In this assignment, watch the mini-series John Adams and after watching it, fully answer the questions below.
● Font size: 11 pt. or 12 pt. Font
● Font style: Times New Romans of 1.25”
● Line spacing: 1.5 or 2.0
● Utilize the CMS Citation Method
Your “History Film Analysis” should fully answer the following questions:
Synopsis: Things that influenced the making of the movie.
● Who wrote the screenplay? Did they adopt it from a book, a play or did they create it
● What roles did historians play in making the movie?
● Did the era in which the film was made impact the way it portrayed history? For example,
if it is a movie about war, were they trying to instill or glorify patriotism and duty, or were
they trying to show the futility and horror of war? Or something else altogether?
● What was the director’s approach to portraying history?
● Review the director’s past movies. Do they give any indications of a bias in their work—a
tendency to portray history in a particular manner?
Historicity: Put the movie under a historian’s microscope. Be specific. Research
commentaries about the film, as well as reviews about its historical nature. Give
particular attention to the views of historians.
● Provide two examples of history that the film portrayed accurately.
● Provide two examples of history that the film portrayed inaccurately.
● What might have caused the movie’s historical inaccuracies?
Biases: Bias is a particular perspective or viewpoint. It is not wrong to have bias; it does
not mean that the film is necessarily inaccurate. What is important is that we realize how
biases are represented in the films we consume. It is also important to realize that just
because you agree with the point of a movie, or are a fan of the individual (or actor
portraying an individual) represented in the film, that does not mean that the movie does
not contain an agenda or bias.
● Many major motion pictures create heroes and villains through the plotline. Do you feel
that the movie makers created historical inaccuracies by deeming characters as heroes
or villains? If so, describe how. Was there an agenda in characterizing a group of
people or individuals as heroes or villains?
● Do you recognize any spoken or unspoken biases in the film? Describe.
● Is there any cultural bias in the film? If so, describe.
● Do you see any hidden agendas in the film? If so, describe.
Cinematic Techniques: How the director makes you feel during the film, and how it
influences our understanding of the film’s historical accuracy.
● Is the film shot in black and white or color?
● How does the filmmaker use lighting to convey a mood or to make a symbolic point?
● How is one set of images juxtaposed with another to create an impression?
● What kind of camera angles are used and why?
● What kind of music is used in the movie’s soundtrack? Was it composed specifically for
the film, or are classical or popular pieces used?
Historical Value: Rate the movie—twice!
● First, rate the entertainment value on a scale of 1 to 5 stars (1 being the lowest and 5 the
highest), with an explanation of your entertainment rating.
● Second, rate the film for its historical value. Realize that many movies are entirely
fictional but may carry considerable historical value if they portray a period realistically or
tell a larger truth with their story.