Across the Universe
And...Other Movies to Teach the 1960s!
Why Use Movies to Teach the 1960s?
Why Across the Universe?
The best scenes for instruction
Discussion Questions for Let it Be
2. What was life like for African Americans during this time period?
3. Why do you think that the director decided to intertwine these two stories together?
4. How does the song Let it Be impact the atmosphere of the scene?
Discussion Questions for I Want You
2. How is the military portrayed in this film? What political statement is the director making about the military through this portrayal?
3. How does Max attempt to evade military service?
4. Why did the director have the characters carry the Statue of Liberty through Vietnam? Why is it larger than Vietnam in the scene?
5. Based on the scene, what do you think the director believes about the war in Vietnam?
Discussion Questions for Strawberry Fields Forever
2. What does this scene say about the experience of American soldiers fighting in Vietnam?
3. How are American actions in Vietnam portrayed?
Discussion Questions for Revolution
2. Why is there a reference to Chairman Mao?
3. What is the overall message of this song?
How Could You Use This Movie?
1. A teacher could show the whole movie (minus two inappropriate scenes) and have discussion questions for students to think about as the watch the movie. After the movie the teacher could have the students write an essay with the following prompt: What do you believe is the theme of the 1960s? How does the movie Across the Universe support this theme? Support your answer with specific examples from the movie.
2. A teacher could also show specific scenes from the movie to go with different lessons. The Let it Be scene could be used in an introduction lesson to the 1960s. I Want You and Strawberry Fields Forever could be used during a lesson on the Vietnam War. The Revolution scene could be used during a lesson on the anti-war movement. Students could answer the discussion questions in groups or individually.
Other Great 1960's Movies
The movie follows a family from Chicago whose three children become involved in the Vietnam War, Civil Rights Movement, and the Hippie Culture. It also follows an African American family that has a son join the Black Panthers.
An army captain is sent to eliminate a U.S. colonel in Cambodia that is running renegade missions against the Viet Cong and the NVA. It is also an allegory to Heart of Darkness.
An author decides to write a book about African Americans maids during the Civil Rights movement.
This musical details the struggle of integration and the resistance against the positive change during the 1960s.
This movie details the actions of the Kennedy administration during the Cuban Missile Crisis.
This movie depicts prominent African American leaders as they attempt to secure voting rights.
General Ways to Use These Movies in the Classroom
2. Assign students a movie to watch and have them create a product inspired by that movie
3. Have students pick from a list of movies and then present a presentation to the class about how the movie portrays the 1960s