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    SUBJECTS — Drama/Musicals; U.S./1941 - 1945;
    SOCIAL-EMOTIONAL LEARNING — RomanticRelationships;
    MORAL-ETHICAL EMPHASIS — Respect; Citizenship.
    Age: 10+; No MPAA Rating; Musical; 1958; 167 minutes; Color; Available from Amazon.com.

    Description:     Set on an American Navy base on a tropical island during the Second World War, this film describes the experiences of the sailors and the nurses, several romances and one reconnaissance mission. The story is based on the Pulitzer Prize winning book Tales of the South Pacific by James Michener.

    Benefits of the Movie: "South Pacific" features some of the best music written for the stage, including "Some Enchanted Evening," "Younger Than Springtime," "You've Got to Be Carefully Taught," "There is Nothin' Like a Dame," "My Girl Back Home," "Dites-Moi," "Bali Ha'i," "Happy Talk," "A Cockeyed Optimist," "Bloody Mary," "Honey Bun," "I'm Gonna Wash That Man Right Out of My Hair," and "I'm in Love With a Wonderful Guy."

    The film also shows some of the effects and origins of racial prejudice.

    Possible Problems: MINOR. There is what can best be described as an mildly risqué comedy routine performed at a concert put on by the sailors.


Benefits of the Movie
Possible Problems
Parenting Points
Selected Awards & Cast
Helpful Background
Discussion Questions:
      Subjects (Curriculum Topics)
      Social-Emotional Learning
      Moral-Ethical Emphasis
            (Character Counts)
Bridges to Reading
Links to the Internet
Assignments, Projects & Activities

WORKSHEETS: TWM offers the following worksheets to keep students' minds on the movie and direct them to the lessons that can be learned from the film. Teachers can modify the movie worksheets to fit the needs of each class. See also TWM's Historical Fiction in Film Cross-Curricular Homework Project.

    Parenting Points:     Ask and help your child to answer the Quick Discussion Question.

    Selected Awards, Cast and Director:

      Selected Awards:  1958 Academy Awards: Best Sound; 1958 Academy Awards Nominations: Best Color Cinematography, Best Original Score.

      Featured Actors:   Mitzi Gaynor, Rossano Brazzi, Ray Walston, France Nuyen, John Kerr, Juanita Hall, Tom Laughlin.

      Director:  Joshua Logan.

QUICK DISCUSSION QUESTION:   What did you learn from song "You've Got to Be Carefully Taught" about the origins of prejudice?

Suggested Response: Children are not born prejudiced. They are most often taught prejudice by their relatives and friends.

    Helpful Background:

    Seabees are Navy Engineers. They build roads, landing strips, buildings etc. for the armed forces.

    The French colonized many South Pacific Islands. During World War II, many of these were conquered by the Japanese or taken over by the United States.

    Like WWI, the Second World War brought Americans into contact with people from many different cultures. This film focuses on what happened to several people in the South Pacific during WWII.

For English Language Arts classes, distribute TWM's Film Study Worksheet. Teachers can modify the worksheet to fit the needs of each class. Ask students to fill out the worksheet as they watch the film or at the film's end.

Click here for TWM's lesson plans to introduce cinematic and theatrical technique.

Select questions that are appropriate for your students.

    Social-Emotional Learning Discussion Questions:


    1.  Should Nellie Forbush have married a man who had killed someone in the past?

    2.  Should Lieutenant Cable have married Liat?

Are you concerned that time will be wasted if you are absent from class? Worry no more  .  .  .   Check out TeachWithMovies' Set-Up-the-Sub.

    Moral-Ethical Emphasis Discussion Questions (Character Counts)

    Discussion Questions Relating to Ethical Issues will facilitate the use of this film to teach ethical principles and critical viewing. Additional questions are set out below.


    (Be honest; Don't deceive, cheat or steal; Be reliable -- do what you say you'll do; Have the courage to do the right thing; Build a good reputation; Be loyal -- stand by your family, friends and country)

    1.  Was it right for Nellie Forbush to provide information on Emile DeBec for the U.S. Navy?

    2.  Debec was not a soldier, nor was he a U.S. citizen. How did his actions in undertaking a dangerous mission apply this Pillar of Character?


    (Treat others with respect; follow the Golden Rule; Be tolerant of differences; Use good manners, not bad language; Be considerate of the feelings of others; Don't threaten, hit or hurt anyone; Deal peacefully with anger, insults and disagreements)

    3.  What did you learn from song "You've Got to Be Carefully Taught" about the origins of prejudice?

Teachwithmovies.com is a Character Counts "Six Pillars Partner" and uses The Six Pillars of Character to organize ethical principles.

Character Counts and the Six Pillars of Character are marks of the CHARACTER COUNTS! Coalition, a project of the Josephson Institute of Ethics.

Reminder to Teachers: Obtain all required permissions from your school administration before showing any film.

Teachers who want parental permission to show this movie can use TWM's Movie Permission Slip.

    Bridges to Reading: Tales of the South Pacific won the Pulitzer Prize and is excellent reading for older adolescents.

    Bridges to Music: For parents: If your child is musically inclined, get the score from the local library or music store and let them play some of the music. If someone can play the piano, get the family together and sing some of the songs.

MOVIES ON RELATED TOPICS: Midway and any other World War II movie about the war in the Pacific in the Subject Matter Index.
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