45 History Movies for Kids & History Themed Shows

Published:
December 3, 2019

Annette Breedlove

Contributor:
Annette Breedlove

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A couple of weeks ago I shared some wonderful science movies and shows for kids. Today I want to share some amazing history movies and shows that you can easily work into your homeschool studies. I think you’ll love these history movies for kids and the history shows too!

old time movie reel with text 45 Movies & Shows for Kids Based on History

History Movies & Shows for Kids

Our family loves movies. My kids love all kinds of genres too, which is great when it comes to working movies into their curriculum. Science movies may be their favorite, but they are starting to fall in love with history more and more.

When my kids learned that some of their favorite movies were historically accurate, they just about flipped. While movies like National Treasure aren’t completely true, the historical facts are. And that inspires kids and gets them interested to learn more.

Watching History Movies

While we love reading history in books, since we travel, movies are much more doable for us. We can find many of them online, which saves on space for us. Whether you’re studying ancient history, world history or U.S. history, we’ve got you covered.

NOTE: Movies should always be reviewed by a parent first. We do not make any claims to know what is appropriate for your child(ren), that is totally your call. Please review these movies to make sure they align with your family values.

History Movies for Kids

Inspire your children to dive into History with these amazing history movies and shows for kids.

Most of these animated movies take liberties when it comes to actual history. However, they do give children a fun look at history and can be a great starting point for them to learn more about the specific historical time period.

Peabody and Sherman (PG) – I shared this one in the science roundup, but since they travel back in time, it is a great history film too! This is one of my kids’ favorite films to this day.

Free Birds (PG) – This may seem like a strange choice for a historical movie, but it is does talk about how the president pardons a turkey for Thanksgiving. It is a fun, light-hearted movie that kids will enjoy as two turkey join forces to save all future turkeys.

This is America, Charlie Brown (NR) – This fun mini-series takes the Peanuts gang from the Mayflower to the beginning of jazz and the Wright Brothers to NASA and beyond. This is a two-disc series with over 190 minutes of historical fun!

Historical Fiction Movies for Kids

Paul Revere’s Midnight Ride: History’s Heroes (NR) – This is a wonderful addition to your studies as students learn about the ride that warned the American colonials about Redcoats coming at the beginning of the American Revolution.

The Animated Hero Classics – This is a great series of videos on historical figures. Students can learn about William Bradford, George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, Joan of Arc, The Wright Brothers, Beethoven, and much more.

World History Movies

Ruby Bridges (NR) – I have not personally seen this one, but I have heard great things about it and after reading the description, it is on our list!

“Disney presents the inspiring true story of one little girl whose strength and dignity during the racially charged 1960s helped change history! When bright six-year-old Ruby is chosen to be the first African-American student to integrate her local New Orleans elementary school, she is subjected to the true ugliness of racism for the very first time. But guided by the love of her mother and father, Ruby’s heroic struggle for a better education becomes a lesson for us all.” – Amazon Description

4 Kid Favorites: American Girl (NR) – If your girls love American Girl dolls, they will love these movies. This 4-set DVD is based on Kit Kittredge (1934), Samantha (1904), Felicity (1774), and Molly (1944). There are more movies in this series too, so find a timeframe you’re studying and check them out!

American Legends (Disney) (G) – This is another one that’s going on our list.

“Disney celebrates the legends that inspired a country with classic stories of real American heroes in this all-new, full-length animated collection. You’ll meet the doers and dreamers who made America great, John Henry, Paul Bunyan, Johnny Appleseed and Casey Jones.” – Amazon Description

45 Movies & Shows for Kids Based on History

Christian History

The Prince of Egypt (PG) – Based on the Jews release from the Egyptians and their Exodus across the desert, this movie is a wonderfully entertaining musical for children. This would be a great addition to your Bible study for the book of Exodus.

Joseph King of Dreams (NR) – Based on the true story of Joseph and the Coat of Many Colors found in Genesis, this movie/musical is another beautiful way to introduce your children to the Bible.

Torchlighters: Heroes of the Faith – This is a multi-DVD series, or you can watch it on Amazon Prime Video. This series introduces kids to different heroes of the faith such as, George Müller, Corrie ten Boom, William Tyndale, Martin Luther, Amy Carmichael and more!

The Story Keepers (G) – My kids love this series! It is a fun, time-travel type series that also teaches different stories from the Bible through kids that are to “keep” the stories safe for future generations.

Movie Response Pack

When you incorporate movies into your homeschool day, you can turn it into school using our  Movie Response Template Pack. 

This simple, but fun Movie Response Template Pack is the perfect print-and-go resource for kids of all ages. It offers printables for noting information about the movie, character highlights, illustrations, and more. 

Scroll to the end of this post to get the printable. 

Movie Response Template Pack printable worksheets

History Musicals

The Sound of Music (G) – This is one of my all-time favorite musicals and one my kids enjoy too. Based on a true story, The Sound of Music follows the life of Captain Von Trapp and his family as they leave their beloved Austria to escape the Nazi’s invasion leading to WWII.

Newsies (PG) – This is one of the most requested musicals in our family. My kids can sing and even dance along to all the songs. Although the characters are fictional, the Newsies were indeed real and based on actual events that happened changing the course of history from 1884 until 1899. 

Historical Movies for Kids

The Greatest Showman (PG) – This is definitely one of our new favorites and one my kids know almost by heart. If you haven’t seen this musical, it is a wonderful look at the life of circus tycoon, P.T. Barnum. While the movie does embellish parts of his life and ideas (hello…Hollywood), it does show the struggle and life of nothing he came from. 

The King and I (G) – This is one of my oldest son’s favorite musicals. He watches it at least several times a month and even has the soundtrack downloaded on his phone. While the musical may fabricate some things, it is based on the actual memoirs of Anna Leonowens, who was the governess to the children of King Mongkut of Siam in the early 1860s.

Fiddler on the Roof (G) – This is a wonderful musical about the Jewish lifestyle around the turn of the 20th century. Based on a series of stories written in Yiddish between 1894 and 1914, by Sholem Aleichem about Jewish life in a village in Russia. If you’re studying different religions or eras, this is a fantastic addition!

More musicals you can check out – Evita, Annie Get Your Gun, and The Unsinkable Molly Brown.

History Classics

And who doesn’t love the classics! These classic movies may be geared more toward older kids, so use your own judgment before showing your children.

Ben-Hur (PG-13) – While not based on a true story, Ben-Hur is drawn from the life of Judah Ben-Hur who was a Jewish prince from Jerusalem. He was enslaved by the Romans after his adoptive brother, Massala – a Roman officer, betrayed him. This is a very long movie, but could be a great addition to an ancient history study.

(Check out the Charlton Heston version here.) 

Lilies of the Field (NR) – I’ve never seen this movie, but I have heard quite a bit about it. Based on the true story of the Sisters of Walburga, and a novel (1962) of the same name written by William Edmund Barrett, viewers will be drawn into this goodwill, humanitarian movie.

History Movies for Kids

The Miracle Worker (NR) – It has been years since I’ve seen this movie, but it is so powerful. Based on the autobiographical works of Helen Keller herself, this movie shows just how difficult it was for her to even learn. And how perseverance and a teacher who invested in her pushed her past any hesitations and into the woman she became.

A Night to Remember (NR) – This is the original Titanic movie. Based on the novel of the same name and taken from actual events of the night, this movie is one older kids will enjoy, especially if they like history. You could always do a comparison to the modern-day movie, Titanic (PG-13).

History Shows for Kids

Over the years we have found several television shows for little ones that focus on history. My kids love each of these series.

Note: These are not Christian-based shows, which means they may not always present things in a way your family teaches. It is up to you to make the call for your family whether these are appropriate or not.

U.S. History Shows

Liberty Kids – This is probably my kids’ favorite U.S. history curriculum. They love watching these and even ask to watch them on our “driving days”. Some of them, they have watched so much that they now know historical facts and situations. It is so fun to talk about certain historical places or people and then hear them talk about what they learned in the shows. 

World History Shows

Kid’s Animated History with Pipo (DVD) – I have not personally viewed this series, but it does look like a fun one for the kids!

“Kids Animated History With Pipo presents A Time Compass showcasing significant historical events in a humorous and easy to understand style. This delightful series plays out in a book-like format, taking viewers on a journey in time. Rediscover the world’s incredible history in a fun and amusing way!” – Description from Amazon  watch it on Amazon Prime Video

History Movies Based on True Stories

Dolphin Tale (PG) – My kids absolutely love this movie! Not only is it a feel-good movie with a happy ending, but it is also based on the real-life story of the Winter, the dolphin. What an inspiring and uplifting movie that changed the life of not one, but two dolphins.

Secretariat (NR) – This is based on the horse by the same name, who won the Triple Crown in 1973 – the first to do so in 25 years. 

Dreamer (PG) – Another horse movie inspired by an injured Thoroughbred racehorse named Mariah’s Storm. The movie is a loose interpretation of the story, but Mariah’s Storm is a real horse.

History Movies for Kids

Diary of Anne Frank (NR) – Based on the actual diary of a young girl named Anne Frank while she and her family were in hiding for two years as the Nazi’s overtook the Netherlands. When she started the diary, she was only 13 and it ends with her death from typhus at the age of 15.

The Color of Friendship (G) – This is actually one of my favorite Disney TV movies. I have probably watched this at least a dozen times. It is a wonderful story of how personal bias can cloud your judgment of a person or people group. 

History Movies for Older Kids

NOTE: Movies should always be reviewed by a parent first. We do not make any claims to know what is appropriate for your child(ren), that is totally your call.

Please review these movies to make sure they align with your family values. I have included the Parents Guide link for each to help you with your review.

Miracle (PG) – This is one of my oldest son’s favorite movies. He has watched it at least a dozen times in the past year. While he loves sports, he also loves the Olympics – and an underdog story. This movie recounts the true story of the 1980 United States Hockey Team and the seemingly unattainable goal of beating the Soviet Union.

Remember the Titans (PG) – Another favorite in our house, this movie is based on Herman Boone, the African-American coach who worked to integrate the football team at T.C. Williams High School in Alexandria, VA in 1971. 

Lincoln (PG-13) – Whether you’re studying the presidents, the Civil War, the abolishment of slavery or Lincoln specifically, older kids will get a lot out of this movie. Based on Abraham Lincoln, the 16th president of the United States, this movie focuses on his last four months in office before his assassination. 

History Movies for Older Kids

Hidden Figures (PG) – This is one of the best movies we’ve seen in a long time. Not only is it inspirational, but also history-changing for the U.S. space program. The only reason I say this is for older kids, is that most of the subject matter would be over the heads of younger ones. However, overall it is a fantastic movie and one worth watching more than once!

Woman in Gold (PG-13) – Based on the true story of Maria Altmann, a Jewish woman who seeks out to recover her family’s possessions that the Nazi’s seized during WWII. One of the most valuable being Klimt’s famous painting Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer I, which sold for $135 million in 2006.

Night at the Museum (PG) – These are more favorites in our house. All of my kids enjoy these movies and they really do share quite a bit of history in them. Even if the stories are fictional, the characters in the movie (aside from the night watchman) are based on true historical figures.

History Movies for Older Kids

National Treasure (PG) – Clearly based on a fictional character and story, these two movies inspired my own children to learn more about the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution and more! The second movie inspired their love of historical sites and national parks, which has only enhanced our homeschooling. We highly recommend these movies.

10 Commandments (NR) – This classic film is a great addition to your homeschool Bible time. It is an eternally long movie, so I recommend breaking it up over several days, or even a week. When it was aired on television, it was most often presented as a mini-series. This particular film follows the life of Moses from birth until he frees the Hebrews from slavery under the Egyptians.

More movies you can check out – One Night with the King, Catch Me If You Can, and 1776.

You May Enjoy: Educational Shows by Subject and Topic

Movie Response Template Pack Download

Grab our movie response template pack to use in your homeschool. It would be a great way to document the educational journey you take as you dive into moves about wars and documentaries about military excursions. 

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Movie Response Printable Pack

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