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Fourth of July is the perfect time to enjoy a movie about U.S. History. Movies are a great way to learn about history – and much more interesting than reading a textbook. Movies are a great way to bring history alive and spark interest, both for older kids and adults. Here is a list top 10 U.S. History movies, arranged chronologically, that will help you appreciate the country’s history and remember some of the challenges that the country has faced.
1776 – This musical movie is perfect for July 4th, since it tells the story of the writing and signing of the Declaration of Independence. It is kind of silly, but fun to see the founding fathers like John Adams and Thomas Jefferson singing and dancing. In between the musical numbers it conveys quite a bit of historical information.
Glory – This movie is one of the best films ever made about the American Civil War. Glory is about the first black regiment to fight for the North in the Civil War and the vital contribution of African American soldiers to the country’s historic struggle.
Lincoln – directed by Steven Spielberg, chronicles Abraham Lincoln’s final four months in office as he tries to end the Civil War, unite the country and abolish slavery. Daniel Day-Lewis is superb in the title role, and the movie shows why Lincoln is revered as one of our greatest presidents.
The Grapes of Wrath – Starring Henry Fonda, this movie shows the impact of the Great Depression on an American family. This is a remarkable film version of John Steinbeck’s classic novel. The depression era is one that is frequently skimmed over in history class, so this movie can really give a feel for the time period.
Longest Day – This is a definitive World War II movie. This movie about D-Day covers the day from many different perspectives, including the Allies, the Germans and the French resistance. This movie has a huge cast, and did filming in the original locations when possible, so it is realistic in portraying the scope of the D-Day invasion.
Ghosts of Mississippi – This movie is about the search for justice in the case of the murder of civil rights leader Medgar Evers in 1963. It takes 30 years for the full story to come out and the trial to occur, and this movie is a compelling look at the Civil Rights era in America.
Thirteen Days (Infinifilm Edition) – This political thriller gives insight into the Cold War and the standoff that occurred during the Cuban Missile Crisis.
Apollo 13 – the harrowing story of how the Apollo 13 crew was put in danger when explosion seriously damaged the moon-bound spacecraft. It is a riveting look at the space race and its aftermath, and also a testament to the ingenuity of the scientists and engineers who worked with the space program.
Good Morning, Vietnam – Robin Williams stars as a radio DJ in Saigon. Although it is a comedy it is also a good look at the cost of war.
All the President’s Men – the story of Watergate and the reporters who brought down a President.