From the Revolutionary War through the Cold War, this series of Great Movies for Teaching U.S. History will be published every weekday until May 2. These include educational value, ratings, suitability for youngsters, and how well the time periods covered are depicted in the films or documentaries they are based on.
The Colonies 1607-1757
This section focuses on the period prior to the Revolutionary War, when the 13 colonies were still being formed. The videos depict the initial settlers, the Native Americans, and the French and Indian War.
1. Pocahontas: 1607
Nominated for several awards and won two Oscars for Best Music
An American Indian woman meets the first Pilgrims in Pocahontas, a Disney film. In spite of the fact that the novel takes certain liberties with history (there is a talking tree), it provides an excellent introduction to American history for children.
From both English and Native American perspectives, the film distorts the events depicted. Many people claim that Pocahontas does not accurately depict historical events, however given that it is a children’s animated film, it does incorporate a fair level of accuracy. Real-life personalities like Pocahontas, Governor Ratliffe, and John Smith are included in the film. The date, ship, and reason of Jamestown’s founding are all accurate.
2. History Channel’s Desperate Crossing: The Untold Story of the Mayflower: 1620s
Rating: Not Rated
Nominated for a Prime Time Emmy
The History Channel re-created what it would have been like for the Pilgrims to cross the Atlantic using journals, historical data, and historians. Interviews with historians and on-screen performers portraying historical figures help the show successfully blend knowledge and entertaining. For the journey, the filmmakers turned to William Bradford’s works. It follows the Pilgrims from the moment they made up their minds to come to America, all the way through their ocean voyage and their arrival at Plymouth Rock.
3. The Crucible: 1692-1693
The movie was nominated for several awards including Best Writing, Screenplay Based on Material Previously Produced or Published
It takes place between 1692 and 1693 in Salem, Massachusetts, and depicts the trials based on records from that time period. Based on Arthur Miller’s Tony-winning play, the film was originally conceived as satire of the McCarthy era in America, which occurred between the years of 1940 and 1950. When you think about the Salem Witch Trials in the context of this play/movie, it may sound like a joke. The method was well-organized and documented. Sarah Good, Abigail Williams, John Proctor, and a host of other historical figures are brought to life by the performers.
Sexual elements and short nudity are present in the film. After making love to her, the man decides not to pursue a romantic engagement with her.
4. The Last of the Mohicans: 1757
The film was nominated for several awards and won an Oscar for best sound.
Nathaniel Hawkeye, a fictional character from the French and Indian War, is at the focus of this period drama based on the same-named novel. During this period, France and England fought over North America. Anglo-French cooperation began with Native American allies. Short in time, the story revolves around one man’s quest to save a woman from certain death. It’s not just a fanciful story, but a real-world one, with the places of battles and the names of historical individuals accurately depicted.
The movie also illustrates the mixed feelings of the Native Americans regarding their duty to side with either the British or the French. Native American-settler relations were tense, and the English and French made bargains with the latter that split tribes and forced them to battle one another. Even the military techniques are well-represented in the film’s depiction of daily life and the era in which it takes place.
It’s a gruesome film. The film’s goal is to convey the ferocity of the fights and the brutality with which the Native Americans and the Europeans engaged in war. There are multiple bloody battles, assassinations of women and children, and the charred remains of a burned-down house to be seen in this graphic novel.