Table of Contents for U.S. History Learning Guides and Lesson Plans from Movies and Film

Full-Length Movies — Short Subjects — Movie Clips — Film Clips — Video Clips — Snippets

1991 to the Present

A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood

(Health, ELA, United States (1949 to 1991; 1991 to Present; and the Press); SEL: Father/Son; Male Role Model; Parenting;  Moral-Ethical Emphasis: Caring) [14+]

American Violet

(U.S. 1991 – Present; Civics; Plea Bargaining; Snippet: Film Clips: First 31 minutes of the film; Lesson: one and one-half 45 – 55 minute class periods [13+]

Anne B. Real

U.S./1991 – present and New York [12+]

Baseball: Inning 1

The 1840’s – 1900 Sports; U.S. History & Culture [10+]

A Better Life

(U.S. 1991 – Current; Hispanic & California; SEL: Father/Son; Courage; Moral-Ethical Emphasis: Respect) [13+]


(U.S. History & Culture: 1991 to Present; The Diversity/African-American Experience and the Civil Rights Movement; SEL: Human Rights; Justice; Moral-Ethical Emphasis: Respect? [13+;2 hours 12 minutes]

Cesar Chavez: Respect for All

(U.S. 1945 – current, Diversity; Hispanic-Americans & California; SEL: Leadership; GBLTQ; Caring for Animals; Moral-Ethical Emphasis: Respect) [10+; 22 minutes]


(U.S. 1991 – Current; Medicine; Sports; SEL: Courage; Moral-Ethical Emphasis: Trustworthiness; Responsibility; Citizenship) [13+]


(Health; Medicine; Science-Technology; U.S. 1991 – present; World/Asia; SEL: Courage; Surviving; Moral-Ethical Emphasis: Responsibility; Citizenship) [13+]

Countdown to Year Zero

Academic Version

(The Environment; U.S. History & Culture 1991 to present; SEL: Caring for Animals; Taking Care of Yourself; Moral-Ethical Emphasis: Respect; Responsibility) [15+; 52 minutes]

Courage Under Fire

U.S./1991 – Present [12+]


(The Environmentment; SEL: Surviving; Moral-Ethical Emphasis: Responsibility) [13+]


(U.S. – 1991 to Current; Diversity; California; Literary Devices: Irony; SEL: Mother/Son; Moral-Ethical Emphasis: Respect) [15+]

El Norte

U.S./1945 to present, Diversity & California; World/Guatemala [14+]

Empowering Students to Meet the Challenges of Our Time

(U.S. History and Culture, 1945 – 1991 to Current; SEL: Leadership: Moral-Ethical Emphasis: Responsibility) [14+]

Eye in the Sky

(U.S. 1991 – Current; War on Terror (Drone Warfare); SEL: Courage in War; Moral-Ethical Emphasis: Trustworthiness) [14+]

Force More Powerful

Short Subject: World/India, Poland, Denmark, Chile, South Africa; 1800s – the Present; U.S./1945 – the Present; Civil Rights Movement, Tennessee

[12+; Six sections, each between 20 and 30 minutes in length]

Fruitvale Station.

(U.S./1991 to present, Diversity & California; SEL: Human Rights; Moral-Ethical Emphasis: Respect) [13+]

Ghosts of Mississippi

U.S./1945 – Present, Diversity, the Law & Mississippi [12+]

Good Will Hunting

Medicine (Psychiatry); U.S./1991 – present & Massachusetts; [14+]

Gracie’s Choice

(Health; U.S./1991 – present) [12+]

Hidden Figures

(U.S. 1940 – 1991, Diversity, and Virginia; Mathematics; Science-Technology;; Cinema; SEL: Courage; Human Rights; Moral-Ethical Emphasis: Respect) [13+]

Hoop Dreams

Sports/Basketball; U.S./1991 – Present & Illinois [10+]

Hotel Rwanda

World/Rwanda & the Post-Cold War Era; U.S./1991 – present [14+]

The Insider

U.S./1991 – present, the Law and the Press [13+]

Just Mercy

(Drama/England; World/Ancient Rome; SEL: Ambition; Rebellion; Moral-Ethical Emphasis: Respect) [12+]

The Last Repair Shop

(U.S. 1991 to Current; Music; World: Armenia; SEL: Work/Career; GBLTQ; Human Rights; Taking Care of Yourself; Male Role Model; Female Role Model; Moral/Ethical Emphasis: Responsibility; Caring.

Mao’s Last Dancer

(Literature: NonFiction; Literary Devices: allegory/parable; Biography; World/China; U.S.: 1945 – Present; Dance; SEL: Breaking Out; Human Rights; Moral-Ethical Emphasis: Responsibility) [12+]

McFarland, USA

(Sports; U.S. 1945 – Current, Hispanic, & California; SEL: Education; Breaking Out; Moral-Ethical Emphasis: Responsibility) [12+]

Music of the Heart

Music/Classical, U.S./1991 – present & New York; Biography (Guaspari) [9+]


Snippet Lesson Plan: The Spread of Viral Infection

(Health; Science-Technology (Biology) [14+]

Pay It Forward

U.S./1991 – Present [12+]

Pick of the Litter

(U.S. History and Culture, 1991 to Present; SEL: Caring for Animals, Disabilities; Moral-Ethical Emphasis: Caring, Citizenship) [11+]

The Pursuit of Happyness

U.S./1991 – present and Biography [12+]

The Rookie

Sports/Baseball; U.S./1991 – present [9+]

Small Wonders

Music/Classical; U.S./1991 – Present & New York; Biography (Guaspari) [6+]

Smoke Signals

U.S./1991 – Present, Diversity (Native American) & Idaho [12+]

Spare Parts

(Science-Technology; U.S. 1991 – Current, Hispanic & Arizona; SEL: Education; Breaking Out; Moral-Ethical Emphasis: Responsibility) [13+]


(U.S. 1945 – Current, the Press & Massachusetts; Religions; SEL: Child Abuse; Moral-Ethical Emphasis: Responsibility) [13+; 128 minutes]

Super Size Me

A Lesson Plan for Health Classes

U.S./1991 – present; Medicine [11+]

Travis: A Soldier’s Story

The Best of TWM

(Health (Resilience); U.S. 1991 – Current; World/Afghanistan; SEL: Courage in War; Surviving; Moral-Ethical Emphasis: Responsibility) [14+]

TWO CONTRASTING TRADITIONS RELATING TO RACE RELATIONS IN AMERICA and a Tragic Irony of the American Revolution:  the Sacrifice of Freedom for the African-American Slaves on the Altar of Representative Democracy

(U.S.: all time periods & Diversity/African-American and World: The Enlightenment and all time periods thereafter; SEL: Human Rights; Justice; Moral-Ethical Emphasis: Respect)

When a Man Loves a Woman

U.S./1945 – 1991 [13+]


A Unit on National Security Whistleblowers featuring a choice of three films: War on Whistleblowers, Silenced, and The Most Dangerous Man in America

(U.S. 1945 – Current & the Press; the Law; Civics; SEL: Courage; Moral-Ethical Responsibility; Citizenship) [13+]

Will the future of the United States be more like the years after 1858 or the years after 1968?

(U.S. History & Culture; SEL: Justice; Human Rights; Moral-Ethical Emphasis: Citizenship) [15+]

The Witness

(U.S./1991 – present & New York [13+]

Underwater Dreams

(Science-Technology; U.S. 1991 – Current, Hispanic & Arizona; SEL: Education; Breaking Out; Moral-Ethical Emphasis: Responsibility) [13+]

Won’t You Be My Neighbor?

Health (Parenting); Biography (Fred Rogers); U.S. History 1945 to 1991. 1991 to present; SEL: Parenting; Male Role Model; Moral-Ethical Emphasis: Caring; AGE; 16+

For more U.S. History Lesson Plans from movies and film relating to the
Civil Rights Movement, Politics, the Law, and the Press click here. Learning Guides are ideal lesson plan makers for teachers of U.S. history. Each Learning Guide contains sections on Helpful Background, Benefits of the Movie, Possible Problems, Discussion Questions, and Assignments. They are designed to allow you to quickly create great U.S. history lesson plans.

The film clips and short subjects used in Snippet Lesson Plans are less than 40 minutes in length and are ideal for classroom use.

Movies make the events they portray come alive. helps teachers and parents make U.S. history vivid and personal for children.