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The Birth of a Nation (2016)

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Nat Turner, a literate slave and preacher in the antebellum South, orchestrates an uprising.


Nate Parker


Nate Parker (screenplay by), Nate Parker (story by) | 1 more credit »
4 wins & 27 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Nate Parker ... Nat Turner
Armie Hammer ... Samuel Turner
Penelope Ann Miller ... Elizabeth Turner
Jackie Earle Haley ... Raymond Cobb
Mark Boone Junior ... Reverend Walthall (as Mark Boone Jr.)
Colman Domingo ... Hark
Aunjanue Ellis ... Nancy
Dwight Henry ... Isaac Turner
Aja Naomi King ... Cherry
Esther Scott ... Bridget
Roger Guenveur Smith ... Isaiah
Gabrielle Union ... Esther
Tony Espinosa ... Young Nat Turner
Jayson Warner Smith ... Earl Fowler
Jason Stuart ... Joseph Randall


Set against the antebellum South, THE BIRTH OF A NATION follows Nat Turner (Nate Parker), a literate slave and preacher, whose financially strained owner, Samuel Turner (Armie Hammer), accepts an offer to use Nat's preaching to subdue unruly slaves. As he witnesses countless atrocities - against himself and his fellow slaves - Nat orchestrates an uprising in the hopes of leading his people to freedom. Written by Fox Searchlight Pictures

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Based on a true story about the quest for freedom. See more »

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for disturbing violent content, and some brief nudity | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »


Official Sites:

Official Facebook | Official site


USA | Canada



Release Date:

7 October 2016 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

El nacimiento de una nación See more »

Filming Locations:

Savannah, Georgia, USA See more »


Box Office


$8,500,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$7,004,254, 9 October 2016

Gross USA:


Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs




Aspect Ratio:

2.39 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


Some insert shots were added after it was bought by Fox Searchlight Pictures. See more »


At about 25 minutes in you can see Nat Turner patching a hole in the corner of the house. He gets distracted without finishing by the new slave being introduced to the masters wife as a gift and the camera is panned towards the front door. When it goes back to showing him you can see the hole still isn't filled but is nearly compared to how he left it. Then the camera cuts in on a closer shot and the hole is completely filled/covered before we see Nat do a swipe down with his scraper. See more »


Nat Turner: [after Nat watches a horrific scene between a slave and slave owner and has to preach to the slaves] Brethren, I pray you'll sing to the Lord, a new song. Sing praise in assembly of the righteous. Let the saints be joyful in glory, let them sing aloud on their beds. Let the high praise of God be on the mouths of the saints and a two-edged sword in their hand to execute vengeance on the demonic nations! And punishment on those peoples! To bind their kings with chains, and their nobles with fens ...
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Swing Low Sweet Chariot
Performed by Christian I. Noble (as Christian Isaiah Noble)
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

The Birth of a Nation
25 February 2017 | by Ryan_AldworthSee all my reviews

Birth of a Nation is Nate Parker's directorial debut and I was initially sceptical about watching this film after the harsh criticism it received and the controversy around the portrayal of the events. The best way to describe this one for anybody that is not aware of the plot is "Django Unchained" meets "12 Years a Slave" although toned down slightly in budget and quality of direction. I loved this film a lot and the vision and passion that Nate Parker conveys with the script is unparalleled. Something that I was very concerned about with this film is whether or not it would fall into the trap of "The Free State of Jones" because many audiences complained that it was too long and boring however this film is consistently interesting and thought provoking from start to finish. Unfortunately, the editing throughout felt extremely rushed. It was almost as if they were scared to leave the camera on a character too long in case the audience lost interest and the editing is overall very sloppy which is one of the major flaws with the picture. I would have loved to see them take their time with the shots and extend the film to the 160 – 170-minute mark to allow for further character development but I understand why they didn't because of the hatred that previous similar films received. For the first hour of the film, it wasn't very emotionally captivating and I struggled to relate to the characters a lot. The film also loses its footing and trips over common clichés within the biographical war drama/ period piece films which takes away some of the innovation presented by the mostly superb cinematography. The characters should have been given more freedom to traverse the world as they often felt detached from the setting and environment of the film due to a lack of interaction. The film also features some very thought provoking metaphorical imagery although it often feels very forced and doesn't blend well with the structure of the narrative. An additional flaw with the film was that I felt that Nate Parker was trying way too hard in this role and was seriously desperate for acting recognition. That's perfectly understandable as this is his directorial debut although he has often quite obviously constructed scenes that allow him to stand out and seem the superior actor in relation to the rest of the cast. Moving away from criticisms on the film, what I thought it did really well was to eliminate the stigma surrounding historical settings in the film industry today where average movie goers often associate historical events as boring and tedious and I honestly can't imagine anybody being genuinely bored at this film. It just moves so fast and the events are truly brutal and relentless. Some of the scenes in this film are excruciatingly hard to watch and the film isn't scared to push the boundaries of the "15" certification. This really worked to its advantage to show the horrifying events although some viewers will be turned off by the onslaught of violence and torture. The personal peak of the film for me was the score. So expertly chosen to reflect the actions on screen and breathe life into scenes that are otherwise quite bland. The music really worked for me and there wasn't too much to the point where it felt like a music video much like other titles this year (Suicide Squad). The gore and injury detail is so well realised, absolutely horrific and shocking leaving some scenes cemented into audiences minds for days after watching the film. There was a singular scene towards the end of the film that absolutely floored me with its gruelling depiction of violence and rebellion which was followed by an uplifting and inspiring resolution and overall this film gave me way more than I could have hoped for or was expecting. The Birth of a Nation – 7.8/10

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