US History Movie Reviews

Each student must complete a movie review for US History during the school year. The purpose of these additional viewings is to promote independent life-long learning. Every student must watch one movies, one from each group of movies listed. A movie review must be completed to demonstrate comprehension of movie, understanding of the culture impact of the movie, and application to prior learning.

Movie Review: This needs to be typed and submitted to your Blog

  • 750-1500 words
  • Include student’s opinion of the story; not just a summary
  • Why the movie is important (Correctness, Influence, Precedents)
  • Links to other three other movie reviews
  • MLA Citations

All activities are due the second Friday of May during the school year, and it is the student’s responsibility to turn in the assignments on time.


Group One: The Bad Movies! (Select One Movie)

The Patriot (2000) Directed by Richard Emmerich (Rated R for strong war violence)

Considered one of the worse movies about the American Revolution, this overtly violent film follows the life of a colonial plantation owner turned terrorist/revolutionary. Based loosely on the lives of Francis Marion and Charles Sumter, it includes Mel Gibson as the lead and Heath Ledger as his son.

Pearl Harbor (2001) Directed by Michael Bay (Rated PG-13 for war images, wounded, brief sensuality and language)
If it were made today it would be called the Transformers 3 of WW2 movies. Explosions followed by more explosions, and finally some more explosions. The story follows two friends and their journey during the first years of the war. Amazing things included are the Battle for Britain, the attack on Pearl Harbor and the first bombing of Tokyo.

Birth of a Nation (1915) Directed by DW Griffith (Not Rated contains overt racist themes, violence, and glorification of KKK)
The movie was developed and created to falsify the ideals of slavery and the south during and after the war. It was used as a recruiting tool for the KKK and should be viewed with caution. It is an epic silent film that should never be made again.

Gods and Generals (2003) Directed by Ronald Maxwell (Rated PG-13 for sustained battle sequences)
This second movie in the Jeff and Michael Shaara Civil War series follows the rise of Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson during the first two years of fighting in the American Civil War. Its great war scenes are framed by a plot that overly simplifies the struggle as state’s rights and creates a false idealism of slavery in the South before the war. The only thing worse than some of the fake beards is the acting; however, Jeff Daniels plays a great role, again.

Group Two: The Best! (Select One Movie)

Gettysburg (1993) Directed by Ronald F. Maxwell (Rated PG for language and epic battle scenes)
Made by Ted Tunner’s film company, this is the most epic of the Civil War Movies, over three hours. It revolves around the five days of extended fighting in Pennsylvania during the Gettysburg campaign. Fake beards are just everywhere but Jeff Daniels plays a great role as Col. Joshua Chamberlain and Tom Barringer makes a great turn as Gen. Longstreet.

Wizard of OZ (1939) Directed by Victor Fleming (Rated PG for some scary moments)
Considered by many to be one of the best musicals of the 1930’s it is homage to the writing of Frank L Baum. Many never know the metaphorical meanings of the story or the major plot changes from the book. It is as much a record of the 1930’s as it is of the 1880’s.

Gone with the Wind (1939) Directed by Victor Fleming (PG For Brief War Violence Including Peril, Some Sensuality and Brief Language)
The movie that brought the Civil War into everyone’s heart. Based on Margret Mitchell’s best seller this movie is Hollywood big and holds records still unbroken today. However, it shows what Mitchell thought the South was like and possibly the unwilling “consensual” rape of Scarlet O’Hara.

High Noon (1952) Directed by Fred Zinnemann (Rated PG for some western violence, and smoking )
One of the best western movies ever created; however, it is completely historically incorrect. High Noon set the standard for the lone sheriff versus the renegade gunman.

Who shot Liberty Valance (1962) Directed by John Ford (Not Rated: Contains smoking and some violence.)
Another example of Hollywood westerns but this time it is one with a great story. A man made famous by the death of a rogue gunslinger, comes back home to tell the truth. It is considered by John Wayne and James Stewart to be one of the best Westerns ever.

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