Making the Grades
Tony Malanowski has worked on a number of past projects in a variety of roles including editor, director, actor, producer and writer. Now he’s taken on a pet project, the retelling of U.S. history in his DVD series America: Her People, Her Stories.
In The Battle of Bunker Hill installment, he addresses the first major conflict in the American Revolutionary War on June 17, 1775 and follows two fathers and their sons as they join forces with other townsfolk to defend their right to govern themselves. William Morgan (Mark Redfield) reluctantly agrees to bring his son Jeremiah (Christopher Hampson) to the battlefront, knowing this is likely just the start of a bloody war. His neighbor Joshua Hudson (Michael Mack) is a former slave who joins the forces along with his son Luke (Brandon Thompson) to help dig the hilltop trenches.
Determined to keep British troops stationed in Boston from furthering their occupation of the surrounding countryside, the Patriots actually gathered on Breed’s Hill (in spite of the battle’s name) to construct an earthen fortification during the dark of night. Stationed behind the dirt ramparts, the Colonial makeshift army prepares for an onslaught from the better trained, better equipped and more experienced British army.
The film combines a series of re-enactments and information from existing records with interviews from historians Dr. Gregory J.W. Urwin of Temple University, Richard Patterson, Executive Director of Old Barrack Museum and William Chemerka who also wrote the script for the film. The docudrama provides extensive details about the fateful day and the massive fatalities that followed not one, but three assaults, by British forces.
While many films are based on historical events, the attention given to details in this production speaks to the director’s desire to create an educational tool to teach American history. The film makes use of a group of re-enactors in British wool uniforms with bearskin hats and black powder guns, and Colonial fighters in authentically depicted clothing. Along with the docudrama, the DVD also includes a Historical Perspective section depicting the events, participants, and cultural elements of the time.
Although some of the war scenes may be disturbing for younger viewers, The Battle of Bunker Hill offers an interesting lesson on the circumstances that helped spark the American Revolution.
Discussion Ideas After The Movie
Teaching ideas and topics to discuss about The Battle of Bunker Hill.
Is it important to study history? What can we learn from events that happened hundreds of years ago?
For parents and teachers looking for more information on this topic, check this link for revolutionary war books, illustrated young adult novels and teachers’ guides.