Hollywood Movies About The Great Depression: Why Every Student Should Watch Them?

As a student, you often dread the day you’re obliged to learn something new about history. Why aren’t I taught more important historical moments? Or maybe you’re wondering why schools don’t place greater emphasis on technology rather than on the Great Depression. While education on all topics is necessary, the Great Depression isn’t an exception. It was the economic catastrophe of the 20th century that shook the nation.

There are various reasons to educate oneself on the topic. For instance, it has caused radical changes in government and laws. Moreover, as it’s been one of the worst periods the nation has seen, it also acts as a cautionary tale. But as students, it’s becoming increasingly more difficult to absorb information through reading. Hence, the best alternative to learning is watching movies. Therefore, we’ve compiled a list of the best movies about the Great Depression.

To Kill A Mockingbird

To Kill a Mockingbird is one of the most renowned movies, mandatory in almost all high schools. While many love to watch the heartbreaking story, many do not connect with it. Either way, it’s set in the time of the Great Depression, which reflects how people were living through less-than-ideal means. You can get inspired by a lot of free essays about the Great Depression, which you should use to get good grades on your papers. Moreover, you can find motivation for life through stories of others during the worst period of the nation.

Now this particular book was written after the Great Depression period. However, the author, Harper Lee, wrote it right after. Hence, you’ll notice that it paints US history in a personalized yet heartbreaking light. During the writing, the Jim Crow era was not yet over. This period was when black people were no longer allowed to be put in slavery. However, they still didn’t have the liberty of political, financial, social, or economic freedom. This movie emphasizes the radical change that a few years can have on the world’s economy and social standing.

Cinderella Man

Many aren’t aware that most stories revolving around the Great Depression have a tinge of truth to them. An example is Cinderella Man, where a man named Jim Braddock takes us through his journey during that period. That man and his wife and kids were living a comfortable life. The man was a boxer, but they were all well off. However, we fast forward to 5 years later, when we see how the toll of that Great Depression took a hit on the family members. 

The man attempts to redeem himself, earn money for his family, and become a survivor of all this struggle. This specific movie enables you to see the struggle that took place in the world. The man was willing to give up his life to save his family and provide for them. This sheds light on how such a tragic struggle can change someone’s priorities.

The Grapes Of Wrath

The author, John Steinbeck, kept a journal of his writing progress, illustrating the emotional ups and downs. While the story focuses on a man released from prison, it highlights the journey he takes with his family in horrible times. It eliminates the insane harshness that that period brought around. Moreover, it raised awareness and sympathy toward migrant farmworkers. Hence, it allowed people to have some sort of insight into how devastating life is. This will enable students to sympathize with the situation and realize that tough times can lead to catastrophic outcomes such as alcoholism, poverty, and depression.

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During that time in US history, betting on horse racing was banned. Hence, people had to improvise, and many fled to Mexico to participate in such events. Seabiscuit takes us through an endearing journey of an underdog rider and his racehorse. News outlets, magazines, and newspapers started covering the story of Seabiscuit, the horse. It shows how people will cling to hope in times of despair. Moreover, the horse became some sort of icon or inspiration to the people, which provided them with something to keep clinging to.


Writing about such a tragic time won’t be a piece of cake. However, understanding such a vital part of US history brings many lessons and morals forward. Hence, a student should be educated enough to hold a discussion, write, and negotiate issues about the Great Depression.

The movies above will help you fully understand the implications of those tough times. Instead of reading through a history book, you have the chance to watch true stories. While most are often heartbreaking, they provide you with insight into how people struggle. You also learn what they did to survive and how tough times often lead to tough decisions needed to be made. 

 Author’s Bio

 Matthew Torain

To say Matthew is a movie buff would be an understatement. He’s the first to head to the movies when a good one is out. However, what Matthew enjoys more than the film itself is criticizing it. He often spends his day analyzing, writing, reading reviews, and even sharing some insights about movies with his readers.

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