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Ben Hur(1959) for history (eventhough my elementary school did that and Ten Commandments for catechism)

 

Sound of music - schoolmates and me had a impromptu discussion about World War Two while watching.

 

Movie adaptations of Shakespeare plays - we watched Twelfth Night, Midsummer's Night Dream and Much Ado About Nothing

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No age was specified, here's some of what we used:

Last of the Mohicans

The Patriot

Amistad

Glory

Ben Hur

To Kill a Mockingbird

We Were Soldiers Once

Gone with the Wind

Schindler's List

The Boy in the Striped Pajamas

The Scarlet Pimpernel

Das Boot

Spartacus

Hotel Ruwanda

Clash & Wrath of the Titans

King Author

Braveheart

Robin Hood

All Quiet on the Western Front

The Pianist

Apollo 13

Any book that had a movie tie-in, usually of the same name.

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For History:

Thirteen Days (Cuban Missile Crisis)

Amazing Grace (ending slave trade in British Parliament - 1800 to 1815)

Forrest Gump (yes, HE's not historically accurate, but it's a humorous way to cover the major events of 1950s through 1980s)

 

and the "We Didn't Start the Fire... It was always burning since the world was turning" song sparks a lot of learning.

 

For Literature (these are more light-hearted suggestions, I'm more of a literature enthusiast than a die-hard fan):

Someone mentioned Shakespearean Plays - I always enjoyed watching the "teen" adaptations and comparing them to the actual storyline from the play's I've read. She's the Man by Amanda Bynes, Ethan Hawke's Hamlet, Ten Things I Hate About You, or somewhat-related "Sydney White", the college comedic version of Snow White. These movies don't have great acting, they're set absurdly in the here-and-now with teenage characters, they could be classified as light-hearted drivel to the untrained eye, but they're modern adaptations based on legitimate four-hundred year-old literature. It makes discussion about comparing/contrasting easy and fun.

 

Likewise, Pride & Prejudice has faithful movie adaptations (BBC! BBC! - 1995), but it also has Bridget Jones' Diary, Bride & Prejudice (an excellent Bollywood film telling the story in the lens of Indian culture), and The Jane Austin Book Club. If you've seen Bridget Jones' Diary and hated it, it's because you weren't watching it through the P&P lens. I mean, Colin Firth is in both P&P and BJ'sDiary as the same main character - Fitzwilliam Darcy / Mark Darcy. Also, the BBC recently came out with the best movie adaption of Emma in the past 5 years (2008-ish). Hopefully these suggestions are for your daughter, because if these moviews were for a son, I would feel sorry for him if he had to sit through all this romantic mush. :)

 

And, since you didn't ask for it:

For U.S. Politics, my suggestion is always overwhelmingly The West Wing. Watching the seven seasons from start to finish is equivalent to a major in Political Science (seriously, ask all my lawyer/politician friends from college!). It's much cheaper, and more enjoyable, too. However, the first episode isn't high-school appropriate, IMHO, but the other 100 episodes are.

Edited by OSUBuckeye
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