In 1915, D. W. Griffith released his film, The Birth of a Nation. The silent movie told the story of two families, one Northern and one Southern, during the Civil War and Reconstruction periods. The second half of the film, which revolves around Reconstruction, depicts the hugely inaccurate formation and glorified rise of the Klu Klux Klan. Though considered an influential and important piece due to its groundbreaking cinematic techniques for the time, the racist content of the film makes it very uncomfortable to watch.
While not the first film to depict the assassination of Abraham Lincoln, The Birth of a Nation brought the event to the widest audience due to its commercial success. The scene itself was even used on some of the movie posters for the film:
The depiction of Lincoln’s assassination comes at the end of the first half of the film. What follows are some stills from that part of the film. Also, since the film is in the public domain, you can watch the assassination scene here, just start it at the 1 hour and 21 minute mark.
The man who played Booth was Raoul Walsh. Walsh served as Griffith’s assistant director and editor for the film. He would go on to become a legendary director in Hollywood directing films until 1964. Walsh died in 1980 at the age of 93.