A.P. U.S. History Summer Homework
Critical Film Review Assignment
The APUSH film review assignment is designed to supplement student knowledge of a particular historical period, person(s), event, or institution through the analysis of a related film. This is an opportunity to experience a richer encounter with history, as well as connect the rise of cinema as a prominent facet of American cultural history. Although no movie can be entirely accurate, when done well, filmmakers can immerse audiences into a world lost in time, captivating our attention and connecting our understanding to history beyond the classroom.
For the film reviews, students are responsible to: 1. critically view the movie, 2. research the actual historical event or time, and 3. evaluate the historical accuracy of the movie. Students will be expected to complete FOUR total film reviews. Students may choose only ONE film per section (era).
Please note some of the films are rated “R.” You must have parental consent prior to viewing. “R” ratings are primarily for language and/or violence.
Eras of U.S. History. Choose four total films to review (no more than one per era)
Quarter 1: Colonial Era-Foundation of America (1492-1820’s)
Quarter 2: Jacksonian Democracy-Reconstruction (1824-1877)
Quarter 2: Immigration and American Frontier (1800’s)
Quarter 3: Early 20th Century (1900-1950)
Quarter 3: World War II
Quarter 4: Cold War and Vietnam (1945-1991)
APUSH Film Review Format
Title of the Film (Year Produced)
Awards (nominations or wins)
Plot: Write a synopsis, or summary (2-3 paragraphs, of the film. Make sure that your summary makes sense to the reader who does not know the movie. Do not refer to specific scenes and do not try to explain everything.
You must also include the next items, but not as difference parts (they may be included in your description of the story).
*Place and Time: Where does the action take place? When does the action take place? (Present time, 19th century). Is the story chronological (according to the order of time) or flashback?
*Background: Society, country kind of people (ages, culture, social class) historical time.
The Truth-Actual Historical Event or Time Period:
Research the true history of the historical event, person(s), time period or institution portrayed in the film. You may want to begin with a film review site for an overview of the film, but this site will NOT provide students with the historical background, or content needed, to complete the review assignment. For research, students should use print or online resources such as Hippocampus-excellent short videos!—at http://www.hippocampus.org
Comparison and Evaluation:
To what extent is the film historically accurate? Identify specific accuracies and director’s liberties with the film. How has the film furthered student knowledge of the history portrayed?
Provide an evaluation of the film. Give your opinion, but it must be more than, “I liked it.” This is important as the reviewer can express the elements of the movie they enjoyed or disliked. However, as in all good journalism, the reviewer should also give impartial details, and allow the reader to make their own mind over an issue the reader liked or disliked. Opinions should be explained to allow the reader to determine whether they would agree with your opinion.
Important of note writing: The reader understands you are writing this review, therefore do NOT use 1st or 2nd person personal pronouns (I, me, us, we, and you). This is a formal writing assignment—be sure to check your work for GUMS (grammar, usage, mechanics and spelling) errors.
Plagiarism: Plagiarism is NEVER acceptable. Do NOT copy another writer’s work. All reviews are to be typed, single spaced, and are subject to submission too online plagiarism checkers. Students will receive a grade of 0% on work that is plagiarized, parent phone call, referral to administration.
You MUST use additional resources and not just your own memory!!!
Suggested Outline for Papers
III- The Truth-Actual Historical Event or Time Period
IV- Comparison and Evaluation
A-How historically accurate is the film?
1-What made the film accurate or inaccurate?
2-How did the inaccuracies impact what really happened?
1-Was the movie good or bad? Why
2-Is this a movie that should be used in a U.S. History class? Why?
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