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.

Sir! No Sir!

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

Film. Produced by Judy Richardson, Northern Light Productions for History Channel. 2005. 100 minutes.
Documentary on the many rebellions by enslaved people and other forms of resistance.
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Slavery by Another Name (Film) | Zinn Education Project: Teaching People's History

Slavery by Another Name

Film. By Sam Pollard, Catherine Allan, Douglas Blackmon and Sheila Curran Bernard. 2012. 90 minutes.
Reveals the interlocking forces in the South and the North that enabled “neoslavery” post-Emancipation Proclamation.
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Soldiers of Conscience

Film. By Catherine Ryan and Gary Weimberg. 2007. 86 minutes.
Documentary about war, peace, and U.S. soldiers in Iraq, from active military to conscientious objectors, wrestling with conscience over killing in war.
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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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Teaching About the Montgomery Bus Boycott

Film. By Teaching for Change. 2006. 15 minutes.
First grade teacher Maggie Donovan (SNCC veteran) introduces her students to the fight to desegregate the buses, placing Rosa Parks in the context of the larger community efforts.
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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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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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Triangle Fire (Film)

Film. Written by Mark Zwonitzer and Directed by Jamila Wignot. 2018. 52 minutes.
After a tragic workplace accident, the private industry of the American factory would never be the same.
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Trinkets and Beads

Film. By Christopher Walker. 1996. 52 minutes.
This documentary reveals the funny, heartbreaking, and thrilling story of the battle waged by indigenous people to preserve their way of life in the Amazon, in the face of international capitalism and colonialism.
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Uprooted: Refugees of the Global Economy

Film. Produced by National Network for Immigrant and Refugee Rights. 2001. 28 minutes.
Stories of three immigrants (from Bolivia, Haiti and the Philippines) to the U.S. and how global institutions and multi-national corporations erode people's capacity to survive in their home countries.
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Viva La Causa

Film. Bill Brummel Productions. 2008. 39 minutes.
A documentary film and teaching guide on the grape strike and boycott led by Cesar Chavez and Dolores Huerta in the 1960s.
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Walkout (Film) | Zinn Education Project: Teaching People's History

Walkout

Film. Produced by Moctesuma Esparza. 2006. 111 minutes.
Walkout tells the true story of the Chicano students of East L.A., who in 1968 staged several dramatic walkouts in their high schools to protest academic prejudice and dire school conditions.
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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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