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Firsts in US History Movies

There's always been a magical allure to “firsts”- those pivotal moments that mark the beginning of something extraordinary. Get ready to be transported to the edge of possibility as we unravel these Firsts in US History Movies– tales of those who dared to be the first in the pursuit of dreams and destiny!

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Firsts in US History Movies

“Firsts in U.S. history” refers to significant events, achievements, or milestones that marked the initial occurrence of something in the history of the United States. For example, the first flight by the Wright brothers or the first time women got the right to vote. These “firsts” are pivotal moments that shaped the nation and its development.”

Discover more by watching these Firsts in US History movies:

The Space Race Story: One Small Step For Man
  • Amazon Prime Video (Video on Demand)
  • Nick Randall (Director) - Nick Randall (Writer) - Jordan Hill (Producer)

The Space Race Story: One Small Step For Man

Apollo 11 was a historic turning point that reshaped our world. This mission, which brought the first human to the moon, kickstarted a technological revolution. By revisiting and reimagining archived documentaries, we can trace the initial advancements in technology as humanity ventured into the vast unknown.

Ride Like a Girl
  • Amazon Prime Video (Video on Demand)
  • Teresa Palmer, Sam Neill, Sullivan Stapleton (Actors)

Ride Like A Girl

Teresa Palmer takes the lead as Michelle Payne, a female jockey who defies stereotypes and overcomes tremendous odds to achieve victory in the Melbourne Cup, becoming the first woman to do so.

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‘Ride Like A Girl' is a heartwarming family film, with Sam Neill also in the cast, that delivers inspiration and emotion.

The Imitation Game
  • Amazon Prime Video (Video on Demand)
  • Benedict Cumberbatch, Keira Knightley, Matthew Goode (Actors)

The Imitation Game

Benedict Cumberbatch delivers a standout performance as Alan Turing, a genuine war hero and trailblazer in modern computing. Turing's groundbreaking work in breaking Germany's supposedly uncrackable code during World War II saved countless lives.

To continue this unit study, check out The Imitation Game Movie Study.

the imitation game unit study

Something the Lord Made
  • Amazon Prime Video (Video on Demand)
  • Alan Rickman, Mos Def, Mary Stuart Masterson (Actors)

Something the Lord Made

This is a true story that revolves around a white surgeon and a black lab technician who brought about a groundbreaking change in heart surgery, all while confronting the racial injustices of the 1940s.

First Man
  • Amazon Prime Video (Video on Demand)
  • Corey Stoll, Jason Clarke, Ciarán Hinds (Actors)

First Man

First Man, the riveting story behind the first manned mission to the moon, focuses on Neil Armstrong (Ryan Gosling) and the decade leading to the historic Apollo 11 flight.

The Winds of Kitty Hawk
  • Amazon Prime Video (Video on Demand)
  • Michael Moriarty, David Huffman (Actors)

The Winds of Kitty Hawk

A visually stunning narrative that provides a glimpse into the achievements and life experiences of the Wright brothers, their development of the initial motor-powered aircraft in North Carolina, and the era of innovation and technology that surrounded them.

Tales of the Rails: The Building of the Transcontinental Railway
  • Amazon Prime Video (Video on Demand)
  • Bob Dowty, Eric Dowty, Heather Gavry (Actors)

Tales of the Rails: The Building of the Transcontinental Railway

Three youngsters gain insight into the history of the Transcontinental Railway through tales recounted by Sam Bradford (portrayed by Bob Dowty). Sam was the engineer of the 119 Union Pacific locomotive in 1869, which famously joined the Central Pacific Jupiter at Promontory Point on May 10, 1869.

This remarkable feat was achieved with the combined efforts of Irish, Dutch, German, Italian, and Chinese immigrants, alongside Union and Confederate Soldiers, as well as freed African slaves, shortly after the Civil War.

Jamestown Pioneers of America
  • Amazon Prime Video (Video on Demand)
  • Marschall York, Dr. Angela Pienkos, Professor Donald E. Pienkos (Actors)

Jamestown Pioneers of America

This documentary explores the factors and situations that paved the way for the formation of the United States. It sheds light on the crucial but often overlooked contributions of Polish immigrants in the early days of America's emergence as a nation in the New World.

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a picture of the US capitol

Through The Fire: The Legacy of Barack Obama
  • Amazon Prime Video (Video on Demand)
  • Phil Bertelsen (Director) - Phil Bertelsen (Producer)

Through The Fire: The Legacy of Barack Obama

BET Presents “Through the Fire: The Legacy of Barack Obama”. This documentary explores the historic election of America's first African-American president and his consequential two-terms in office.

The Right Stuff
  • Amazon Prime Video (Video on Demand)
  • Scott Glenn, Ed Harris, Barbara Hershey (Actors)

The Right Stuff

Starting with Chuck Yeager, the pioneer who broke the sound barrier, and spanning to the seven Mercury astronauts, this is the tale of the inception of the U.S. Space Program.

42
  • Amazon Prime Video (Video on Demand)
  • Chadwick Boseman, Harrison Ford, T.R. Knight (Actors)

42

This inspiring biographical film centers on Jackie Robinson's journey to shatter Major League Baseball's racial barrier.

To continue this unit study, check out 42: The Jackie Robinson Story Movie Study.

42 unit study

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Selma

Selma recounts the turbulent three-month stretch in 1965 when Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. spearheaded a perilous crusade to obtain equal voting rights, despite fierce resistance.

Harriet
  • Amazon Prime Video (Video on Demand)
  • Cynthia Erivo, Leslie Odom Jr., Janelle Monae (Actors)

Harriet

This impactful drama, featuring Cynthia Erivo, narrates the remarkable tale of abolitionist Harriet Tubman.

Temple Grandin
  • Amazon Prime Video (Video on Demand)
  • Claire Danes, Catherine O'Hara, Julia Ormond (Actors)

Temple Grandin

In this fact-based account, an autistic woman emerges as an unexpected hero for America's cattle industry and for individuals on the autism spectrum, making a significant impact.

Yankee Doodle Dandy
  • Amazon Prime Video (Video on Demand)
  • James Cagney, Joan Leslie, Walter Huston (Actors)

Yankee Doodle Dandy

James Cagney's Oscar-winning performance in this biographical film showcases his exceptional depiction of vaudeville composer and entertainer George M. Cohan.

If you enjoyed this list of movies, I have a monthly membership for parents and educators that want to teach or supplement lessons with shows and movies.

“I'm all about making U.S. history pop for my kids with these “firsts” movies! From the founding fathers' adventures to the moon landing, these films turn the pages of history into an exciting blockbuster. It's like giving them a backstage pass to the birth of our nation, sparking patriotism and curiosity with every frame.” –a Homeschooling parent

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With Homeschooling with Shows and Movies membership, you will get resources every month, including:

  • List of This Month’s Suggested Themes
  • List of Monthly Observances
  • List Of Movies for Unit Study
  • Unit Study Resource
  • Seasonal Activities (minimum of three)
  • (BONUSES) Resources for you, the teacher

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What to expect in these movies about firsts in US history?

In these movies about firsts in U.S. history, you can expect to uncover pivotal moments and events that shaped the nation. They shed light on the pioneers, innovators, and visionaries who achieved remarkable “firsts” and changed the course of American history, often against great odds. These films provide a fascinating look at the journey of progress and innovation in the United States.

Which subjects are included in studying US History in an elementary school setting?

Studying U.S. history in an elementary school setting typically covers various subjects, including:

  1. Colonial History: Exploring the early settlements, the Pilgrims, and the founding of the original thirteen colonies.
  2. American Revolution: Learning about the events leading up to the American Revolution, key figures like George Washington, and the Declaration of Independence.
  3. The Constitution: Understanding the creation of the U.S. Constitution and the birth of the nation.
  4. Westward Expansion: Exploring the Lewis and Clark Expedition, the Oregon Trail, and the concept of manifest destiny.
  5. Civil War: Discussing the causes, key battles, and prominent figures during the American Civil War.
  6. Industrialization: Learning about the growth of industry, inventions, and the impact on American society.
  7. Immigration: Discussing the waves of immigrants and their contributions to American culture.
  8. Civil Rights: Covering the struggle for civil rights, figures like Martin Luther King Jr., and the Civil Rights Movement.
  9. World Wars: Exploring America's involvement in World War I and World War II.
  10. Recent History: Introducing more recent history, such as the Civil Rights Movement and contemporary events.

What themes are found in movies about firsts in US history?

Movies about firsts in U.S. history often revolve around themes of courage, innovation, perseverance, and the human spirit's capacity for change and progress. These films showcase the stories of individuals or groups who dared to challenge the status quo, whether it's breaking barriers in sports, defying social norms in science and technology, or pioneering new frontiers in exploration.

They remind us that history is shaped by those who push boundaries and make the impossible possible, leaving a legacy of inspiration for generations to come.

Related Questions:

What was the first US movie with a plot?

The first American movie with a plot was “The Great Train Robbery,” released in 1903. It was a groundbreaking film known for its storytelling and early special effects, marking an important moment in the history of cinema.

What was the most significant transformation in American cinema during the 1920s?

The shift to sound-on-film technology happened in the mid-1920s when “talkies” were introduced between 1926 and 1927. This innovation built upon experimental techniques from the late 1910s, with Fox Studios and the Warner Brothers playing pivotal roles in developing and popularizing sound in movies.

How has this “first” influenced subsequent generations and historical developments?

This “first” in U.S. history has had a lasting impact on subsequent generations and historical developments in several ways. It often serves as a catalyst for change and innovation, setting a precedent for progress.

It can also spark conversations and reflections on the evolving values, challenges, and aspirations of American society, offering insights into how far we've come and how far we still have to go. These “firsts” often become symbolic markers of American identity and the ongoing quest for equality, freedom, and advancement.

a collage of United States' symbols

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