Seven Great Anti-Fascist Movies to Watch With Your Kids

Seven Great Anti-Fascist Movies to Watch With Your Kids

Seven Great Anti-Fascist Movies to Watch With Your Kids

It has come to my attention that today’s kids are seriously lacking in cultural education. It’s not their fault. It’s probably not the parents’ fault. Turner Classic Movies, the cable channel. does the best that the programmers can, but not everyone has cable. Kids today have not seen enough of the great anti-fascist movies of past American generations. Bless their hearts they don’t even really know what anti-fascism is. If they did, the Anti-Fa movement would not look like it does.

This being the case, I am going to suggest movies that you can watch with your kids. Watch them with your kids. Did you get that? Then discuss. Not like teacher discuss, start out with something easy. Tell them you love/loathe black and white films and ask what they think. You might first discuss the actors or fashions or even architecture. Then, and only then, start discussing freedom and individuality and all the hard stuff.

To begin:

1. “Casablanca” – Casablanca, Morocco and “Rick’s Cafe Americain” where Captain Louis Renault was “shocked to find gambling” The tensions between the actors’ characters and all the subplots are fascinating. The underlying fear and desperation is emotionally wrenching. And, in the end, it’s the beginning of a beautiful friendship.

2. “Cabaret” – Set in 1931 Berlin, the music and dancing, which are great, are camouflage for the shear terror. Forget Sally Bowles and Cliff Bradshaw, the Nazis killed Natalia’s dog. The most frightening scene in this movie is the beer garden sing-a-long. This will give you shivers and make make your teenager think.

Made you think about those Parkland Fascist kids, didn’t it.

3. “1984” – Actor John Hurt is perfect as Winston Smith, whose job it is to constantly rewrite history. He is thin and tired looking. George Orwell wrote the book, which is great too. The “Two Minutes of Hate” for the enemies of the state might seem familiar to today’s kids if you bring it up.

4. “Fahrenheit 451” – The title of the movie refers to the temperature at which books burn 451 degrees Fahrenheit. Written by the great science fiction writer Ray Bradbury. Oskar Werner and Julie Christie are both beautiful. It wouldn’t have worked in “1984” but their beauty is perfect for this movie. Oskar Werner’s Guy Montag is a hero. He is a fireman who burns those books. Those books that make people have unpleasant thoughts. You might ask your little angel spawn if people ought to be allowed to read anything they want? Oh, yeah that will be a good’un.

5. “The Mortal Storm” – “The Mortal Storm” is not a well-known movie. The family is a happy, successful family. Jimmy Stewart (he doesn’t try a German accent) and Margaret Sullavan are the lovers. The Nazis are beautiful young men. They are also evil and cruel machines.

6. “The Fountainhead” – Ayn Rand’s “Virtue of Selfishness” is on full display in this movie. It is a good movie about the individual fighting against “group think”. Gary Cooper is perfection as Howard Roark in the court room scene. Patricia Neal as Dominique Francon is his equal in every possible way. Yowza!

From left: George Coulouris, Donald Woods, Lucile Watson, Bette Davis and Paul Lukas in “Watch on the Rhine”.

7. “Watch on the Rhine” – This movie is my favorite. I could watch it every day. Every character in this movie is perfectly cast. Lillian Hellman and Dashiell Hammett could bloody freaking write. No big fight scenes or song and dance numbers. The film builds its story quietly. Lucile Watson plays Bette Davis’s mother. She has lived a quiet and comfortable life. She slowly realizes that the world was not as she thought and that her daughter is a tenacious, self-sacrificing woman of strong convictions.

There you have it. There are, of course, many more great anti-fascist movies. Seven should be enough to get you started. Remember to stay plugged and and two moves ahead.

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  • Quenton says:

    “Carve Her Name with Pride” is quite good.

    It was on television once as a youth and my parents made a point to watch it. It was hard to watch.

    But then my parents lived through WW2. It was real for them.

    My father lived under actual NAZIS.

    • Toni Williams says:

      I am going to have to find that one.

    • meyou says:

      I was married once; he was born in Germany after the war ended. His mom, from a large Catholic family, swore they didn’t know about the Jewish exterminations. Most people in Germany were so devastated after the First WW the were grateful for Hitler. Sad, but troubling.

  • meyou says:

    Uh, Hammett? Not familiar with the piece you mention, but I’m true-blood Conservative (and Catholic). Learned decades ago that he was a card-carrying Communist, so IMHO there are tons of other writers out there to enjoy. Not judging anyone who likes him, though!

  • Son of Rusty Shackleford says:

    I’d include Fritz Lang’s 1943 film “Hangmen Also Die!” It’s got its corny moments, but the Nazis in the movie are very believable, and most of them were played by refugees from Hitler’s Germany so there’s an extra edge to their portrayals—they knew first-hand of what they were portraying.

  • GWB says:

    And don’t forget the singing scene in Casablanca! Drowning out the NAZI singing with La Marseillaise Ooooh, did they make the NAZIs mad!

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