In a move common to Hollywood movies, Clint Eastwood’s J. Edgar downplays the historical significance of this controversial figure for a more in-depth look into the man. The historical element, though present and comprehensive, isn’t at the heart of the film narrative in the same way as J. Edgar Hoover’s underdog qualities: his sexual repression, his social quirks, the unhealthy relationship with his mother, the speech impediment.
The film buffs among our readers also will be interested in the AHA Today's terrific list of 100 Films Reviewed by Historians. In addition to critiquing specific films, many of the reviews contemplate familiar questions that continue to provoke heated debate. Can we learn history through film? Are only those cinematic depictions of the past that historians judge accurate pedagogically useful? The compilation of reviews is a great resource for those interested in integrating film into teaching.