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.

Precious Knowledge

Film. Directed by Ari Luis Palos and produced by Eren Isabel McGinnis. 2011. 70 minutes. High school seniors become community leaders in Tucson's embattled Ethnic Studies classes while state lawmakers attempt to eliminate the program.
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Ruby Bridges

Film. Directed by Euzhan Palcy. 1998. 96 minutes. The true story of Ruby Bridges, the six-year-old girl who helped to integrate the all-white schools in New Orleans.
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Parent Power

Film. Produced by the Annenberg Institute for School Reform at Brown University. 2011. 35 minutes. A documentary about parents in the Bronx who organized to bring high-quality education to their neighborhood.
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Chávez Ravine: A Los Angeles Story

Film. By Jordan Mechner. 2004. 26 minutes. A documentary about the politics and economics of land in the United States, based on the story of a Mexican American village razed in the 1950s to build Dodger Stadium.
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The Times of Harvey Milk

Film. Directed by Rob Epstein. 1984. 90 minutes. Documentary on the political career and assassination of Harvey Milk, San Francisco's first openly gay supervisor.
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Thunderheart

Film. By Michael Apted. 1992. 118 minutes. Captures some of the conflicts on the Pine Ridge Reservation in the 1970s relating to corporate/government collusion to exploit Native lands for profit.
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Incident at Oglala

Film. By Michael Apted. Narrated by Robert Redford. 1992. 90 minutes. Documentary about the conviction of Native American activist Leonard Peltier.
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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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The Power of 504

Film (YouTube video). 18 minutes. Documentary on the historic civil rights demonstration of people with disabilities in 1977.
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The Story of Stuff Project

Film. By Annie Leonard. 2009. 21 minutes. Series of short films on environmental and economic issues that make complicated issues easy to understand for middle school to adult viewers.
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On Coal River

Film. Directed by Francine Cavanaugh and Adams Wood. 2010. 81 minutes. This film takes viewers on a gripping emotional journey into a community surrounded by a looming toxic threat.
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When We Were Kings

Film. Directed by Leon Gast. 1996. 89 minutes. Documentary about the famous heavyweight championship match between Muhammad Ali and George Foreman.
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Made in L.A.

Film. By Almudena Carracedo and Robert Bahar. 2007. 70 minutes. Emmy award-winning feature documentary follows the story of three Latina immigrants working in Los Angeles sweatshops on an odyssey to win basic labor protections from a clothing retailer.
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Sir! No Sir!

Film. By David Zeiger. 2005. 84 min. This award-winning film demonstrates the role soldiers and veterans played in the anti-Vietnam War movement.
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