Overview for films in Early National Period
(Digital History ID 2951)

Recommended Film

Jefferson in Paris

Focusing on his years as American ambassador to France, from 1784 to 1789, this film explores Jefferson the man, the father, the bereaved widower, and above all, the contradiction between Jefferson the aristocratic slaveholder and the exponent of democratic principles.

Other Significant Film:


Lewis and Clark: The Journey of the Corps of Discovery (1997) A two-part documentary directed by Ken Burns that examines the expedition of Meriweather Lewis and William Clark and American society in the early 19th century.

A More Perfect Union (1990) A re-creation of the Constitutional Convention shown on PBS.

Feature Films:

The Buccaneers (1938 and 1958) A fanciful tale of pirate Jean Lafitte joining forces with General Andrew Jackson to defeat the British at the Battle of New Orleans during the War of 1812.

Danton (1983) Polish director Andrzej Wajda's drama depicts the battle of wills and ideas between the leaders of the French Revolution.

The Fighting Kentuckian (1949) In Alabama in 1818, Kentucky militiaman John Breen, played by John Wayne falls in love with a French exile and discovers a plot to steal the land her fellow exiles plan to settle on.

John Paul Jones (1959) Hollywood biopic about the American naval hero of the War of 1812.

Old Ironsides (1926) The story of the famous War of 1812 battleship.

A Tale of Two Cities (1935, 1938, and 1980) Charles Dickens's account of the era of the French Revolution has been filmed many times. A 1935 version starring Ronald Colman won several Academy Award nomination. The 1958 English version starred Dirk Bogarde, and the 1980 version featured Chris Sarandon.

Copyright Digital History 2021