Way Down East
Way Down East (1920)

It was not until great directors of the silent era like D. W. Griffith began exploring the medium of film that its possibilities as an art form began to be taken seriously. New York's Museum of Modern Art obtained a set of prints of… More

Directed By:
Rated: Unrated
Running Time:
Release Date: September 3, 1920
DVD Release Date: September 28, 2004
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Critic Score: 94% Rotten Tomatoes™ Critic Reviews
Variety Staff

With the gathering together of a relatively small cast and less than half a dozen stellar film artists, D.W. has taken a simple, elemental, old-fashioned, bucolic melodrama and milked it for 12 reels of absorbing entertainment.

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Mark Adamo
Washington Post

What's amazing is that so much of Gish's tough, funny, intuitive performance, particularly in the film's middle section as she bears her illegitimate child, transcends time, place and technology.

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Fernando F. Croce

One of Griffith's most rousing visions of film as visual-emotional ebb and flow, connection and rupture

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Tony Rayns
Time Out

[Lillian Gish's] virtuoso performance makes the heroine's growth from gullible innocence to bitter experience credible.

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Robin Karney
Radio Times

Justly celebrated for the climactic sequence where Gish, drifting unconscious on a raft of ice in a storm, is rescued by Barthelmess, the film offers many less obvious moments that are just as memorable.

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Jeffrey M. Anderson
Combustible Celluloid

This is melodramatic soap opera at its most blatant and at its very best.

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Dave Kehr
Chicago Reader

Through his star, Lillian Gish, Griffith gives the story an emotional power that lifts this 1920 silent feature to the level of a folktale; it becomes something simple, strong, and timeless.

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Spectacular to look at, emotionally engaging and with a conclusion that still sends a shiver down the spine.

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Paul Brenner

If you are not moved at the scene of Gish baptizing her dead baby, then you should check the obituaries of your local paper to see if you are listed.

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More reviews for Way Down East

Flixster Audience Score: 69% Flixster User Reviews
Aj V
This was a pretty good movie. It has an interesting story, it's very melodramatic and the actors do a fine job, but I didn't really care much for it.
Panta Oz
I thought that 2 h 30 minutes will be too long watching this silent romantic drama directed by D. W. Griffith and starring Lillian Gish. But this adaptation of… More
Jim Hunter
A rake seduces a woman into a sham marriage then leaves her pregnant to fend for herself. Politically and ideologically, I am diametrically opposed to D.W.… More
Drew Smith
D.W. Fucking Griffith. This idiot. An ass-backwards racist and, here, an attempted champion of women's rights who ends up being even more sexist than… More