6.3/10
21,700
362 user 96 critic

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 »
Reviews
Popularity
4,889 ( 132)
2 wins. See more awards »

Photos

Edit

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)
Learn more

More Like This 

Certificate: Passed Drama | History
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 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, Robert Harron, Mae Marsh
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 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
Short | Action | Crime
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

A group of bandits stage a brazen train hold-up, only to find a determined posse hot on their heels.

Director: Edwin S. Porter
Stars: Gilbert M. 'Broncho Billy' Anderson, A.C. Abadie, George Barnes
Short | Action | Adventure
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 X  

A group of astronomers go on an expedition to the Moon.

Director: Georges Méliès
Stars: Georges Méliès, Victor André, Bleuette Bernon
Drama | History | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  

In the midst of the Russian Revolution of 1905, the crew of the battleship Potemkin mutiny against the brutal, tyrannical regime of the vessel's officers. The resulting street demonstration in Odessa brings on a police massacre.

Director: Sergei M. Eisenstein
Stars: Aleksandr Antonov, Vladimir Barskiy, Grigoriy Aleksandrov
Biography | Drama | History
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  

Nat Turner, a literate slave and preacher in the antebellum South, orchestrates an uprising.

Director: Nate Parker
Stars: Nate Parker, Armie Hammer, Penelope Ann Miller
Way Down East (1920)
Certificate: Passed Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 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
Fantasy | Horror | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  

Hypnotist Dr. Caligari uses a somnambulist, Cesare, to commit murders.

Director: Robert Wiene
Stars: Werner Krauss, Conrad Veidt, Friedrich Feher
Cabiria (1914)
Adventure | Drama | History
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

Cabiria is a Roman child when her home is destroyed by a volcano. Sold in Carthage to be sacrificed in a temple, is saved by Fulvio, a Roman spy. But danger lurks, and hatred between Rome and Carthage can only lead to war.

Director: Giovanni Pastrone
Stars: Italia Almirante-Manzini, Lidia Quaranta, Bartolomeo Pagano
Les vampires (1915)
Action | Adventure | Crime
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

An intrepid reporter and his loyal friend battle a bizarre secret society of criminals known as The Vampires.

Director: Louis Feuillade
Stars: Musidora, Édouard Mathé, Marcel Lévesque
Nosferatu (1922)
Fantasy | Horror
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  

Vampire Count Orlok expresses interest in a new residence and real estate agent Hutter's wife.

Director: F.W. Murnau
Stars: Max Schreck, Alexander Granach, Gustav von Wangenheim
Drama | History | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 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
Edit

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:

See Lincoln, grant and Lee Achieving Victories as Soldiers (Print Ad-Boston Evening Transcript, ((Boston Mass.)) 11 October 1915) See more »

Genres:

Drama | History | War

Certificate:

TV-PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

Originally presented in two parts, with an intermission. See more »

Goofs

The position of the window in the small cabin changes. See more »

Quotes

Mrs. Cameron: [Northern solider is trying to keep wounded Ben's mother out of hospital] I am going into that room to my boy. You may shoot if you want to.
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 »

Alternate Versions

In 1931 a shorter version with an orchestral track was released. The reissue version was reedited and shorted under Griffith's supervision, and also included sound effects. Also filmed and added to this version was a prologue featuring Griffith in conversation with actor Walter Huston, introducing the film. See more »

User Reviews

Good start but degrades into lurid melodrama
7 July 2004 | by gkbazaloSee all my reviews

I have watched this film several times over the years, and I find the second half dealing with reconstruction a little harder to watch each time. Although its racist viewpoint may have mirrored much of America in 1915, it obviously was not the only viewpoint, since America had its abolitionists in the early 1800s. Griffith endorses just about every wretched stereotype put forth by the south during and after reconstruction, namely the venality of all northerners and the baseness of all blacks who did not completely bow to whites. A good example is that the disdainful depiction of the black-run state legislature is based on a cartoon, not an actual photograph or contemporary description. Griffith's portrayal of northerners and blacks is completely from the point of view of a white southern racist. Although I greatly admire much of his work, he deserved the criticism he got for this film. Aside from the political racism, much of the second half of the film is just silly melodrama, even based on 1915 standards and other Griffith work.


83 of 139 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 362 user reviews »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more »
Edit

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 »

Edit

Box Office

Budget:

$100,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| | (video) | (DVD)

Sound Mix:

Silent

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »

Contribute to This Page



Recently Viewed