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* OvershadowedByControversy: Possibly the best example in film history. All of its considerable and revolutionary technical accomplishments as a film are completely dwarfed by its horrifying racism.
* SeinfeldIsUnfunny: All of its innovations have been a standard component of film grammar for one hundred years. About the only thing that is left that makes the film interesting is the content, which is shocking for its open racism and internalization of the discredited Dunning School and Lost Cause historiography.

to:

* OvershadowedByControversy: Possibly While not nearly "overshadowed," the best example film's place in cinema history as the first modern feature film history. All of its considerable and revolutionary technical accomplishments as a film are completely dwarfed is forever tainted by its horrifying racism.
unavoidable racism.
* SeinfeldIsUnfunny: All A quintessential example of its innovations have been a standard component of film grammar for one hundred years. About the only thing that is left that makes trope: the film interesting is credited with inventing a wide range of storytelling conventions that have become so mainstream that they're the content, which is shocking for its open racism and internalization fundamental building blocks of the discredited Dunning School and Lost Cause historiography.modern cinema. There's no way you can appreciate it unless you take a deep dive into very early films.



%%* ValuesDissonance: Though not to the degree one would expect, since both the film and the book it was based on were denounced by the NAACP as racist even at the time. The film follows the highly negative [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dunning_School "Dunning School"]] view of Reconstruction. That approach was very popular among white Southerners at the time, but it has been rejected by almost all historians since the 1960s.

to:

%%* * ValuesDissonance: Though not to the degree one would expect, since both the film and the book it was based on were denounced by the NAACP as racist even at the time. The film follows the highly negative [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dunning_School "Dunning School"]] view of Reconstruction. That approach was very popular among white Southerners at the time, but it has been rejected by almost all historians since the 1960s.


* CrossesTheLineTwice: This is the unintended reaction of many modern viewers. The racism is so extreme that it's ridiculous--and pretty darn funny. The ending, which has the UsefulNotes/KuKluxKlan ''intimidating black voters away from the polls'' '''is supposed to be a HappyEnding.'''

to:

* CrossesTheLineTwice: This is the unintended reaction of many modern viewers. The racism is so extreme that it's ridiculous--and pretty darn funny. The ending, which has the UsefulNotes/KuKluxKlan ''intimidating intimidating black voters away from the polls'' '''is polls is supposed to be a HappyEnding.'''



** Although this would then turn into HilariousInHindsight when you realize that the ''Superman'' radio show played a big part in the Klan's downfall, by showing how truly pathetic and ridiculous they were.



* NeverLiveItDown: This pretty much permanently tainted Creator/DWGriffith's career and legacy. His incredible revolutionary work as a technical innovator has been forgotten. Commercially, the film was a huge box-office success and it allowed Griffith to remain an independent film-maker but none of Griffith's later films (barring ''Film/WayDownEast'' and ''Film/OrphansOfTheStorm'') were as successful, and the two films he made to prove he wasn't racist, ''Film/{{Intolerance}}'' and ''Film/BrokenBlossoms'', were unsuccessful.

Added DiffLines:

* EsotericHappyEnding: The movie ends with the Ku Klux Clan intimidating black people from voting, which is only considered a happy ending from the racist viewpoint of the film.


* TrueArtIsAncient: Subverted. You'll be struggling hard to find someone who praises the movie without adding a lengthy disclaimer that they don't agree with its message. Griffith scholars generally make cases for his short films (''Film/ACornerInWheat'' and ''Film/TheMusketeersOfPigAlley'') rather than his features.


* OvershadowedByControversy: Possibly the best example in film history. All of it's considerable and revolutionary accomplishments as a film are completely dwarfed by its horrifying racism.

to:

* OvershadowedByControversy: Possibly the best example in film history. All of it's its considerable and revolutionary technical accomplishments as a film are completely dwarfed by its horrifying racism.



%%* SnarkBait


* ValuesDissonance: Though not to the degree one would expect, since both the film and the book it was based on were denounced by the NAACP as racist even at the time.
** The film follows the highly negative [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dunning_School "Dunning School"]] view of Reconstruction. That approach was very popular among white Southerners at the time, but it has been rejected by almost all historians since the 1960s.

to:

* %%* ValuesDissonance: Though not to the degree one would expect, since both the film and the book it was based on were denounced by the NAACP as racist even at the time.
**
time. The film follows the highly negative [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dunning_School "Dunning School"]] view of Reconstruction. That approach was very popular among white Southerners at the time, but it has been rejected by almost all historians since the 1960s.


* MomentOfAwesome: Unintentional, but watch the scene where Silas Lynch enters Stoneman's office where everybody but him is white. Stoneman tells Silas Lynch he doesn't have to bow and that he is the equal of any man in the room.

to:

* MomentOfAwesome: SugarWiki/MomentOfAwesome: Unintentional, but watch the scene where Silas Lynch enters Stoneman's office where everybody but him is white. Stoneman tells Silas Lynch he doesn't have to bow and that he is the equal of any man in the room.

Added DiffLines:

** Although this would then turn into HilariousInHindsight when you realize that the ''Superman'' radio show played a big part in the Klan's downfall, by showing how truly pathetic and ridiculous they were.


* OvershadowedByControversy: Possibly the best example in film history. All of it's considerable and revolutionary accomplishments as a film are completely dwarfed by it's horrifying racism.

to:

* OvershadowedByControversy: Possibly the best example in film history. All of it's considerable and revolutionary accomplishments as a film are completely dwarfed by it's its horrifying racism.

Added DiffLines:

* OvershadowedByControversy: Possibly the best example in film history. All of it's considerable and revolutionary accomplishments as a film are completely dwarfed by it's horrifying racism.


** The film's controversial reception, it's involvement in the rise of the Second Ku Klax Klan (who kept renting out the film and routinely screened it in the 20s and 30s), the backlash by the [=NAACP=] and the film's use of technique in support of dubious ideology, has made the film (along with ''Film/TheBattleshipPotemkin'' and ''Film/TriumphOfTheWill''), a perennial point of contention on movies as propaganda and the responsibility of artists to depicting history. To Hollywood's credit, the backlash by the [=NAACP=] against the film did make them cautious about subject matter, and few movies made later are quite as explicitly racist (implicit racism is another thing).

to:

** The film's controversial reception, it's its involvement in the rise of the Second Ku Klax Klan (who kept renting out the film and routinely screened it in the 20s and 30s), the backlash by the [=NAACP=] and the film's use of technique in support of dubious ideology, has made the film (along with ''Film/TheBattleshipPotemkin'' and ''Film/TriumphOfTheWill''), a perennial point of contention on movies as propaganda and the responsibility of artists to depicting history. To Hollywood's credit, the backlash by the [=NAACP=] against the film did make them cautious about subject matter, and few movies made later are quite as explicitly racist (implicit racism is another thing).

Added DiffLines:

* AllThereIsToKnowAboutTheCryingGame: The movie ends with the Ku Klux Klan "heroically" coming to the Cameron family's rescue after they're attacked by a mob of angry Negroes. If people know just one detail about the movie's plot, chances are pretty good that it's ''that'' detail. Of course, once they know that, most people aren't exactly eager to sit through the rest of it...

Added DiffLines:

* CrossesTheLineTwice: This is the unintended reaction of many modern viewers. The racism is so extreme that it's ridiculous--and pretty darn funny. The ending, which has the UsefulNotes/KuKluxKlan ''intimidating black voters away from the polls'' '''is supposed to be a HappyEnding.'''
* DesignatedHero: Ben and the rest of the Ku Klux Klan. Even if you somehow, by some effort, conjured the perspective of the film's intended audience, a bunch of vigilantes who deny franchise to African-Americans must be hard to accept as heroic.
* FirstInstallmentWins: The film had a sequel called ''The Fall of a Nation'', which is probably the first movie sequel in history. It did not involve Creator/DWGriffith or any of the original cast, but was rather directed by Thomas Dixon, the author of the original novel. The film is set in [[NextSundayAD the near future]] and depicts the U.S. being invaded by a German-dominated UsefulNotes/{{Europe}}. Basically, the film was a plea for the U.S. to enter UsefulNotes/WorldWarI and stop UsefulNotes/{{Germany}} before it's too late. ''The Fall of a Nation'' was a commercial failure and there are no known surviving prints. You might be able to track down a copy of the book it was based on.
* FunnyAneurysmMoment: Some writers note that the scene where Ben Cameron forms the idea of the Klan after seeing African-American children being scared away by kids using a white blanket to cover them foreshadows SuperheroOrigin stories, [[http://sequart.org/magazine/40632/superhero-accessories-part-one-masked-vigilantes/ where the hero decides upon a symbol and idea]].
--> '''Creator/AlanMoore''': The origin of capes and masks as ubiquitous superhero accessories can be deduced from a close viewing of D.W. Griffith's ''Birth of a Nation''
* GenreTurningPoint: In the words of critic Dave Kehr, "here, in a very real sense, is where the movies began, both as an art and as a business."
** ''The Birth of a Nation'' was the first blockbuster in film history. Historians have a hard time figuring out how much money it made, but some have argued that adjusted for inflation it made nearly as much money as ''Film/GoneWithTheWind'' (which did break the record for most earning on a single year). The film's success in America made producers realize that the motion picture business could be profitable and since Griffith (who was an ''independent'' film-maker) had made the film in Hollywood, it led many to follow suit. Of course, the film was preceded by ''Film/{{Cabiria}}'' in terms of an EpicMovie with a feature length runtime, but Griffith's use of the medium to portray a setting familiar to American audiences (and in ''living memory'' at the time of release) codified it.
** The ground-breaking technical achievements of ''The Birth of a Nation'' (cross-cutting, use of close-ups, long-shots and medium shots to separate action and delineate emotional involvement), its battle scenes and location shooting inspired film-makers across the world, of all stripes and political persuasions (including Soviet film-makers, who being anti-racist ''in theory'', needless to say, did not share the film's ideology).
** The film's controversial reception, it's involvement in the rise of the Second Ku Klax Klan (who kept renting out the film and routinely screened it in the 20s and 30s), the backlash by the [=NAACP=] and the film's use of technique in support of dubious ideology, has made the film (along with ''Film/TheBattleshipPotemkin'' and ''Film/TriumphOfTheWill''), a perennial point of contention on movies as propaganda and the responsibility of artists to depicting history. To Hollywood's credit, the backlash by the [=NAACP=] against the film did make them cautious about subject matter, and few movies made later are quite as explicitly racist (implicit racism is another thing).
* HoYay: The "chums." Pre-war, they're teenaged boys frolicking and walking around with their arms around each other's waists; on the battlefield, they [[spoiler: die in a tender face-to-face embrace]].
* MemeticMutation: This movie is generally blamed for making fried chicken racist.
* MomentOfAwesome: Unintentional, but watch the scene where Silas Lynch enters Stoneman's office where everybody but him is white. Stoneman tells Silas Lynch he doesn't have to bow and that he is the equal of any man in the room.
* NeverLiveItDown: This pretty much permanently tainted Creator/DWGriffith's career and legacy. His incredible revolutionary work as a technical innovator has been forgotten. Commercially, the film was a huge box-office success and it allowed Griffith to remain an independent film-maker but none of Griffith's later films (barring ''Film/WayDownEast'' and ''Film/OrphansOfTheStorm'') were as successful, and the two films he made to prove he wasn't racist, ''Film/{{Intolerance}}'' and ''Film/BrokenBlossoms'', were unsuccessful.
* SeinfeldIsUnfunny: All of its innovations have been a standard component of film grammar for one hundred years. About the only thing that is left that makes the film interesting is the content, which is shocking for its open racism and internalization of the discredited Dunning School and Lost Cause historiography.
%%* SnarkBait
* TrueArtIsAncient: Subverted. You'll be struggling hard to find someone who praises the movie without adding a lengthy disclaimer that they don't agree with its message. Griffith scholars generally make cases for his short films (''Film/ACornerInWheat'' and ''Film/TheMusketeersOfPigAlley'') rather than his features.
* UncannyValley: Some of the "black" characters in the second part of the film almost fall into this territory due to the extensive use of {{Blackface}}. The eyes and eyebrows on some performers in particular look disturbingly out of place.
* UnintentionallySympathetic: We're supposed to take it for granted that Gus is trying to rape Flora (he was stalking her, though), but all we actually see him doing is asking her to [[AndNowYouMustMarryMe marry]] him, then chase her to allegedly apologize, after which [[DrivenToSuicide she promptly jumps off a cliff]]. This makes it hard not to feel sorry for him, ScaryBlackMan or not, especially given his punishment.
* UnintentionallyUnsympathetic: Austin Stoneman's horrified reaction to Silas wanting to marry his daughter is intended to be an EvenEvilHasStandards moment but [[ValuesDissonance to modern audiences]] it actually makes him seem ''worse'' by revealing him to be a gigantic hypocrite.
* ValuesDissonance: Though not to the degree one would expect, since both the film and the book it was based on were denounced by the NAACP as racist even at the time.
** The film follows the highly negative [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dunning_School "Dunning School"]] view of Reconstruction. That approach was very popular among white Southerners at the time, but it has been rejected by almost all historians since the 1960s.
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