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5 Summer Flicks for Genealogists

Image: Francesco Marino, link below

Hot sticky days are upon us and one way to beat the heat is to dim the lights, pop some popcorn, and enjoy a movie. Here are some action filled films with family history as part of the plot:

 The Man in the Iron Mask (1998) – This interpretation of the classic Alexandre Dumas story is a popcorn munching spectacle of action and genealogical surprise. After D’Artagnan refuses to betray his monarch, the three (aging) musketeers scheme todepose the cruel and hedonistic Louis XIV and place his secret twin brother on the throne in his place. Ties of friendship and blood are tested and a stunning twist reveals that the royal family tree is much different than anyone knew.

Kind Hearts and Coronets (1949) – This dark British satire of turn-of-the -century England follows Louis Mazzini who is intent on becoming the 10th Duke of Chalmont by killing off his mother’s aristocratic relatives, one by one. Sir Alec Guinness plays the eight aristocrats including the aging Suffragette, and they all die in inventive fashions as Mazzini struggles to re-arrange his family tree. It is, after all, “so difficult to make a neat job of killing people with whom one is not on friendly terms.”

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (2009) – This chilling family whodunit, set in the Swedish winter no less, is based on Stieg Larsson’s bestselling novel of the same name. It tells the story of a down and out journalist who is hired by the patriarch of a powerful family to solve the murder of his niece. The investigation follows the path any genealogist may travel as he attempts to piece together the murder and family history through newspapers and legal records. The twists and turns along the way make for fascinating film but be warned that this movie contains disturbing images and deserves its R rating.

The Star Wars Trilogy (1977) – In these epic sci-fi films Luke Skywalker, Princess Leia, and a band of freedom fighters battle the Evil Empire to restore peace and democracy to their galaxy far, far away. The fate of the galaxy comes to rest on how our hero will handle a genealogical revelation that makes him question everything he thought he knew about himself and his destiny.

The Da Vinci Code (2006) – At the heart of the controversy and outrage this film unleashed is the subject of genealogy. Based on the religious conspiracy novel by American author Dan Brown, the adventures of symbologist Robert Langdon and his companion Sophie Neveu focus entirely on revealing family secrets and piecing together a pedigree chart with a shockingly unexpected name at the top.

Do you have any genealogy movies to recommend?

Image: Francesco Marino /

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2 Responses to “5 Summer Flicks for Genealogists”

  1. Gini Webb says:

    A great one I just watched that was highly recommended to me was: “Shining Through” with Michael Douglas and Melanie Griffith. It’s considered a “Thriller” and rated “R”. (Not appropriate for Children and be warned some adult content).

    Brief description by Netflixs: New York secretary Linda Voss (Melanie Griffith) suspects that her boss, Ed Leland (Michael Douglas), is an American spy. When the United States enters World War II and Ed’s key operative in Berlin is killed, Linda convinces her boss to let her go undercover. Linda is dropped behind enemy lines to penetrate the household of a high-ranking enemy official. Will she make it out alive?

    I did find it somewhat genealogy related as she (Melanie Griffith) shares her family history and when she goes undercover, she searches and locates some family members. Also, the time and era of World War II. Just a suggestion.

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