- Actors: Lillian Gish, Mae Marsh, Henry B. Walthall, Miriam Cooper, Mary Alden
- Directors: D.W. Griffith
- Writers: D.W. Griffith, Frank E. Woods, Thomas Dixon Jr.
- Producers: D.W. Griffith, H.E. Aitken
- Format: PAL
- Language: English
- Subtitles: English
- Region: Region 2 (This DVD may not be viewable outside Europe. Read more about DVD formats.)
- Aspect Ratio: 4:3 - 1.33:1
- Number of discs: 1
- Classification: 15
- Studio: Eureka
- DVD Release Date: 2 Oct. 2000
- Run Time: 194 minutes
- Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars See all reviews (43 customer reviews)
- ASIN: B00004UF0A
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 63,946 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)
The Birth Of A Nation  [DVD]
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D.W. Griffith co-writes and directs this epic and controversial account of the American Civil War and its aftermath. It tells the story of two families, the pro-Union Stonemans from the North and the pro-Confederacy Camerons from the South, and the way in which they are both caught up in the turmoil which befalls a sleepy Deep South town when Northern Abolitionists threaten to outlaw the slave trade which has existed there for years. Things go from bad to worse when Ben Cameron (Henry B. Walthall)'s little sister dies at the hands of Gus (Walter Long), a black farmhand, and Ben dons a Ku Klux Klan mask both to avenge her death and to come to the rescue of his beloved girlfriend Elsie (Lillian Gish), who has been kidnapped by a corrupt mixed-race governor.
" It is an unavoidable fact of American movie history, and must be dealt with " --Roger Ebert
" Birth of a Nation is a great epoch in picture making " --Variety --This text refers to the Blu-ray edition.
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Top Customer Reviews
The film claims the US became a disunion when black people were brought over here....ummm whose fault was that? The production follows the lives of the southern Cameron family living in Piedmont, South Carolina and the Stoneman family of Pennsylvania. Two of the men met while at a boarding school, afterwards becoming pen pals and eventually falling in love with each other's sister. When war breaks out they find themselves in battle against each other at Gettysburg. Later the Stonemans go south after the war and must join with the Klan to regain their "Aryan Birthright" against carpetbaggers, mulattoes, and Yankee blacks who dare to want equality and interracial marriage.
Many of the stages were historical recreations and D.W. Griffith made sure you knew that with a sign. There was actually very little in dialogue. It would show you people talking, but you never knew what they said, rather the sign would explain the scene. The second half of the film was like watching by friend Sean Hannity, race baiting and outright lies. Only the Klan could have saved Piedmont from the incursion of the black man. Southern blacks fought with the Klan which contradicted their aims in the legislature where black law makers have their shows off and on the desk and drinking from bottles. They passed laws to disenfranchise white people, make white people salute them, and legalized interracial marriage...about as factual as a Trump tweet.
On the plus side Lillian Gish and Miriam Cooper were screen gems.
The film is iconic including quotes from then President Wilson. Historically it re-energized the Klan membership because "truthiness" matters more than truth to some people.
This film was on my bucket list right above hospital sex.
The beginning of the film deals with life in the old South, and much like Gone With The Wind, showed nothing of the harsh cruelty of slavery. However, this film does not bare the title 'Based on a true story' and so, as with the racist struggle at the end, with a little education, this may be judged purely in terms of cinematography. .. I simply saw it through Griffith's eyes, and could not help but give a broad smile many times at the wonderful atmosphere that the film created.
The film centres mainly around the Northern Stonemans and the Southern Camerons, and the relationship between them. The civil war presents some spectacular scenes, including the superb sequence where the eldest Cameron boy rushes forward to the front line towards the guns and rescues the Confederate flag. The horrors and tragedies of war are shocking, but spectacular. What follows is the heartbreak of loss, the surrender of General Lee, the beginning of the revenge that plagues the characters throughout the rest of the film and finally, April 14th 1865. Ford's Theatre is recreated, and one of history's greatest men is gunned down in a tragic scene.
The heroin of the film is a Northerner, played by the ravishingly beautiful Lillian Gish. Her love for the founder of the Ku Klux Klan creates an interesting situation. She condemns her lover but forgives him when the villain of the film, a mulatto named Syrus Lynch tries to force her into marriage and is rescued by our 'heroes' in white hoods.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
One of D.W. Griffith's great masterpieces of the silent movie era. There are others, but perhaps this one is the most spectacular.Published 11 months ago by artdealer
Anyone who wishes to see how the visual vocabulary of epic film-making developed should study this film. Read morePublished 16 months ago by David H. Bebbington