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Broken Blossoms

Released Oct 20, 1919 1h 27m Drama List
95% Tomatometer 22 Reviews 71% Audience Score 2,500+ Ratings A frail waif, abused by her brutal boxer father in London's seedy Limehouse District, is befriended by a sensitive Chinese immigrant with tragic consequences. Read More Read Less

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Broken Blossoms

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Broken Blossoms

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Critics Consensus

Thought-provoking and beautifully filmed, D.W. Griffith's Broken Blossoms presents a master at the top of his form.

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Critics Reviews

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David Parkinson Empire Magazine Definitely a silent drama fighting against the traditional limitations of the form and the strict social mores of the day. One of Lillian Gish's most moving performances. Rated: 4/5 Aug 8, 2011 Full Review Variety Staff Variety Although the picture consumes only 90 minutes, it somehow seems draggy, for the reason that everything other than the scenes with the three principals seems extraneous and tends to clog the progression of the tale. Mar 5, 2009 Full Review Tom Milne Time Out Very much on the credit side, though, are stretches of pure Griffith poetry, marvellous use of light and shadow in cameraman Billy Bitzer's evocation of foggy Limehouse, and a truly unforgettable performance from Gish. Jun 24, 2006 Full Review Virginia Tracy New York Tribune No special feature has dared to produce a mere intimate story about human beings which continues so long as it has something to say and ceases when it has said it. Jul 30, 2019 Full Review Jeffrey M. Anderson Combustible Celluloid May be [Griffith's] simplest, most affecting work. Sep 21, 2014 Full Review TV Guide The most elemental and uncluttered of D.W. Griffith's major melodramas. Rated: 3.5/4 Aug 8, 2011 Full Review Read all reviews

Audience Reviews

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Audience Member D. W. Griffith comes out with another thought-provoking motion picture called "Broken Blossoms". It tells the story of a Chinese immigrant (Richard Barthelmess) who meets an abused child (Lillian Gish) who form a bond in a world full of hatred. There are good qualities in the film like the cinematography, the infamous closet scene, and Lillian Gish's acting that was pretty well-done. However, there are some bad qualities as well especially for the uncultured and ignorant writing by D. W. Griffith. While Broken Blossoms is an okay film, it's still tolerable as it teaches us that hate will forever be in inevitable battle. Rated 2.5 out of 5 stars 02/18/23 Full Review Audience Member Quite an impressive and intriguing story for the this movie was made. Some of the beautiful imagery still holds up well. Rated 5 out of 5 stars 03/23/22 Full Review Chris J Slightly racist, although that tends to be a theme with these older films. Beyond that, I was really impressed with the quality of the film. Not to mention the tinting, it really added a different feel that I found was used a lot back in the day. Rated 2 out of 5 stars 04/08/21 Full Review Ethan S While somewhat ham-fisted in its treatment of race by today's standards (particularly in the choice to cast non-Asians in explicitly Asian roles, though this was certainly not uncommon for the time), Broken Blossoms is still a remarkably nuanced, sad and watchable film. Rated 3.5 out of 5 stars 01/31/21 Full Review William L Griffith certainly pushed boundaries in film from a technical perspective, but he gets a lot of his credit largely for doing simple things before anyone else, and Broken Blossoms is a perfect example. It's an unsurprising and conventional romantic melodrama with an unnecessarily long runtime given how little actually happens, albeit one that showcases a great deal more sensitivity to its characters and their ethnicities given the director's lasting reputation. The editing is crisp and well-executed, but the film doesn't push boundaries in terms of scale or paractical execution in the manner of Birth of a Nation's scope or Intolerance's grand setpieces, though the street scenes are pretty compelling for their time. (3/5) Rated 3 out of 5 stars 12/27/20 Full Review Audience Member First of all it's a silent and therefore dated. You have to make allowance for this. Three actors on top form, the fragile, vulnerable Lillian Gish, Richard Barthelmess (the only film I have seen him in I think), and an early (well-built - what a body!) the great Donald Crisp for once playing against type, and very well indeed, the villainous abusive father to the young, fragile, delicate Lillian Gish, blossom-like indeed. Barthelmess produces a subtly warm performance as the equally delicate Chinese a near missionary trying to survive while delivering his message of Love and Understanding in a dirty soulless foreign land. This is a well told, well filmed D W Griffith production. A masterpiece. A moral tale about racial tolerance and its ugly opposite leading to a truly heart-breaking finish. A brilliant story, brilliantly acted by all three principals but truly it's Gish's film perhaps her finest moment. Rated 5 out of 5 stars 02/16/23 Full Review Read all reviews
Broken Blossoms

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Cast & Crew

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Movie Info

Synopsis A frail waif, abused by her brutal boxer father in London's seedy Limehouse District, is befriended by a sensitive Chinese immigrant with tragic consequences.
D.W. Griffith
D.W. Griffith
D.W. Griffith
United Artists
Production Co
D.W. Griffith Productions
Release Date (Theaters)
Oct 20, 1919, Original
Release Date (Streaming)
Aug 11, 2016
1h 27m
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