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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The Birth of a Nation -- THE BIRTH OF A NATION remains one of the most controversial films ever made and a landmark achievement in film history that continues to fascinate and enrage audiences. It is the story of two families, one northern and one southern, during and after the Civil War. Griffith's masterful direction combines brilliant battle scenes and tender romance with a vicious portrayal of African-Americans.

Overview

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6.9/10   15,326 votes »
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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:
3 March 1915 (USA) See more »
Genre:
Tagline:
Mighty Spectacle See more »
Plot:
The Civil War divides friends and destroys families, but that's nothing compared to the anarchy in the black-ruled South after the war. Full summary » | Full synopsis »
Awards:
2 wins See more »
User Reviews:
Consider--it's 90 years old! See more (309 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:o.Al. | South Korea:15 (2002) | Sweden:15 | UK:U (original rating) | UK:15 (video rating) | USA:Not Rated

Did You Know?

Trivia:
Milton Berle has claimed that as an infant he was in this film, though there are no official records to prove it.See more »
Goofs:
Continuity: 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:Second Part - Reconstruction. The agony which the South endured that a nation might be born. The blight of war does not end when hostilities cease.See more »
Movie Connections:
Referenced in The Great Director (1966) (TV)See more »

FAQ

Wallace Reid---What Happened to Him?
See more »
84 out of 131 people found the following review useful.
Consider--it's 90 years old!, 3 October 2005
Author: sharkey197 from United States

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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