Unit II: Colonial Period Books & Films
|www.studenthandouts.com > U.S. History > Colonial Period > Books and Films
|The Last of the Mohicans (1992)
|In Search of History: Salem Witch Trials (1998)
The colonial period in United States history, which encompasses the early settlements, interactions with Native Americans, and the struggle for independence from British rule, has been the subject of numerous films. Here are some of the leading films that attempt to explore this historical era.
The Patriot (2000) - Directed by Roland Emmerich and starring Mel Gibson, this epic film is set during the American Revolution. It follows the story of Benjamin Martin, a farmer who becomes a reluctant hero in the fight for American independence. Despite its popularity, though, it is highly inaccurate.
1776 (1972) - Based on the Broadway musical of the same name, this film provides a musical take on the events leading up to the signing of the Declaration of Independence. It offers a blend of drama, humor, and music while depicting the debates and challenges faced by the Founding Fathers.
John Adams (2008) - While not a film but a miniseries, John Adams is a highly acclaimed historical drama that delves into the life of John Adams, one of America's Founding Fathers. It explores his role in the American Revolution and early American politics.
The Crucible (1996) - Based on Arthur Miller's play, this film is set during the Salem witch trials in colonial Massachusetts. It provides a fictionalized account of the hysteria and paranoia that gripped the community during this period. Despite being fictional, it truly is excellent, and the acting is superb.
Drums Along the Mohawk (1939) - Directed by John Ford, this classic film is set during the American Revolution and follows a young couple as they settle in the Mohawk Valley and face the challenges posed by British loyalists and Native American allies of the British.
The Witch (2015) - A psychological horror film set in colonial New England, The Witch explores themes of isolation, superstition, and religious fervor. It tells the story of a Puritan family encountering supernatural forces in the wilderness. It is definitely inappropriate and pointless for the classroom, but United States History teachers might enjoy watching it at home.
The Crossing (2000) - This TV film, starring Jeff Daniels as George Washington, dramatizes Washington's daring crossing of the Delaware River on Christmas night in 1776, a pivotal moment in the American Revolution.
The Scarlet Letter (1995) - Based on Nathaniel Hawthorne's novel, this film is set in Puritan New England and tells the story of Hester Prynne, a woman shunned by her community after bearing an illegitimate child. It is appallingly bad, but teachers might get a kick out of laughing at it at home.
The New World (2005) - Directed by Terrence Malick, this historical drama explores the encounters between English settlers and Native Americans in the early 17th century. It focuses on the relationship between John Smith and Pocahontas.
These films offer a range of perspectives on the colonial period in United States history, from epic tales of the American Revolution to intimate dramas set within early American communities. They provide insights into the challenges, conflicts, and cultural dynamics of this crucial era in American history.
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