Within Our Gates (1920)

Within Our Gates


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Movie Info

Made especially for African American audiences and directed by Oscar Micheaux, this silent drama chronicles the courage of a Southern black woman who is so determined to create a school for needy children that she bravely heads North in order to find funding.

Rating: Unrated
Genre: Drama, Classics
Directed By:
Written By: Oscar Micheaux
In Theaters:


as Sylvia Landry

as Alma Prichard

as Conrad Drebert

as Larry Prichard

as Det. Philip Gentry

as Dr. Vivian

as Geraldine Stratton

as Jasper Landry

as Philip Gridlestone
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Critic Reviews for Within Our Gates

All Critics (3) | Top Critics (1)

Though the narrative structure is somewhat choppy, director Oscar Micheaux otherwise demonstrates mastery of the silent form, using supple compositions and careful editing to amplify the characters' emotions in a manner that makes sound seem superfluous.

Full Review… | February 4, 2013
Chicago Reader
Top Critic

Within Our Gates is full of surprises, following a multitude of characters and plotlines without settling into predictable allegiances.

Full Review… | February 4, 2013
Nick's Flick Picks

Micheaux's films are about murder, racial injustice, and lynchings.

Full Review… | March 27, 2004
Ozus' World Movie Reviews

Audience Reviews for Within Our Gates

This is a film that will forever be famous for the fact that it is the oldest surviving film directed by an African American. It will forever be shown in retrospectives of African American cinema and as a counterpoint to D.W. Griffen?s The Birth of a Nation. It is probably destined to be more of a historical artifact than as a work of art, but is that such a bad thing? I?ve always been fascinated by history and seeing this film?s context is more than interesting enough to justify a two hour watch. But all this isn?t to say that this is a bad movie in and of itself. It?s a perfectly competent movie from a filmmaking perspective, and while the story is a bit preachy I think that?s probably fair enough, when you?re fighting against the likes of The Birth of a Nation you sort of need to shout.


Super Reviewer

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