3. Fat Man and Little Boy – Details the process
the government, military and scientists went through to develop the atomic bomb in the early 1940s. I use the 2nd half of this film (once the scientists get to Los Alamos).
This film deals with the scientific background of the a-bomb, as well as the moral dilemmas felt by the scientists
once its use became a reality.
Starring: Paul Newman, John Cusack,
Laura Dern (1989)
Online Lesson Plan: University
“The Decision to Drop the Bomb” (Webquest)
3. Guilty By Suspicion
– Details how post-WWII America quickly turned into a witch hunt for communists. While this is a fictitious account of the Hollywood
communist witch hunts, it is based on history. I do not use the whole film –
rather I use a scene near the start which shows the pressure put on individuals to “name names”. I show the final court scene which shows the main character standing up to the inquiry and refusing to
name any names.
Robert DeNiro, George Wendt, Chris Cooper
4. Platoon –
Since this film is rated R, I send home permission slips. I feel strongly that
students see this film which shows the difficulties faced by soldiers in Vietnam.
Everything from booby-traps to fragging (to deliberately injure or kill one's military leader), to the justifications
for the war are covered. I show the 2nd half of the film (I start
where the platoon finds their first tunnel complex).
Charlie Sheen, Willem Dafoe, Tom Berenger, Forrest Whittaker, Johnny Depp
Online Lesson: Go to the webpage listed below, have students read 1 of the 4 personal accounts of the war, and using the
jigsaw method, have them share their reading with the rest of the class.
PBS, Battlefield Vietnam. http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/amex/vietnam/reflect/index.html
Platoon Video Questions: I use these questions as a method of assessment when I show the film in class.
This film highlights the coal mine strike in Matewan, West Virginia in
1920. This is an excellent film to highlight the difficulties workers faced in unionizing - the government, the company,
and themselves. YouTube has an excellent clip from the film that highlights how infighting hurt unionizing efforts.