Nothing can bring history to life like the big screen. Even if they’re not 100% historically accurate, many history movies can help us look further into the topic and the true story surrounding it. History movies have introduced me to so many interesting people and events throughout history.
- It sticks better.
Visual learners make up around 65% of the population, and studies have shown visual learners can help stick in long-term memory. While the exact number may be debated, it’s well-proven that our visual memory is strong. (Moonwalking with Einstein, showing the memory champions of the world, has excellent stories about this!)
Instead of random names and dates and boring facts, history movies can help us to gain memorable visuals and an engaging storyline that simply help us remember what we learned.
- History movies can bring history to life by focusing on depth.
Many times, to fit everything in, many textbooks dedicate only a few forgettable paragraphs to a time period or historical person. We never get to truly invest into a story.
- Movies inspire and bring characters to life.
History movies can help us to see a person from many different angles. Not only can they show the grand things people like Oskar Schindler and Abraham Lincoln did in history, but they can help you seem them as human beings. They can help flesh out a person so they are not just another figure in a history book.
- They can be interactive and encourage discussion.
Sites like Teach With Movies and Movie Sheets offer free printable resources for teaching with movies, including assignment ideas, worksheets, and discussion questions. Learn in Color offers movie guides, activities, and discussions that encourage social-emotional learning and understanding the context of the movie.
- Movies can be easier to relate to.
We often read about World War II from the perspective of battle-worn soldiers. However, children in particular may enjoy films like Molly: An American Girl better, which portrays life on the home front from the view of a young girl. Likewise, what better way to teach a 10 year old about life on the home front, than from the view of another 10 year old?
- Movies encourage you to dive deeper.
From dedicated biopics to pop culture favorites like Pearl Harbor, history movies can help us to dive deeper into history. Pearl Harbor (despite being overall not a historical movie) introduced us to the Doolittle Raid, an event that is seldom in history books.