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Movie ideas for American Heritage

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Good ideas all, and keep them coming.


As we are pressed for time, I will be suggesting that scouts watch a movie on their own in advance, and we can discuss it camp. I will probably show The Red Badge of Courage, but I have not committed myself to that yet. At 69 minutes, we could watch the movie and follow up with a subsequent discussion in a long hour and a half.

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As a counselor for American Heritage, I appreciate all of the suggestions.


My understanding is that even though you may have purchased a DVD, etc. for home use, there is no limit on how many you invite to view the movie. The real issue is that you can not charge any admission to view the movie.


I may be totally wrong, but this was what we determined a few years back. Things may well have changed.

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Mister Roberts (1956)


The Caine Mutiny


Paint Your Wagon


In Harm's Way




From Here to Eternity


Tora! Tora! Tora!




The Longest Day


Forrest Gump


To Kill a Mockingbird


And for JerseyScout: I prefer Bambi vs Godzilla ;)(This message has been edited by John-in-KC)

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This is like G2SS evasion calling a banned activity like Laser Tag not a scouting event. Is showing it to 10 people in your home like showing it to 20 or more at scout camp? A Scout is Trustworthy. BSA paid for those films and flim clips used in Woodbadge. They may not come after you but come after councils and the BSA for their deep pockets.

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Come on, people, we're talking about "heritage" movies, not "good" movies, or only military history (both worthy listings otherwise).


Kentucky Fried Movie


Attack of the Killer Tomatoes

"...and THIS, may God have mercy on us, is a CHERRY TOMATO !!!"

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SSS: Last time I checked, To Kill a Mockingbird was about how your DNA affected your skin color affected your station in American life. TTT is about a forever turning point in American history ... the day we had to become a Great Power. From Here to Eternity is about how people are changed by forever turning points.


It's just like Scouting: The Outdoors is the methods vehicle, the mission is the Aims.

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Reread the requirement:


Watch two motion pictures (with the approval and permission of your counselor and parent) that are set in some period of American history. Describe to your counselor how accurate each film is with regard to the historical events depicted and also with regard to the way the characters are portrayed.


Note the mention of "period of American history" "accurate ... to the historical events"


I'm sorry "Attack of the Killer Tomatoes" and "Kentucky Fried Movie" both would not in my mind lead to any meaningful discion in the spirit of the merit badge. Like my 7th grade teacher who only let me turn in a book report on one James Bond book, I would not approve them for satisfying the requirement.


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A long time ago, I saw a set of annotations for the script of 1776 that pointed out while it is billed as a musical comedy, it is fairly historically accurate. Like most movies based on something else, there are times when characters are combined, and events simplified.


It's one of my favorite movies, although I would agree it's not for everyone. It has a very long running time (the stage show runs at 3 hours+).


I watched it yet again, this last July,this time with my sons. We stopped the recording and had a lengthy discussion about "Molasses to Rum to Slaves", and how the colonial economy wasn't just based on Southern plantation owners buying slaves. "Whom Stinketh The Most?".



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The truth is that the movie need not be a historical film, nor a historical fiction. It is looking at depecting a period in history, and how accurately that was accomplished.

Interestingly, I had forgotten that the MB handbook has a list in the back, listed by period and year of release:

American Revolution      1776Civil War      Buffalo Soldiers      Gettysburg      The Red Badge of Courage      Gone with the WindThe Old West      Dances with Wolves      Lonesome Dove      Gunfight at the OK CoralWW I      A Farewell to Arms      Sergent York      All Quiet on the Western FrontThe Great Depression      The Journey of Natty Gann      Sounder      To Kill a Mockingbird (My dogs are named Boo and Scout)      The Grapes of WrathWW II      Band of Brothers      Tuskeegee Airman      Memphis Belle      Tora! Tora! Tora!      The Longest Day      Sands of Iwo Jima      The Best Years of Our LivesThe 1950s      La Bamba Grease      Rebel Without a CauseThe Space Race      Apollo 13      The Right Stuff Civil Rights and Tolerance     Ghosts of Mississippi      Corrina, Corrina      The Long Walk Home      Driving Miss Daisy      King      The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman

The requirement does not read "Watch two motion pictures of your counselor's choice..." so I am reluctant to sit them down to two movies of my choice.  Instead, I am asking that the scouts view a movie on their own before camp and we can discuss it as a group. As I have suggested earlier, we will probably show The Red Badge of Courage, as it neatly fits our time constraints. but I would prefer that the scouts choose all their own requirements.

Were I to have a limitless time to show and discuss movies of MY choice, I would probably include something from the Cold War Era, like The Bedford Incident or Fail-Safe.  I think this is a significant period of recent history which has been "lost" on our current young generation.  It is unfortunate that some of the best movies from this period (in my opinion) are rated R, which is inappropriate for scouts. 

I do like the way in which the American Heritage MB is presented. It does not try to be "American History MB" with a different name.  It does, however, carefully weave history into the threads of the badge, without turning it into a histroy class.  I will have 2 groups of up to 15 scouts each, but I expect fewer to register.  Working with a small group on this could really be a lot of fun.

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