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English   Country: USA   Year: 1916



D.W. Griffith


Spottiswoode Aitken; Mary Alden; Frank Bennett




Four stories span 2000 years illustrating intolerance and its disasterous effects. Black & White. Silent.


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User Reviews


(Average=4.36 out of 5; Total Number=14)

Epic Landmark (rating=5)

I must admit that I was intimidated by "Intolerance" before sitting down to watch it. I knew it was an early silent movie (1916) consisting of four different stories. I knew that the three hour running time would be spent intercutting between these four stories. Would I be able to keep up with all four stories? Would I be able to tell the different characters apart in the grainy black and white (with color-tinting)?

After watching it, I have a whole new appreciation for D.W. Griffith. Yes, I was able to tell the characters apart, and yes, I was able to keep up with all the storylines. This film was a giant leap forward in filmmaking from Griffith's previous film, "The Birth of a Nation." The most impressive story of the film is the fall of Babylon. The sets were magnificent, and the battle scenes were spectacular. Constance Talmadge was wonderful as the Mountain Girl. The modern story was entertaining and moving. The French and Judean stories were very underdeveloped, but that really didn't bother me.

Anyone with an interest in silent movies or film history must see this film.

Better Than Griffith's Other Classic (rating=4)

Intolerance is a complicated picture. For the first hour I'll admit to being completely at a loss. Griffith throws four stories at the audience with dozens and dozens of characters and expects us to follow it. He doesn't slow down to explain. He's like a really bad teacher who expects you to do all the work alone. So I'm trying to understand whether Mae Marsh's admirer is a good or bad guy (It's always one of the other in a Griffith movie). Though he requests to be left into her room and sex of any kind is usually an act of the villian in Griffith's pictures, I came to the conclusion that he was on the good side. I'm questioning whether the old woman who laments her lost youth is a hero or villian. Villian! Or whether the "effeminate" character will have much of a role. He didn't. I don't know why he was even introduced. While trying to figure out all these characters I was incessantly rocked by Lillian Gish and her never stopping cradle. Which story was she part of? Surely Gish, usually the heroine, will have a bigger part in one of the stories. She didn't.

And yet somehow, through all this confusion, the movie comes together in the second act and works. It's climax is brilliantly sustained. The old cliche of saving the innocent man from being murdered is used here and surprisingly manages to find some suspense. The Babylonian scenes are saved by the enchanting mountain girl whose death is tragic in its symbolism. The other stories, in France and Judea, are quickly passed over. The Judaen conclusion ends with Christ's crucifixion in a very far shot. We can't see anything Mr. Griffith.

Confusion aside, once this film starts to work, it works brilliantly. Griffith was a master of sustained tension if nothing else. Watch out for the knives over the string that will release the noose on the hangman! I was surprised I got so involved in a silent, especially after watching Griffith's Birth of a Nation which really only succeeds now, as a historical document.

DVD comes with an option to watch the four stories individually. May be of use to the easily confused, such as myself.

The History Of The World Recreated By A Genius!! Brilliance! (rating=5)

This is indeed the most powerful film I have ever seen. No other film since has matched this one in its power and accuracy. Though some parts are indeed imaginery, the whole thing is accurate to the last detail. D.W Griffith was a master of recreating history and he shows the powerful portrayals of Babylon (the largest set in history and the most impressive indeed), the Cruxification of Our Lord Jesus Christ, the Massacres, the Revolutions... and all tied together with the simple and divine image of the Virgin Mary (played beautifully by Lillian Gish) rocking the cradle of Our Lord. I swear, if anyone found fault with this movie, I'd be highly offended and shocked. This movie is just brilliant and has very few faults in it. Imagine a director in 1915 creating a film of such scope and power and moral, it is truly a feat! No film director ever has portrayed the same power and moral and beauty as D.W. Griffith. I just sat through the whole film (4 hours of it) and I didn't even eat or sleep or drink, it was totally mind consuming and I enjoyed it totally!! :-D If D.W. Griffith were alive today, sure he would be rioted against for his views on race, but I think he would be regarded as the one who recreated God's beautiful Earthly history. It is truly a powerful film with a wonderful message, that out of all times of horror and strife, there is but one person to turn to for divine intervention, Our God himself. Bravo D.W. Griffith! I know God is proud of the work you did!


AfterBirth of a Nation, what do you do for an encore, especially after said film has branded you a racist? D.W. Griffith, the silent era's "king of the world," mounted this melodramatic spectacle of "Love's Struggle Throughout the Ages," four stories that illustrate "how hatred and intolerance have battled against love and charity." Critic Heywood Broun, upon the film's release, probably said it best: "Quite the most marvelous thing which has been put on the screen, but as a theory of life it is trite." But what's on the screen is dazzling!

Griffith interweaves the four parallel stories set, respectively, in the modern era (fuddy-duddy reformers and a workers' strike), Jerusalem (Christ's crucifixion), 1572 Paris (a "hotbed" of persecution against the Huguenots), and ancient Babylon. No collection of silent films is complete without this landmark, awe-inspiring epic, which really does boast a cast of thousands (the most memorable of which is Constance Talmadge as the spunky Mountain Girl). The fall of Babylon ranks with one of the great action set pieces, complete with racing chariots, a nifty decapitation (at the hands of Elmo Lincoln, the man who would be Tarzan), and falls from what appear to be incredible heights. The edge-of-your-seat climax to the modern story, a race against time to save an innocent young man from the electric chair, is another bravura sequence.--Donald Liebenson