The Birth of a Nation
The Birth of a Nation (1915)

The most successful and artistically advanced film of its time, The Birth of a Nation has also sparked protests, riots, and divisiveness since its first release. The film tells the story of the Civil War and its aftermath, as seen through… More

Directed By:
Rated: G
Running Time:
Release Date: March 3, 1915
DVD Release Date: June 29, 2004
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Critic Score: 100% Rotten Tomatoes™ Critic Reviews

Consensus: Racial depictions aside, The Birth of a Nation is a landmark film whose achievements and pioneering techniques remain fully relevant today.

Richard Brody
New Yorker

Problematically, Birth of a Nation wasn't just a seminal commercial spectacle but also a decisively original work of art -- in effect, the founding work of cinematic realism, albeit a work that was developed to pass lies off as reality.

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New York Times

The civil war battle pictures, taken in panorama, represent enormous effort and achieve a striking degree of success.

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Jeffrey M. Anderson
Common Sense Media

D.W. Griffith's The Birth of a Nation is as much a part of film history as the Civil War is a part of American history.

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Variety Staff

Birth of a Nation is a great epoch in picture making; it's great for pictures and it's great for the name and fame of David Wark Griffith. When a man like Griffith in a new field can do what he has done, he may as well be hailed while he is living.

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Time Out

The biggest challenge the film provided for its audiences is perhaps to decide when 'ground-breaking, dedicated, serious cinematic art' must be reviled as politically reprehensible.

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Derek Malcolm

The quasi-Victorian Griffith was in so many respects way ahead of his time even if his philosophy and mind-set could often be said to be behind it.

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Dave Kehr
Chicago Reader

Griffith's later films are unquestionably superior. But here, in a very real sense, is where the movies began, both as an art and as a business.

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Roger Ebert
Chicago Sun-Times

It is an unavoidable fact of American movie history, and must be dealt with.

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Philip Kemp
Total Film

A towering milestone in the history of cinema. Asentimentalised, reactionary slab of racism. Can a film be both? In the case of D.W. Griffith's silent-era classic The Birth Of A Nation, unfortunately it can.

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More reviews for The Birth of a Nation

Flixster Audience Score: 56% Flixster User Reviews
Carlos Magalh„es
It was definitely innovative in many ways when it came out and still delivers a timeless anti-war message, but it is nearly impossible to read "the… More
William Dunmyer
Who needs Adolf Hitler when you've got D.W. Griffith? After 20 odd years of suspicious curiosity, I finally put three hours aside to watch America's… More
jay nixon
Considering the age and the state of film making when this was made this is an awesome achievement. However it is so wildly and insultingly racist, and its… More
Tim Salmons
Now we come to a film where one really has to grapple internally with how to rate it. After seeing something like this, you think to yourself 'do I give it… More
Kristijonas Fussman
Ignore the five star rating I gave to "The Birth of a Nation" and let's not even discuss it, for ratings are wholly irrelevant in the context of… More
Derek Daniels
Divided into two parts, the first part of the film concerns the path of the Civil War and then into the second part, which follows Reconstruction when the… More