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Sometime during the shooting of the landmark The Birth of a Nation, filmmaker D.W. Griffith probably wondered how he could top himself. In 1916, he showed how, with the awesome Intolerance. The film began humbly enough as a medium-budget feature entitled The Mother and the Law, wherein the lives of a poor but happily married couple are disrupted by the misguided interference of a "social reform" group. A series of unfortunate circumstances culminates in the husband's being sentenced to the gallows, a fate averted by a nick-of-time rescue engineered by his wife. In the wake of the… More

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Rotten Tomatoes Score: 97%

Critic Reviews from Rotten Tomatoes

"All at once the Moloch of cineastical good intentions, the first great juggernaut of auteur ambition, and the largest experimental film ever made."
‑ Michael Atkinson, Village Voice
"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."
‑ Variety Staff, Variety
"This was clearly not conceived as a sleek, effective narrative or even an exploration of character psychology, but as a tremendous, overwhelming experience."
‑ Tim Brayton, Antagony & Ecstasy
"Intolerance is thrilling and vital, a collision of historical periods that feels as earth-shaking as the movement of tectonic plates."
‑ Scott Tobias, The Dissolve
"A landmark, to be certain, but wildly uneven."
‑ Phil Hall, Film Threat
"Griffith's trademark closeups lend a quivering lip or a trembling hand the tragic grandeur of historical cataclysm."
‑ Richard Brody, New Yorker
"The verdict Intolerance renders in the controversy concerning its maker is that he is a real wizard of lens and screen."
‑ , New York Times
"D.W. Griffith's masterpiece, likely the most influential film ever made, has been given new life with a gold-standard digital cleanup."
‑ Bill Weber, Slant Magazine
"Influential landmark epic silent film."
‑ Dennis Schwartz, Ozus' World Movie Reviews
"Intolerance's sets, costumes, compositions, and mass deployment of bodies in motion are often impressive, especially in the battle of Babylon sequence."
‑ , TV Guide's Movie Guide
"Intolerance looks both backward and forward. The strong exploit the weak, it cries, and all governments throughout history are evil."
‑ Aaron Cutler, Village Voice
"One of the great breakthroughs -- the Ulysses of the cinema -- and a powerful, moving experience in its own right."
‑ Dave Kehr, Chicago Reader
"Griffith's 'Intolerance' was way ahead of its time in terms of its camera angles, sophisticated storytelling, and elaborate set construction. And the restoration and HD treatment makes it shine."
‑ James Plath, Movie Metropolis
"Foreshadows what film could be -- spectacle reinforcing eternal themes of love and death -- and, at its best, would be."
‑ Donald J. Levit, ReelTalk Movie Reviews
"Explores the nature of intolerance throughout history."
‑ John A. Nesbit, Old School Reviews
More reviews for Intolerance on Rotten Tomatoes