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Abraham Lincoln (1930)

An episodic biography of the 16th President of the United States.

Director:

D.W. Griffith

Writers:

Stephen Vincent Benet (adapted for the screen by), John W. Considine Jr. (story) | 2 more credits »
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Stars: Adolphe Menjou, Ricardo Cortez, Carol Dempster
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
William L. Thorne ... Tom Lincoln (as W.L. Thorne)
Lucille La Verne ... Mid-Wife
Helen Freeman Helen Freeman ... Nancy Hanks Lincoln
Otto Hoffman ... Offut
Walter Huston ... Abraham Lincoln
Edgar Dearing ... Armstrong (as Edgar Deering)
Una Merkel ... Ann Rutledge
Russell Simpson ... Lincoln's Employer
Charles Crockett Charles Crockett ... Sheriff
Kay Hammond ... Mary Todd Lincoln
Helen Ware ... Mrs. Edwards
E. Alyn Warren ... Stephen A. Douglas / General Grant
Jason Robards Sr. ... Herndon (as Jason Robards)
Gordon Thorpe Gordon Thorpe ... Tad Lincoln
Ian Keith ... John Wilkes Booth
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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:

Battles Rage, Sheridan Rides, History is Written and Lincoln Lives Again in This Great Masterpiece Directed by the Mind that Gave the World "THE BIRTH OF A NATION"- D.W. Griffith! (Print Ad- Daily Times, ((Beaver, Penna.)) 6 December 1930) See more »


Certificate:

Passed | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

8 November 1930 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

D.W. Griffith's 'Abraham Lincoln' See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

(TCM print) | (copyright length)

Sound Mix:

Mono (MovieTone)

Aspect Ratio:

1.20 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The line Abraham Lincoln speaks about how during Reconstruction he will treat the Southern states "as if they had never been away" was recycled from D.W. Griffith's The Birth of a Nation (1915), in which it was "spoken" as a title by actor (and future director) Joseph Henabery as Lincoln. See more »

Goofs

Subtitles correctly describe the bombardment of Fort Sumter by the Confederates as starting the Civil War, but the film depiction shows the reverse. It has the fort firing on the Confederates. See more »

Quotes

Abraham Lincoln: Miss Todd, you thought my face was funny, and the way I dressed was funnier, but the joke's on you.
Mary Todd Lincoln: Why? I don't understand.
Abraham Lincoln: Wait'll yuh dance with me.
See more »

Alternate Versions

Originally, this film was color-tinted in sepia-tone, with blue for night scenes. These prints also had a prologue. Current public-domain prints are in black and white, minus the prologue with a shorter running time. See more »

Connections

Featured in A Century of Cinema (1994) See more »

Soundtracks

The Battle Cry of Freedom
(1862) (uncredited)
Written by George Frederick Root
Played and sung by marching soldiers
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Accomplished biopic of a noble politician
25 November 2010 | by tim-764-291856See all my reviews

It seems incredible the leaps and bounds that were made in less than ten years of cinema back some 90 years ago. D W Griffith's portrait of the great, noble pioneer in U.S politics has all the standard techniques and flourishes that now seem to have become the norm.

Walter Houston looks to be perfectly cast as 'Abe' - towering and dominant without being domineering and having that air of quiet authority. That he was humanitarian and resisted conflict whenever able to. It was nice also to have wife Mary's domestic quibbles thrown in, making this an interesting character study rather than a stiff history lesson.

As for history, no, I didn't learn a great deal, but didn't expect to. I wanted more to see how one of the great pioneering film directors portrayed another Great Man. The wonderfully produced epitaph in the final seconds showed testament to the power of them both.

Yes, the film's sound is hissy and pretty scratchy (I viewed it on-line at Internet Archive) but compared to most movies, certainly of that era and posted on that site, I found it surprisingly enjoyable and effortless.


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