13 user 11 critic

Hearts of the World (1918)

TV-PG | | Drama, War | June 1918 (UK)
Young lovers in a French village are torn apart with the coming of the Great War.



(English translation) (as Capt. Victor Marier), (scenario) (as M. Gaston de Tolignac)

Watch Now

$0.00 with Prime Video

Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Comedy | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

Susie, a plain young country girl, secretly loves a neighbor boy, William. She believes in him and sacrifices much of her own happiness to promote his own ambitions, all without his ... See full summary »

Director: D.W. Griffith
Stars: Lillian Gish, Robert Harron, Wilbur Higby
Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

Objected to date his sweetheart by his uncle, a young man turns his thoughts to murder.

Director: D.W. Griffith
Stars: Henry B. Walthall, Spottiswoode Aitken, Blanche Sweet
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

A religious woman seeks to save her people from destruction by seducing and murdering the enemy leader, but her plans get complicated once she falls for him.

Director: D.W. Griffith
Stars: Blanche Sweet, Henry B. Walthall, Mae Marsh
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

A stranger comes to work at widow Halla's farm. Halla and the stranger fall in love, but when he is revealed as Eyvind, an escaped thief forced into crime by his family's starvation, they ... See full summary »

Director: Victor Sjöström
Stars: Victor Sjöström, Edith Erastoff, John Ekman
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 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
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 | 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
Stella Maris (1918)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

Stella Maris is a beautiful, crippled girl, who is cared for by a rich family. They shield her from the harsh realities of the world, so that she has no idea of the cruel things that some ... See full summary »

Director: Marshall Neilan
Stars: Mary Pickford, Ida Waterman, Herbert Standing
Drama | History | War
    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
Mickey (1918)
Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

Mickey, an orphan who has been brought up in a mining settlement, is sent to New York to live with her aunt.

Directors: F. Richard Jones, James Young
Stars: Mabel Normand, George Nichols, Wheeler Oakman
Drama | Romance | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  

Jeannette Peret, daughter of a cigar-store owner, leaves her Greenwich Village home for France in hopes of finding there the love which eludes her at home. She becomes enamored of le Bebe, ... See full summary »

Director: D.W. Griffith
Stars: David Butler, Lillian Gish, Robert Harron
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

An Austrian officer sets out to seduce a neglected young wife.

Director: Erich von Stroheim
Stars: Sam De Grasse, Francelia Billington, Erich von Stroheim


Cast overview, first billed only:
Adolph Lestina ...
The Grandfather
Josephine Crowell ...
The Mother
The Girl - Marie Stephenson
The Boy - Douglas Gordon Hamilton
Jack Cosgrave ...
The Father of the Boy
Kate Bruce ...
The Mother of the Boy
The Boy's Littlest Brother
Marion Emmons ...
The Boy's Other Brother (as M. Emmons)
Francis Marion ...
The Boy's Other Brother (as F. Marion)
The Little Disturber
Monsieur Cuckoo
The Village Carpenter
Von Strohm
Fay Holderness ...
The Innkeeper
L. Lowry ...
A Deaf and Blind Musician


A group of youngsters grow up and love in a peaceful French village. But war intrudes and peace is shattered. The German army invades and occupies village, bringing both destruction and torture. The young people of the village resist, some successfully, others tragically, until French troops retake the town. Written by Jim Beaver <jumblejim@prodigy.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


A Love Story Of The Great War 18 Months In The Making See more »


Drama | War






Release Date:

June 1918 (UK)  »

Also Known As:

Love's Struggle  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


D.W. Griffith filmed some battle scenes during actual battles at the front in France. While he was out near the front trenches scouting locations, his party came under a surprise German artillery barrage. Griffith and his assistant jumped in a nearby ditch, and when the barrage was over they emerged from the ditch to discover that although they were uninjured, a shell had exploded near the ditch, killing the two soldiers acting as their escorts, along with a dozen other soldiers standing nearby. See more »


Featured in Hollywood: Hollywood Goes to War (1980) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

Love and War
19 September 2009 | by (Kissimmee, Florida) – See all my reviews

HEARTS OF THE WORLD (Paramount/Artcraft, 1918), under personal direction by D.W. Griffith, which lives up to it's subtitle, "an old-fashioned play with a new fashioned theme," is an important contribution to the American silent screen. Known as a propaganda effort, Griffith brings forth his feelings towards war with opening inter-title: "God help the nation that begins another war of conquest of meddling. Brass bands and clanging sabers make fine music, but let us remember that there is another side of war. After all, does war settle any question? The south was divided - thousands of lives were sacrificed by the Civil War, yet did it really settle the black and white problem in this country?" Following the pattern of Griffith's controversial melodrama, THE BIRTH OF A NATION (1915), HEARTS OF THE WORLD, at two hours, is very much a recycling of that epic, moving its time frame from the Civil War South (1861-1865) to its more recent battleground of the World War (1914-1918), making this particular one something from the time capsule.

The narrative begins during the peaceful days of 1912 in an unnamed French village where two American families, the Hamiltons (Jack Cosgrove and Kate Bruce) and the Stephensons (Adolphe Lestina and Josephine Crowell) live in a double house on the Rue De La Paix (Street of Peace). Marie Stephenson (Lillian Gish), having just returned from her visit with her aunt in Rheims, and Douglas Gordon Hamilton (Robert Harron), an artist and poet just back from Paris, with three younger brothers (Marion Simmons, Francis Marion) and the littlest one (Ben Alexander) who worships him, the neighboring boy and girl eventually meet, start a courtship that turns to eternal love. On the day of their wedding, war is declared. Douglas enlists along with his friends, Cuckoo (Robert Anderson), and the village carpenter (George  Fawcett), calling themselves "The Three Musketeers." As Douglas leaves Marie to fight for France, so does Cuckoo, who has fallen in love with a street singer known as "The Little Disturber" (Dorothy Gish). As the men face uncertainties fighting in the trenches, the once peaceful village is taken over by Von Strohm (George Siegmann), leader of the enemy Germans who once lived in that village, not only has his regiment burn portions of it, but places the women to extreme measures working labor jobs, to be brutally whipped (namely Marie) when unable to fulfill their tasks. Part II, "Struggle of Civilization" soon follows.

In spite of its age, HEARTS OF THE WORLD is fine storytelling with many elements now associated by Griffith, from the development of his central characters (the Griffith trademark where families affectionately kiss on the mouth); to his attention to detail with the camera recording fine visuals of actual location footage around France, and inter-cutting between war on the front and survival in the village. The scene where the younger Hamilton boys taking it upon themselves to bury their dead mother ("No prayers, save childish tears") is highly effective and quite moving.  

With the large cast headed by Griffith's most frequent co-stars, Lillian Gish and Robert Harron, the center of attention is nearly drawn towards Lillian's sister, Dorothy. The Gish sisters, who share little screen time together, work remarkably well in their assigned roles. Lillian, an outstanding actress here in the manner of Mary Pickford sporting curly hair, starts off her girlish charms as the aggressor attracting the boy next door, maturing as the story progresses. Her most dramatic moment occurs following the death of her mother. Her facial change of emotions from disbelief to shock is realistically done. Under incapable hands, this scene would have been laughable. Another scene worth noting occurs later as Gish's character walks aimlessly through the battlefield only to find her wounded beloved (Harron), whom she mistakes as dead. As for Dorothy, she provides the lighter side to the story with her comedic flair as the flirtatious young girl who attracts men with a blink of an eye. At one point she forces herself upon the boy (Harron) the very moment to be spotted by the girl (Lillian) who loves him. Wearing a large beret over her very dark hair and sporting ordinary clothes, her role could very well be the predecessor to Renee Adoree's performance in King Vidor's epic war drama, THE BIG PARADE (MGM, 1925) or categorized as a predate of the high-spirited Clara Bow of the 1920s. Regardless, Dorothy Gish, an underrated actress whose many movies lack availability today, deserves praise for her work as "The Little Disturber."

Other members in support are include L. Lowery (The Deaf and Blind Musician); George Nichols (The German Sergeant); Erich Von Stroheim (The German Soldier); and Fay Holderness (The Innkeeper). Appearing briefly are Mary Gish (Lillian & Dorothy's mother); and future playwright/actor Noel Coward as a man with wheelbarrow.

With occasional revivals at New York City's Museum of Modern Art's film department, HEARTS OF THE WORLD was introduced to New York's own public television WNET, Channel 13, in September 1977, as part of its weekly series, "Films of Persuasion," the second movie following the premiere presentation of Griffith's BIRTH OF A NATION. Distributed to home video in 1991, with excellent piano score by William Perry from the Killiam Collection, HEARTS OF THE WORLD did have limited cable TV presentation on Turner Classic Movies "Silent Sunday Nights" where it premiered in January 2, 2000. Though presented on VHS, the two minute prologue prior to the movie showing D.W. Griffith filming in the British line of Cambrin, 50 yards from enemy lines, concluding with he shaking the land of prime minister David Lloyd George on 10 Downing Street, is not included in the TCM print.

Nearly forgotten, HEARTS OF THE WORLD deserves its place in cinema history, and certainly one to consider for film scholars and historians to view and study as one of the few movies from that era not to be lost to the world. (***)

3 of 3 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
Public Domain? bespin0079
Discuss Hearts of the World (1918) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for: