Taking the Real to the Reel

Movies help keep history alive


Jennifer Love, writer

In a time of advanced technology and easily accessible information, not many people use their time and effort to look up historical events or things of the past. They instead spend their time looking up videos on YouTube or aimlessly scroll through Instagram. Little do they know, most times history is learned through these interactions like the movies they watch. 

Movies such as Titanic or First Man bring a new image to pivotal moments in history. Midway and Dunkirk bring attention to war events people constantly forget or do not know happened. The Revenant or The Last Full Measure tell unbelievable true stories of people with little to no attention. When watching these movies the audience learns more about history than they would think.

Movie creators use many tactics to draw in an audience, enthrall them and teach them. One of the most used and effective tactics used are the actor and actresses hired for the job. Actors such as Leonardo Dicaprio, Nicholas Cage or Tom Hanks and actresses such as Kate Beckinsale, Cate Blanchett or Mandy Moore can easily draw in an audience from past enjoyment of their movies. These actors and actresses dominate the screen for a reason, their acting careers have surpassed a long list of others in their field. Their proficiency in acting makes all their movies enjoyable and exciting for their audiences. Many creators also gain attention to their movies by the twists they put on a moment in history. This could be by inventing fictional characters with a life in a historical event, such as Jack and Rose in Titanic, journeying through different true story plot lines on a major subject, such as Monuments Men, or focusing in on one person’s story who does not often receive recognition, such as The Aviator. This change in a story, while also having a major historical background, causes an audience to become invested in a storyline they may never learn otherwise. 

From these historical movies, when done right, people begin to become more interested in the true story behind the movie. The story could resonate with the audience to the point where they will begin to seek more information about the subject, furthering the recognition of the subject outside the one to two hour period of watching a movie. If the movie was good enough, people will also begin to spread the word and recommend it to friends and family which will lead to many more people learning about a new event or person in history. With movies, the chances of the audience remembering most of the information or the main points of it are significant, where as learning it in a class of some sort people easily forget. 

As more and more movies come out, more and more historical based movies gain the most attention and recognition. Movies such as 1917, Midway or Ford V. Ferrari are gaining more attention and recognition than other recent movies coming out, and these movies, though they prove to be very entertaining, are also teaching their audience about the past and keeping it alive.