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REEL History Film Review

Page history last edited by Mr. Hengsterman 3 years, 3 months ago




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.


Historical films open up history to people. Films provide viewers a unique insight to events that we may never have the opportunity to experience. And 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 for critically viewing the work, evaluating historical accuracy, and writing an overall evaluation following the guidelines provided. Students will be expected to complete FIVE total film reviews. In addition to the summer assignment film review, you will be required to submit one film review each marking period.




Please choose ONE of the following films for a critical film review



Apocalypto (2006)

This American epic adventure film directed and produced by Mel Gibson. The film in pre-Columbian Yucatan and Guatemala around the year 1511, even though the Mayan collapse happened some 600 years earlier, Apocalypto depicts the journey of a Mesoamerican tribesman who must escape human sacrifice and rescue his family after the capture and destruction of his village at a time when the Mayan civilization is about to come to an end. 




1492: Conquest of Paradise (1992)

This French-Spanish epic historical drama film directed by Ridley Scott and written by Roselyne Bosch, which tells the fictionalized story of the travels to the New World by the Italian explorer Christopher Columbus (Gérard Depardieu) and the effect this had on the indigenous peoples of the Americas.




The New World (2005)
This British-American romantic historical drama film written and directed by Terrence Malick, depicting the founding of the Jamestown, Virginia, settlement and inspired by the historical figures Captain John Smith, Pocahontas of the Powatan Native American tribe, and Englishman, John Rolfe. It is the fourth feature film written and directed by Malick.








Task #9 – Reel History Film Review: Time Period #1 1491-1607

Please type your film review in a Word Document and Google Documents and prepare to upload your final product to our class Schoology account.  


Part I - Summary of the 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. A collection of support links and resources can be found on our class webpage www.apushcanvas.pbworks.com. Click on the “REEL History” Link


Part II - Analysis of the Film:

Write a synopsis, or summary (2-3 paragraphs), of the film. Make sure that your summary makes sense to a reader who does not know the movie. Do not refer to specific scenes and do not try to explain everything. 


Please include the following elements in your analysis paragraphs:


- Background: society, country, kind of people (age, culture social class), historical time, etc.


- 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 flash back?



Part III - Comparison & 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.


Other Reminders:

Important note of writing: the reader understands you are writing this review; therefore, do NOT use 1st or 2nd person personal pronouns (I, me, us, we, you). This is a formal writing assignment—be sure to check your work for COPS (capitalization, overall presentation, punctuation, and spelling)) errors.


Do NOT copy another writer’s work. All reviews are to be TYPED, single spaced, and are subject to submission to ‘Turnitin.com.   Students will receive a grade of 0% on work.



Don’t forget about the aforementioned collection of support links and resources that can be found on our class webpage  www.apushcanvas.pbworks.com. Click on the “REEL History” Link.


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