7 Great Movies with Historical Context for the Classroom

Understanding historical context is crucial for students. Movies can be a powerful educational tool for this. They bring history to life, allowing students to gain a deeper understanding of different times, cultures, and perspectives. In this post, we’ll explore 7 Great Movies with Historical Context for the Classroom. Let’s dive in!

To Kill a Mockingbird (1962)

Set in the Great Depression era, this movie highlights racial injustice and moral corruption. Through the eyes of Scout Finch, it presents how her father Atticus, a principled lawyer, defends a black man wrongly accused. This film enlightens students about racial discrimination in the past, prompting critical discussions about equality and justice today.

To Kill a Mockingbird (1962) Movie Guide | Questions | Worksheet | Google Slides | Cover
To Kill a Mockingbird (1962) Movie Guide

Midway (PG-13 – 2019)

Midway throws light on a pivotal event during World War II – the Battle of Midway. It provides a thrilling depiction of how underdogs can overturn a seemingly superior force. Through intense battle sequences, students learn about military strategy, bravery, and the complexities of war.

Midway Movie Guide | Questions | Worksheet | Google Slides (PG13 - 2019)
Midway Movie Guide (PG13 – 2019)

Alpha (PG-13 – 2018)

Alpha transports students to the last Ice Age, exploring human’s first bond with a wild animal. It narrates the tale of a young hunter’s survival and friendship with a wolf, giving a glimpse into prehistoric human-animal relationships and survival tactics.

Alpha Movie Guide | Questions | Worksheet | Google Slides (PG13 - 2018)
Alpha Movie Guide (PG13 – 2018)

Lincoln (PG-13 – 2012)

Lincoln presents the 16th President’s struggle to end the Civil War and pass the 13th amendment. It showcases political maneuvering, societal changes, and moral dilemmas of the time. This movie helps students understand the complexity of leadership and the fight for equality.

Lincoln Movie Guide | Questions | Worksheet | Google Formats (PG13 - 2012)
Lincoln Movie Guide (PG13 – 2012)

Race (Jessie Owens Story) (PG-13 – 2016)

Race, a biopic of athlete Jesse Owens, beautifully illustrates the historical backdrop of the 1936 Olympics held in Nazi Germany. It challenges racial stereotypes, demonstrating Owens’ defiance against Hitler’s Aryan supremacy claims. It serves as a lesson in perseverance, integrity, and triumph against adversity.

Race (Jessie Owens Story) Movie Guide | Questions | Worksheet (PG13 - 2016) Cover

Gandhi (PG – 1982)

Gandhi presents the life and philosophies of Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi. It traces his journey from a lawyer in South Africa to leading India’s independence movement. This movie educates students on non-violence and civil disobedience as powerful tools for change.

Gandhi Movie Guide Cover
Gandhi Movie Guide

Radium Girls (NR – 2018)

Radium Girls tells the tragic story of factory workers who painted watch dials with radium-based paint, unknowingly poisoning themselves. It showcases their fight for justice, paving the way for improved industrial safety standards. This movie offers insights into labor rights and corporate responsibility.

Radium Girls Movie Guide | Worksheet | Questions | Google Slides (NR - 2018) Cover
Radium Girls Movie Guide (NR – 2018)

Cry Freedom (PG – 1987)

Cry Freedom delves into the life of Steve Biko, a charismatic South African anti-apartheid activist. It details his struggle for equality, his friendship with journalist Donald Woods, and the tragic consequences of his fight against an oppressive regime. This film provides valuable insights into South Africa’s tumultuous history, illustrating the profound impact of individual courage against systemic injustice.

Cry Freedom Movie Guide | Questions | Worksheet (PG - 1987) Cover
Cry Freedom Movie Guide (PG – 1987)

So, what did you think about our selection of movies that provide strong historical context? Do you have any more suggestions? We’d love to hear them!

Do you want to search for more movies by their educational key concept?

Check out this blog post to discover 21 educational key concepts and find more movies that align with each one!