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

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7.9/10   4,163 votes »
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Up 17% 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)
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User Reviews:
Absorbing film See more (48 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

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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?

Critics scoffed when D.W. Griffith announced his plans to film this story, but it went on to be the biggest box-office hit of 1920.See more »
Anna Moore:Oh, Aunty! - This dress - where's the top?See more »
Movie Connections:
Referenced in The Widow from Chicago (1930)See more »


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6 out of 9 people found the following review useful.
Absorbing film, 13 November 2002
Author: cz639

This is one of my favourite silents. You can really sympathize with Lillian's character -- in fact, some of the themes are still relevant today such as the sexual double standard women face. Squire Bartlett was giving Lillian a hard time because he knew nothing of her family background when she came to him to find employment -- yet, had it been a man, the Squire would respect the man's right to privacy regarding his private life.

Lillian's acting is great. To me the true judgement of a silent film's effectiveness is the ability to stir up emotions in viewers just by watching the actor's face and body movements. Lillian achieves this beautifully. I think if this were a talkie the effect would have been less.

Overall, this is a great film but a bit long in some parts. For example, that Perkins woman (with the ringlets) was quite annoying and the film sometimes focused a little too much on her antics. I give it a 9 out of 10.

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See more (48 total) »

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