The Birth of a Nation

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The Birth of a Nation

Movie poster
Directed by D. W. Griffith
Produced by D. W. Griffith, Harry Aitken[1]
Written by D. W. Griffith, T. F. Dixon, Jr.
Frank E. Woods
Starring Lillian Gish
Mae Marsh
Henry B. Walthall
Miriam Cooper
Ralph Lewis
George Siegmann
Music by Joseph Carl Breil
Cinematography G.W. Bitzer
Editing by D. W. Griffith
Studio David W. Griffith Corp.
Distributed by Epoch Producing Co.
Release date(s) February 8, 1915 (1915-02-08)
Running time 190 minutes (at 16 frame/s)
Country United States
Language Silent film
English intertitles

The Birth of a Nation is a 1915 silent movie. It was directed by D. W. Griffith. It was based on the book The Clansman by Thomas Dixon, Jr. It stars Lillian Gish.

The movie is about two families during the American Civil War and the Reconstruction era. The Northern Stoneman family is pro-Union. The Southern Cameron family is pro-Confederacy. The assassination of President Abraham Lincoln by John Wilkes Booth is dramatized.

The movie was a great success. It was very controversial though. It showed African American men (played by white actors in blackface) as stupid and sexually aggressive towards white women. It also showed the Ku Klux Klan as a heroic force.[2] There were protests.[3] The movie was banned in several cities. The outcry of racism was great.[4]

The movie is also credited in part with the formation of the "second era" Ku Klux Klan the same year. The Birth of a Nation was used as a recruiting tool for the KKK.[5] In 1915, it was the first movie to be shown at the White House.[6][7]

References[change | edit source]