5.8/10
1,068
40 user 21 critic

Abraham Lincoln (1930)

Approved | | Biography, Drama, History | 8 November 1930 (USA)
An episodic biography of the 16th President of the United States.

Director:

Writers:

(adapted for the screen by), (story) | 2 more credits »
Reviews

Watch Now

Free at Internet Archive

WATCH NOW
ON DISC
Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

The Struggle (1931)
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.3/10 X  

A young couple's marriage is jeopardized by the husband's descent into alcoholism.

Director: D.W. Griffith
Stars: Hal Skelly, Zita Johann, Charlotte Wynters
America (1924)
Certificate: Passed Drama | History | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  

The story of a family caught up in the American Revolutionary War.

Director: D.W. Griffith
Stars: Neil Hamilton, Carol Dempster, Erville Alderson
Biography | Drama | History
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

Humble Abraham Lincoln gains the respect of his Illinois neighbors, growing in stature and respect until he is elected President in 1860 and departs for Washington.

Director: John Cromwell
Stars: Raymond Massey, Gene Lockhart, Ruth Gordon
Comedy | Music
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.6/10 X  

A compilation of scenes and acts from various comedy and musical shorts over the years.

Directors: D.W. Griffith, Benjamin Stoloff, and 1 more credit »
Stars: Jack Paar, Leon Errol, The Sportsmen Quartet
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 | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

Karl, a German diplomat in Paris, discovers that his fiancee, Diane, has been cheating on him. He tells her that he would rather marry a "girl of the streets" than her. Outraged, Diane ... See full summary »

Director: D.W. Griffith
Stars: Lupe Velez, Jetta Goudal, Albert Conti
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
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 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
Certificate: Passed Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

Geoffrey, a young and impoverished writer, is desperately in love with Mavis, who lives at his boardinghouse and is also pursuing a writing career. Unable to marry her because of his ... See full summary »

Director: D.W. Griffith
Stars: Adolphe Menjou, Ricardo Cortez, Carol Dempster
Drama | History
    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
Drums of Love (1928)
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.6/10 X  

A princess is betrothed to a deformed monarch, but falls hard for his handsome brother.

Director: D.W. Griffith
Stars: Mary Philbin, Lionel Barrymore, Don Alvarado
Comedy | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

Nicky and Tacy are going to be married. Nicky wants to save up money for a house, but Tacy dreams of starting off with their own home on wheels--a trailer. After the two are hitched, they ... See full summary »

Director: Vincente Minnelli
Stars: Lucille Ball, Desi Arnaz, Marjorie Main
Edit

Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Tom Lincoln (as W.L. Thorne)
...
Helen Freeman ...
...
...
Edgar Dearing ...
Armstrong (as Edgar Deering)
...
...
Charles Crockett ...
...
...
E. Alyn Warren ...
...
Herndon (as Jason Robards)
Gordon Thorpe ...
...
Edit

Storyline

Brief vignettes about Lincoln's early life include his birth, early jobs, (unsubstantiated) affair with Ann Rutledge, courtship of Mary Todd, and the Lincoln-Douglas debates; his presidency and the Civil War are followed in somewhat more detail, though without actual battle scenes; film concludes with the assassination. Written by Rod Crawford <puffinus@u.washington.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

The wonder film of the century, about the most romantic figure who ever lived!


Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
Edit

Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

8 November 1930 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

D.W. Griffith's 'Abraham Lincoln'  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

(TCM print) | (copyright length)

Sound Mix:

(MovieTone)

Aspect Ratio:

1.20 : 1
See  »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

The failure of the original copyright holder to renew the film's copyright resulted in it falling into public domain, meaning that virtually anyone could duplicate and sell a VHS/DVD copy of the film. Therefore, many of the versions of this film available on the market are either severely (and usually badly) edited and/or of extremely poor quality, having been duped from second- or third-generation (or more) copies of the film. See more »

Goofs

In both the Union and Confederate parades, the musicians play trombones with forward facing bells. During the Civil War, the bells faced backwards. See more »

Quotes

Mary Todd Lincoln: Abraham Lincoln! Will you never learn to keep your feet in shoes?
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Drei D (1988) See more »

Soundtracks

When Johnny Comes Marching Home
(1863) (uncredited)
Music by Louis Lambert
(Pseudonym for Patrick Sarsfield Gilmore)
In the score near the end
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

Lincoln: "From the log cabin to the White House"
7 September 2001 | by (Kissimmee, Florida) – See all my reviews

ABRAHAM LINCOLN (United Artists, 1930), directed by movie pioneer D.W. Griffith, is an interesting antique, being Griffith's first of two ventures in talking pictures. This movie about an American president is more of Griffith's style, in spite that his technique in movie directing has become passé since the start of the roaring twenties. Handicapped by its slow pacing, Walter Huston gives a very fine performance in his title role, with Kay Hammond somewhat satisfactory as his wife and later first lady, Mary Todd Lincoln, along with Ian Keith adding fine support with his few scenes as John Wilkes Booth, a crazed stage actor who puts an end to Lincoln's life on that tragic day of April 14, 1865. However, it is Una Merkel as Ann Rutledge, Lincoln's true love interest in the early portion of the story, whose performance weakens the film. This capable actress might have made a go with her role if it weren't for some bad dialog she recites, such as responding to Lincoln following his proposal to her, "Yes, Abe. You've got your gingerbread." Then there are Griffith screen veterans of the silent era, Henry B. Walthall as Colonel Marshall; Hobart Bosworth as General Robert E. Lee; and the great character actress, Lucille LaVerne, the spiteful old hag in ORPHANS OF THE STORM (1921) appearing in an opening scene as Mrs. Lincoln's midwife. Her raspy voice fits her personality to a "T".

With the screenplay by Stephen Vincent Benet, this epic biography with episodic events opens with the birth of a great man, Abraham Lincoln, on February 12, 1809. Moments later viewers find the infant now "the ugliest and smartest man in New Salem" clerking at Denton Offut's general store, his romance with young Ann Rutledge who later dies, and functioning as a young lawyer. After he meets Mary Todd at a society ball, the scene shifts to Lincoln as a bridegroom having second thoughts about attending his own wedding. He eventually marries her. Move forward to the 1860 Lincoln-Douglas (E. Alyn Warren) debate, which, as seen on screen, is not much of a debate but just two participants delivering a few words of dialog each. Lincoln wins the presidency and is soon faced with his long battle with the Civil War and placing Colonel Ulysses S. Grant (Fred Warren) in charge to put an end to it. After the end of the war, 1865, Lincoln wins his second term election, but doesn't live to fulfill it.

Originally released in theaters at 97 minutes, ABRAHAM LINCOLN in recent years has become a public domain title distributed by various video companies, most presenting bad copies with shorter lengths, many cut down to about 84 minutes, some eliminating scenes with Lincoln heading over towards the cemetery during a thunder storm crying over Ann's grave; another involving Lincoln tender moments with his youngest son, Tad (Gordon Thorpe). After coming across these inferior copies in video stores, I've managed to locate an excellent and more accurate video copy in 1986, compliments of Blackhawk Video. Not only was the video print clear in both visuals and sound, it included restored events eliminated from reissue copies, the ones that had played on Arts and Entertainment channel, Turner Classic Movies (where it made its debut March 8, 2007) and many public television stations during the late night hours. Reissue prints begin with a view of a log cabin and sound track of whistling winds superimposed with the title of February 12, 1809. In the nearly restored 93 minute video copy, it begins with a five minute prologue done in the silent film tradition showing slaves being shipped to the United States followed by other historic events and conversations amongst various politicians (one of them played by Henry Kolker), before shifting towards the event of Lincoln's birth in a log cabin. There are other silent sequences interacted into the story later on, as well as some off screen singing by Negroes in the sound track not shown in the edited versions.

It's been said that ABRAHAM LINCOLN was a financial and critical success upon release. By today's standards, it hasn't stood the test of time. Future retelling on Lincoln's life, YOUNG MR. LINCOLN (1939) with Henry Fonda, and ABE LINCOLN IN ILLINOIS (1940), with Raymond Massey, are both excellent in their own way and continue to hold interest. However, Griffith's adaptation is the only one of the three mentioned to focus on the Civil War. Regardless of its handicaps, Griffith's first talkie on the life of Lincoln has some interesting moments, but otherwise it's a rather dull affair. Worth viewing for history buffs, but aside from Lincoln's frequent remark, "The union must be preserved," don't expect an accurate history lesson out of this. (**1/2)


29 of 35 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
Looks Like a Drag Queen Avalon123
Discuss Abraham Lincoln (1930) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page