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The Birth of a Nation (1915)

TV-PG | | Drama, History, War | 21 March 1915 (USA)
The Stoneman family finds its friendship with the Camerons affected by the Civil War, both fighting in opposite armies. The development of the war in their lives plays through to Lincoln's assassination and the birth of the Ku Klux Klan.

Director:

D.W. Griffith

Writers:

Thomas Dixon Jr. (adapted from his novel: "The Clansman: An Historical Romance of the Ku Klux Klan") (as Thomas F. Dixon Jr.), Thomas Dixon Jr. (play) (as Thomas F. Dixon Jr.) | 3 more credits »
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4,323 ( 385)
2 wins. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Henry B. Walthall ... Colonel Ben Cameron aka The Little Colonel (as Henry Walthall)
Lillian Gish ... Elsie - Stoneman's Daughter
Mae Marsh ... Flora Cameron - the Pet Sister
Miriam Cooper ... Margaret Cameron - the Elder Sister
Mary Alden ... Lydia Brown - Stoneman's Mulatto Housekeeper
Ralph Lewis ... Hon. Austin Stoneman - Leader of the House
George Siegmann ... Silas Lynch - Mulatto Lieut. Governor (as George Seigmann)
Walter Long ... Gus - A Renegade Negro
Robert Harron ... Tod - Stoneman's Younger Son
Wallace Reid ... Jeff - The Blacksmith (as Wallace Reed)
Joseph Henabery ... Abraham Lincoln (as Jos. Henabery)
Elmer Clifton ... Phil - Stoneman's Elder Son
Josephine Crowell ... Mrs. Cameron
Spottiswoode Aitken ... Dr. Cameron
George Beranger ... Wade Cameron - the Second Son (as J.A. Beringer)
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Storyline

Two brothers, Phil and Ted Stoneman, visit their friends in Piedmont, South Carolina: the family Cameron. This friendship is affected by the Civil War, as the Stonemans and the Camerons must join up opposite armies. The consequences of the War in their lives are shown in connection to major historical events, like the development of the Civil War itself, Lincoln's assassination, and the birth of the Ku Klux Klan. Written by Victor Munoz <vmunoz@macul.ciencias.uchile.cl>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

D.W. Griffith's immortal masterpiece. (Reissue ad). See more »

Genres:

Drama | History | War

Certificate:

TV-PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Most Civil War scenes were based on actual photos of scenes they depict. However, postwar reconstruction scenes were not historically accurate, and many were in fact based on political cartoons rather than photographs (such as the legislature scenes). See more »

Goofs

The position and condition of the flag on the left-hand side of Lincoln's box at Ford's Theater varies between shots. In the first long shot after Elsie points out Booth, it is hanging downwards from the middle, whereas in the shots immediately before and after, it is shown draped across the front of the left-hand railing. Similarly, after Booth shoots Lincoln and jumps from the box, the flag falls to the left-hand side of the box and an audience member is later shown pulling it down twice. See more »

Quotes

intertitle: Dare we dream of a golden day when the bestial War shall rule n o more. But instead - the gentle Prince in the Hall of Brotherly Love in the City of Peace.
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Crazy Credits

The following was listed in the opening credits: A PLEA FOR THE ART OF THE MOTION PICTURE: We do not fear censorship, for we have no wish to offend with improprieties or obscenities, but we do demand, as a right, the liberty to show the dark side of wrong, that we may illuminate the bright side of virtue - the same liberty that is conceeded to the art of the written word - that art to which we owe the Bible and the works of Shakespeare. See more »

Alternate Versions

The VHS of Birth Of A Nation runs at 125min.The Fully Uncut version is the DVD version and it runs 190min See more »

Connections

Featured in The Cutting Edge: The Magic of Movie Editing (2004) See more »

User Reviews

show it in my American History classes
21 April 1999 | by Larry-4See all my reviews

I am a Ph.D. candidate in American History. I show BOAN (as does most American history professors) to my undergrads. Not only is it an accurate portrait of the propaganda being written in the 1870s, but it is a primary source document on how people in the 1870s and 1910s saw African Americans. Anyone wonder why the Civil Rights movement happened, or why lynchings happened, or why ML King, Jr.was assassinated? Well, watch BOAN and you'll get an insight into that most American of institutions, racism. Why is there racial hatred today, because of the rhetoric of hate by the people who made BOAN and the people who are depicted in it. If they affect you still, shouldn't know what they said? Especially if you find it abhorrent, watch it. It is also a good reminder of how distorted history can be made to look legitimate on celluloid.


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Frequently Asked Questions

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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

None

Release Date:

21 March 1915 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

In the Clutches of the Ku Klux Klan See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$100,000 (estimated)
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Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

| | (video) | (DVD) | (theatrical)

Sound Mix:

Silent

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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