The Birth of a Nation (2016 movie): Bible quotes used

Screenplay by Nate Parker (Youtube trailer). An African-American preacher (Nate Turner) uses scripture, at first to justify slavery (esp. Peter 2:18) and later to lead an uprising. Includes debate with another preacher and heated exchange of biblical quotes. (Complete screenplay as pdf). Excerpt containing biblical quotes relating to slavery and justification for fighting (esp. Old Testament) as follows ... 



Joseph and Abner lead Nat and Samuel in. Abner lights a lantern. Under its glow, we see nearly a dozen EMACIATED slaves- men, women and children. They scatter deep into a corner. Nat’s jaw drops.


Listen up. Got a preacher here f’yall.

(to Nat)

Come here, boy. (Nat slowly approaches)

He’s a nigger just like yall, and is going to talk to you about the Lord. Listen to him and you just might make it to heaven, ya hear?

Joseph rejoins Samuel and Abner, leaving Nat standing in the center of the room. Nat looks to Samuel who looks away. Through sad eyes, Nat studies the sea of skeletal faces and festering whip wounds. He swallows, peels open his Bible.

NAT ...Brothers and sisters... (re: slaves, unblinking) I lead you to 1 Peter 2:18: Slaves... submit yourselves to your masters with all respect, not only to those who are good and considerate... but also to those who are harsh...

Nat glances toward Randall who smiles and nods him on.



Nat is sat on a narrow chopping block, stares forward. Samuel, Jethro and Reverend Walthall stand before him. A SHOTGUN rests in the crux of Jethro’s arm. Angle on Hark unnoticed in the BG feigning work.

SAMUEL TURNER My whole family has. And you go and do this to me?! A nigger, baptizing a white man on my property. You know how this makes me look?!

Nat only stares forward.

SAMUEL TURNER (CONT’D) Boy, you had better say something and quick.

NAT “Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood.”

Silence. Samuel and Rev. Walthall share an incredulous look.

REV. WALTHALL “Exhort servants to be obedient unto their own masters, and to please them well in all things; not answering again-” NAT “You were bought with a price; do not become slaves of men-”

REV. WALTHALL “But he that shall blaspheme against the Holy Ghost hath never forgiveness, but is in danger-”

NAT “Beware of false prophets who come in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are ravening wolves!”

REV. WALTHALL You Black bastard!


Nat looks Samuel straight in the eye.

NAT “He that stealeth a man, and selleth him-

SAMUEL TURNER Don’t you eyeball me!-

NAT (standing) -or if he be found in his hand, he shall surely be put to death.”

In a flash, Samuel snatches Jethro’s shotgun, smashing the hilt into Nat’s mouth with a CRACK! Nat hits the ground stunned, blood spilling.

SAMUEL TURNER (to Jethro) Get him on the post.

Jethro snatches him by the shirt. On Hark who takes a step forward. Nat’s look waves him off.

[whipping on a wooden post]



TIGHT on Nat’s face. His eyes cast down at something we don’t yet see. We PULL BACK to reveal Bridget’s body wrapped head to toe in linen on a plank table behind him. We continue to pull back to find his eyes set on his closed Bible. He flips toward the back.

“Ephesians 6:5-6 - Servants, be obedient to them that are masters...”

“Matthew 5:38 -If anyone strikes you on the right cheek...”

“Luke 6:27 Do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you...”

ON NAT as fix forward.

A SERIES OF QUICK FLASHBACKS -- The slave’s teeth hammered out- -- The young slave girl led on a leash- -- Cherry beaten and bruised- -- The blood seeping from the corn onto his hand

WITH NAT as he flips the Bible again... His jaw tightens. He slowly rises, moves to Bridget’s wrapped body. He lifts it and carries her out of frame. We move in close on the Bible. Closer until a verse fills the frame:

“Samuel 15:3 Now go and strike... and devote to destruction all that they have... Do not spare them, but kill both man and woman, child...”


104 NAT

I been followin’ the Lord a long time, now. Preachin’. Citin’ scripture. Sharing the word through the few sections and pages I’ve been allowed...

Holds his worn Bible up high.


But, I’ve gone back into this Word. All of it. With new eyes. I see now that for every verse they use to support our bondage, there is a truth demanding our freedom. For every line they use to justify our torture, there’s another that damns them to hell for those actions.


They say by the darkness of our skin, we’ve been cursed. That God’s called our children and our children’s children to be beast of burden until death. That He’s called our wives and daughters to warm their bellies in the night... (beat)

This isn’t the word of the God I serve.

He lets this sink in.

NAT (CONT’D) The Lord has spoken to me; visions of what is to come. A rise of good against evil. “The first will be last and the last will be first”... (pointed) We’ve been chosen.

NELSON What we gon’ do?

NAT The same as David and Gideon-and Joshua and Sampson... We will fight.

SIMON The six of us? * NAT At first. But once it begins, our brothers and sisters’ll join.

[slave revolt begins but is quickly suppressed. NAT is executed by hanging]

[153 min total]