Intolerance

Critics Consensus

A pioneering classic and one of the most influential films ever made, D.W. Griffith's Intolerance stands as the crowning jewel in an incredible filmography.

97%

TOMATOMETER

Total Count: 38

77%

Audience Score

User Ratings: 4,909

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Movie Info

D.W. Griffith's epic intercuts between four separate stories about man's inhumanity to man. In Babylon, pacifist Prince Belshazzar is brought down by warring religious factions. In Judea, the last days of Christ (Howard Gaye) are depicted in the style of a Passion play. In France, Catherine de Medici presides over the slaughter of the Huguenots. And in California, a woman (Mae Marsh) pleads for the life of her husband (Robert Harron) when he is sentenced to hang for a murder he did not commit.

Cast & Crew

Lillian Gish
The Woman Who Rocks the Cradle, Eternal Mother
Robert Harron
The Boy (Modern Story)
Bessie Love
The Bride of Cana (Judean Story)
Mae Marsh
The Dear One (Modern Story)
Howard Gaye
Christ (Judean Story) , Cardinal Lorraine (Medieval Story)
Margery Wilson
Brown Eyes (French Story)
Eugene Pallette
Prosper Latour (French Story)
Lillian Langdon
Mary, the Mother (Judean Story)
F.A. Turner
The Girl's Father (Modern Story)
Sam De Grasse
Arthur Jenkins (Modern Story)
Joseph Carl Breil
Original Music
Carl Davis
Original Music
D.W. Griffith
Original Music
G.W. Bitzer
Cinematographer
D.W. Griffith
Film Editor
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News & Interviews for Intolerance

Critic Reviews for Intolerance

All Critics (38) | Top Critics (7) | Fresh (37) | Rotten (1)

  • As a medium for expressing art, moving pictures may not stand the test of time, but Intolerance is greater than any medium. It is one of the mileposts on the long road of art.

    March 24, 2019 | Full Review…
  • All at once the Moloch of cineastical good intentions, the first great juggernaut of auteur ambition, and the largest experimental film ever made.

    May 9, 2014 | Full Review…
  • Griffith's trademark closeups lend a quivering lip or a trembling hand the tragic grandeur of historical cataclysm.

    May 5, 2014 | Full Review…
  • Intolerance looks both backward and forward. The strong exploit the weak, it cries, and all governments throughout history are evil.

    July 30, 2013 | Full Review…
  • Intolerance reflects much credit to the wizard director, for it required no small amount of genuine art to consistently blend actors, horses, monkeys, geese, doves, acrobats and ballets into a composite presentation of a film classic.

    February 6, 2008 | Full Review…

    Variety Staff

    Variety
    Top Critic
  • The verdict Intolerance renders in the controversy concerning its maker is that he is a real wizard of lens and screen.

    April 8, 2006 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for Intolerance

  • May 23, 2018
    "Birth Of A Nation" was D.W. Griffith's "Jaws", because it not only wowed the audiences of the time, but it also changed practically every film that came after it. How to possibly top that? Griffith, mindful that some were labeling his "Birth Of A Nation" insights as racist, chose to intertwine four stories, each with a similar moral underpinning: that cowardly, liberal do-gooders are ruining what's good with the world. Regardless of his populist politics here is a mammoth achievement of storytelling, particularly the Babylonian segment, that changed filmmaking forevermore and made it what we know it as today. And that's the reason to see it. Well, that and Griffith's trademark race to the finish flourishes.
    Kevin M. W Super Reviewer
  • Jan 30, 2017
    Intolerance is one of the very first art house feature. It tells 4 tales of intolerance that led to the downfall of individuals. The tales were connected by one mother figure which spanned 22 centuries. The first story was about the conflicts between the Babylonians and Persians, the second was a biblical story, the third was about the Huguenots and Catholics in Renaissance France, the last was in modern America about the conflicts of employers and employees in a mining town. Contrary to popular belief, this is not an apology for his earlier, controversial epic "The Birth of a Nation". Griffith also provided comical elements to the film which would later become character archetypes. It was a really extravagant film but some viewers may be confused about the quick jump cuts between segments.
    Sylvester K Super Reviewer
  • Jan 18, 2011
    Project 2 (Epic films) Directed by D. W. Griffith and staring Lillian Gish, Mae Marsh and Robert Harron. Unlike D. W. Griffith Racists town for his blockbuster the Birth of a Nation and the charging that it had overt racist content, characterizing racism as people's intolerance of other people's views. So he takes us throw 4 Eras were peoples intolerance to each other has lead to the failure of them and the people in general that are affected. Intolerance was a colossal undertaking filled with monumental sets, lavish period costumes, and more than 3,000 extras. The film consisted of four distinct but parallel stories that demonstrated mankind's intolerance during four different ages in world history. The timeline covered approximately 2,500 years of our intolerances and ages. The story themselves are together not just straight forward chronological order...No, Each scene is like it affects somewhere else in a different Era starting with the cruserfiction of Jesus Christ and how religion is affecting us in the modern Era. The Babylonian period tells the story of the fall of there nation witch resulted in nothing but intolerances between them and the gods. And the massive War machines they plan to build to destroy there Enemies. The Judean Era is only a short one but it is the Era that will affect most people with the cruserfiction of Jesus Christ, which the intolerance of Romans and Jews lead to that. The French Renaissance Era in tells the story of Edict of Tolerances' which will lead to the St. Bartholomew's Day Massacre. The modern Era tells that of the intolerances between Man and his brother and the way life is being affected by Crime and corporal punishment in where an innocent man will be hang at the gallows. The story themselves will really speak to you throughout the movie not just focusing on massive sets. I admit this is very old but just the story telling is what I love about the movie it's better then what I wrote. It's the editing and the way scenes are put in place to move you as a viewer. And the films' ending is like the 4 different Eras are still alive even though it's past that. The reason for all this mountains of amazing footage and sets and costumes and locations is that intolerances cost just over $2 million American dollars. Now that is a stunning amount for its time this only happened because of the Birth of a Nation in which that made millions for its investors and associates. But by all accounts this movie was a massive failure at the box office only making 2 hundred thousand back of its 2 million budget. I am stunned that more people didn't see this movie it's like the avatar of the 1910s. [IMG]http://i56.tinypic.com/14uyvs1.jpg[/IMG] Such fantastic sets for the Babylon era just left me stunned, that camera that moves in from the top to the bottom was just amazing and for it's time of course. Not just that but the massive wall during the invasion scene were they fire arrows down onto the massive war machines just left me thinking how he did it? I mean did he build those walls? Or are they moving miniatures? I don't know the special effects are just that believable. That whole invasion scene in general will go in my favorite film scenes list. The editing well...It's very hard to do by Griffith it's not the one near liner but more of the Close ups and Long tracking shot's for more of that Era feel to it so you see everything. And the camera moving down into the city was just amazing. The only thing I didn't like about this movie was its assonating length of 3 hours or even over. It's not that the move is boring No I just felt that certain things could have been shortened during the French and Modern American Eras came around in scenes. The acting is extremely good just the emotions they put into scenes to capture that real silent feel to it. And with a cast of thousands you will see things that will impresses you a lot. I think the music and costume designs were extremely good I just loved how they captured that staggering aspect to the film. But overall it's nothing short of an assonating masterpiece of the silent Era. With some of the best story telling and special effects I have seen. With such a blend of different editing techniques and even the story themselves. Keiko's score 97-100
    Keiko A Super Reviewer
  • Jan 02, 2011
    Whatever you think of D.W. Griffith's opinions on race -- I think they're despicable -- you cannot deny that he was a brilliant and innovative filmmaker. I had been wanting to see this film for ages, and I was not disappointed...well, not much, anyway, This film --partially as apology for Birth of a Nation I'm sure -- attempts to demonstrate the evils of intolerance through four interwoven stories set throughout history. In reality only two of the stories are really covered in full, while the other two are just sketched over. As the film progresses, the stories get more and more intertwined as their plots begin to meld and mime each other, until their climaxes (climaces?) where the same things appear to be happening in each storyline. Therein lies a bit of a problem, in that the film begins to get confusing. I had heard that was the issue when the film was first released, so I was prepared, but it didn't help much. While the story wasn't as clear as I would have liked, the technical aspects of the film and the details Griffith put in were unbelievable. Anyone else would have built the massive city of Babylon as a miniature. Griffith built it full-scale, and it is stupendous. To film in this city, he even developed new ways of mounting and moving the camera so as to get shots no one had gotten until that time. Griffith's racist attitudes are disgusting. His talents as a filmmaker are breathtaking. Do the ends justify the means?
    Cindy I Super Reviewer

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