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17 discussions filed under “Hollywood History Showdown: Films”


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“Slavery, race, and the assassination”

Mar 21, 2011 at 6:40pm | Filed Under “The Conspirator

Slavery, race, and the assassination
On the evening of April 11, 1865, a large crowd gathered on the south lawn of the White House in Washington to hear President Abraham Lincoln deliver a speech from a second-floor balcony...
from The Conspirator 56 comments

“Frederick Aiken: A Rookie Defender”

Mar 14, 2011 at 9:53pm | Filed Under “The Conspirator

Frederick Aiken: A Rookie Defender
Historian Kate Larson suggests that Frederick Aiken (James McAvoy) failed in his defense of Mary Surratt due to his general inexperience as a lawyer.
from The Conspirator 21 comments

“The Private Life of Mary Surratt”

Feb 14, 2011 at 8:36pm | Filed Under “The Conspirator

The Private Life of Mary Surratt
When audiences first meet Mary Surratt in the film THE CONSPIRATOR, the only thing they will know about her is that she is the mother of John Surratt, Jr., a Booth cohort...
from The Conspirator 25 comments

“April 1865: Lincoln, Washington City, and the Civil War's End”

Jan 11, 2011 at 7:54pm | Filed Under “The Conspirator

April 1865: Lincoln, Washington City, and the Civil War's End
For Americans in both the North and South, April 1865 was an emotional rollercoaster: incredible happiness and shock, anger and fear...
from The Conspirator 21 comments

“Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid”

Feb 22, 2010 at 4:54pm | Filed Under “Hollywood History Showdown: Films

Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid
The year was 1969, an age of rebellion—when villains could be heroes, and do-gooders were rejected by a progressive generation with a thirst for freedom. It was the year of EASY RIDER, MIDNIGHT COWBOY, and the classic buddy western, BUTCH CASSIDY AND THE SUNDANCE KID.


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    10/17/2011 at 11:41am


    Having designed an undergraduate course several years ago devoted to this film (which I'm currently teaching this semester), I'm delighted to see the attention given to it here. I think the critical comments thus far are even-handed and thoughtful, and I support those who consider this film to be a landmark work that redefines the extraction film into both an expression of an emergent anti-war / pro-military ethos and a foreshadowing of the war on terror. Viewers might also be interested in a lecture by Mike Durant delivered at the U.S. Army War College and posted on YouTube wherein he emphasizes the very thing our present discussion reveals--namely, that this ostensibly "forgotten" battle will continue to resonate for decades to come as we continue to grapple with the geopolitical realities it compelled us to face.

    from Black Hawk Down
  • 05/16/2011 at 7:50pm


    "Black Hawk Down" was a terrific film about a battle small in scope, but had great ramifications for U.S. Foreign Policy under the Clinton Administration. It shows the horrors of modern warfare, but also the courage and strength our military personnel show, even under extreme conditions such as those in Mogadishu. This is an essentially important film of modern warfare.

    from Black Hawk Down
  • 03/12/2011 at 1:06pm


    Here in Texas we have an annual interscholastic academic competition for secondary school students in social studies and this year's topic is the space race. The film our competing students need to view and be able to write about is (no surprise) Apollo 13. After several months of reading the script, studying the Apollo missions and then watching the film, most of my students who've watched the film feel it offers a better and more accurate look at the intricacies of space travel much more effectively than The Right Stuff (we read the book, however).

    from Apollo 13
  • historybuff88
    02/02/2011 at 12:41pm


    The greatest biopic ever made!

    from Patton
  • iceman
    01/28/2011 at 7:35am


    A story that very closely parallels Seabiscuit's during the Depression era is that of boxer James J. Braddock. This is one of my personally favorite stories. To go from the soup lines to the heavyweight boxing champion of the world, all in order to provide for his family is just truly inspiring. James J. Braddock (whose middle name was actually Walter - Joe Gould, Braddock's manager changed it so that it sounded more like famous and great boxers of before) was truly an underdog, much like Seabiscuit was. But these two faced the odds against them, never gave up, and became legends.

    Their stories greatly exemplified that of America during the Depression. Braddock lost it all in the Depression, but he came back and got back on his feet, sending a message of hope to Americans that the country could do the same. Seabiscuit also showed how the underdog can come out on top.

    When it comes to films based on actual events, I almost always read the book that the film is based on first. And if it is not on a single book, then I go out and buy a book on the subject and read it before I see the movie. This way, I can tell fact from "artistic license"/"liberties" that are taken by the filmmakers.

    from Seabiscuit
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“Historians View the Assassination”

87 commentsNov 17, 2009 at 4:00pm

In April of 1865 most northerners had little trouble discerning who was behind the assassination; they were convinced the Confederate government was involved. More

“Brig. Gen. Joseph Holt - His Role as Chief Prosecutor in the Military Tribunal”

73 commentsNov 17, 2009 at 4:00pm

Joseph Holt, a Kentucky lawyer and staunch Unionist, was confirmed by the Congress as President Lincoln's Judge Advocate General on September 3, 1862. This made Holt the top lawyer in the Army, and the principal legal advisor to Lincoln on all military legal matters. More

“Slavery, race, and the assassination”

56 commentsNov 17, 2009 at 4:00pm

On the evening of April 11, 1865, a large crowd gathered on the south lawn of the White House in Washington to hear President Abraham Lincoln deliver a speech from a second-floor balcony... More

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