AFI Catalog of Feature Films
Movie Detail
Name Occurs Before Title Offscreen Credit Print Viewed By AFI
The Birth of a Nation
Alternate Title: The Clansman
Director: D. W. Griffith () (Prod under the personal direction of)
Release Date:   8 Feb 1915
Duration (in reels):   12
Print this page
Display Movie Summary

Available Formats
Facets DVD VHS LaserDisk
Image DVD VHS LaserDisk
Kino DVD VHS LaserDisk
Movies Unlimited DVD VHS LaserDisk
Nostalgia Family Video DVD VHS LaserDisk

Cast:   Lillian Gish (Elsie, Stoneman's daughter)  
    Mae Marsh (Flora Cameron, the pet sister)  
    Henry Walthall (Col. Ben Cameron)  
    Miriam Cooper (Margaret Cameron, 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)  
    Walter Long (Gus, a renegade negro)  
    Wallace Reid (Jeff, the blacksmith)  
    Jos. Henabery (Abraham Lincoln)  
    Elmer Clifton (Phil, Stoneman's elder son)  
    Josephine Crowell (Mrs. Cameron)  
    Spottiswoode Aitken (Dr. Cameron)  
    J. A. Beringer (Wade Cameron, second son)  
    Maxfield Stanley (Duke Cameron, youngest son)  
    Jennie Lee (Mammy, the faithful servant)  
    Donald Crisp (Gen. U.S. Grant)  
    Howard Gaye (Gen. Robert E. Lee)  
    Raoul Walsh (John Wilkes Booth)  
    Sam de Grasse (Charles Sumner)  
    William DeVaull (Nelse)  
    William Freeman (Jake)  
    Thomas Wilson (Stoneman's servant)  
    Fred Burns    
    Allan Sears    
    Elmo Lincoln    

Summary: Many years after Africans are brought in chains to America, the nineteenth century abolitionists demand that the Africans' descendants be freed. Phil and Tod Stoneman, sons of abolitionist leader and congressman Austin Stoneman, visit Phil's school friend, Ben Cameron, and his family in Piedmont, South Carolina. Phil courts Ben's sister Margaret, while Tod and Ben's young brother Duke become friends. When President Abraham Lincoln calls for volunteers, Phil and Tod return, but first, Ben playfully steals Phil's locket which contains a portrait of Phil's sister Elsie. During the war, Duke and Tod die in each others' arms. Northern guerrillas raid Piedmont and devastate the Cameron home. After Atlanta is burned and General Sherman marches to the sea, Ben, leading an heroic, but unsuccessful counterattack against General Grant's campaign on Petersburg, is wounded and rescued by Phil. At a Washington hospital, Ben meets Elsie, now a nurse. Ben's mother visits and successfully pleads to Lincoln for Ben's pardon from an unfounded charge. After Lee's surrender and Lincoln's assassination, Stoneman assumes great power in Congress. He sends his protégé, the mulatto Silas Lynch, to Piedmont, where the whites are disenfranchised. Lynch is elected lieutenant governor, and illiterate blacks gain control of the legislature and courts. To oversee Lynch's progress, Stoneman travels to Piedmont with Phil and Elsie. Ben and Elsie become engaged, but Margaret, prideful over the South's loss, is cold to Phil. To respond to the injustice which he feels, Ben forms the Ku Klux Klan. When Elsie learns that Ben is a clansman, she breaks their engagement. After Gus, a black soldier who becomes one of Lynch's followers, finds Flora, Ben's youngest sister, alone in the woods, he asks her to marry him. She runs in fright, and jumps off a cliff because she thinks that Gus will rape her. After she dies in Ben's arms, Gus is captured and hanged by the Klan. Dr. Cameron is arrested for having Klan costumes in his house, and although Phil and the Cameron's black servants rescue him, they become entrapped, with Margaret and Mrs. Cameron, in a country cabin. As black militia troops invade the streets of Piedmont, Lynch asks Elsie to be the queen of his black empire. Repelled, Elsie barely fends off Lynch. Her father arrives and is also horrified by Lynch's proposal, but he is powerless to prevent a forced marriage. After Ben leads the Klan's ride to rescue Elsie and Stoneman--and afterward, the Camerons--the blacks are disenfranchised. Margaret and Phil honeymoon with Ben and Elsie. In an allegorical epilogue the millenium is depicted wherein Christ's resurrection binds nations with brotherhood and love. 

Production Company: David W. Griffith Corp.  
Production Text: Griffith Feature Films
Distribution Company: Epoch Producing Corp.  
Director: D. W. Griffith (Prod under the personal direction of)
  Thomas E. O'Brien (Asst dir)
  George Andre Beranger (Asst dir)
Producer: D. W. Griffith (Prod)
Writer: D. W. Griffith (Story arr by)
  Frank E. Woods (Scen)
Photography: G. W. Bitzer (Photog)
Costumes: Goldstein Co., Los Angeles (Cost)
Music: Joseph Carl Breil (Mus accompaniment comp)
Country: United States
Language: English

Music:
Songs:
Source Text: Based on the novel The Clansman: An Historical Romance of the Ku Klux Klan by Thomas Dixon (New York, 1905) and his play of the same name (New York, 8 Jan 1906).
Authors: Thomas Dixon

Copyright Claimant Copyright Date Copyright Number
Epoch Producing Corp. and Thomas Dixon 8/2/1915 dd/mm/yyyy LP6677
David W. Griffith Corp. 13/2/1915 dd/mm/yyyy LU4453

Physical Properties: b&w:
  Si:

 
Genre: Drama
  Drama
Sub-Genre: Civil War
  Historical
 
Subjects (Major): Abolitionists
  African Americans
  African Americans--Mixed blood
  Carpetbaggers
  Friendship
  Ku Klux Klan
  Lynching
  Miscegenation
  Piedmont (SC)
  Rape
  Rescues
  Southerners
  United States--History--Civil War, 1861-1865
  United States--History--Reconstruction, 1865-1898
 
Subjects (Minor): Assassination
  Atlanta (GA)
  Brothers and sisters
  Brothers
  Combat
  Falls from heights
  Fathers and daughters
  Ulysses S. Grant
  Honeymoons
  Hospitals
  Jesus Christ
  Jewelry
  Literacy
  Robert E. Lee
  Abraham Lincoln
  Marriage--Forced
  Military service, Voluntary
  Mothers and sons
  Nurses
  Pardons
  Petersburg (VA)
  Physicians
  Servants
  William Tecumseh Sherman
  Slavery
  Soldiers
  Suicide
  United States. Congress
  United States. National Guard
  War injuries
  Washington (D.C.)

Note: [Onscreen credits were taken from a 1921 reissue print of the film.] The opening title card reads, "Griffith Feature Films produced exclusively by D. W. Griffith," followed by a title card that bears the following written statement below "DG," Griffith's trademark: "This is the trade mark of the Griffith feature films. All pictures made under the personal direction of D. W. Griffith have the name 'Griffith' in the border line, with the initials 'DG' at bottom of captions. There is no exception to this rule. DW Griffith." Another written statement appears after the production 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 conceded to the art of the written word--that art to which we owe the Bible and the works of Shakespeare." Prior to the film's action, the following written prologue appears: "If in this work we have conveyed to the mind the ravages of war to the end that war may be held in abhorrence , this effort will not have been in vain."
       The David W. Griffith Corp. copyrighted the film under the title The Birth of the Nation: Or The Clansman . According to modern sources, in addition to having Dixon's The Clansman as its literary source, the film also used material from Dixon's novel The Leopard's Spots (New York, 1902). Modern sources indicate that the film previewed in Riverside, CA on 1-2 Jan 1915 under the title The Clansman . The film was produced by the David W. Griffith Corp. under the auspices of the Majestic Motion Picture Co. It was financed by D. W. Griffith and Harry E. Aitken representing various investors. According to contemporary sources, the film opened under the title The Clansman in Los Angeles on 8 Feb 1915. Showings in Los Angeles later in the year retained that title. The film received a preview showing in New York on 1 Mar 1915, and had its premiere under the title The Birth of a Nation [which was on the viewed print] on 3 Mar 1915 in New York at the Liberty Theatre. The top ticket prices there were $2. On opening night, after the first act, Thomas Dixon appeared on stage and introduced D. W. Griffith to the audience. According to a letter dated 3 Mar 1915 in the NAACP Papers, African Americans were not allowed into the theater for the performance, but the organization hoped to get in at least two "very fair colored people."
       A NYDM news item relates that the film was shown to President Woodrow Wilson in the East Room of the White House in Feb 1915, and that Griffith came from the West Coast especially to attend to the details of the presentation. Modern sources reveal that the date of the White House showing was 18 Feb 1915, that it was arranged to comply with the request of author Thomas Dixon, who knew Wilson from college, and that in addition to President Wilson, members of his cabinet and staff and their families attended the screening. Wilson reportedly commented about the film, "It is like writing history with lightning, and my only regret is that it is all so terribly true." The next night, according to modern sources, the film was shown to an invited audience in Washington, including Chief Justice Edward White and members of Congress.
       The following information regarding protests against the film by the NAACP and others is taken from information in the NAACP Papers at the Library of Congress and from news stories: Prior to the first showings of the film in Los Angeles, a committee consisting of members of the L.A. branch of the NAACP, the Ministers' Alliance and a local organization called the Forum, were given a screening on 29 Jan 1915, as arranged by the local censor board. The group filed a protest with the censor board, which passed the film nonetheless, after which the local branch of the NAACP appealed to the mayor and chief of police, but both said that the censor board had jurisdiction. The NAACP subsequently registered a protest with the L.A. City Council urging that the film not be shown in the city. They stated that the film made "an appeal to violence and outrage" and was designed to "excuse the lynchings and other deeds of violence committed against the Negro and to make him in the public mind a hideous monster." They cited some specific scenes they objected to, including one that was subsequently cut from the film: "The little black boy who typified slavery at the abolitionist meeting, is taken in the arms of a saintly and very portly Puritan woman; but she drops him very suddenly and decisively and displays her disgust at his offensive odor by holding her nose and turning her head." They complained, "The Negro is made to look hideous and is invested with most repulsive habits and depraved passions."
       The secretary of the local group, E. Burton Ceruti, however, praised the film's artistic merits in a letter to NAACP national secretary May Childs Nerney, stating, "it is a masterpiece ... and, from an artistic point of view, the finest thing of its kind I have ever witnessed." By late Feb, Nerney had succeeded in getting the support of the chairman of the National Board of Censorship's executive committee, Frederick C. Howe, and his wife. After the Board approved the film, Howe requested that the Board's General Committee review it. According to W. D. McGuire, Jr., the executive director of the Board, they viewed the film on 1 Mar 1915 and decided that certain changes should be made; McGuire wrote that they met with officers and owners of Epoch Producing Corp., who "at once offered to modify certain scenes." The General Committee met again on 12 Mar and voted 12-9 to pass the film with the requirement that two additional changes be made, and the producers agreed. (Nerney reported that after the vote, the committee members "cheered the author [i.e. D. W. Griffith] when he came into the room.")
       Following the Board's decision, a number of members resigned, including Howe. According to Nerney, the two most objectionable parts, the "attack of a colored man upon a white girl ending in his lynching, and the attempt of a mulatto leader of the blacks who had been educated by a white Northern man, to force the latter's daughter to marry him," remained in the film. A letter dated 13 Apr 1915 lists deletions that were made for showings in New York. In Part I, only "The smell incident" (the scene mentioned above taking place during the abolitionist meeting) was the only cut. In Part II, the letter continues, the deletions were, "The beating of a little white child in the presence of her mother by an old colored man who meets them on the street and who is annoyed because the child accidentally gets in his path. The showing of the dead body of 'Gus' after his murder by the Ku Klux Klan. A saloon brawl showing most degraded types of Negroes in a drunken fight. The incident in the South Carolina Legislature where a colored member takes off his shoes." (A number of these scenes are in surviving prints of the film.) In addition, the letter lists the scenes in Part II that were modified: "The incident of the Southern Colonel's refusal to shake hands with the mulatto politician in the North which is cut short. When 'Gus' approaches the white girl whom he afterwards pursues he originally said, 'Missy, I'm a captain now.' This has been changed to 'Missy, I'm a captain now and I will marry -' At the beginning of the second part a new legend has been introduced reading, 'This is an historical presentation of Reconstruction and is not meant to reflect upon any race or people of today.'
       An expansion of this sentiment is also introduced in a long legend which is run at the beginning of the performance inviting censorship. The two rape scenes have not been omitted though the first one has been shortened." The added set of introductory titles, called "A Plea for the Art of the Motion Picture," was signed by Griffith. Correspondence from Sep 1915 indicates that scenes had been inserted at the end of the film "purporting to show the advance of Negroes since the War"; these scenes showed Hampton Institute and other African-American schools. According to a letter dated 20 Sep 1915, "There was so much criticism of Hampton having lent its name that the Secretary was sent to New York to see what could be done to have these pictures cut out." A letter to a Buffalo newspaper in Feb 1916 states that the Hampton Institute scenes received the heartiest applause at a screening.
       The NAACP got the support of a number of influential people to try to get the film banned, including social reformers Lilian D. Ward, Jane Addams and Rabbi Stephen S. Wise. In addition, they tried to get financier Otto Kahn to influence his brother Felix, who had invested money in the Mutual Motion Picture Corp. Addams wrote about the film, "it appeals to race prejudice upon the basis of conditions of half a century ago, which have nothing to do with the facts we have to consider today. It is both unjust and untrue. The producer seems to have followed the principle of gathering the most vicious and grotesque individuals he could find among colored people, and showing them as representatives of the truth about the entire race. The same method could be followed to smirch the reputation of any race."
       In an article dated 13 May 1915, The Congregationalist and Christian World describes a visit that author Thomas Dixon paid to the newspaper's offices the day before the first showing of the film in Boston. When asked what he hoped to accomplish with the film, Dixon "expressed his desire to teach his version of the Reconstruction Period and urged at considerable length the virtues of the Ku Klux Klan.... He further emphasized his desire to create a feeling of abhorrence for colored men in the hearts of white people, especially white women, in order to stop intermarriage.... Finally, Mr. Dixon proceeded from the inference of white supremacy to argue his desire to secure the removal of all the Negroes from the United States. In order to strengthen his argument he quoted from President Lincoln, who in the last days of the war advocated colonization schemes for the ignorant slaves recently enfranchised and those about to be discharged from the Union Army."
       On 24 Apr 1916, the Chicago American reported a murder that occurred following a showing of the film in Lafayette, IN. After seeing the film, Henry Brocj, who had arrived from Kentucky five weeks earlier, "walked out on the main street of the city and fired 3 bullets into the body of Edward Manson, a Negro high school student, 15 years old. The boy died tonight. There was no provocation for the tragedy and Brocj is in jail under a charge of murder." No further information regarding the crime has been located.
       According to documents in the NAACP Papers, from the time of the film's first release until the end of 1931, the following governmental actions were taken either to ban the film or to cut it; some of these actions pertained to re-issues of the film, including the 1930 version with an added soundtrack: In Alaska, on 8 Oct 1918, the mayor of Juneau stopped the showing of the film; in California, in Jun 1921, the film was taken off the market, and in 1922, it was prohibited from exhibition by an ordinance passed by the City Council of Sacramento; in Connecticut, in Dec 1915 in New Haven, substantial cuts were made, on 21 Aug 1924, the exhibition of the film was canceled in New Britain, and in Mar 1925, the mayor of Hartford ordered two theaters to show another picture instead; in Illinois, on 15 May 1915, the mayor of Chicago refused to permit a license for the film; in Indiana, in Sep 1915, the film was banned in Gary; in Kansas, in Jan 1916, the film was banned; in Kentucky, on 20 Nov 1918, the mayor of Louisville stopped the exhibition of the film using an executive order; in Massachusetts, in 1915 in Boston, the rape scene involving "Gus" was nearly all cut out, in May 1921, the mayor of Boston suspended the license of a theater owner who planned to show the film, and in Jul 1924, in West Newton, the mayor made a request to a theater not to show the film; in Michigan, on 14 Feb 1931, the mayor of Detroit issued an order prohibiting the film's exhibition; in Minnesota, in Aug 1921, the mayor of Minneapolis refused to allow its exhibition, and on 30 Dec 1930, the City Council of St. Paul passed a resolution ordering the chief of police to stop the film's exhibition; in Nebraska, on 30 Mar 1931, the mayor of Omaha prohibited the showing of the film; in New Jersey, on 15 Dec 1923, the film was withdrawn in Camden, in Jul 1924, the Board of Commissioners of Montclair passed a resolution directing that the film not be shown, in Nov 1931, officials in Roselle deleted portions of the film, and on 4 Sep 1931, the deputy director of public safety in Jersey City forbid a theater from continuing to exhibit the film; in New York, on 13 Oct 1931, the mayor of Glen Cove, Long Island stopped the showing of the film; in Ohio, in Oct 1916, the film was banned, on 2 Jun 1925, the Supreme Court refused to license the film in the state, and on 4 Mar 1926, the attorney general ruled that the Ku Klux Klan could not show the film privately; in Oregon, in Mar 1931, the city council of Portland prohibited the showing; in Pennsylvania, on 2 Sep 1931, the mayor of Philadelphia ordered the film barred from the screen; in Rhode Island, in Sep 1915, the police commissioner of Providence refused to give the producers a license to show the film; and in West Virginia, in Feb 1919, the legislature passed a bill barring the film from the state. Many of these actions came in response to protests organized by local branches of the NAACP, which also organized protests in other jurisdictions. Protests also occurred in the cities of Morristown, NJ, Norfolk, VA, Springfield, IL, Vancouver, Canada, Atlanta, Atlantic City, Baltimore, Cleveland, Dallas, Milwaukee, Nashville, Pittsburgh, St. Louis, San Francisco, Spokane and Toronto.
       When the film was re-issued in May 1921 in New York, two black ex-servicemen and three black women who served in France as canteen workers were arrested for distributing a circular put out by the NAACP called "Stop the KKK Propaganda in New York." The protesters carried signs reading, "We represented America in France, why should The Birth of a Nation misrepresent us here?" They were charged with violating a city ordinance prohibiting the distribution of hand bills, circulars, or other advertising materials. The NAACP appealed a guilty verdict to make it a test case on whether "educational material" could be distributed in public in New York City, and on 3 Nov 1921, Judge Alfred Talley of the Court of General Sessions ruled in their favor, stating that the ordinance was designed to prevent littering of advertising matter. After the arrests, D. W. Griffith issued the following statement, which was quoted in NYT : "It is a source of regret to me that poorly advised people are endeavoring to stir up animosity against The Birth of a Nation . The opposition is misguided, and was misguided and laid away many years ago. The leading villain in the story is a white man, who leads a misguided following into conflicts which do not reflect upon the negro. If there were the slightest ground for protest against the film it seems to me that white men would have more claim to it than negroes."
       The film was revived again in New York for one week beginning 4 Dec 1922. At that time, the NAACP protested to the Motion Picture Commission of the State of New York, stating, "it is our firm belief that it is being reproduced in New York City again as a part of the campaign of the Ku Klux Klan to recruit members. Much color is lent to this statement by reason of the announcements made in today's New York papers coming from the Rev. Dr. Oscar Haywood, admittedly a national organizer for the Klan to inaugurate during this week a drive for membership in New York City." The Motion Picture Commission voted to disregard the complaint. New York World reported that at the first night, the "audience seemed to be composed largely of modern Klansmen, to judge by the cheers every time a Clansman appeared on the screen."
       During this period, W. E. B. Du Bois, Director of Publications and Research for NAACP, sent a memo to Walter White, the organization's assistant secretary of the NAACP, concerning their fight to get the film banned, which he wrote "illustrates the peculiar contradictions into which the Negro problem often forces this organization," as the NAACP "stands for liberty: physical liberty, political liberty, and particularly liberty in artistic expression." After documenting that the number of lynchings of blacks per year, from 1915 until 1922, was greater than one per week, and that, "The chief alleged excuse for this lynching was the attacks upon white women by colored men," he reasoned, regarding liberty in artistic expression, that The Birth of a Nation presented "a special case. A new art was used, deliberately, to slander and vilify a race. There was no chance to reply. We had neither the money nor the influence.... What were we to do? We decided to try to make the authorities stop the picture on the ground that it was a public menace; that it was not art, but vicious propaganda." He ended the memo with the statement, "We are aware now as then that it is dangerous to limit expression, and yet, without some limitations civilization could not endure."
       The stand that the NAACP took in trying to get the film banned was criticized by the American Civil Liberties Union. In a letter dated 25 Apr 1939, Director Roger N. Baldwin wrote to Walter White, now Executive Secretary of the NAACP, that efforts to ban the film "are inevitably a boomerang. The precedent established will work against films favorable to Negroes, opposed by the other side.... Of course there can be no objection to protests to motion picture distributors nor to picketing. But when appeal is made to the public authorities to take action, it crosses the line of legitimate pressure, and invades the field of censorship." In a letter dated 5 May 1939, Baldwin argued, "public officials should not use their discretion in permitting or banning films because of their content. If one film can be banned on that ground, any film can be." In a letter dated 17 Jun 1939, Baldwin wrote, "Any exception from the general principles of freedom for all forms of expression opens the door to official censorship." He asked White, "Can't your Board of Directors be persuaded to take a line drawing that distinction?"
       The issue was brought up again in 1950 when the film was revived again and picketed again at a New York theater. In a letter dated 19 May 1950, Thurgood Marshall, chief of the legal-defense section of NAACP, wrote to Roy Wilkins, editor of the organization's journal The Crisis , "As I understand it, we are opposed to southern cities and states banning pictures which place the Negro in a favorable light. Do we continue to take that position and at the same time take the position that pictures such as Birth of a Nation should be censured by governmental authorities? You will note that this question does not in any wise interfere with the question of picketing such pictures as the Birth of a Nation which we have always done and which I am thoroughly in favor of. When we get to the question of governmental censorship, we get into an awfully tough problem. At any rate, I think it should be passed on by the Committee on Administration."
       In late 1932, Walter White met with William H. Short, Director of the Motion Picture Research Council to discuss the Payne Fund Studies, a psychological survey Short's organization had undertaken to gather and assess information on "attitudes as affected by motion pictures." In a memo about the meeting, White noted that the study had determined that The Birth of a Nation "produced an increase in unfavorable attitude toward the negro among the children examined." Short expressed the hope that evidence from the study could be used in the NAACP's fight to have the film banned, but no indication that the study's findings were actually used by NAACP has been located.
       The original programs and reviews list George Andre Beranger as J. A. Beringer, the character of "Mammy" as "Cyndy," and actor John French as the character "Duke Cameron." Wallace Reid's name was spelled "Reed" in original programs and reviews. Some programs and reviews omit the character "Nelse" and list William De Vaull as the character "Jake." A news item credits scenarist Frank E. Woods with "intricate work in assembling in the cutting room." A broadsheet notes that G.A.R. vets who took part in the battle at Petersburg, VA assisted Griffith in laying out trenches. Listings in the MPSD credit J. A. Barry as executive and producing assistant to Griffith, and Henry I. McMahon as press representative.
       According to a news item in Feb 1916, Southern Amusement Corp. sued Epoch Producing Corp. in the Supreme Court for $500,000 because, they claimed, on 6 May 1906 Thomas Dixon gave them the sole dramatic rights to The Clansman . No additional information has been located concerning this suit. According to the 21 Oct 1916 MPSD , Samuel De Vall, who worked in films as a superintendent of art departments and technical director, and F. B. Good, a cinematographer, worked in some capacity on this film. In Jan 1938, the Washington Herald reported that the film was going to be remade in New York by D. W. Griffith, with Wallace Ford in the role of "The Little Colonel." A 13 Mar 1940 Washington Times-Herald article stated that Harry E. Aitken, president of Epoch Producing Co., was planning to remake the film with a new director, although Griffith would supervise.
       Modern sources indicate the following additional credits: Chief asst dir George Siegmann; Asst dir Monte Blue, William Christy Cabanne, Elmer Clifton, Donald Crisp, Howard Gaye, Fred Hamer, Erich von Stroheim, Herbert Sutch, Tom Wilson, Baron von Winther; Asst cam Karl Brown; Mus D. W. Griffith and Joseph Carl Briel; Film ed James and Rose Smith; Master carpenter Frank "Huck" Wortman; Spec eff "Fireworks" Wilson; Cast Violet Wilkey ( Flora Cameron as a child ), Elmo Lincoln ( White-arm Joe and eight other roles), Alberta Lee ( Mrs. Lincoln ), William Freeman ( Sentry at hospital ), Olga Grey ( Laura Keene ), Eugene Pallette ( Union soldier ), Mme. Sul-te-Wan, Erich von Stroheim, and Gibson Gowland. John Ford, in interviews, claimed that he played one of the clansmen. Modern sources note that battle scenes were shot at a location which later became the Universal studio lot, and other scenes were shot at Calexico, CA. 

Bibliographic Sources:   Date   Page
Baltimore Herald   18 Apr 1925.   
Boston Herald   15 Apr 1915.   
Boston Post   11-Apr-15   
Chicago American   24 Apr 1916.   
Chicago Sunday Tribune   16 May 1915.   
Cleveland Herald   6 Jun 1925.   
Columbus Citizen   24 Oct 1916.   
Congregationalist and Christian World   22 Apr 1915.   
Congregationalist and Christian World   13 May 1915.   
Des Moines News   11 May 1916.   
ETR   27 Jan 17   p. 559.
ETR   10 May 19   p. 1766.
Hollywood Reporter   23 Oct 1942.   
Kansas City Call   16 Jul 1938.   
Kansas City Star   7 Jun 1923.   
Michigan State News (Grand Rapids)   19 May 1921.   
Motog   20 Feb 15   p. 272.
Motog   20 Mar 15   pp. 431-32.
Motog   19 Jun 15   p. 1009.
Motog   17 Jul 15   p. 123.
MPN   2 Jan 15   p. 33.
MPN   9 Jan 15   p. 37.
MPN   30 Jan 15   p. 26.
MPN   6 Feb 15   p. 74.
MPN   13 Feb 15   p. 34.
MPN   20 Feb 15   p. 74.
MPN   13 Mar 15   pp. 49-50.
MPN   27 Mar 15   p. 32.
MPN   1 May 15   p. 57.
MPN   15 May 15   p. 51.
MPN   12 Jun 15   p. 55.
MPN   19 Jun 15   p. 57, 60
MPN   26 Jun 15   p. 56.
MPN   24 Jul 15   p. 40.
MPN   7 Aug 15   p. 56.
MPN   14 Aug 15   p. 56.
MPN   4 Sep 15   p. 37,59
MPN   11 Sep 15   p. 69.
MPN   9 Oct 15   p. 70.
MPN   6 Nov 15   p. 77.
MPN   13 Nov 15   p. 68, 69
MPN   4 Dec 15   p. 83.
MPN   11 Dec 15   p. 74.
MPN   22 Jan 16   p. 369, 370
MPN   12 Feb 16   p. 852.
MPN   26 Feb 16   p. 1153.
MPN   28 Apr 17   p. 2674.
MPW   20 Feb 15   p. 1121.
MPW   13 Mar 15   pp. 1586-87.
MPW   10 Apr 15   p. 219.
MPW   29 May 15   p. 1416.
MPW   5 Jun 15   p. 1649.
MPW   12 Jun 15   pp. 1758-59.
MPW   9 Oct 15   p. 296.
MPW   1 Apr 16   p. 120.
NYCall   13 May 1921.   
New York Post   5 Oct 1937.   
NYDM   24 Feb 15   p. 24, 33
NYDM   10 Mar 15   p. 28.
NYDM   15 Jan 1916.   p. 24.
NYDM   5 Feb 1916.   p. 26.
New York Herald Tribune   2 Dec 1954.   
New York Times   4 Mar 1915.   p. 9.
New York Times   7 May 1921.   
New York Times   9 May 1921.   
NYTr   7 May 1921.   
NYTr   17 May 1921.   
NYWorld   5 Dec 1922.   
Topeka Capital   25 Jan 1916.   
Topeka Capital   6 Dec 1923.   
Topeka Capital   12 Dec 1923.   
Topeka Capital   1 Jan 1924.   
Topeka Capital   20 Jan 1924.   
Topeka Journal   25 Jan 1916.   
Topeka Journal   26 Jan 1916.   
Topeka Journal   7 Feb 1916.   
Topeka Journal   26 Feb 1916.   
Topeka Journal   13 Mar 1916.   
Topeka Journal   16 Jun 1916.   
Topeka Journal   22 Jun 1916.   
Topeka Journal   4 Dec 1923.   
Topeka Journal   7 Mar 1951.   
Traveler   27 Apr 1915.   
Variety   12 Mar 1915.   p. 23.
Variety   3 Dec 1954.   
Variety   6 Dec 1954.   
Variety   8 Dec 1954.   
Washington Herald   4 Jan 1938.   
Washington Times-Herald   13 Mar 1940.   
Wichita Beacon   3 Dec 1923.   

Display Movie Summary
The American Film Institute is grateful to Sir Paul Getty KBE and the Sir Paul Getty KBE Estate for their dedication to the art of the moving image and their support for the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and without whose support AFI would not have been able to achieve this historical landmark in this epic scholarly endeavor.
 
Advanced Search
AFI Membership
AFI honoring the masters

© 2014 American Film Institute.
All rights reserved.
Terms of use.