Top 5 Must Watch Movies for Educational Purposes
Movie day at school was always a lot of fun but sometimes the films that teachers showed us were more than what we were expecting. Movies are not only exciting, thrilling and fun but there are some that are educational and should be taught in schools. Some films may display graphic content that is suitable for adults only, but when we think of history, sometimes you have to show the complete story no matter how difficult the subject may be. These five films are essential films to watch for educational purposes. They teach us history, the reality of life and some may even scare us in knowing that the world isn’t as nice as we think it is. Note, I’m not saying that these films should be shown to students in elementary or middle school; these should suffice for high school students.
A film that most schools across the country often show their students if the parents of those students allow their children to view the film in the first place. Steven Spielberg’s take on the Holocaust is a grim undertaking and the result is a powerful movie that’s filled with exceptional performances, haunting imagery and a musical score that will bring tears to our eyes. Oskar Schindler was just an ordinary businessman who went on to become a hero for over twelve hundred Jews that were saved from certain death at the hands of the Nazis. With the film being displayed via black and white, it has a timeless look to it and anyone who views Schindler’s List knows it’s a film that no one will ever forget.
12 Years a Slave
Based on the memoirs of Solomon Northup, a free man who was sold into slavery, this movie shows us the sheer brutality of the horrors of America’s Original Sin. Solomon Northup was tricked and sold into slavery and thus lost twelve years of his life when he was relocated, against his will, to Louisiana. His story takes us on a journey of one man’s will to survive his ordeal and return to his family. Perfectly cast, brilliantly written and featuring some of the most shocking scenes of brutality ever put on film. Steve McQueen’s film is an experience like no other and offers a small glimpse into the world of slavery that we only read about in history books. For those who think slavery isn’t an issue to study in school, watching this movie just may change your opinion, especially if something of this nature happened to you.
This film is loosely based on the murders of Civil Rights Activists James Chaney, Andrew Goodman and Michael Schwerner; better known as The Mississippi Burning Murders or Freedom Summer Murders. While the film does take liberty of its storytelling to expand into the racial tensions of the South in the mid 1960s, it does capture the lengths at which the Ku Klux Klan will go to ensure dominance over the African-American community. Gene Hackman and Willem Dafoe portray two F.B.I. agents who are sent to investigate the disappearance of the three activists and encounter heavy resistance from the local police. Mississippi Burning packs quite a punch in retelling the events that occurred in the state of Mississippi. It focuses on the real-life case that inspired this movie and in recreating the evil that the Ku Klux Klan had over its local residents.
Welcome to Chechnya
Members of the LGBTQ+ community are making headway in this world but countries around the world have laws that either exclude them or punish them. Chechnya, a Republic of the Russian Federation, claims to have no one from the LGBTQ+ community living amongst them. Welcome to Chechnya focuses on the anti-gay purge that unfolded in the Republic starting in 2017. Activists work tirelessly to move the Chechen refugees out of the country in order to escape persecution, harassment and even murder. This is a movie that everyone should watch to understand why these events happen and also to know that not every country will be accepting of everyone. We see the lengths at which these people are followed, targeted and even attacked and seeing the dangerous work of the activists also puts them at risk. It’s a risky job but one that ensures the survival of one person at the hands of a government who doesn’t shy away from removing citizens they deem aren’t allowed in their country because of who they are. It’s a heartbreaking documentary that raises awareness of a growing problem and sounds the alarm of what can happen in a country when the leaders authorize government action in ways that largely affects its citizens.
Requiem for a Dream
The D.A.R.E. program teaches us about drugs and how best to avoid them, but they never mention prescription drugs, diet pills or medicine you can buy over-the-counter without requirement of identification. I would argue that Requiem for a Dream would certainly impact students who are learning about the dangers of drugs. Based on the novel of the same name that was published back in 1978 by Hubert Selby Jr., Requiem for a Dream focuses on the lives of four New Yorkers as they struggle with their own addictions and the lengths at which they will go in order to fulfill their needs. Darren Aronofsky’s bleak film showcases the mental status of each character we follow. We witness their decline and see the writing on the wall of the opportunities of how they can escape only for that door to close. With stellar performances, a haunting soundtrack and imagery that may prove to be too intense for most viewers, Requiem for a Dream is unlike anything you’ve seen about addiction. It may not be the most entertaining or rewarding film but it’s one that remains one of the most unforgettable films that you wouldn’t want to watch again.