Required Media Analysis Paper History 1302

In this video age, many people see historical films. For some people, these films become important sources of historical knowledge (for better or worse). For this assignment watch the 1998 film Saving Private Ryan(starring Tom Hanks) and analyze its utility as a tool to teach/understand history. Below you will find questions to guide your viewing, analysis, and writing.Directions: Your paper should be three-four (3-4) pages, not inclusive of your “Works Cited” page. Your paper should be 12 point double-spaced Times New Roman font. It needs to be saved as Rich Text Format (RTF) in Microsoft Word. Spelling and grammar count (use the spell and grammar check on your computer). Make sure to cite any sources used (your textbook, a library book, website, etc.) provide a “Works Cited” page to list the resources you used in completing this assignment. You should have at least the movie and your textbook listed as sources. While websites like Wikipedia,, and Cracked are great sites to visit to get an overview of your topic, they are not appropriate as main sources of information

.Guiding Questions to cover in your paper.

  • When was the movie made? In what time and place is the film set?
  • What is the story? (Briefly summarize the film, in no more than a paragraph)
  • What personal responsibilities did the main characters have? What influenced their decisions and actions?What social responsibility did the main characters have?
  • What place did they have in society? What was their responsibility to society at large? What impact did their decisions and actions have on society at large? Society can mean American homeland neighborhoods or a combat troop.
  • How does the film fit in with the material presented in your textbook? In your opinion, how historically accurate is the film? (conclusion)
  • Can you detect any biases from the filmmakers/screenwriters?
  • Does the film address any specific themes or subjects that you’ve discussed about in this class or others? If so,how?

Writing Guideline

Open your paper with an introduction which generally states what you will be covering in your paper. That introduction should include your thesis statement.

Do not include your opinion of the film as entertainment, unless it is closely associated to the accuracy question.

In the paragraphs between introduction and conclusion, group the answers to the Guiding Questions logically so that your paper flows and your points can be understood.

For example, the first two questions would make a logical paragraph.

The personal responsibilities questions can be a paragraph on their own, with at least three main characters discussed.

The social responsibility questions fit together well as one paragraph, again with the same three MAIN characters discussed.

It would be natural to put the comparison/contrast of textbook-to-movie information next and with that, you can report on the bias that you detect from the filmmakers/screenwriters.

Before the conclusion, write about ideas you have posted in the Discussion board of our class that you see in the film also.

Close your paper with a conclusion paragraph. This may be a good place to answer the question about the film’s historical accuracy.


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