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Parents' Guide to

The Birth of a Nation (2016)

By Jeffrey Anderson, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 17+

Stirring, provocative, flawed, bloody slave-revolt story.

Movie R 2016 110 minutes
The Birth of a Nation (2016) Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this movie.

Community Reviews

age 16+

Based on 3 parent reviews

age 16+

Important, yet brutal slave film that has good messages!

I loved The Birth of a Nation! I thought the storyline and acting were well done, and I loved all the positive messages in it, The film does contain some language including multiple uses of the "N" word. Also, the film contains an implied sex scene, as well as some brief nudity. Not much is shown, just some topless women. However, the film does not skimp on its disturbing violent content. This includes brutal beatings, whipping, rape, hangings, as well as some intense brutal fight scenes. Overall, this is a good historical film for teens 16 and up.

This title has:

Too much violence
Too much sex
Too much swearing
age 18+

its a good it

Its a good movie because its a true story and if you read your bible he is telling everybody that we was cursed it tells u that in deu 28:25 we as black people was cursed by god because of our forfathers broke gods promise and so he lead us back in slavery this film is more like educational then anything.. thank you nate parker

This title has:

Great messages

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (3 ):
Kids say (1 ):

Making his feature directing debut, Parker audaciously re-uses the name of D.W. Griffith's infamous, controversial 1915 movie -- and the result is just as significant, rousing, and imperfect. At times, The Birth of a Nation is positively brilliant, with a power like a punch to the gut. But at other times, it wallows in common cliches and routine choices. A populist movie positioned as a work of art, it's more Braveheart than 12 Years a Slave. It's an inflamed crowd-pleaser, more likely to inspire howls and cheers than thoughtful discussion. (It doesn't reach the greatness of Spike Lee's Do the Right Thing.)

Yet the choice of title suggests that Parker -- previously an actor in The Great Debaters and Beyond the Lights -- had at least some idea of the buttons he was pushing. He populates his movie with white characters who disproportionately awful: bad teeth, stupid, evil, violent, dirty. But it's hard to argue that, after a century's worth of black stereotypes in movies, his choices are unwarranted. Whether this Birth of a Nation earns a place in cinematic history like Griffith's remains to be seen, but hopefully it will at least raise questions that Americans will take the time to answer.

Movie Details

  • In theaters: October 7, 2016
  • On DVD or streaming: January 10, 2017
  • Cast: Nate Parker , Armie Hammer , Aja Naomi King
  • Director: Nate Parker
  • Inclusion Information: Black directors, Black actors, Female actors
  • Studio: Fox Searchlight
  • Genre: Drama
  • Topics: History
  • Run time: 110 minutes
  • MPAA rating: R
  • MPAA explanation: disturbing violent content, and some brief nudity
  • Last updated: March 1, 2023

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