IMDb > Way Down East (1920)
Way Down East
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Way Down East (1920) More at IMDbPro »

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Up 12% in popularity this week. See why on IMDbPro.
Lottie Blair Parker (from the play by)
William A. Brady (play)
View company contact information for Way Down East on IMDbPro.
Release Date:
3 September 1920 (USA) See more »
A simple story for plain people.
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. Full summary » | Add synopsis »
(11 articles)
Journal (6.6.16 - 1.10.17)
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Notebook's 8th Writers Poll: Fantasy Double Features of 2015
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New book tackles film illiteracy
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User Reviews:
Gish's Best See more (46 total) »


  (in credits order) (complete, awaiting verification)

Lillian Gish ... Anna Moore

Richard Barthelmess ... David Bartlett
Mrs. David Landau ... Anna Moore's Mother

Lowell Sherman ... Lennox Sanderson

Burr McIntosh ... Squire Bartlett
Josephine Bernard ... Mrs. Emma Tremont
Mrs. Morgan Belmont ... Diana Tremont
Patricia Fruen ... Diana's Sister
Florence Short ... The Eccentric Aunt
Kate Bruce ... Mrs. Bartlett
Vivia Ogden ... Martha Perkins
Porter Strong ... Seth Holcomb
George Neville ... Constable Rube Whipple

Edgar Nelson ... Hi Holler
Mary Hay ... Kate Brewster - the Squire's Niece

Creighton Hale ... Professor Sterling

Emily Fitzroy ... Maria Poole - Landlady
rest of cast listed alphabetically:

Carol Dempster ... Barn Dancer (uncredited)
Louise Lawson II ... Minor Role (uncredited)

Paul Porcasi ... Party Guest (uncredited)
Athole Shearer ... Barn Dancer (uncredited)
Edith Shearer ... Barn Dancer (uncredited)

Norma Shearer ... Barn Dancer (uncredited)
Frank Walsh ... Barn Dancer (uncredited)

Directed by
D.W. Griffith 
Writing credits
Lottie Blair Parker (from the play by)

William A. Brady (play) (as Wm. A. Brady)

Joseph R. Grismer (elaborated by) (as Jos. R. Grismer)

Anthony Paul Kelly (scenario by)

D.W. Griffith  uncredited

Produced by
D.W. Griffith .... producer (uncredited)
Original Music by
William Frederick Peters (musical accompaniment) (uncredited)
Louis Silvers (musical accompaniment) (uncredited)
Cinematography by
Paul H. Allen (uncredited)
G.W. Bitzer (camera) (uncredited)
Charles Downs (uncredited)
Hendrik Sartov (uncredited)
Film Editing by
James Smith (uncredited)
Rose Smith (uncredited)
Art Direction by
Clifford Pember (uncredited)
Charles O. Seessel (uncredited)
Costume Design by
Henri Bendel (uncredited)
O'Kane Conwell (uncredited)
Lady Duff Gordon (uncredited)
Otto Kahn (uncredited)
Madame Lisette (gowns: Lillian Gish) (uncredited)
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
Elmer Clifton .... second unit director (uncredited)
Herbert Sutch .... assistant director (uncredited)
Frank Walsh .... assistant director (uncredited)
Art Department
Clark Robinson .... set builder (uncredited)
Elmer Clifton .... stunt double: long shots of Lillian Gish on ice floe (uncredited)
Allan Law .... stunts (uncredited)
Camera and Electrical Department
Paul H. Allen .... camera operator (uncredited)
Costume and Wardrobe Department
Lady Duff Gordon .... costume designer: gowns in prologue (uncredited)
Other crew
Elmer Clifton .... associate director (uncredited)
Elmer Clifton .... photo double: Richard Barthalmes (uncredited)
Victor Georg .... art titles (uncredited)
D.W. Griffith .... presenter (uncredited)
Katherine Johnston .... photo double: Lillian Gish (uncredited)
Una Merkel .... stand-in: Lillian Gish (uncredited)
Leigh Smith .... production assistant (uncredited)
Frank Wortman .... technical director (uncredited)
Crew verified as complete

Production CompaniesDistributorsOther Companies

Additional Details

Also Known As:
145 min | Spain:165 min | USA:107 min (1931 re-release) | 126 min (Alpha Video)
Aspect Ratio:
1.33 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:
Finland:S (1965) | Portugal:M/6 (DVD rating) | USA:Not Rated

Did You Know?

The scene with Anna lying unconscious on the ice floe, floating toward the waterfall, was developed solely for the film version of "Way Down East". The scene appears in neither the venerable stage play version credited to Lottie Blair Parker, nor the novel "elaboration" by Joseph R. Grismer, published in 1900. The scene in the film was apparently inspired by the success of the "Perils of Pauline" series of "cliffhanger" film shorts starring Pearl White, and was written and filmed to augment the film's box-office appeal.See more »
Title Card:Today Woman brought up from childhood to expect ONE CONSTANT MATE possibly suffers more than at any point in the history of mankind, because not yet has the man-animal reached this high standard - except perhaps in theory.See more »


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5 out of 6 people found the following review useful.
Gish's Best, 6 March 2005
Author: Dave Kujawski ( from United States

As Gish once said, ".......Silent movies were well on their way to developing an entirely new art form. It was not just pantomime, but something wonderfully expressive." It is that expressive ability, which in Talking Movies and still today, more than any other characteristic, defines the success of an actor or actress. As it was back then referred to as "The Look", this ability was Gish's trademark, and has never been done better by anyone. In Way Down East, she set the benchmark for this ability. In my opinion, the best work of her career. If you haven't seen it, do, and you'll wonder who in screen history can rival "Her Look".

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See more (46 total) »

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