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 Neutral Ground

Film. Directed by CJ Hunt. 2021. 82 minutes.
A co-production of POV and ITVS, in association with the Center for Asian American Media.
A student-friendly documentary on the fight over Confederate monuments and the Lost Cause narrative.
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Now Can We Talk? 40 Years Later

Film. By Lee Anne Bell and Markie Hancock. 2013. 45 minutes.
This DVD and discussion guide offer a powerful way to engage students, teachers, and community groups in honest dialogue about the ongoing problems of racism and what we can do to address them.
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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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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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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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Rabbit-Proof Fence

Film. Directed by Phillip Noyce. 2002. 79 minutes.
In 1931, three aboriginal girls escape after being plucked from their homes to be trained as domestic staff and set off on a journey across the Outback.
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Reconstruction: The Second Civil War

Film. By Elizabeth Deane and Dion Graham. 2004. 174 minutes.
Through the voices of several historians and dramatic re-enactments by actors, PBS’s Reconstruction: The Second Civil War uses the stories of ordinary citizens to paint a picture of the Reconstruction era.
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Regret to Inform

Film. By Barbara Sonneborn. 1998. 72 minutes. Teaching Guide by Bill Bigelow. Chapter from A People's History of the United States by Howard Zinn. A profound documentary on the impact of war, with a teaching guide and the chapter of A People's History of the United States on the Vietnam War, "Impossible Victory."
Teaching Activity by Bill Bigelow
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The Road to Brown

Film. By William Elwood. 1990. 56 minutes.
The little known story of Charles Hamilton Houston who paved the road to Brown v. Board.
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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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Salt of the Earth

Film. By Herbert Biberman. 1954. 94 minutes.
This classic, powerful film about a miners strike in New Mexico can be used to teach about the intersection of class, race, national origin, and gender.
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Scarred Justice: The Orangeburg Massacre 1968

Film. Produced by Judy Richardson and Bestor Cram. 2009. 57 minutes.
A documentary film that brings to light the story of the attack by state police on a demonstration in Orangeburg, South Carolina -- leaving three students killed and 28 injured.
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Segregated By Design (Film)

Segregated by Design

Film. Directed by Mark Lopez. Written by Mark Lopez and Richard Rothstein. 2019. 18 minutes.
An animated documentary of how the federal, state and local governments unconstitutionally segregated every major metropolitan area in the U.S. through law and policy.
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