Create Lesson Plans Relating to Biographies
of Men and Women Who Have Shaped
Our World from Movies and Film

Suggested ages are in brackets at the end of each entry. Topics relating to Social Emotional Learning appear after the term "SEL." Moral-Ethical Emphasis is a reference to Character Counts' Six Pillars of Character.

Bach, Johann Sebastian

Bach's Fight for Freedom    (Biography; Music/Classical; World/Germany; SEL: Friendship; Father/Son; Talent; Moral-Ethical Emphasis: Caring) [6 - 12]

Beethoven, Ludwig van

Beethoven Lives Upstairs    (Biography; Music/Classical; World/Austria; SEL: Grieving; Disabilities; Friendship; Talent; Moral-Ethical Emphasis: Responsibility; Caring) [9 - 12]

Bizet, Georges

Bizet's Dream    (Biography; Music/Opera; World/France; SEL: Father/Daughter; Talent; Moral-Ethical Emphasis: Responsibility) [9 - 12]

Bonaparte, Napoleon

Conquest (Biography/Napoleon Bonaparte; World/France, Poland & The 1800s; SEL: Romantic Relationships; Ethical Emphasis: Respect; Responsibility) [12+]

Cassatt, Mary

Mary Cassatt: American Impressionist    (Visual Arts; World/France; U.S./1865 - 1913; Biography; SEL: Talent; Romantic Relationships; Moral-Ethical Emphasis: Responsibility) [8+]

Collins, Michael

Michael Collins (Biography; World/Ireland; SEL: Courage in War; Breaking Out; Peace/Peacemakers; Rebellion; Moral-Ethical Emphasis: Trustworthiness; Respect) [14+]

Curie, Marie

Madame Curie (Biography; Science-Technology; World/France; SEL: Female Role Model; Grieving; Moral-Ethical Emphasis: Responsibility) [10+]

Marie Curie: More Than Meets the Eye    (Biography; World/France & WWI; Medicine; Science-Technology; SEL: Female Role Model; Mother/Daughter; Moral-Ethical Emphasis: Responsibility) [8 - 12]

Da Vinci, Leonardo

Leonardo: A Dream of Flight    (Biography; World/Italy & the Renaissance; Aviation; SEL: Talent; Friendship; Mother/Son; Moral-Ethical Emphasis: General) [8 - 11]

Edison, Thomas Alva

Edison: The Wizard of Light    (Science-Technology; U.S./1865 - 1929; Cinema; Biography; SEL: Talent; Disabilities; Moral-Ethical Emphasis: Caring; Citizenship) [8 - 13]

Einstein, Albert

Einstein: Light to the Power of 2    (Biography; Science-Technology; U.S./1945 - 1991 & Diversity; SEL: Self-esteem; Education; Families in Crisis; Ethical Emphasis: Trustworthiness; Caring) [8 - 13]

Frank, Anne

Four Films About Anne Frank (World/WWII & Holland; Biography; SEL: Coming of Age; Families in Crisis; Human Rights; Courage; Moral-Ethical Emphasis: Respect; Responsibility; Citizenship) [12+]

Franklin, Benjamin

Ben and Me -- Short Subject    (Biography/Franklin; U. S./1750 - 1812 & Pennsylvania; Science-Technology; SEL: Friendship; Moral-Ethical Emphasis: Citizenship) [8 & 9; 27 minutes]


Galileo: On the Shoulders of Giants    (Biography; Science-Technology; World/Italy & the Renaissance; SEL: Brothers; Education; Moral-Ethical Emphasis: Trustworthiness; Respect) [8 - 13]

Gandhi, Mahatma

Gandhi (Biography; World/India, South Africa, England & 1800s - Cold War Era; U.S./Diversity; Religions; SEL: Rebellion; Peace/Peacemakers; Moral-Ethical Emphasis: Trustworthiness; Respect; Responsibility; Fairness; Caring; Citizenship) [10+]

Gardner, Christopher

The Pursuit of Happyness (U.S./1991 - present and Biography; SEL: Father/Son; Parenting; Surviving, Work/Career; add the following SEL topics when using's student handout for this film entitled Episodes in the Life of Chris Gardner (What's Not in the Movie): Alcohol & Drug Abuse; Breaking Out; Spousal Abuse; Child Abuse; Education; Male Role Model; Ambition; Moral-Ethical Emphasis: Caring) [12+]

Gehrig, Louis

Pride of the Yankees (Biography/Gehrig; Sports/Baseball; SEL: Male Role Model; Moral-Ethical Emphasis: Responsibility) [8+]

Gould, Glenn

Thirty-Two Short Films About Glenn Gould (Biography; Music/Classical; World/Canada; SEL: Talent; Moral-Ethical Emphasis: Responsibility) [14+] (Small portions in French with English subtitles.)

Goya, Francisco

Goya: Awakened in a Dream    (Visual Arts; World/Spain & the Enlightenment; Biography; SEL: Father/Son; Friendship; Illness; Human Rights; Talent; Disabilities; Moral-Ethical Emphasis: Caring) [8 - 13]

Guaspari, Roberta

Small Wonders (Music/Classical; U.S./1991 - Present & New York; Biography/Guaspari; SEL: Education; Female Role Model; Moral-Ethical Emphasis: Responsibility; Citizenship) [6+]

Music of the Heart (Music/Classical, U.S./1991 - present & New York; Biography (Guaspari); SEL: Education; Talent, Disabilities; Romantic Relationships; Divorce and Separation; Moral-Ethical Emphasis: Responsibility; Citizenship) [9+]

Handel, George Frideric

Handel's Last Chance    (Biography; Music/Classical; World/England & Ireland; SEL: Talent; Moral-Ethical Emphasis: Trustworthiness; Caring) [6-12]

Hitler, Adolph

The Great Dictator (Biography/Hitler; World/WWII) [10+]

Holly, Buddy

The Buddy Holly Story (Biography; Music/Popular; U.S./1945 - 1991; SEL: Talent; Moral-Ethical Emphasis: General) [12+]

Homer, Winslow

Winslow Homer: An American Original    (U.S./1861 - 1913; Visual Arts; Medicine-Psychiatry; Biography; SEL: Talent; Grieving; Mental Illness; Moral-Ethical Emphasis: Trustworthiness; Responsibility) [8 - 12]

Keller, Helen

The Miracle Worker (Biography/Keller; U.S./1865 - 1913; SEL: Disabilities; Female Role Model; Moral-Ethical Emphasis: Responsibility; Caring) [10+]

Lautrec, Toulouse

Moulin Rouge (Biography/Lautrec; Visual Arts; World/France; SEL: Alcohol and Drug Abuse; Disabilities; Talent; Moral-Ethical Emphasis: Responsibility) [13+]

Lawrence, T.E.

Lawrence of Arabia (Biography; World/England, Middle East & WWI; SEL: Courage in War; Moral-Ethical Emphasis: Trustworthiness) [12+]

Lincoln, Abraham and Lincoln, Mary

Lesson Plan: The End of America's Nightmare Dance with Slavery Using Spielberg's Lincoln (U.S./1812 - 1865; Biography; SEL: Leadership; Moral-Ethical Emphasis: Citizenship) [13+]

Abraham and Mary Lincoln: A House Divided (U.S./1812 - 1865; Biography; SEL: Families in Crisis; Marriage; Grieving; Leadership; Father/Daughter; Mother/Son; Romantic Relationships; Moral-Ethical Emphasis: Respect, Responsibility, Fairness) [10+]

Liszt, Franz

Liszts' Rhapsody    (Biography; Music/Classical; SEL: Talent; Moral-Ethical Emphasis: Respect) [6 - 12]


Mao's Last Dancer (Literature: NonFiction; Literary Devices: allegory/parable; Biography; World/China; U.S.: 1945 - Present; Dance; SEL: Breaking Out; Human Rights; Moral-Ethical Emphasis: Responsibility) [12+]

Miller, Glenn

The Glenn Miller Story (Biography; Music/Popular; U.S.: 1929 - 1941 - 1945; SEL: Talent; Moral-Ethical Emphasis: Trustworthiness) [12+]

More, Thomas

A Man for All Seasons (Biography/Thomas More; World/England & the Renaissance; Religions/Christianity; Drama/England; SEL: Courage; Male Role Model; Moral-Ethical Emphasis: Trustworthiness) [12+]

Mozart, Wolfgang Amadeus

Amadeus (Biography/Mozart; Music/Classical; World/Austria; SEL: Humility; Alcohol and Drug Abuse; Talent; Moral-Ethical Emphasis: Responsibility; Caring) [12+]

Newton, Isaac

Isaac Newton: A Tale of Two Isaacs    (Biography; Science-Technology; World/England & Enlightenment; Mathematics; SEL: Romantic Relationships; Talent) [8-13]

Northup, Solomon

12 Years a Slave (U.S./1812 - 1865; Literature/U.S. (Slave Narrative); Biography; SEL: Human Rights; Moral-Ethical Emphasis: Respect) [15+]

Patton, George S.

Patton (U.S./1941 - 1945; SEL: Leadership; Moral-Ethical Emphasis: Respect) [12+]

Robinson, Jackie

The Jackie Robinson Story (Biography; Sports/Baseball; U.S./1945 - 1991 & Diversity; SEL: Male Role Model; Moral-Ethical Emphasis: Trustworthiness, Respect, Citizenship) [8+]

Rockne, Knute

Knute Rockne -- All American (Sports/Football; U.S./1913 - 1929; Biography; SEL: Leadership, Sportsmanship, Talent; Moral-Ethical Emphasis: Responsibility) [8+]

Roosevelt, Eleanor

Eleanor Roosevelt (Biography; U.S./1865 - 1991; Politics; SEL: Leadership; Female Role Model; Moral-Ethical Emphasis: Caring, Citizenship) [10+]

Roosevelt, Franklin Delano (FDR)

Warm Springs (U.S./1913 - 1929 & Georgia; Biography; SEL: Courage; Disabilities; Moral-Ethical Emphasis: Responsibility; Caring) [12+]

Rossini, Giocchino

Rossini's Ghost    (Biography; Music/Opera; World/Italy; SEL: Talent; Friendship; Moral-Ethical Emphasis: Responsibility) [6 - 12]

Sandoval, Arturo

For Love or Country -- The Arturo Sandoval Story (Music/Jazz; World/Cuba and the Cold War Era; Biography; SEL: Human Rights; Courage; Moral-Ethical Emphasis: Trustworthiness; Citizenship) [12+]

Schindler, Oskar

Schindler's List (Biography; World/WWII; SEL: Courage; Rebellion; Moral-Ethical Emphasis: Trustworthiness; Respect; Caring) [15+]


Spartacus (Biography; World/Ancient Rome; SEL: Rebellion; Moral-Ethical Emphasis: Respect) [13+]


Stalin (Biography; World/Russia; SEL: Ambition; Moral-Ethical Emphasis: Responsibility) [12+]

Strauss, Johann, Jr.

Strauss: The King of Three-Quarter Time    (Biography; Music/Classical; World/Austria; SEL: Friendship; Child Abuse; Moral-Ethical Emphasis: Caring) [6 - 12]

Taylor, Paul

Dancemaker (Biography (Taylor); Dance; SEL: Talent; Moral-Ethical Emphasis: Responsibility) [12+]

Truman, Harry S.

Truman (Biography; U.S./1941 - 1991; SEL: Leadership; Moral-Ethical Emphasis: Responsibility) [12+]

Van Gogh, Vincent

Lust for Life (Biography/Van Gogh; World/France; Visual Arts; SEL: Talent; Brothers; Mental Illness; Suicide; Moral-Ethical Emphasis: Caring) [12+]

Vincent: The Life and Death of Vincent Van Gogh (Biography; World/France; Visual Arts; SEL: Talent; Brothers, Mental Illness; Suicide; Moral-Ethical Emphasis: Caring) [12+]

Whitman, Walt

Beautiful Dreamers (Biography/Whitman; Literature/U.S.; World/Canada; Medicine; SEL: Male Role Model; Mental Illness; Breaking Out; Friendship; Moral-Ethical Emphasis: Respect) [12+; useful for getting students to read and appreciate the poetry of Walt Whitman]

Zola, Emile

The Life of Emile Zola (Biography; World/France; Literature/France; SEL: Justice; Talent; Ethical Emphasis: Trustworthiness; Fairness) [10+]

The suggested age range appears in brackets at the end of each entry. Topics relating to Social and Emotional Learning appear after the term "SEL". "Moral-Ethical Emphasis" is a reference to Character Counts' Six Pillars of Character.