IMDb > Broken Blossoms or The Yellow Man and the Girl (1919)
Broken Blossoms or The Yellow Man and the Girl
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Broken Blossoms or The Yellow Man and the Girl (1919) More at IMDbPro »

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Broken Blossoms or The Yellow Man and the Girl -- A frail waif, abused by her brutish boxer father in London's seedy Limehouse District, is befriended by a sensitive Chinese immigrant with tragic consequences.


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Down 5% in popularity this week. See why on IMDbPro.
Thomas Burke (adapted from a story by)
D.W. Griffith (writer)
View company contact information for Broken Blossoms or The Yellow Man and the Girl on IMDbPro.
Release Date:
20 October 1919 (USA) See more »
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. Full summary » | Full synopsis »
Plot Keywords:
1 win See more »
User Reviews:
Personally the best ever silent movie, completed in 1983 See more (81 total) »


  (in credits order) (verified as complete)

Lillian Gish ... Lucy - The Girl (as Miss Lillian Gish)

Richard Barthelmess ... The Yellow Man (as Mr. Richard Barthelmess)

Donald Crisp ... Battling Burrows
Arthur Howard ... His Manager

Edward Peil Sr. ... Evil Eye (as Edward Peil)

George Beranger ... The Spying One
Norman Selby ... A Prizefighter
rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Ernest Butterworth ... Secondary Role (uncredited)
Fred Hamer ... Secondary Role (uncredited)
Wilbur Higby ... London Policeman (uncredited)
Man-Ching Kwan ... Buddhist Monk (uncredited)
Steve Murphy ... Fight Spectator (uncredited)

George Nichols ... Secondary Role (uncredited)
Karla Schramm ... Secondary Role (uncredited)
Bessie Wong ... Girl in China (uncredited)

Directed by
D.W. Griffith (under the personal direction of)
Writing credits
Thomas Burke (adapted from a story by)

D.W. Griffith (writer)

Produced by
D.W. Griffith .... producer (uncredited)
Cinematography by
G.W. Bitzer (photography by)
Film Editing by
James Smith (uncredited)
Art Department
Joseph Stringer .... set builder (uncredited)
Visual Effects by
Hendrik Sartov .... visual effects (uncredited)
Camera and Electrical Department
Karl Brown .... camera operator (uncredited)
Music Department
David Cullen .... orchestrator (1983 version)
Carl Davis .... conductor (1983 re-release)
Carl Davis .... music adaptor (1983 re-release)
Carl Davis .... music arranger (1983 re-release)
Joseph Turrin .... conductor (2001 version)
Louis F. Gottschalk .... music arranger (uncredited)
Other crew
Man-Ching Kwan .... technical advisor (uncredited)
James B. Leong .... interpreter: Chinese (uncredited)
Crew verified as complete

Production CompaniesDistributorsOther Companies

Additional Details

Also Known As:
"Broken Blossoms" - International (English title) (imdb display title), USA (short title)
See more »
90 min
Black and White (tinted screen)
Aspect Ratio:
1.33 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:
Australia:M | UK:15 (DVD rating) | UK:PG (official rating) | USA:Not Rated

Did You Know?

While filming the closet scene, Lillian Gish's performance of pure terror was so realistic that D.W. Griffith was compelled to shout back at her and urge her further. A passerby heard this going on and, convinced that something terrible was going on, had to be restrained from entering the studio.See more »
Factual errors: The intertitles state, "The Buddha says, 'What thou dost not want others to do thee, do thou not to others.'" It was actually not the Buddha but Confucius' teaching.See more »
Battling Burrows:Take them things off!See more »
Movie Connections:
Referenced in La vela incantata (1982) (TV)See more »


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37 out of 45 people found the following review useful.
Personally the best ever silent movie, completed in 1983, 26 March 2006
Author: Gary170459 from Derby, UK

This has been one of my all-time favourite films since I taped it off UK Channel 4 1st October 1988 on its second showing, one to savour and revel in every few years. There really is no choice: the only version worth seeing is this one, the Brownlow & Gill UK remaster with Louis F. Gottchalk's themes lushly orchestrated by David Cullen and Carl Davis and the Thames Silents Orchestra. From a good silent film Broken Blossoms is beautifully transformed into a work of Art, the merger of the music and Billy Bitzer's visuals can be so striking. And the intelligent tinting was gorgeous too. Over the years I've even played it just for the music sometimes!

The story? Depressed Chinese ex-missionary in London falls under the spell of listless poverty-stricken beautiful white 15 yo daughter of violent boxer. The crafty and base whites think the worst, but we know that the yellow man's love remained pure - even his worst foe says this ... I know that most people today would hoot at the acting abilities displayed: Lillian Gish's pathetic submissiveness, Donald Crisp's over the top savage expressions and Richard Barthelmess's determinedly serious inscrutability, but appreciation of silent melodramas as a genre is really required rather than simply selecting just one film to watch, such as this. And then again some people have to get over a white man playing a Chinese man whilst simultaneously approving of miscegenation in these much more enlightened times! Would these same people be bothered if a Chinese played a white man? Along with Birth of a Nation and Intolerance, this was Griffiths' best work, pinnacles of the cinema.

Utterly spellbinding poetic stuff for the enlightened, dreadful if your favourites are cgi-riddled and no older than 6 months. And don't expect a remotely happy ending! The beauty that all the world missed smote him to the heart (paraphrase).

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