Birth of a Nation (1915)

Lillian Gish, Mae Marsh
D.W. Griffith
Drama, War, Silent
This stirring Civil War drama is controversial for its depiction of the Klu Klux Klan as heroic figures, and the use of white actors to portray black characters, but it remains a groundbreaking moment in cinema history. D.W Griffith's use of panoramic long shots, iris effects, still shots, night photography, and his staging of battle scenes is still breathtaking more than a century later. The cast includes Lillian Gish (Hearts of the World, Orphans of the Storm), and Mae Marsh (Intolerance, 3 Godfathers). (BW)