American History through Movies

February 1, 2018

Themed movie nights, or weekends, are the best! Last night HBO had the Last of the Mohicans playing and so of course I got to thinking about American history through movies.

I tried to stay on movies that had historical events, but it was tricky because a good movie tells us a riveting story with a small group of characters we can identify with. It was pretty tough finding appropriate movies. Some historical events have a million movies and then others that don’t have any. But I came up with a relatively enjoyable weekend, or month, of themed movies. Here goes on American history:


The New World (2005)




I would start with the pilgrams but I cannot find a decent movie, so on to Pocahontas!








The Last of the Mohicans (1992)





Then on to the colonial battles with the French in the North.








The Crossing (2000)





Then you have the American Revolution, this one was hard to choose between this or the Patriot but I thought the crossing sounded more historical.







12 years a Slave (2013)




There is a gap in my knowledge of events in America between 1776-1860 but during this time we would have Jane EyreHuckleberry Finn, and The Revenant. However, we also have a tragic history in America in building a Cotton textile industry. I chose 12 years a slave because of the amazing acting and it shows slaves as intelligent people in a unintelligible time.






Glory (1989)




Eventually, enough people in America banded together to end the inhumane treatment of slaves in the south and we had the Civil War. I chose this movie because Denzel Washington is my favorite actor, when he is on screen he tells a story so well you forget it is just a story.







Dances with Wolves (1990)




Then begins the settling of the west, but first Americans have to mess up another culture. I must admit Kevin Costner is also a favorite actor but not because of his great acting ability, because he directs fascinating stories.








Far and Away (1992)





With Native Americans out of the way now we can settle the wild west. I want to put in Wagon’s East because that is my favorite western movie but alas it isn’t historical at all.








There will be blood (2007)





Then comes the businessmen determined to create financial empires.








The Current Wars (2017)





And I suppose with the help of said businessman the Industrial Revolution was off!








A Very Long Engagement (2004)





Then America enters into World War I.








The Monuments Men (2014)






Then World War II.







The Hurricane (1999)





Then a time of blatant inequality.








Malcolm X (1992)





Followed by a time of standing up!








Hair (1979)





Which was accompanied by the Vietnam War, Drugs, Rock and Roll, and Civil Liberties! This is a musical but it conveys the heartache of what was going on at that time. If you like the Beatles choose Across the Universe for this time period, but I prefer the rowdy 70’s version of Hair.







Apollo 13 (1995)





Don’t forget the Space Race!








Network (1976)





Now enters television and its impact on social lives.








The Hunt for Red October (1990)





Then we have another warring stand off.








Pirates of Silicon Valley (1999)






And then we have computers and internet!







War, Inc. (2008)






Then we have yet another war. This is not meant as an offense to any one just a satirical take on what war has come to.







Now that pretty much brings us current on American history but I will add one more since its ending leads to food for thought on our future with technology.


The Circle (2017)






A thoughtful movie of America in 2018.







And that is my history of America as told through our movies. Obviously movies are going to get dates and events wrong but they convey a sense of person to whatever era they are describing.

If you have an additions feel free to comment! I love watching movies while crafting and I love finding movies.

Happy Crafting!


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