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The Copperhead

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The Copperhead
Newspaper advertisement
Directed byCharles Maigne
Written byAugustus Thomas (play)
Charles Maigne (scenario)
Based onThe Glory of His Country
by Frederick Landis
Produced byAdolph Zukor
Jesse Lasky
StarringLionel Barrymore
Doris Rankin
CinematographyFaxon M. Dean
Distributed byParamount Pictures
Release date
  • January 25, 1920 (1920-01-25)
Running time
7 reels; 6,351 feet
CountryUnited States
LanguageSilent (English intertitles)
1920 print advertisement for film
1920 print advertisement for film

The Copperhead is a 1920 American silent film historical drama based on a novel by Frederick Landis and a 1918 play by Augustus Thomas. The star of this film is Lionel Barrymore who won acclaim in the play version on Broadway, and who appeared in the play and this film with his first wife Doris Rankin.[1][2][3] A print of this film has been screened in recent years.


At the beginning of the American Civil War Milt Shanks, who owns a farm in Illinois, is asked by President Abraham Lincoln to join the Copperheads, a clandestine quasi-political organization whose sentiments lie with the South. His family and friends unknowing of his mission call him a traitor.

His son later dies in a Civil War battle and his wife dies of heartbreak over the son's death. Shanks spends decades keeping silent about his involvement with the Copperheads until his granddaughter prepares to marry and he's forced to come clean about being involved in a secret Civil War Mission. With this understanding friends and family forgive him.



The film survives. It is available on DVD from at least one online source.[4]

See also


  1. ^ Progressive Silent Film List: The Copperhead at
  2. ^ The American Film Institute Catalog Feature Films: 1911-20 by The American Film Institute, c.1988
  3. ^ The AFI Catalog of Feature Films: The Copperhead
  4. ^ The Copperhead available for DVD purchase online
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The Copperhead
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