United States History

Semester Movie Assignment

Follow this link to see examples       US History Movie Project Proposal.pdf


Your Mission:

     You will either create a documentary film OR film, edit, and produce a spectacular theatrical interpretation of some aspect of United States history.

Fall Semester Time Period -- Any single major historical event or time period from Pre-Columbian Indian Civilization to the end of the Civil War

Spring Semester Time Period -- Any single major historical event or time period from Reconstruction fo the Present

Qualifications for Movie or Documentary Presentation:

1.     Group size = 1-10 people

2.    Time qualifications = 5-10 minutes

3.    Goal =  historically accurate picture


1.     Your video will be graded/assessed on the following:

2.     Creativity – action, music, editing, special effects, acting, tears, blood (FAKE BLOOD!), dialogue, costuming, anguish, passion, and CHUTZPAH in general!

3.     Historical Accuracy – George Washington did not die gloriously in battle, Lewis & Clark did not get lost in the wilderness, and the South did not win the Civil War.

4.     Group participation – does everyone show that they took part in the effort?

5.     Time qualifications – video must be 5-10 minutes in length

     (too short? = deduction… way too long? = deduction)

6.     Appropriate – NO nudity, drug/alcohol use, swearing, or overall nastiness

7.     Overall Effort – does it seem like the group put forth a strong effort?

     This video must contain DIALOGUE or TEXT (for documentaries)

            You must submit one copy of a DVD, USB or YouTube link for your instructor to keep to show off to future generations of aspiring US history film producers

**NOTE:  The most important determinant of your grade will be the historical context that your presentation provides.  This is not a time for looking cute on camera, but a chance to creatively portray an era and culture.

FALL SEMESTER Brainstorming Ideas:

·     The Columbian Exchange

·     The Salem Witch Trials

·     The English Colonies

·     On the path to Revolution

·     Sons of Liberty

·     Thomas Paine and Common Sense

·     The American War for Independence

·     Great Battles of the American Revolutionary War

·     Loyalist resistance in the American Revolution

·     The Constitutional debate and the Great Compromise

·     The Alien and Sedition Acts

·     King Cotton in the South

·     Plantation Life

·     The Abolitionist Movement

·     The Middle Passage

·     Amistad Rebellion

·     Manifest Destiny

·     Cherokee Removal Act

·     The Corps of Discovery

·     The Monroe Doctrine

·     Nat Turner Rebellion

·     The Industrial Revolution

·     Remember the Alamo

·     The Mexican-American War as a war of imperialism

·     The Secession Debate

·     Great Leaders of the Civil War

·     Great Battles of the Civil War

·     Espionage in the Civil War

·     Medical practices in the Civil War

Points Possible:  300 pts


·     Group assignments and ideas due FIRST WEEK OF NOVEMBER


SPRING SEMESTER Brainstorming Ideas:

·     Soldiers coming home after the war

·     Life in the Roaring Twenties

·     Life in the Great Depression

·     the Holocaust

·     Espionage in WWII

·     the Atomic Bombs

·     Jewish-American response to the Holocaust

·     Baby Booming

·     Nuremberg Trials and German De-Nazification

·     Soviet-American espionage activities in the Cold War

·     Vietnam

·     Korean War

·     Iraq Wars

·     the War on Terror

·     Teenage angst in the 1950s

·     Stiff suits workin' for the Man

·     Jim Crow in the South

·     the Beatniks

·     Woodstock

·     The '60s counter-culture (hippies, etc.)

·     Civil Rights Movement

·     Women's Rights Movement

·     9/11 and Modern Terrorism

·     Conflicts in the Middle East

·     The culture of underground music movements:  Punk, Metal, Rap, Grunge

·     Patriot Act

·     the Great Recession

Points Possible:  300 pts

Due Dates:  

·     Group assignments and ideas due the LAST WEEK OF APRIL  

·     Projects due ONE WEEK BEFORE FINALS WEEK