ... Minor Role (uncredited)

Alma Rubens ... Belle of 1861 (uncredited)
Allan Sears ... Klansman (uncredited)

Charles Stevens ... Volunteer (uncredited)
Madame Sul-Te-Wan ... Black Woman - Dr. Cameron's Taunter (uncredited)

George Walsh ... Minor Role (uncredited)

Raoul Walsh ... John Wilkes Booth (uncredited)

Jules White ... Confederate Soldier (uncredited)
Violet Wilkey ... Flora Cameron as a Child (uncredited)
Tom Wilson ... Stoneman's Servant (uncredited)
Mary Wynn ... Minor Role (uncredited)

Directed by
D.W. Griffith 
 
Writing credits
Thomas Dixon Jr. (adapted from his novel: "The Clansman: An Historical Romance of the Ku Klux Klan") (as Thomas F. Dixon Jr.)

Thomas Dixon Jr.  play "The Clansman" (as Thomas F. Dixon Jr.) and
Thomas Dixon Jr.  novel "The Leopard's Spots" (as Thomas F. Dixon Jr.)

D.W. Griffith  &
Frank E. Woods 

Produced by
D.W. Griffith .... producer
H.E. Aitken .... executive producer (uncredited)
 
Original Music by
Joseph Carl Breil (music)
D.W. Griffith (music)
 
Cinematography by
G.W. Bitzer 
 
Film Editing by
D.W. Griffith 
Joseph Henabery 
James Smith 
Rose Smith 
Raoul Walsh 
 
Costume Design by
Robert Goldstein (uncredited)
Clare West (uncredited)
 
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
Monte Blue .... assistant director (uncredited)
Christy Cabanne .... assistant director (uncredited)
Elmer Clifton .... assistant director (uncredited)
Jack Conway .... assistant director (uncredited)
Donald Crisp .... assistant director (uncredited)
Allan Dwan .... assistant director (uncredited)
Howard Gaye .... assistant director (uncredited)
Fred Hamer .... assistant director (uncredited)
Robert Harron .... assistant director (uncredited)
Joseph Henabery .... assistant director (uncredited)
Thomas E. O'Brien .... assistant director (uncredited)
George Siegmann .... chief assistant director (uncredited)
Herbert Sutch .... assistant director (uncredited)
W.S. Van Dyke .... assistant director (uncredited)
Erich von Stroheim .... assistant director (uncredited)
Baron von Winther .... assistant director (uncredited)
Raoul Walsh .... assistant director (uncredited)
Henry B. Walthall .... assistant director (uncredited)
Tom Wilson .... assistant director (uncredited)
 
Art Department
Ralph M. DeLacy .... property master (uncredited)
Shorty English .... carpenter (uncredited)
Jim Newman .... assistant carpenter (uncredited)
Cash Shockey .... set painter (uncredited)
Joseph Stringer .... set builder (uncredited)
Hal Sullivan .... assistant property master (uncredited)
Frank Wortman .... set designer (uncredited)
 
Special Effects by
Walter Hoffman .... special effects supervisor (uncredited)
'Fireworks' Wilson .... special effects (uncredited)
 
Stunts
Monte Blue .... stunts (uncredited)
Charles Eagle Eye .... stunts (uncredited)
Leo Nomis .... stunts (uncredited)
 
Camera and Electrical Department
Karl Brown .... camera operator (uncredited)
Frank B. Good .... assistant camera (uncredited)
 
Costume and Wardrobe Department
Robert Goldstein .... costumer (uncredited)
 
Editorial Department
Karl Malkames .... negative: Killiam Shows
 
Music Department
Fraser Macdonald .... score arranger: Killiam Shows
William Axt .... music arranger: 1921 revival (New York ) (uncredited)
Harry Berken .... musician: trumpeter (uncredited)
Carli Elinor .... conductor (uncredited)
Louis F. Gottschalk .... music adaptor: 1930 synchronized version (uncredited)
Herman Hand .... music arranger: 1921 revival (New York ) (uncredited)
Joseph Nurnberger .... composer: overture (Los Angeles premiere ) (uncredited)
Erno Rapee .... music arranger: 1921 revival (New York ) (uncredited)
 
Other crew
D.W. Griffith .... presents
Jim Kidd .... security officer (uncredited)
Abe Scholtz .... laboratory technician (uncredited)
 

Production CompaniesDistributorsOther Companies

Additional Details

Also Known As:
"In the Clutches of the Ku Klux Klan" - USA (cut version)
"The Birth of the Nation; Or The Clansman" - USA (second copyright title)
"The Clansman" - USA (Los Angeles première title)
See more »
Runtime:
190 min (16 fps) | USA:125 min (video version) | USA:187 min (DVD) | Argentina:165 min | 193 min (2011 Blu-ray Restoration Edition)
Country:
Aspect Ratio:
1.33 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:
Certification:
Argentina:Atp | Australia:PG | Australia:M (2009) | Canada:PG (Manitoba) | Canada:G (Quebec) | Finland:K-16 | Germany:0 | South Korea:15 (2002) | Sweden:15 | UK:15 (official rating) | UK:U (original rating) | UK:15 (video rating) | USA:Not Rated

Did You Know?

Trivia:
Elmo Lincoln, who plays "White-Arm Joe" in the film, also played eight additional bit parts.See more »
Goofs:
Miscellaneous: It would have been impossible for Mother Cameron to travel from South Carolina to Washington, DC, through a war zone, to visit her son.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 »
Movie Connections:
Referenced in The Last of the Mohicans (1992)See more »

FAQ

Wallace Reid---What Happened to Him?
See more »
121 out of 198 people found the following review useful.
Bad History, 28 July 2003
Author: jdab from Champaign, IL

Anyone who thinks that this film depicts real history is seriously deluded. One commenter noted that the KKK was fighting for a good cause during Reconstruction, but not now. I guess to him good causes include killing and intimidating freed slaves who were merely attempting to exercise their rights to vote and make a living.

Griffith's portrayal of Reconstruction black politicians is not only racist, but blatantly untrue. Only in rare instances and for a short time did black representatives control any Southern legislatures, and this at a time when they were the majority of voters in many Southern states! For years teachers of Reconstruction have emphasized carpetbaggers, but have ommitted the fact that the post-Reconstruction governments were founded with the explicit purpose of disenfranchising blacks and violently enforcing their underclass status. For this reason and others, Birth of a Nation's claims to historical accuracy would be comical, if not for the horrific implications of the film.

That said, this film should be seen, mainly because it provides a document of a poisonous way of thinking that is by no means dead. It also represents the pop cultural moment when Northern and Southern whites reconciled over the memory of the Civil War, mainly to the detriment of blacks. Lastly, those who want this film burned only give ammunition to the idiots who still praise the KKK. It's better to let these jerks hang themselves with their own rhetorical ropes than to let them claim victim status.

Was the above review useful to you?
See more (328 total) »

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