The Birth of a Nation

1915 NR 3h 7m DVD

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The Birth of a Nation

1915 NR 3h 7m DVD
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  • Cast
The fates of two families intertwine in this controversial silent drama, a period saga that recounts the genesis of the U.S. Civil War, the destruction it wrought upon the populace and the ascent of the Ku Klux Klan in the war's aftermath.
Full Screen 1.33:1
English: Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo
NR - Not rated. This movie has not been rated by the MPAA.
age 15+
Common Sense rating OK for kids 15+
  • Lillian Gish
  • Mae Marsh
  • Henry B. Walthall
  • Miriam Cooper
  • Mary Alden
  • Ralph Lewis
  • George Siegmann
  • Walter Long
  • Robert Harron
  • Elmer Clifton
  • Josephine Cromwell
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age 15+

Common Sense Note

Parents need to know that the 1915 film The Birth of a Nation is a landmark in cinema history, yet it contains some of the most disturbingly racist images ever filmed. Since the moment of its opening, the movie has been continuously protested and defended. It depicts the Civil War, and as such contains some battle scenes, though nothing overtly gory or bloody. We see the shooting of Abraham Lincoln. A black slave tries to attack a white woman, and she runs, leading to her accidental death. It also depicts drinking and drunkenness, mostly by the African-American characters. It's unlikely that today's teens will be as powerfully influenced by this film as audiences were nearly 100 years ago, but strong caution -- and post-movie discussions -- are advised.

Sexual Content

Some mild romantic longings, embraces, etc.


Civil War battles with charging, shooting, smoke, chaos, and death, but no blood or gore. Abraham Lincoln is assassinated. A black slave aggressively pursues a white woman, chasing her through the woods. Rather than be captured or attacked, the woman chooses to jump to her death over a cliff. Another woman is held hostage.


Not applicable

Social Behavior

There is evidence of teamwork and rising to meet challenges in this movie, but the reasons are based on hatred, bigotry, and revenge.


Not applicable

Drugs / Tobacco / Alcohol

The new black members of the Southern legislature are shown drinking on the job; their drunkenness is portrayed partly humorously, but partly for outrage. Another black character is portayed as an angry drunk.

  • Age appropriate
  • Not an issue
  • Depends on your child and your family
  • Parents strongly cautioned
  • Not appropriate for kids of the age

This information for parents is provided by Common Sense Media, a non-profit organization dedicated to improving kids' media lives.

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