Real to Reel: History at the Movies
Six of this year’s nine nominees for Best Picture at the Oscars are films based in history. That may seem like a lot, but for the past 40 years, the majority of Best Picture winners have had an historical bent. On this episode we ask what makes history such a popular subject for American filmmakers.
From the early days of film — when people thought movies would replace textbooks in the classroom — to the Cold War — when the government and Hollywood thought they could control behavior through film — the History Guys look at the impact of history on celluloid culture, and at how movies have made and remade history. They also debate the merits of current Oscar nominees (Lincoln, Zero Dark Thirty, and Django Unchained) and consider the ways those movies reflect contemporary thinking about history.
- Robert Jackson, University of Tulsa
- Todd Bennett, East Carolina University
- Mark Peterson, UC Berkeley
Listen to individual segments from the show.
Resources galore! Peruse a list of outside sources used in the making of this episode, including the video of the Dixon Experimental Sound Film and Mark Peterson’s look at a third ‘terrible’ Revolutionary flick.
See some of our staff’s favorite films about history.
Music from the Episode:
A full listing of the tracks, and links to buy them yourselves.
The listener discussion that helped shape the show.