Jump to content

 
Search In
  • More options...
Find results that contain...
Find results in...
Sign in to follow this  
MyFavoriteFilms

Social studies and film

Recommended Posts

What are the best films to show kids about:

 

EARLY CIVILIZATIONS

 

RENAISSANCE AND REFORMATION

 

EXPLORATION AND COLONIZATION/AGE OF IMPERIALISM

 

THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION

 

WESTWARD EXPANSION

 

U.S. CIVIL WAR & RECONSTRUCTION

 

WORLD WAR I

 

U.S. GREAT DEPRESSION

 

WORLD WAR II

 

POSTWAR/COLD WAR

 

CONTEMPORARY WORLD POLITICS

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

This is a broad question and it depends upon the age group. For small kids, Early Civilizations and some aspects of the American Revolution (this subject was taught in my 4th grade class).

 

A good televison movie for small children is "Sarah, Plain and Tall" (1991)

 

For Grammer school age both World Wars but be mindful of any graphic material, the Civil War and the western expansion. They should be taught that war is *not a video game!* Kids are exposed to too much violence in this day of age the way it is (thank goodness for the V chip). The Holocaust should be left up to the parents, at what the best age to teach their children this subject. Children have to be old enough to understand the reasoning behind this tragedy. :(

 

The remainder for high school especially the political stuff (cold war and imperialism) that requires some wise teachings (they could be our future leaders). The more graphical side of war.

 

Here is a site that address this subject better than I, http://www.ericdigests.org/1998-2/film.htm

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks...I didn't mean to be so broad about it, but I was looking up the social studies standards here in Arizona, and that's what is covered.

 

The Civil War and WWI get covered in 7th grade. In 8th grade, it's WWII, the Cold War and Contemporary America. The early civilization stuff is taught back in fourth and fifth grade.

 

You're right about war not being a video game.

 

One of the things I was concerned about was the depiction of native Americans in classic Hollywood films. For example, if a teacher shows clips of THE FAR HORIZONS to her fourth grade class, how do you explain Donna Reed as an Injun. Maybe the kids won't notice she's really a white actress. I think NORTHWEST PASSAGE is another interesting one to use.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My mom first brought up Donna Reed when she saw her in that movie. She was stunned (better ROFL) at how much suntan lotion the makeup department used on her LOL! She is a fan of "The Donna Reed" show and we all know what a light complexion she had.

 

But using her in that movie is no different than Hollywood using other non-native Americans to play the "Indian" roles in the old westerns. They only need to understand the mindset of the time period.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Using Hollywood movies to teach kids (or anybody else) history? You've got to be

kidding. For every hour doing that, you'd need another hour to untangle all the flubs

and inaccuracies.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

You raise a good point. Well, I would suggest clips, not entire films. Or, if the entire thing was shown, then the kids could work on how to improve the story and make it more historically accurate.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

> {quote:title=C.Bogle wrote:}{quote}

> Using Hollywood movies to teach kids (or anybody else) history? You've got to be

> kidding. For every hour doing that, you'd need another hour to untangle all the flubs

> and inaccuracies.

 

I disagree. Even though there are "inaccuracies" some movies can "humanize" the time period for someone learning about them. Reading about history, then seeing a slice of human drama pertaining to that can make history "come alive" for some kids struggling to understand what it may have felt like to live back then.

 

*A Lion In Winter* isn't a perfect historical story, but it illustrates social stations of the time and the feel of big dark cold castles pretty well.

 

I often speak about our economic "recession" to TikiKid who doesn't understand it at ALL, since at 12 she has no sense of jobs/money/bills, etc. I often speak of the crash of '29 but of course, she can't imagine that either. I'm waiting for *The Grapes of Wrath* to be broadcast to illustrate for her the desperation the people felt, how they stuck together, the absolute lack of jobs, etc.

 

Inaccurate or not, she will empathise with the charactors and get a better feel for what transpired among individuals of that moment in history.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Tiki,

Great post. LION IN WINTER is aided by its on-location photography and just how well the actors perform those roles. It does bring history more into focus for us. Even in a silly Hollywood film like Costner's ROBIN HOOD, we do get the sense of life in the castles and the land at that time and its people (plus there are brief scenes of the crusades).

 

But we have to look at when a historical film was produced.

 

Take THE PRIVATE LIVES OF ELIZABETH & ESSEX and VIRGIN QUEEN. Bette Davis plays the same character in both...but sixteen years have passed in terms of her acting technique and Hollywood production values...So we get Elizabeth from 1939 and Elizabeth from 1955, but it's still supposed to be Elizabeth from way back when. We should explain that to kids, that these are versions of history and interpretations, even by the same artists, will vary. Charles Laughton also takes two stabs at Henry VIII, back in the 30s, then again in 1953 in YOUNG BESS.

 

I think I am getting slightly off topic...but the point is that we can use the visuals of film and the way a story is constructed on film to make history come alive for the viewer. Film takes us beyond a book and illustrations in a book, so that we can experience it in a more immediate sense.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

As you noted a film can help people understand history even with inaccuracies if those inaccuracies are not too large and there is someone to explain them to, say, younger views (loved that use of TikiKid!).

 

But what also must be noted is what is NOT in a movie and how that can impact one's view of history. This is a big part of the debate going no how under the Gone With The Wind thread and of course it applies to many other movies as well. One wouldn't want someone to go away with the view that 'hey being a salve wasn't such a bad gig afterall!".

 

For example after watching the Tennesse Williams movies last night, unless one readly knew the content of the plays, one would of assume there were no homosexuals in the 50s! It is so funny in these movies how they talk about explaining the truth but of course then never really do.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Just wondering what is your opinion of the recent "Robin Hood" starring Russell Crowe?

 

I've watched "The Real Robin Hood" on the History Channel and its hard for any historians to nail down who he actually is. Our view is taken from ballards and stories pasted down from generations but the documentary states the story we know comes from several people and events that covered over a couple of hundred years, from the 1200's to the 1300's.

 

He simply evolved over time to become a legend. Its hard to tell if he's a hero or criminal (maybe both) depending on who one ask. This story does give us some idea how people lived in England during the middle ages. There was a real Sheriff of Nottingham that got incorporated into the Robin Hood legend.

http://www.robinhoodloxley.net/mycustompage0048.htm

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Here's a site that uses film to illustrate (notice I didn't say 'teach") social studies:

 

http://www.teaching-point.net/filmwld.html

 

 

Films used:

 

The Ten Commandments

Gladiator

The Hunchback of Notre Dame

1492: Conquest of Paradise

Anne of The Thousand Days

A Tale of Two Cities

War and Peace

All Quiet on the Western Front

Schindler's List

Gandhi

Exodus

The Last Emperor

Cry Freedom

Hotel Rwanda

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I agree...the Robin Hood story (myth?) is probably a composite of several real-life figures.

 

I have not seen the Crowe version. Frankly, I was not ready for Hollywood to redo this tale so soon. How can anyone really top the Curtiz-Flynn effort? I guess there's money to be had in remaking it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Since "The Ten Commandments" was made, this story really got people inspired to find out when and how the events unfolded. We recently learned the *Red Sea* is a mistranslation which is actually *Reed Sea*, the Hebrew term for the place of the crossing is "Yam Suph". Although this has traditionally been understood to refer to the salt water inlet located between Africa and the Arabian peninsula, known in English as the Red Sea, this is a mistranslation from the Greek Septuagint, and Hebrew suph never means "red" but rather "reeds". Satellite data does show the Reed Sea did exist at one time in the past. (more of a marsh today)

 

The parting of the Reed Sea is beleived to be a natually occuring event

http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=130112925

 

Edited by: hamradio on Sep 26, 2010 3:56 PM

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I used to like watching the old ?Reed Rider? movies. I had a Reed Rider BB gun when I was a kid.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

> {quote:title=MyFavoriteFilms wrote:}{quote}

>

> EXPLORATION AND COLONIZATION

 

Fredric Marsh made a pretty good film about Christopher Columbus in 1949. It gives a pretty good overview about him trying to get a sponsor to pay for his first voyages, and the voyage sequences were pretty good. Also, the meeting of the Indians was good, and the film mentioned all the trouble he had later.

 

A good teacher can inform the kids about what is accurate or not.

 

?Christopher Columbus? (1949)

 

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0041247/

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Ralphie also played the reeds in "A Christmas Story". :)

 

Here is a funny connection to the thread. Movie must be a sleeper.

 

zaman-the-man-from-the-reeds-large.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

MFM, after much thought, there is only one film I can think of that is not a documentary, but accurately portrays something that I think fits in with your list. That is the film *Chac, the Rain God*.It was made in 1975 by Rolando Klein, a protege of Jules Dassin. It was shot in Chiapas, Mexico. Klein spent a few years living with the Tzotzil Indians there. They helped him with the story, and are all the actors in the film, except for a dwarf actor, who was hired for the part of a Maya Alux, one of the little people. The story is based on their beliefs. It is a wonderful film, available on DVD.

 

Well, I just thought of another film... *El Norte* is a good dramatic, and accurate, portrayal of what life is like for illegal Latino immigrants. It is a magical film, but sad. I think children would 'get' film, but younger ones would probably enjoy *Chac* more.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks Valentine...you have piqued my interest with the first title you mentioned. Have you seen Orson Welles' IT'S ALL TRUE? He filmed a sequence about native Mexican people, plus there was a sequence that took place along the coast and into South America.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yes, I've seen *It's All True*. I like it, but it is nothing like *Chac*. Chac has an entirely Indian cast of real villagers, the story is based on their life, and myths, and is about as real as you can get, short of an ethnographic documentary. I would argue that in some ways, Chac is more accurate than a doc, since the people get to present, and represent themselves, no real 'science filter.'

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The problem is that movies and history have two different goals. The goal of the first is

to tell an interesting story that people will want to see, the goal of the second is to present

as accurate a picture of the past as possible. In general movies will sacrifice the truth

to present a more intriguing story. I could see where a limited use of scenes from movies

might play some role, but it would likely be a limited one. Films like The Lion in Winter

might lead students to think that in Medieval times everybody lived in a large, cold castle,

which in itself is far from the truth.

 

The Ten Commandments poses a different problem. It presents something as history

that has little historical evidence to support it. It belongs in a comparative religion class,

not a history class.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Actually there have been recent scientific discoveries coming at a fast pace to support the story of the Exodus and the story of Sodom and Gohmorrah. The first is a nice documentary "Exodus Decoded" that lines up the best evidenece so far that the Santorini volcano not only caused the biblical plagues and the Exodus but the destruction of the Minoian civilization in which the Alantis myth is more likely is based upon. 2 historical events explained by one regional disastor. They got the date nailed down to between 1600 BC to 1550 BC.

 

The problem with debunkers and religous people is that they use contemporary maps to find out past events but one has to rely on what the Earth was like back then. A LOT can change in several thousand years! They even found the 2 fossil rivers Pishon, Gihon by satellite along with the Tigris, Euphrates that was the location of the Garden of Eden. Its now under the Persian Gulf.

 

Sodom and Gohmorrah is even more exact with the date of destruction on June 29, 3123BC by an asteroid that air burst over the Austrian Alps. This event also created the Sahara Desert and is more destructive than originally realized affecting worldwide climate. There is a typo on the site, the explosion is 1,000 *megatons* (1 Gigaton) of TNT! The History Channel covered more detail than the site.

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/science/article3649054.ece

 

What a turn around, science was once thought the enemy of religion is now supporing it. The Gnostics seem it have it right all along. (science and religion can coexist). :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It's best to see how these theories work out because sometimes, after the first

excitement, they have to be revised. There's always been a lot of debate about

the exact location of Sodom and Gomorrah and occasionally their very existence.

But just supposing this is true, it only proves that these two cities were destroyed

by a natural event and not the wrath of a supernatural entity.

 

The same goes for the Exodus. There are different theories that try to explain the

plagues as a result of natural phenomena, but they usually aren't very convincing.

One problem is that the chronology is questionable, so the proponents of an actual

Exodus have to keep shifting when it supposedly happened. And the Garden of Eden,

supposedly even further back in time, is even less believable. Science is not the

enemy of religion. Science uses empirical evidence to arrive at its conclusions,

religion uses faith in the non-empirical. They different quite starkly in their methods.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

> {quote:title=C.Bogle wrote:}{quote}

> Films like The Lion in Winter

> might lead students to think that in Medieval times everybody lived in a large, cold castle,

> which in itself is far from the truth.

 

Now I see where we differ in opinion. You are much more literal, while I am much more "loosy goosy". Why would anyone assume "everybody lived in a cold dark castle" if shown A LION IN WINTER? I'd be showing it to class to illustrate the social structure of the times with sets and costumes thrown in for extra atmosphere. I'm sure they could differentiate typical housing/clothing of the day depending on social status, as well as this being a melodrama, not a "historically acurrate" film.

 

> In general movies will sacrifice the truth

> to present a more intriguing story. I could see where a limited use of scenes from movies

> might play some role, but it would likely be a limited one.

 

I'm sorry to disagree with you overall, but I wholeheartedly admit you are correct in your first line about "truth". All stories must be taken as a STORY and not factual. Everyone's experience in history is individual, although there are often collective commonalities, like with 9/11.

 

There's been a lot of GWTW talk on another thread about how slaves are portrayed. I can tell you 90% of kids these days (as well as myself @ 12 y/o) picture southern slaves like ancient oarsmen sweating, sickly, whipped and working beyond exhaustion.

That type of slavery is shown in Scarlett's lumber mill after the war, run by Northerners.

 

In contrast, the slaves portrayed at Tara before the war were "house" slaves, "nanny" slaves and "field" slaves, all with their own specialty jobs. And after the war some of them remained at Tara considered family like the Wilkes.

 

I'm sure there are tons of inaccuracies in that, but instead of taking it literally, I just see it as an illustration of alternative roles that might have been seen in those days. It really does help round out the picture we might have in our minds about the past.

 

I definitely use classic film to help teach kids history.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this  

© 2020 Turner Classic Movies Inc. A Time Warner Company. All Rights Reserved Terms of Use | Privacy Policy | Cookie Settings
×
×
  • Create New...