Movie Assignments, American National Government, Spring 2009


During the course of the semester you will be required to view three movies from the list of movies below.  I tried to pick recent, more popular films so they would be easy to access.  WSCC has most, if not all, of these videos in the library but many are also available at either Movie Gallery, Family Video, or any local video store.   The dates the films were produced are listed as well as a very brief description.  If you would like more information about the films, think of posting a message to the Threaded Discussion.  Postings should be a MINIMUM of one paragraph in length with links to the historical accuracy/inaccuracy of the film.


West Wing:  Seasons One, Two, & Three are available at WSCC library for checkout; episodes also air on Bravo Network if you have cable.  Episodes of the PBS Series Frontline are available for free on-line.  If an episode interests you and it’s not on this list, run the episode by me and you may be able to watch it for this class.


    Movie #1


Movie Posting Summary due by 2/3 at 11:00 PM

Movie Response due by 2/8 at 11:00 PM


Pick One From The List Below:


·        West Wing* (any episode—just identify the title in your posting)

·        Rosewood*  (1997-race relations in US South during 1920s)

·        4 Little Girls* (1997-Documentary about 1964 bombing at black church)

·        A Time to Kill* (1996-A father kills two men accused of raping his child)

·        To Kill A Mockingbird* (1962-White lawyer defends a black man accused of rape in US South)

·        Boycott (2001-Montgomery Bus Boycott & rise of Martin L. King)

·        The People vs. Larry Flint (1996-First amendment; VERY strong R rating)

·        Fahrenheit 9/11* (2004-Michael Moore’s hard-hitting anti-Bush documentary)

·        United 93* (2006-Chronicles one of the planes hijacked September 11, 2001)

·        Recount* (2008-The story of the 2000 Gore vs. Bush election recount)

·        10 Days* (2006-“Freedom Summer” Vol. III-Civil Rights workers in Mississippi in 1964)

·        500 Nations* (1995-Vol. III “Removal:”  War & exile in the East)

·        500 Nations* (1995-Vol. IV “Roads Across the Plains:” Struggle for the West)

·        500 Nations* (1995-Vol. IV “Attack on Culture:” I Will Fight no More Forever)

·        Is Wal-mart Good for America** (2004-PBS Frontline Documentary about Wal-Mart’s impact)

·        Karl Rove:  The Architect** (2005-PBS Frontline Documentary about Bush advisor)


Movie #2


Movie Posting Summary due by 3/10 at 11:00 PM

Movie Response due by 3/15 at 11:00 PM


Pick One From The List Below:


·        West Wing* (any episode—just identify the title in your posting)

·        All the President’s Men* (1976-Watergate Scandal & the journalists who uncovered the story)

·        Can Mr. Smith Get to Washington Anymore?* (2006-Documentary-young professor runs for Congress)

·        Journeys With George* (2003-Documentary covers Bush’s 2000 campaign)

·        Gideon’s Trumpet* (1980-Covers defendant’s right to counsel for a trial)

·        Primary Colors (1998-A man joins campaign of Southerner running for President)

·        Bowling for Columbine* (2002-Explores US society & causes of shootings at a high school)

·        Fahrenhype 9/11* (2004-Republican response to Fahrenheit 9/11—Moore’s film should be seen first)

·        The Last Debate (2000-Presidential debate doesn’t go as planned)

·        The Insider (1999-Big tobacco & investigative journalism)

·        The Candidate* (1972-An outsider runs for Congress)

·        The Last Abortion Clinic** (2005-PBS Frontline documentary about supporters & opponents of abortion)

·        Abortion Clinic (1983-PBS Frontline award-winning documentary about a clinic in Pennsylvania)

·        The Choice 2008 (2008-PBS Frontline documentary profiling Obama & McCain)

·        The Persuaders (2004-PBS Frontline documentary about “packaging” candidates & political messages)


Movie #3


Movie Posting Summary due by 4/21 at 11:00 PM

Movie Response due by 5/1 at 11:00 PM


Pick One From The List Below:


·        West Wing* (any episode—just identify the title in your posting)

·        Dave (1993-President is incapacitated; good on symbolic role of President)

·        The American President* (1995-A widowed President decides to date)

·        Nixon (1995-Biography of President Richard Nixon)

·        Truman (1995-Biography of President Harry Truman))

·        The War Room* (1993-Award winning documentary covering Clinton campaign of 1992)

·        12 Angry Men* (1957 or 1997-Courtroom drama with jury)

·        The Contender* (2000-VP dies and must be replaced-strong R rating)

·        Mr. Smith Goes to Washington* (1939-naïve man joins US Senate; GREAT filibuster, but old)

·        The Day Reagan Was Shot (2001-drama about attempted assassination & who was in charge)

·        Warm Springs* (2005-FDR battles polio & paralysis)

·        Charlie Wilson’s War* (2007-A Congressman & CIA agent fund Afghanistan’s fight against USSR)

·        Cheney’s Law (2007-PBS Frontline documentary about Dick Cheney’s role as VP)

·        The Dark Side (2006-PBS Frontline documentary about War on Terror & Vice President Cheney)

·        Dreams of Obama (2009-PBS Frontline documentary focused on life of Barrack Obama)


*Available for checkout at WSCC library on either VHS or DVD

**Available at WSCC library & on-line for free at: 



Criteria For Grading Postings


·        Accurate & thorough summary of the film’s content

·        Linkage identified between the film and lecture material

·        Relevance to the topic at hand

·        Originality

·        Depth/breadth of response—demonstrates critical thought, research, thorough understanding of subject matter; comments on the historical accuracy of the film

·        Citation of source (if information from a website is used, it MUST be cited)


There will be two types of movie postings to be made to the Threaded Discussion:


·        Movie Summary:


o       Summarize & evaluate the movie you’ve chosen to watch (one for each of the three movies).  The evaluation should relate the movie’s content to lecture and should also comment on its accuracy from an historical point of view.


·        Movie Response:


o       Comment or ask a question based upon the postings made by other students in regards to their summary of the movie they watched (a total of three will be required).