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5 Movies for an American History Class

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It's not a movie but I made my kids watch the PBS show Colonial House, when it was on. We happened to be studying Colonial History at the time.

I've liked all of those house type shows they do. I think it makes history much more relate-able to us. My husband is a big history buff. I am not. So I'm always looking for new ways to interest the kids in history.

Ancient history we ALL love. It's the more modern history that makes us yawn.

There is a great little movie about a history teacher in a high school. He is a great teacher because he helps his class learn history hands on.

He predictably, gets a lot of resentment from the other teachers who are not as beloved. In the end this resentment is gone when they find out he has a terminal illness. It's a commercial film, not a documentary, but it's good and funny. I wish I could remember the title right now.
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My daughter and I watched All's Quiet On the Western Front this year specifically as part of the study she did of WW1.

It's been remade more than once but we watched the original. I honestly expected her to find it unpleasantly anachronistic. As it turned out we really got into it. It's a great film and a wonderful story.

It's also one of the few films we felt that the extras were actually worth watching. The notes on the cast were great!

This film was recommended to me, the book too by a high school history teacher I met while on jury duty.

My daughter also read the book because she wanted to after seeing the film.


We also watched Good Night and Good Luck. It was surprisingly indicative of the current atmosphere living under the Bush Administration.
Glad you and your daughter read the book--The film was great, but the book is really tremendous, especially when the veteran home on leave goes back to his old school room and the teacher who talked him and his friends into enlisting and he tells the current students what hell war really is.

Years ago when I was in the army myself I found and read a series of novels written by another German about a fictional soldier in the German Army starting off in the peace time army between the two wars and proceeding through World War II. I think the title of the first book was "Good Pvt. Shultz" or something like that. The Shultz character is like most privates in most armies, just trying to get along without getting into trouble. And of course there's a sergeant of low IQ, self-serving ambition, and abusive character who makes the private's life hell although Shultz manages frequently to get back at him. What's really interesting is Shultz's worm's eye view of the Nazis rise to power in the German Army and the resulting war. Shultz remains a patriot without embrazing Nazism and does his duty while maintaining his own values and sense of right and wrong. It's a very good series of books, if you can find them.



Celluloid Temptation Facilitator
Glad you and your daughter read the book--The film was great, but the book is really tremendous, especially when the veteran home on leave goes back to his old school room and the teacher who talked him and his friends into enlisting and he tells the current students what hell war really is.

Years ago when I was in the army myself I found and read a series of novels written by another German about a fictional soldier in the German Army starting off in the peace time army between the two wars and proceeding through World War II. I think the title of the first book was "Good Pvt. Shultz" or something like that. The Shultz character is like most privates in most armies, just trying to get along without getting into trouble. And of course there's a sergeant of low IQ, self-serving ambition, and abusive character who makes the private's life hell although Shultz manages frequently to get back at him. What's really interesting is Shultz's worm's eye view of the Nazis rise to power in the German Army and the resulting war. Shultz remains a patriot without embrazing Nazism and does his duty while maintaining his own values and sense of right and wrong. It's a very good series of books, if you can find them.
Sounds interesting! I'll have to see if I can find them.



1. Saving Private Ryan
2. The Grapes Of Wrath
3. Gettysburg (I know it was a TV miniseries but I think its very well done)
4. The Ox-Bow Incident (The old one with Henry Fonda)
5. Unforgiven



Celluloid Temptation Facilitator
As someone who actually had to watch The Grapes of Wrath as part of a a high school class and who seriously didn't like it or Unforgiven, I'd have to say, please no. *L*

I haven't seen the others. Perhaps that's a good thing for me.



I would recommend the movie 'the Wave' (1981). It's about a history teacher who tries to explain how so many people could have followed Hitler back in 1930-1950. To show how it works he setup a little experiment. There's a group of 'leader'-kids named 'the wave' and the rest is inferior. It's a good movie, and best of all: it's only 50 minutes, so it should fit in one lesson.
And I'd also recommend Der Untergang (2004, english title: downfall).
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'All the King's Men' was on tcm yesterday. It was 'hollywood history', of course but worth seeing because it told about Huey Long in the 30s.



So many good movies, so little time.
1. Saving Private Ryan
2. The Grapes Of Wrath
3. Gettysburg (I know it was a TV miniseries but I think its very well done)
4. The Ox-Bow Incident (The old one with Henry Fonda)
5. Unforgiven
Gettysburg was a movie (Ken Burns' The Civil War was the mini-series).
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So many good movies, so little time.
As someone who actually had to watch The Grapes of Wrath as part of a a high school class and who seriously didn't like it or Unforgiven, I'd have to say, please no. *L*

I haven't seen the others. Perhaps that's a good thing for me.

What would you show?



Celluloid Temptation Facilitator
I'd have to find a list and go over it. That's one reason why I've been watching this thread so closely. We are going to be doing US History this year. I will be studying this question very carefully. I don't expect movies to make up the bulk of our curriculum but a few might be fun if they aren't completely dreary.

I'm looking for ways to make history more interesting. They both find it rather dry. They also feel they've studied our country and state history "forever."

As stated in post 61 above, when we studied Colonial History one of the resources I used was the PBS show Colonial House. I find those sorts of shows to be something they can relate to. I enjoy seeing them as well.



Mel Gibsons first movie. I forgot the name.



- Band of Brothers
- Pearl Harbor
- World Trade Center and/or United 93
- Yankee Doodle Dandee
- JFK
- Saving Private Ryan
- National Treasure (maybe for the young ones, pretty educational with an entertaining twist)

- Schindler's List
- John Adams (the series)
- Flags of Our Fathers
- The War That Made America (the series)
- The Great Raid
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I'm pretty shocked that To Kill A Mockingbird isn't on more lists.

1. To Kill A Mockingbird
2. Grapes of Wrath
3. Saving Private Ryan
4. Schindler's List
5. Malcolm X
5b. Gandhi
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1. American History X
2. Schindler's List
3. Saving Private Ryan
4. Pearl Harbor
5. Band of Brothers



American History X
Rambo I-IV
American Pie
Dumb and Dumber
Borat



Bright light. Bright light. Uh oh.
1776
Glory
The Grapes of Wrath
The Best Years of Our Lives
The Right Stuff

I'd include several more with Native Americans if I could (Little Big Man, Dances With Wolves) and maybe even The Godfather.
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Tora Tora Tora
Atomic Cafe
Saving Private Ryan
The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman
Sergeant York
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