The Birth of a Nation ()

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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.


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Complete, Cast awaiting verification

Colonel Ben Cameron aka The Little Colonel (as Henry Walthall)
Elsie - Stoneman's Daughter
Flora Cameron - the Pet Sister
Margaret Cameron - the Elder Sister
Lydia Brown - Stoneman's Mulatto Housekeeper
Hon. Austin Stoneman - Leader of the House
Silas Lynch - Mulatto Lieut. Governor (as George Seigmann)
Gus - A Renegade Negro
Tod - Stoneman's Younger Son
Jeff - The Blacksmith (as Wallace Reed)
Abraham Lincoln (as Jos. Henabery)
Phil - Stoneman's Elder Son
Mrs. Cameron
Dr. Cameron
Wade Cameron - the Second Son (as J.A. Beringer)
Maxfield Stanley ...
Duke Cameron - the Youngest Son (as John French)
Mammy - the Faithful Servant
General Ulysses .S. Grant
Howard Gaye ...
General Robert E. Lee
John Wilkes Booth
Mrs. Lincoln
Senator Charles Sumner
Violet Wilkey ...
Flora Cameron as a Child
Olga Grey ...
Laura Keene (uncredited)
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Bennie Billings ...
Child (uncredited)
Minor Role (uncredited)
Harry Braham ...
Cameron's Male Servant (uncredited)
Klan Leader (uncredited)
Klansman (uncredited)
Edward Burns ...
Klansman (uncredited)
Fred Burns ...
Klansman (uncredited)
Northern Soldier / Confederate Soldier (uncredited)
Young Girl in Cabin (uncredited)
William E. Cassidy ...
Minor Role (uncredited)
General at Appomatox Surrender (uncredited)
Lenore Cooper ...
Elsie's Maid (uncredited)
William De Vaull ...
Nelse - an Old-Fashioned Negro (uncredited)
Charles Eagle Eye ...
Man Who Falls from Roof (uncredited)
Klansman on Horse Holding Up Hood with Hand (uncredited)
Alberta Franklin ...
Minor Role (uncredited)
William Freeman ...
Jake / Sentry at Hospital (uncredited)
Undetermined Secondary Role (uncredited)
Self (1931 reissue version) (uncredited)
Fred Hamer ...
Minor Role (uncredited)
Minor Role (uncredited)
Walter Huston (1930 re-release promotion) (uncredited)
Undetermined Role (uncredited) (unconfirmed)
White-Arm Joe - Blacksmith (uncredited)
Betty Marsh ...
Child with Dr. Cameron (uncredited)
Donna Montran ...
Belle of 1861 (uncredited)
Union Soldier (uncredited)
Vester Pegg ...
Minor Role (uncredited)
Negro (uncredited)
Belle of 1861 (uncredited)
Allan Sears ...
Klansman (uncredited)
Volunteer Who Reports Piedmont Raid (uncredited)
Madame Sul-Te-Wan ...
Black Woman - Dr. Cameron's Taunter (uncredited)
Minor Role (uncredited)
Confederate Soldier (uncredited)
Stoneman's Servant (uncredited)
Mary Wynn ...
Minor Role (uncredited)

Directed by

D.W. Griffith

Written by

Thomas Dixon Jr. ... (adapted from his novel: "The Clansman: An Historical Romance of the Ku Klux Klan")
Thomas Dixon Jr. ... (play "The Clansman")
Thomas Dixon Jr. ... (novel "The Leopard's Spots")
D.W. Griffith ... &
Frank E. Woods ...

Produced by

D.W. Griffith ... producer
H.E. Aitken ... executive producer (uncredited)

Music by

Joseph Carl Breil ... (music)
D.W. Griffith ... (music)

Cinematography by

G.W. Bitzer

Film Editing by

D.W. Griffith
Joseph Henabery
James Smith
Rose Smith
Raoul Walsh

Editorial Department

Karl Malkames ... negative: Killiam Shows

Costume Design by

Robert Goldstein ... (uncredited)
Clare West ... (uncredited)

Second Unit Director or Assistant Director

Monte Blue ... assistant director (uncredited)
Christy Cabanne ... assistant director (uncredited)
Elmer Clifton ... assistant director (uncredited)
Jack Conway ... assistant director (uncredited)
Donald Crisp ... assistant director (uncredited)
Allan Dwan ... assistant director (uncredited)
Howard Gaye ... assistant director (uncredited)
Fred Hamer ... assistant director (uncredited)
Robert Harron ... assistant director (uncredited)
Joseph Henabery ... assistant director (uncredited)
Thomas E. O'Brien ... assistant director (uncredited)
George Siegmann ... chief assistant director (uncredited)
Herbert Sutch ... assistant director (uncredited)
W.S. Van Dyke ... assistant director (uncredited)
Erich von Stroheim ... assistant director (uncredited)
Baron von Winther ... assistant director (uncredited)
Raoul Walsh ... assistant director (uncredited)
Henry B. Walthall ... assistant director (uncredited)
Tom Wilson ... assistant director (uncredited)

Art Department

Samuel De Vall ... art department supervisor
Ralph M. DeLacy ... property master (uncredited)
Shorty English ... carpenter (uncredited)
Jim Newman ... assistant carpenter (uncredited)
Cash Shockey ... set painter (uncredited)
Joseph Stringer ... set builder (uncredited)
Hal Sullivan ... assistant property master (uncredited)
Frank Wortman ... set designer (uncredited)

Special Effects by

Walter Hoffman ... special effects supervisor (uncredited)
'Fireworks' Wilson ... special effects (uncredited)


Monte Blue ... stunts (uncredited)
Charles Eagle Eye ... stunts (uncredited)
Leo Nomis ... stunts (uncredited)

Camera and Electrical Department

Karl Brown ... camera operator (uncredited)
Frank B. Good ... assistant camera (uncredited)

Costume and Wardrobe Department

Robert Goldstein ... costumer (uncredited)

Music Department

George Koehler ... conductor
Fraser Macdonald ... score arranger: Killiam Shows
William Axt ... music arranger: 1921 revival (New York) (uncredited)
Harry Berken ... musician: trumpeter (uncredited)
Carli Elinor ... conductor (uncredited)
Louis F. Gottschalk ... music adaptor: 1930 synchronized version (uncredited)
Herman Hand ... music arranger: 1921 revival (New York) (uncredited)
Joseph Nurnberger ... composer: overture (Los Angeles premiere) (uncredited)
Erno Rapee ... music arranger: 1921 revival (New York) (uncredited)

Additional Crew

D.W. Griffith ... presents
Jim Kidd ... security officer (uncredited)
Abe Scholtz ... laboratory technician (uncredited)

Production Companies




Special Effects


Other Companies



Plot Summary

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

Plot Keywords
Taglines Mighty Spectacle See more »
Parents Guide View content advisory »

Additional Details

Also Known As
  • In the Clutches of the Ku Klux Klan (United States)
  • The Birth of the Nation; Or The Clansman (United States)
  • The Clansman (United States)
  • Naissance d'une nation (France)
  • Die Geburt einer Nation (Germany)
  • See more »
  • 195 min
Aspect Ratio
Sound Mix
Filming Locations

Box Office

Budget $100,000 (estimated)
Cumulative Worldwide Gross $11,000,000

Did You Know?

Trivia Among the many film techniques that this movie pioneered were panoramic long shots, iris effects, still shots, night photography, panning shots and the careful staging of battle scenes where hundreds of extras were made to look like thousands. It also employed color tinting for dramatic purposes and creating drama through its own musical score. See more »
Goofs Car tire tracks are visible in the KKK segment. See more »
Movie Connections Edited into Coonskin (1974). See more »
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 »
Quotes intertitle: If in this work we have conveyed to the mind the ravages of war to the end that war may be held in abhorrence, this effort will not have been in vain.
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