Cinematic Takes on American History

by IMDb-Editors | created - 10 Jun 2013 | updated - 13 Jun 2013 | Public

American history isn’t just in the textbooks – check out this selection of movies and TV shows celebrating the history of the United States of America, from the days of the Revolutionary War to the Watergate scandal, with plenty of stops in between.

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1. The Patriot (2000)

R | 165 min | Action, Drama, History

63 Metascore

Peaceful farmer Benjamin Martin is driven to lead the Colonial Militia during the American Revolution when a sadistic British officer murders his son.

Director: Roland Emmerich | Stars: Mel Gibson, Heath Ledger, Joely Richardson, Jason Isaacs

Votes: 237,194 | Gross: $113.33M

2. Lincoln (2012)

PG-13 | 150 min | Biography, Drama, History

86 Metascore

As the American Civil War continues to rage, America's president struggles with continuing carnage on the battlefield as he fights with many inside his own cabinet on the decision to emancipate the slaves.

Director: Steven Spielberg | Stars: Daniel Day-Lewis, Sally Field, David Strathairn, Joseph Gordon-Levitt

Votes: 228,347 | Gross: $182.21M

3. The Help (2011)

PG-13 | 146 min | Drama

62 Metascore

An aspiring author during the civil rights movement of the 1960s decides to write a book detailing the African American maids' point of view on the white families for which they work, and the hardships they go through on a daily basis.

Director: Tate Taylor | Stars: Emma Stone, Viola Davis, Octavia Spencer, Bryce Dallas Howard

Votes: 391,783 | Gross: $169.71M

4. John Adams (2008)

TV-14 | 71 min | Biography, Drama, History

The life of one of the USA's Founding Fathers, its second President, and his role in the nation's first 50 years.

Stars: Paul Giamatti, Laura Linney, John Dossett, Stephen Dillane

Votes: 24,910

5. JFK (1991)

R | 189 min | Drama, History, Thriller

72 Metascore

New Orleans District Attorney Jim Garrison discovers there's more to the Kennedy assassination than the official story.

Director: Oliver Stone | Stars: Kevin Costner, Gary Oldman, Jack Lemmon, Walter Matthau

Votes: 130,656 | Gross: $70.41M

6. All the President's Men (1976)

PG | 138 min | Biography, Drama, History

80 Metascore

"The Washington Post" reporters Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein uncover the details of the Watergate scandal that leads to President Richard Nixon's resignation.

Director: Alan J. Pakula | Stars: Dustin Hoffman, Robert Redford, Jack Warden, Martin Balsam

Votes: 91,930 | Gross: $70.60M

7. Glory (1989)

R | 122 min | Biography, Drama, History

Robert Gould Shaw leads the U.S. Civil War's first all-black volunteer company, fighting prejudices from both his own Union Army, and the Confederates.

Director: Edward Zwick | Stars: Matthew Broderick, Denzel Washington, Cary Elwes, Morgan Freeman

Votes: 112,993 | Gross: $26.83M

8. The Right Stuff (1983)

PG | 193 min | Adventure, Biography, Drama

91 Metascore

The story of the original Mercury 7 astronauts and their macho, seat-of-the-pants approach to the space program.

Director: Philip Kaufman | Stars: Sam Shepard, Scott Glenn, Ed Harris, Dennis Quaid

Votes: 51,971 | Gross: $21.50M

9. The New World (2005)

PG-13 | 135 min | Biography, Drama, History

69 Metascore

The story of the English exploration of Virginia, and of the changing world and loves of Pocahontas.

Director: Terrence Malick | Stars: Colin Farrell, Q'orianka Kilcher, Christopher Plummer, Christian Bale

Votes: 78,556 | Gross: $12.71M

10. Malcolm X (1992)

PG-13 | 202 min | Biography, Drama, History

72 Metascore

Biographical epic of the controversial and influential Black Nationalist leader, from his early life and career as a small-time gangster, to his ministry as a member of the Nation of Islam.

Director: Spike Lee | Stars: Denzel Washington, Angela Bassett, Delroy Lindo, Spike Lee

Votes: 75,658 | Gross: $48.17M

11. Thirteen Days (2000)

PG-13 | 145 min | Drama, History, Thriller

67 Metascore

In October 1962, the Kennedy administration struggles to contain the Cuban Missile Crisis.

Director: Roger Donaldson | Stars: Kevin Costner, Bruce Greenwood, Shawn Driscoll, Drake Cook

Votes: 50,685 | Gross: $34.59M

12. Roots (1977)

TV-14 | 588 min | Biography, Drama, History

A dramatization of author Alex Haley's family line from ancestor Kunta Kinte's enslavement to his descendants' liberation.

Stars: LeVar Burton, Robert Reed, John Amos, Louis Gossett Jr.

Votes: 15,044

13. 1776 (1972)

G | 141 min | Drama, Family, History

A musical retelling of the American Revolution's political struggle in the Continental Congress to declare independence.

Director: Peter H. Hunt | Stars: William Daniels, Howard Da Silva, Ken Howard, Donald Madden

Votes: 7,112 | Gross: $6.10M

14. Amistad (1997)

R | 155 min | Drama, History

63 Metascore

In 1839, the revolt of Mende captives aboard a Spanish owned ship causes a major controversy in the United States when the ship is captured off the coast of Long Island. The courts must decide whether the Mende are slaves or legally free.

Director: Steven Spielberg | Stars: Djimon Hounsou, Matthew McConaughey, Anthony Hopkins, Morgan Freeman

Votes: 65,953 | Gross: $44.18M

15. Born on the Fourth of July (1989)

R | 145 min | Biography, Drama, War

75 Metascore

The biography of Ron Kovic. Paralyzed in the Vietnam war, he becomes an anti-war and pro-human rights political activist after feeling betrayed by the country he fought for.

Director: Oliver Stone | Stars: Tom Cruise, Raymond J. Barry, Caroline Kava, Josh Evans

Votes: 89,810 | Gross: $70.00M



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