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Birth of a Nation


Price: CDN$ 32.99 & FREE Shipping. Details
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Product Details

  • Actors: Lillian Gish, Mae Marsh, Henry B. Walthall, Miriam Cooper, Mary Alden
  • Directors: D.W. Griffith
  • Writers: D.W. Griffith, Frank E. Woods, Thomas F. Dixon Jr.
  • Producers: D.W. Griffith, H.E. Aitken
  • Format: Black & White, DVD-Video, Silent, NTSC
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: All RegionsAll Regions
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • MPAA Rating: NR
  • Studio: eOne Films
  • Release Date: Oct. 1 2002
  • Run Time: 165 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (88 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: 6305130949
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #80,361 in DVD (See Top 100 in DVD)


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Customer Reviews

3.9 out of 5 stars
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Most helpful customer reviews

4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By James Dickinson on July 9 2009
Format: DVD
One general problem with most of the DVD reviews found on Amazon is that they focus too much on the plot and background of a movie, but do NOT go into the technical details of the quality of the overall viewing experience. In the case of "public domain" films, it is the quality of the print used to transfer the movie to DVD which too often makes or breaks the enjoyment of the viewing experience. I've learned this the hard way and now have complete confidence in some studios (Kino, Legend Films, and not as much to absolutely none in others.

I shall skip the plot summary of Birth of A Nation and the controversy surrounding the movie because I am sure most people reading this are VERY familiar with it all. Instead, I'll simply say that since the price was right, I recently purchased the Alpha Video version and was VERY pleasantly surprised. The picture was sharp and clear, and there didn't appear to be much damage on the print they had used to make the movie. Clearly, someone at the studio had put his foot down to ensure that a high-quality product was produced, or perhaps they simply lucked out and found a really well-preserved copy of the film. In any event, I liked what I saw a lot. I got a hold of a copy from Kino (a studio I purchase DVDs from without a second thought)to compare the quality, and thought that the Alpha Video version was much sharper and enjoyable to watch. It is just a pity that it doesn't have all the supplementary features that comes with the Kino version.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Rebellious Fish on July 18 2004
Format: DVD
This film was one of the assigned viewings for a History of Film class. The professor specified the 180 minute version and specifically described the ending as being important to a complete analysis of the work. My bad for not checking the specifics for this edition, but be forewarned: if you want the full version, this is NOT it. This version ends with Liberation. Several other key scenes appear to have been edited out.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful By adead_poet@hotmail.com on April 15 2004
Format: DVD
I've heard a lot about Griffith's movie as being an important one in film history. So I watched it. First of all, this movie is extremely racist. Even taking in the time that Griffith lived and the setting of the Civil War, the racism still was over the top. And the movie was dull, though it did get slightly better as it went on. So what you have here is three hours of a boring movie that is extremely racist. I'm just not sure what to make of it.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Susan E. Wood on March 27 2002
Format: DVD
I show this movie, or at least the last 40 minutes of it, to students in my classes as part of our debate on artistic freedom and censorship -- because I know I can count on it to offend them. In fact, the reason I have bought a copy of the DVD is that the department's old video copy is worn out by now from the number of times it's been used in class. By every possible moral measure, this movie is incredibly offensive, with its crude racial stereotypes, its rewriting of American history to portray white Southerners as the "victims" of Blacks who claimed their political rights as voting citizens after the Civil War, and its glorification of the Ku Klux Klan. And it can't be dismissed as "just a movie," because its release had real consequences, leading to race riots, lynchings, and worst of all, the re-formation of the Klan, which had almost entirely died out before the movie was released.
And yet, as any historian of cinema can tell you, it was technically and artistically a landmark, the first movie epic, the first really ambitious effort at complex story-telling and spectacle in the new medium. Every movie epic that has been made since then owes something to this film. All of this makes for some very lively classroom discussions: should this movie still be shown to public audiences? If someone wanted to show it on this campus as part of a program on the history of cinema, would you support their right to show it, or would you protest the use of your tuition and fees for a purpose like that? Do we want to be accused of "political correctness?" Do we want to be accused of inciting to riot?
So, do I admire this movie or hate it? Well, both. That's why I split the difference between 5 stars for artistic merit and 0 stars for political irresponsibility, and averaged them out at three.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful By "unhelpful" on Sept. 29 2000
Format: DVD
I am always amused whenever critics attempt to praise this film. They have to add a proviso that they cannot approve of Griffith's disgusting attitude toward blacks (whom he would have called "negroes" or worse), and his outrageous portrayal of the KKK as the saviors and preservers of the good and the pure. The film was supposed to have been titled "The Clansman," after the ludicrous book that inspired Griffith to make The Birth of a Nation. I wonder how many of this film's praises have been sung by African-Americans? I happen to be one of the whitest men in America, and yet I believe this film should be universally reviled - not banned but despised.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Rob Larmer on July 5 2007
Format: DVD
The Birth of a Nation was a film I didn't watch due to the controversy, but rather because of its age and my desire to view the roots of cinema. I was initially quite shocked by the level of racism, but eventually put my views aside in order to appreciate the camera, plot and style. I can honestly say that The Birth of a Nation has given birth to cinema as an artistic medium.

The style in which The Birth of a Nation is told may not appear to be anything special at first, but it was unheard of at its time. Griffith pioneered a style that has had a heavy influence on modern filmmaking from Mel Gibson's epics to Martin Scorsese's crime dramas.

Like Eisenstein and Chaplin, Griffith has earned his place as one of the founding fathers of cinema, and despite its racism I can respect The Birth of a Nation as an influential and important film.

9/10 for its influence and execution of plot.
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