Recommended Viewing

Extra Credit

Watch one movie from each time section below — you choose which ones you want to watch.

After watching the movies, write a summary for each movie (A TOTAL OF FIVE SUMMARIES!!). Use the summary description below to guide your writingThis EXTRA CREDIT Assignment will be due on Friday 9/4/15.  Note that extra credit is RARE for AP classes, so you are encouraged to take the opportunity. Summary: 150-200 words eachtyped, should include:

                        *a brief description of the historical event or person    

                        *the dates of the event or person

                        *where the event took place or the person lived

                        * the major lesson to be learned from that event or person

                        *What connection can be made between the past and the present?

                        * How did you like the film and did it sparked any  interest.


HINT: If you have friends, you all can watch the SAME movie BUT YOU HAVE TO TURN IN SEPARATE SUMMARIES. Watch the movie together and have a  discussion on it, so you understand it better!! ☺


8000 BCE – 600 CE

The 300 Spartans (1962) Based on the history of Spartan king Leonidis and 300 soldiers holding off Xerxes attack at Thermopylae.

Barefoot in Athens (1966) The last days of Socrates, including his trial.

Alexander the Great (1956) Ancient Greece

Spartacus (1960) Roman slave revolt, 70BC

Cleopatra (1963) Egypt & Rome, 48 BC

Sign of the Pagan (1955). The Story of Attila the Hun....

A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum (1966) Based on Plautus' play Miles Gloriosus. Rome

Jesus Christ Superstar (1973) Last week of Jesus’ life, through eyes of Judas, all musical

Ben-Hur (1959) Rome conquering Jewish people, 1st century AD

Mohammad, Messenger of God/The Message (1977)  A story on Mohammad the founder of Islam

The Emperor and the Assassin (1999) [Alt: Jing ke ci qin wang ] The story of the first Chinese Emperor, Qin Shih Huang Di

Attila, Flagello Di Dio (1954) [Alt: Attila, Attila the Hun] Attila prepares to attack Rome.

Constantino Il Grande (1961)[Alt: Constantine The Great \Constantine And The Cross] The story of the founder of Byzantium in the center of which is the scene of the flaming cross which the Emperor sees in the sky just before the big battle.


600 CE – 1450 CE

 del desierto (1965) [Alt: Simon of the Desert] the story of St. Simon Stylites, who stood on a pillar for forty years. This is one of the best accounts of Early Christian Asceticism ever put on screen.

Theodora, Imperatice Di Bizanzio (1909) [Alt: Theodora Empress Of Byzantium]

The Last Roman (1968) [Alt: Kampf um Rom] The decline of the Roman Empire. It presents the struggle of the daughters of the Gothic king Theodoric for power after his death, and then the conquest of their kingdom in Italy by the Byzantine general Belisarius.

The Legend of the Suram Fortess [aka Ambavi Suramis tsikhitsa ](1984) The film is set in medieval Georgia. A woman advises the prince who abandoned her to bury his son in the walls of Suram Fortress to protect it during a siege. Russian Folk-tale.

El Naser Salah el Dine [Alt: Saladin] (1963) An Arab movie about Saladin. It is not clear in the movie that Saladin was a Kurd, not an Arab, and he is presented as a prototype of Nasser in calling for Arab unity in order to expel the western intruders.

The Advocate [Alt: The Hour of the Pig] A 15th-century French lawyer defends a pig put on trial for murder.

Black Cross (1960) [Alt: Krzyzacy] About the Teutonic knights. 15th century.

The Messenger   (1999) A modern look at the life of Joan D’Arc –100 Years’ War 13th Century.

Joan of Arc (1948) Ingrid Bergman, 2 Oscars

El Cid (1961) Eleventh Century Spain

The Lion in Winter (1968) 12th Century England. Struggle and intrigue w/i ruling family-who will be king?

Ivanhoe (1952) based on Sir Walter Scott's romantic novel. Saxons support Richard, Normans support John, and Elizabeth Taylor as Rebecca (one of the few movie representations of any Medieval Jewish character).

The Black Rose (1950) A noble Saxon youth in Norman England is forced to run away. He takes with him a loyal retainer who brings along a long bow. The two go all the way to China where they become involved in intrigues in the court of Kublai Khan.

Marco the Magnificent (1965) Orson Welles as Marco Polo—Europe and China

The Conqueror (1956)—Mongol history, life of  Genghis Khan


1450 – 1750

A Man for All Seasons (1966) St. Thomas More. Won six Oscars.  16th Century England, protestant reformation

Elizabeth (1998) 16th Century England.  Elizabethan era

Captain From Castile (1947) Cortez' conquest of Mexico and the Spanish Inquisition all involved in on story.

Cyrano de Bergerac (1990) Based on a late 19th century play about a long-nosed early 17th century Frenchman.

The Mission (1986) The Jesuit plantations in Paraguay

Black Robe (1991) Jesuit missions in Quebec.

Royal Hunt of the Sun (1969) The conquest of Peru by Francisco Pizzaro.

The Agony and the Ecstasy (1965) The story of Michelangelo. Italy and the Renaissance.

The Last Valley (1991) Set in 1641, the twenty-third year of the Thirty Years' War. Sharif plays Vogel, a teacher who is now a wandering beggar since his entire family was slaughtered.

The Return of Martin Guerre (1982) [aka La Retour de Martin Guerre] [in French or with English subtitles] One of the best historical movies ever made. Get subtitled rather than dubbed version.

Vatel (2000) focuses on three days in 1671 when the Prince de Condé hosted Louis XIV and his court.

Tempest (1959) On the Pugachev peasant uprising in Catherine the Great's Russia

Cromwell (1970) With Richard Harris and Alec Guinness. English Civil War. 17th century

1492: Conquest of Paradise (1992)  a look at Columbus 500 years later

Central America: History and Heritage (1985)—From native cultures, to Spanish domination, to modern countries in Latin America.

Galileo (1975) An all star cast, 17th Century Italian scientist


1750 – 1900

The Madness of King George (1994 )  King George III of England 1700’s

The Leopard [aka Il Gattopardo] (1963) Shows Sicilian life, landlord-tenant relations, and social unrest around 1860. Lancaster plays a Prince trying to work out he responds to the unification of Italy.

Germinal (1993) [In French] Sprawling film on Zola's novel about a strike in French mining village.

Danton (1982) [in French] This film by a polish director caused a sensation in France for its perceived criticism of the Revolution.

Citizen Kane (1941) An account of Golden Age capitalism

1900 (1976 )[in Italian] Saga about the Italian Communist party and the rise of the Black Shirts.

The Charge of the Light Brigade (1968) A much more accurate historical account by a British director. As might be expected, unlike the racial motifs of the US film, social class is the major factor here.

Les Misérables (1998) Victor Hugo novel, French Revolutionary times

Zulu Dawn (1969) A dramatization of the Battle of Isandlwana during the Anglo-Zulu war. Africa

Breaker Morant  (1980) Three Australian lieutenants are on trial for shooting Boer prisoners during the Boer War. Africa

Amistad (1997) 1839 mutiny on a slave ship

Last of the Mohicans (1992) Three trappers protect a British Colonel's daughters in the midst of the French and Indian War



1900 – Present

Lawerence of Arabia  (1962) The classic movie about a British officer in Arabia during WWI , 7 Oscars

All Quiet on the Western Front (1979) WWI trench warfare

Out of Africa (1985) Isak Dinesen's life in 1910's Kenya.

Black and White in Color (1976) On the experiences of Fr. and German colonies in Africa as they learn of the Great War

Lagaan: Once Upon a Time in India (2001). An Indian film about British imperialism and a village uniting to resist the land tax

Paths of Glory (1957) courtroom movie. WWI--a commander in the French army must deal with mutiny & a glory-seeking general.

Reds (1981) The Russian Revolution and socialist politics in general, from the viewpoint of the American journalist John Reed

Nicholas and Alexandra (1971) The Russian Revolution from the viewpoint of the Tsar and Tsarina.

Dr. Zhivago (1965) Based on the novel by Boris Pasternak. Russian Revolution, early 1900’s

Luna Park (1992),. Russia after the collapse of Communism.

The White Rose (1982) True story of the resistance to Nazism by some students at Munich University.

Jakob the Liar (1999) Robin Williams. Similar story to Life is Beautiful. Polish Jews during WWII

Exodus (1960) Israel's birth pangs from a particular point of view.—Post WWII, founding of Israel

La Battaglia di Algeri 1965 [French w/ English subtitles] the Algerian war against French colonialism.

Gandhi  (1982) biography of modern India's founder. 8 Oscars

Lumumba (2000) Lumumba’s rise to power after Congo’s ind. from Belgium in 1960 and his assassination the following year.

Cry Freedom (1987) Denzel Washington. On the life and Death of Steve Biko in South Africa, modern fight against apartheid.

The Blue Kite [aka Lan feng zheng] (1993). Revolution from the view of a child in Beijing.

Xiu Xiu: The Sent Down Girl (1998), Story of a city girl sent for "re-education" in the countryside. China

October Sky (1999) The true story of Homer Hickam, a working class boy who takes up rocketry after the launch of Sputnik.

The Day the Earth Caught Fire (1961) Two atomic explosions have created a situation in which the earth has been knocked off orbit and is spiraling into the Sun. A classic of Cold War fear.

The Killing Fields (1984) Cambodia's holocaust.

Catholics [aka The Conflict](1973) Set in 1999, this is one of the few films to address the loss felt by many Catholics over the ending of the Latin Mass and the sudden "modernization" of Catholic theology.

Gallipoli (1981) Mel Gibson-- Looks at the Australian forces in the British attack on the Turkish Gallipoli peninsula, WWI

The Last Emperor (1987) the last Qing emperor & the change of China from monarchy to Communism from the emperor’s view.

Stalin –(1992) HBO docu-drama on the life and death of Stalin

Patton (1970) WWII Won 7 Oscars

Kundun (1997)  20th Century—Dalai Lama escapes from Tibet to India.  Struggle for independence

ToraToraTora (1970) Pearl Harbor attack WWII

Hotel Rwanda (2004)  True story of a man’s fight against genocide in Rwanda in 1994


              This assignment was adapted from Thomas Stone High School

<> accessed on June 14, 2009.  Last updated 2008.


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