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The Birth of a Nation

The Birth of a Nation, originally called The Clansman, is a 1915 American silent epic drama film directed by D. W. Griffith and starring Lillian Gish. The screenplay is adapted from the 1905 novel and play The Clansman, by Thomas Dixon Jr. Griffith co-wrote the screenplay with Frank E. Woods and produced the film with Harry Aitken.

Plot

The film consists of two parts of similar length. The first part closes with the assassination of Abraham Lincoln, after which there is an intermission. At the New York premiere, Dixon spoke on stage between the parts, reminding the audience that the dramatic version of The Clansman appeared in that venue nine years previously. "Mr. Dixon also observed that he would have allowed none but the son of a Confederate soldier to direct the film version of The Clansman."

Awards