The controversy of the film revolves around its premise of a post-Civil War America where the Ku Klux Klan successfully redeems the South from "carpetbaggers" and "mulattos", perceived in the film as evil. Even at the time of the film's release, riots protested the film. However, the success of the film made Griffith a wealthy man. Griffith was surprised by the harsh criticism and his next major project, Intolerance tried to address the issues raised. The film has been accused of reviving the modern version of the Ku Klux Klan.
The film has also been selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry.
Some of the film's cast members are: