Cinema Paradiso Movie Poster Image
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Altar boy Salvatore finds a substitute for the father he lost to war at the movie theater: Alfredo reluctantly teaches him how to operate the projector -- but then he develops higher hopes for his surrogate son, who finally leaves to become a filmmaker. The perfect introduction to foreign films.  

Forrest Gump Movie Poster Image
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Epic in length and symbolic in treatment, the film never loses sight of its love story. The relationship between the childlike Forrest and the disillusioned Jenny is an allegory for America's loss of innocence from the 1950s to the 1980s, reflected by pop culture and socio-political events.

Lincoln Movie Poster Image
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A political drama about the passing of the 13th Amendment and the end of the Civil War. There's no better film about how even our greatest leaders had to make quid pro quo overtures across party lines to move forward. Eloquently scripted by Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Tony Kushner.

Selma Movie Poster Image
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This powerful, educational, well-acted drama -- one of the finest films ever made about the civil rights movement -- is a great choice for parents to watch with teens (and even mature tweens).

Stand and Deliver Movie Poster Image
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Based on the true story of an LA teacher who converted apathetic students into math stars. Full of Spanish, calculus, and inspiration, it brings depth and dignity to its exploration of high school life -- rare in Hollywood. James Edward Olmos is near-perfect in an Oscar-nominated performance.

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Common Sense Tips

Common Sense Tips

  • Schedule a time to watch an intense film. Ban multitasking, and then discuss difficult scenes.
  • Ask teens for their own examples of hardship or prejudice that help them relate to these movies.