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Review of the History in Film Website for Educators

By Noreen Gunnell

A review of the History in Film website, a user friendly site which makes a great resource for history teachers teaching with movies in the classroom. It contains information and handouts for about sixteen movies ranging from the Ancient Roman to the Vietnam Era.

The History in Film website is a user friendly site created for student reference by a teacher using movies in the classroom. Since then, it has grown to become a resource for history teachers utilizing films in their classrooms. About sixteen movies ranging from the Ancient Roman to the Vietnam Era are included. Each movie has a homepage containing a general description and pages for plot summary, outline, and, in most cases, a timeline. Attention to historical accuracy is given throughout. This web site is very helpful to World History and Social Studies teachers.

Using the Site

The site provides informative links about the period or events covered in a movie so educators can brush up on their facts before planning a lesson. While most of the links are working and useful, some are cyber dead-ends. I found the latter to be especially true for A Night to Remember. Homework assignments are also offered which the linked information will help students complete. A test on every movie is available by request via e-mail.

At the creator’s suggestion, the plot summaries can be used as an introduction to or review of the story. The outlines break down the movies into minutes, scenes, and main characters. This is extremely helpful to teachers who want to stop the movie at key moments for discussion or note-taking. The timelines are of the historical era depicted in the film. Links to all are at the bottom of each page for simple site navigation, and everything can be downloaded and printed for students without internet access. Pages can be downloaded separately or as a movie package.

I would recommend this site for several reasons. The website’s best aspects are its small size and navigability. A visitor is not overwhelmed by too many choices and can easily move between movie pages, download options and links, or return home. Further, many of the links contain information that can carry over into other lesson plans besides those dealing with the chosen movie.