Resource Type: Films

Below is a collection of our recommended films for middle and high school. We offer additional lists and articles about films. See the links here:

Films with a Conscience is an annotated list of films that we recommend for middle and high school. It includes many of the titles listed further below.

Teaching People’s History with Film offers some strategies for viewing films with students in the classroom that invite insight and critical reflection.

Film Clips is our collection of short clips, many of which are from the Voices of a People’s History “People Speak” productions.

The Corporation

Film. By Mark Achbar, Jennifer Abbott, and Joel Bakan. 2004. 145 minutes.
This award-winning documentary examines the nature, evolution, impacts, and future of the modern business corporation and the increasing role it plays in society and our everyday lives.
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Crip Camp

Film. Directed by Nicole Newnham and Jim LeBrecht. Netflix. 2020. 107 minutes.
A groundbreaking summer camp galvanizes a group of teens with disabilities to help build a movement, forging a new path toward greater equality.
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Dirt and Deeds in Mississippi

Film. Produced and directed by David Shulman. Narrated by Danny Glover. 2015. 82 minutes.
Documentary about the pivotal role played by Black landowning families during the Civil Rights Movement in Mississippi who controlled over a million acres in the 1960s.
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Disability History Week

Film. From Y.O. Disabled and Proud. 2010. 6 minutes.
Youth at the 2010 Youth Organizing! Disabled and Proud Disability History Campaign Summit YO! explain why they believe disability history should be taught in schools.
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Echando Raices/Taking Root

Film. By Rachael Kamel/JT Takagi. 2002. 60 minutes.
The struggles of immigrants through the personal stories of families in communities in California, Texas, and Iowa.
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Even the Rain/También la lluvia

Film. Directed by Icíar Bollaín and written by Paul Laverty. 2010. 103 minutes.
As a crew shoots a film about Columbus' genocide, local people in Cochabamba, Bolivia rise up against plans to privatize the water supply.
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February One

Film. Produced by Dr. Steven Channing. 2004. 61 minutes.
The story surrounding the 1960 Greensboro lunch counter sit-ins.
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First Light (Film) | Zinn Education Project: Teaching People's History

First Light

Film. By Upstander Project. 2015. 13 minutes.
Story of forced removal of Native American children in Maine sent to boarding schools.
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The First Rainbow Coalition

Film. Directed and produced by Ray Santisteban. Nantes Media LLC. 2019. 56 minutes.
In this documentary, Chicago's Black Panther Party forms alliances across lines of race and ethnicity with other community-based movements in the city to collectively confront issues such as police brutality and substandard housing.
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Freedom on My Mind (Film) | Zinn Education Project

Freedom on My Mind

Film. Directed Connie Field and Marilyn Mulford. Written by Michael Chandler. 1994. 110 minutes.
The story of the Mississippi freedom movement in the early 1960s.
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Freedom Riders

Film. Written, produced, and directed by Stanley Nelson. 2011. 120 minutes.
A first-hand look at the 1961 rides from the Freedom Riders themselves and others who were there.
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Freedom Song

Film. By Phil Alden Robinson. 2006. 117 minutes.
Based on the actual history of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), student activism, and voter registration in McComb, Mississippi, during the Civil Rights Movement.
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Freedom Summer

Freedom Summer

Film. Written, produced, and directed by Stanley Nelson. 2014. 120 minutes.
Documentary about 1964 Freedom Summer in Mississippi.
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Gasland

Film. Directed by Josh Fox. 2010. 107 minutes.
When filmmaker Josh Fox is asked to lease his land for drilling, he crosses the country and uncovers a trail of contamination.
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Glory

Film. Directed by Edward Zwick. 1989. 122 minutes.
The all-Black 54th Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry Regiment is brought to the screen in this star-studded Civil War film.
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Golden Lands, Working Hands

Film. By Fred Glass for the California Federation of Teachers. 1999. 170 minutes.
Ten-part film series brings the hidden history of working people in California to light, from the Gold Rush through the present.
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The Good Soldier

Film. Directed by Lexy Lovell and Michael Uys. 2009. 79 minutes.
Documentary that offers examples of these too-often-forgotten "good soldiers" who, in different ways, tried to follow their consciences.
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