Mr. Isaac's Social Studies Site

8th Grade Social Studies Elective: Real to Reel

A good movie does more than simply entertain. While Hollywood blockbusters like Transformers 2 might appeal to many moviegoers, such films are rarely inspirational or enlightening. Truly great films, however, can make people think, can make people feel, and can even inspire people to take action. "Historical" films - those that attempt to represent the world as it is, or as it used to be - are particularly powerful in this way. As such, these films offer an opportunity for critical reading and fascinating discussion.

There are many different types of films that fit within the broader "historical" film genre. These include documentaries, biographies, epics, topical films, historical fiction, musicals, and many more. A single film may fall into only one of these categories, or it may fall into several. Each has its own unique style, as well as its own inherent strengths and weaknesses, for students to explore.

For this reason, we will view and discuss many different types of movies over the next several months. You will be encouraged to think critically about more than whether you simply "liked" the film or not; you will explore the choices each filmmaker made, and ultimately, how effective these choices were.

Potential Films to be Viewed:
  • Hotel Rwanda
  • Evita
  • Les Miserables
  • Cinderella Man
  • Apollo 13
  • Last Train Home
  • Inside North Korea
  • Gandhi
  • The King's Speech
  • Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World
  • El Cid
  • The Young Victoria
  • Miracle
  • Elizabeth: The Golden Age
  • Remember the Titans

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