Abraham Lincoln (1930)

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



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Cast overview, first billed only:
William L. Thorne ...
Tom Lincoln (as W.L. Thorne)
Lucille La Verne ...
Helen Freeman ...
Otto Hoffman ...
Edgar Dearing ...
Armstrong (as Edgar Deering)
Una Merkel ...
Russell Simpson ...
Charles Crockett ...
Kay Hammond ...
Helen Ware ...
E. Alyn Warren ...
Jason Robards Sr. ...
Herndon (as Jason Robards)
Gordon Thorpe ...
Ian Keith ...


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


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


TV-G | See all certifications »




Release Date:

8 November 1930 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

D.W. Griffith's 'Abraham Lincoln'  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


(TCM print) | (copyright length)

Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.20 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


James Bradbury Sr. (Gen. Winfield Scott), Frank Campeau (Gen. Philip Sheridan) and Robert Brower, who plays an uncredited role, are the only actors in the film who were alive during the American Civil War (1861-1865). They were born on October 12, 1857, December 14, 1864 and July 14, 1850, respectively. See more »


When Lincoln is filling out his ticket for his luggage on the train trip to Washington, the familiar signature of ALincoln, which is familiar to audiences, is in an entirely different writing style that the destination of Washington. See more »


[death scene]
Ann Rutledge: I know the truth, dear. It's goodbye.
Abraham Lincoln: No, no, Ann, dear. You're not going to leave me. I won't let you!
Ann Rutledge: We must be brave, dear...
[looking up to the heavens]
Ann Rutledge: Don't take me away. Don't take me away! It's so dark and lonesome!
Abraham Lincoln: Ann, you mustn't let go.
Ann Rutledge: If they'd sing, I wouldn't be so afraid.
[a chorus of "Sweet By and By" swells up in the background]
Ann Rutledge: We will meet there, dear.
See more »


Referenced in Drei D (1988) See more »


(I Wish I Was in) Dixie's Land
(1860) (uncredited)
Written by Daniel Decatur Emmett
Played by a marching Confederate band and sung by onlookers
See more »

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User Reviews

"A nightmare of the mind and nerves" indeed, for Griffith and us!
26 January 2000 | by (Cherry Hill, New Jersey) – See all my reviews

No doubt about it, D.W. Griffith was one of the great directors of the early silent era. "Birth of a Nation," "Intolerance," "Orphans of the Storm," even a lesser-known film like "The Musketeers of Pig Alley" are all now regarded as classics. Unfortunately, for whatever reasons, Griffith couldn't maintain his success record, and, by the time he made his first all-talking film, "Abraham Lincoln," he was in the midst of a major slump that he just couldn't pull out of. The film is static, stilted, and moves at a snail's pace. Walter Huston, Ian Keith, Henry B. Walthall, and most of the rest of the cast all had distinguished careers in sound films, but here they are merely wasted, unable to cope with the tedious dialogue and Griffith's uncharacteristicly stiff direction. Worst-served of all, though, is Una Merkel, here in one of her first films. I can't believe that Anne Rutlidge could have been such a sugary simp as we're led to believe by her performance here, and her death scene is only exceeded for bathos by Ali McGraw in the last scene of "Love Story." In sum, a major disappointment, a good cast wasted, and a sad farewell form one of American film's true pioneers. Griffith described making this film as "a nightmare of the mind and nerves," and, unfortunately, that's just what it is, for him and us.

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