10 Best U.S. History Movies

Sunday, February 6 by Ziggy Coventry

There have been so many historical films made in recent years that narrowing a list to the 10 best U.S. history movies almost seems impossible. As with any top ten list, especially one with such an extensive list to choose from, many deserving candidates are sure to be left of it. Nevertheless, the following U.S. history movies seem to stand out in terms of story telling, historical impact, acting and directing, making them must haves for anybody’s DVD collection.

  1. “Apollo 13.” This suspenseful cinematic drama wowed audiences when it was first released in theaters. The telling of these three astronauts as they narrowly divert disaster is a must see for any history or movie buff.
  2. “The Right Stuff.” Staying centered on the space theme, “The Right Stuff” accurately depicts the importance of the space race during the Cold War. If you want to watch a U.S. history movie that exemplifie the American spirit, this is the film for you.
  3. “Gone with the Wind.” For decades, this film held the reigning title of most watched movie of all time and for good reason. The film is so artfully done that you forget that it is a U.S. history movie about the fall of the South.
  4. “Platoon.” You simply cannot create a ten best U.S. history movies of all time list without including a film about Vietnam. “Platoon” masterfully depicts the moral ambiguity of Vietnam, as it follows the action of a band of American soldiers.
  5. “Saving Private Ryan.” It is only fitting that Tom Hanks appear in this list twice. His performance in “Saving Private Ryan,” a film that takes a little known tale from the Second World War and places it on the big screen, is mesmerizing. This U.S. history movie might just be the best war movie ever made.
  6. “The Grapes of Wrath.” If you cannot make it through the book, you have to at least watch the movie. This film, which brings John Steinbeck’s novel to life, depicts the struggle of a family of tenant farmers as they migrate west during the Great Depression.
  7. “The Last of the Mohicans.” Yes, the actual actions of the characters within the story do not hold any true historical relevance; in fact, the film is adapted from Jams Fennimore Cooper's romantic adventure story. However, the movie is set among the back drop of the French and Indian war, making it deserving to be near the top of the list of best U.S. history movies.  
  8. “Glory.” This film starring Denzel Washington seems to have become forgotten over the years. Still, this telling of the first black regiment to fight, not just in the Civil War, but also for the United States is powerful. Just like the group of men the film portrays, this is a truly inspiring U.S. history movie.  
  9. “Black Hawk Down.” This film is all about suspense and action. The non-stop events will leave you gasping for air, making you wonder whether it is an action film or a history movie.
  10. “Dances with Wolves.” It is hard to overlook this film simply because of the effect it had on the U.S. box office. This movie, which portrays the downfall of a Sioux tribe, captivated audiences with its poetic imagery when it was first released.
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