5 Great Movies that Bring History to Life

History is an incredibly important subject, but it can sometimes be difficult to convey the impact these events have on our daily lives. If you want to engage your kids with knowledge of the past, here are 5 great movies that bring history to life!

A note before we begin: historical events are often inspirational, but they can also be upsetting. It’s no surprise that many important historical events represent dark times throughout the world’s history. However, it is critical to recognize the impact these events had – even if they are difficult to watch and discuss. That said, historical films may not be appropriate for children of all ages, so we encourage parents to do independent research beforehand.

Apollo 13 (1995)

Apollo 13 is the fascinating true story of the famously aborted 1970 lunar mission of the same name. Intended to be the third walk on the moon, the spacecraft suffered an onboard explosion resulting in a dire emergency situation. The mission quickly turned from a scientific venture to a rescue attempt, and the film follows the NASA scientists who helped get the astronauts back home safely. Students who are interested in space travel and engineering are sure to find this film interesting!

Harriet (2019)

Harriet is a biographical film detailing the life of Harriet Tubman, the brave abolitionist who rescued roughly 70 slaves during the Civil War. The film shows the development of the Underground Railroad and Tubman’s efforts to avoid capture by slave hunters. Harriet takes place during a dark time in America’s history, but it is one that needs to be recognized.

42 (2013)

42 depicts the true story of Jackie Robinson, the inspirational baseball legend who broke the “color barrier” in the major leagues. Students who are interested in sports are sure to love this film, and learning about Jackie Robinson’s iconic story will emphasize why the number “42” has been retired throughout all of Major League Baseball.

Lincoln (2012)

Lincoln is a historical drama that follows the last era of Abraham Lincoln’s life. During the final months of the Civil War in January 1865, Lincoln began focusing his efforts on abolishing slavery. His actions would ultimately lead to the passing of the Thirteenth Amendment of the United States Constitution, effectively banning slavery permanently. The film is a wonderful tribute to one of America’s most beloved presidents – and how his actions changed the world.

Schindler’s List (1993)

Schindler’s List is a powerful, true story about the Holocaust and the events of World War II. Oskar Schindler was a wealthy German industrialist who, while pretending to be an upstanding member of the Nazi party, saved the lives of 1,200 Jews by employing them to work at his factories and avoid being sent to concentration camps. Schindler’s List is often credited with being one of the most important films ever made, but the images depicted can often be disturbing and graphic. The Holocaust’s impact cannot be understated – these events need to be shown to accurately convey the horrors that occurred during WWII. Schindler’s List may be more appropriate for older students, but the story it tells is one that cannot be forgotten.

Click here for more ways to get your student interested in history!