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Intolerance: Love's Struggle Throughout the Ages (1916)

Not Rated  |   |  Drama, History  |  5 September 1916 (USA)
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The story of a poor young woman, separated by prejudice from her husband and baby, is interwoven with tales of intolerance from throughout history.



(scenario), (titles), 6 more credits »
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Complete credited cast:
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Spottiswoode Aitken ...
Brown Eyes's Father (as Spottiswoode Aitkin)
Frank Bennett ...
Monte Blue ...
The Strike Leader
William H. Brown ...
Father of the Bride of Cana / Warden (as William Brown)
Lucille Browne ...
Elmer Clifton ...
The Rhapsode
Josephine Crowell ...
Dore Davidson ...
The Friendly Neighbor
Sam De Grasse ...
Edward Dillon ...
Taylor N. Duncan ...
Captain of the Gateg / Bodyguard of the Princess Beloved (as Ted Duncan)
Pearl Elmore ...


Intolerance and its terrible effects are examined in four historical eras. In ancient Babylon, a mountain girl is caught up in the religious rivalry that leads to the city's downfall. In Judea, the hypocritical Pharisees condemn Jesus Christ. In 1572 Paris, unaware of the impending St. Bartholomew's Day Massacre, two young Huguenots prepare for marriage. Finally, in modern America, social reformers destroy the lives of a young woman and her beloved. Written by Erik Gregersen <>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


The Unholy Love See more »


Drama | History


Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:




Release Date:

5 September 1916 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Intolerance  »

Box Office


$385,907 (estimated)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


| (2000 video release) | (DVD) | (TV)

Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


D.W. Griffith invested more than $2 million in this film, an unprecedented amount of money at the time. Unfortunately, it never even came close to earning back its budget--audiences in 1916 were completely unused to seeing films that ran in excess of three hours. Even when it was re-cut and released as two separate features, "The Fall of Babylon" and "The Mother and the Law", it still failed to make money. See more »


In the modern story, when Jenkins stops outside the dance hall, he picks up a coin in one hand. In the next shot (a close-up of the coin), it is in the opposite hand. See more »


The Boy: Nothing doing on the good night stuff, I always go inside to see my girls.
See more »

Crazy Credits

Constance Talmadge is credited as 'Georgia Pearce' for her performance as Marguerite de Valois in the French Story. She is credited under her own name in the role of The Mountain Girl in the Babylonian Story. See more »

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User Reviews

25 July 2005 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

I was kinda forced into watching this film having started reading through 'American Silent Film' by William Everson (a very good book, I hasten to add on, er, well the title says it all) and encountering an entire chapter on, first, 'Birth of a Nation' (which I duly watched) and, then, 'Intolerance'.

I was already a fan of the Silent Screen so I approached it with a great amount of expectation, especially as Mae Marsh and Lillian Gish were in it whose performances in 'Birth' I thought were two of the finest I'd seen in silent movies.

However, in my opinion, the film is as poor as 'Birth' is brilliant.

Sure, there are a great amount of high spots when you look at film technique (such as the moving camera in part two that zooms in over the heads of the crowds - and the grand sets of Babylon are stunning to say the least) but the film is a mishmash of ideas that are forced into employment as examples of 'Intolerance' when you could view alternate characters as equally displaying the trait.

The film started life as the 'Modern Story only' prior to 1916 which was then used as the basis to have the other two main and one rather sketchy story cut into it (the Jesus narrative is, to be honest, not a story but a series of excerpts from the life which support the other three stories at certain points). To me, it shows - it's just *too* chaotic a film to be enjoyable (even by 1916 standards).

A couple of other points - Mae Marsh's performance is semi-decent although there appears to be a bit too much over-dramatisation at points while Constance Talmadge's character (the Babylonian Mountain Girl) although sometimes implausible is a nice humorous insertion (I used to know a girl like that!).

Why Griffith gave Lillian Gish the sole acting role of rocking a cradle throughout the film with no other input, I can't imagine (there must've been some good reason for it) as her acting ability was, for me, the highlight of 'Birth'.

If you're a movie-buff, this film is a must-see. Don't miss it! But, like me, you may wonder 'Why?'.

One lighter point - did anyone notice that where the train stops is the same place that Keaton used in 'The Goat' for the shot of him riding the train?

15 of 22 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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Is this film as racist as The Birth of a Nation? Koolio06
Why is this not in The IMDB Top 250? mrm45
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