BFI Screen Guides' 100 Documentary films

by TheWanderingFish | created - 04 Jan 2012 | updated - 17 Aug 2012 | Public
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1. À propos de Nice (1930)

Not Rated | 25 min | Documentary, Short, Comedy

7.5
Rate this
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

What starts off as a conventional travelogue turns into a satirical portrait of the town of Nice on the French Cote d'Azur, especially its wealthy inhabitants.

Directors: Boris Kaufman, Jean Vigo

Votes: 3,024

2. The Act of Seeing with One's Own Eyes (1971)

32 min | Documentary, Short, Horror

7.2
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

At a morgue, forensic pathologists conduct autopsies of the corpses assigned.

Director: Stan Brakhage

Votes: 1,190

3. The Atomic Cafe (1982)

Not Rated | 86 min | Documentary, History

7.7
Rate this
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

Disturbing collection of 1940s and 1950s United States government issued propaganda films designed to reassure Americans that the atomic bomb was not a threat to their safety.

Directors: Jayne Loader, Kevin Rafferty, Pierce Rafferty | Stars: Paul Tibbets, Harry S. Truman, W.H.P. Blandy, Brien McMahon

Votes: 3,418

4. The Battle of Chile: Part I (1975)

Not Rated | 191 min | Documentary

8.3
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.3/10 X  

The chronicle of the political tension in Chile in 1973 and of the violent counter revolution against the democratically elected government of Salvador Allende.

Director: Patricio Guzmán | Stars: Salvador Allende, Abilio Fernández

Votes: 916

5. The Battle of Chile: Part II (1976)

Not Rated | 88 min | Documentary

8.3
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.3/10 X  

Taking place during the Chilean Coup d'état in 1973, this film opens with the attempted military coup of June 1973, which is put down by troops loyal to the government. The left is divided ... See full summary »

Director: Patricio Guzmán | Stars: Salvador Allende, Carlos Altamirano, Fernando Castillo, Luis Corvalán

Votes: 728

6. The Battle of Chile: Part III (1979)

80 min | Documentary

8.0
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  

Completed two years after The Battle of Chile: Part I (1975) and The Battle of Chile: Part II (1976), this film deals with the creation of thousands of local groups of "popular power" by ... See full summary »

Director: Patricio Guzmán | Stars: Salvador Allende, Abilio Fernández

Votes: 575

7. Berlin: Symphony of a Great City (1927)

65 min | Documentary

7.7
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

This movie shows us one day in Berlin, the rhythm of that time, starting at the earliest morning and ends in the deepest night.

Director: Walter Ruttmann | Star: Paul von Hindenburg

Votes: 3,106

8. Bowling for Columbine (2002)

R | 120 min | Documentary, Crime, Drama

8.0
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  
72 Metascore

Filmmaker Michael Moore explores the roots of America's predilection for gun violence.

Director: Michael Moore | Stars: Michael Moore, Charlton Heston, Marilyn Manson, Salvador Allende

Votes: 129,403 | Gross: $21.24M

9. A British Picture (1989 TV Movie)

50 min | Biography

7.7
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

Add a Plot

Director: Ken Russell | Stars: Melvyn Bragg, Ken Russell, Molly Russell, Rupert Russell

Votes: 47

10. See You at Mao (1970)

54 min | Documentary

6.4
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  

Filmed in the UK in 1969, this documentary by Godard and the Dziga Vertov Group represents an analysis of production and the status of women in capitalist society and a speculation about ... See full summary »

Directors: Jean-Luc Godard, Jean-Henri Roger

Votes: 276

11. Ônibus 174 (2002)

R | 122 min | Documentary, Crime

7.9
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  
83 Metascore

Documentary depicts what happened in Rio de Janeiro on June 12th 2000, when bus 174 was taken by an armed young man, threatening to shoot all the passengers. Transmitted live on all ... See full summary »

Directors: José Padilha, Felipe Lacerda | Stars: Sandro do Nascimento, Rodrigo Pimentel, Luiz Eduardo Soares, Anonymous

Votes: 7,127 | Gross: $0.22M

12. Cane Toads: An Unnatural History (1988)

47 min | Documentary, Comedy

7.8
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

A documentary detailing the spread of Hawaiian sugar-cane toads through Australia in a botched effort to introduce them as counter pests.

Director: Mark Lewis | Stars: Tip Byrne, H.W. Kerr, Glen Ingram, Bill Freeland

Votes: 1,050

13. The Sorrow and the Pity (1969)

PG | 251 min | Documentary, History, War

8.3
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.3/10 X  

From 1940 to 1944, France's Vichy government collaborated with Nazi Germany. Marcel Ophüls mixes archival footage with 1969 interviews of a German officer and of collaborators and ... See full summary »

Director: Marcel Ophüls | Stars: Georges Bidault, Matthäus Bleibinger, Charles Braun, Maurice Buckmaster

Votes: 2,984

14. Chronicle of a Summer (1961)

Not Rated | 85 min | Documentary

7.6
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

Real-life individuals discuss topics on society, happiness in the working class among others and with those testimonies the filmmakers create fictional moments based on their interviews. ... See full summary »

Directors: Edgar Morin, Jean Rouch | Stars: Angelo, Nadine Ballot, Régis Debray, Jacques

Votes: 1,856

15. Nema-ye Nazdik (1990)

Not Rated | 98 min | Biography, Crime, Drama

8.3
Rate this
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.3/10 X  

The true story of Hossain Sabzian that impersonated the director Mohsen Makhmalbaf to convince a family they would star in his so-called new film.

Director: Abbas Kiarostami | Stars: Hossain Sabzian, Mohsen Makhmalbaf, Abolfazl Ahankhah, Mehrdad Ahankhah

Votes: 10,551 | Gross: $0.00M

16. Coal Face (1935)

11 min | Documentary, Short

6.3
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.3/10 X  

Documentary showing the dangerous working conditions in a Welsh coal mining community.

Director: Alberto Cavalcanti | Stars: W.H. Auden, Montagu Slater

Votes: 252

17. Crisis: Behind a Presidential Commitment (1963)

Not Rated | 52 min | Documentary

7.9
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  

Governor George Wallace will not let two black students into an Alabama school, against the wishes of President Kennedy. Loud shouts come from both sides of the issue as JFK stands by his decisions.

Director: Robert Drew | Stars: John F. Kennedy, George Wallace, Robert F. Kennedy, Vivian Malone

Votes: 423

18. Daughter Rite (1980)

49 min | Documentary

6.1
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.1/10 X  

Add a Plot

Director: Michelle Citron | Stars: Victor Penelope, Anne Wilford

Votes: 70

19. David Holzman's Diary (1967)

Not Rated | 74 min | Comedy, Drama

6.7
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

Young filmmaker decides to make a movie of his life.

Director: Jim McBride | Stars: L.M. Kit Carson, Eileen Dietz, Louise Levine, Lorenzo Mans

Votes: 1,199

20. Dead Birds (1963)

85 min | Documentary

6.9
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

Add a Plot

Director: Robert Gardner | Star: Robert Gardner

Votes: 158

21. A Diary for Timothy (1945)

40 min | Short, Documentary

7.1
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

This brief documentary-style film presents the status of Great Britain near the end of the Second World War by means of a visual diary for a baby boy born in September, 1944. Narration ... See full summary »

Director: Humphrey Jennings | Stars: Michael Redgrave, Myra Hess, John Gielgud, Frederick Allen

Votes: 536

22. Dont Look Back (1967)

Not Rated | 96 min | Documentary, Music

8.0
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  

Documentary covering Bob Dylan's 1965 tour of England, which includes appearances by Joan Baez and Donovan.

Director: D.A. Pennebaker | Stars: Bob Dylan, Albert Grossman, Bob Neuwirth, Joan Baez

Votes: 6,908

23. Yuki yukite, shingun (1987)

122 min | Documentary, War

8.3
Rate this
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.3/10 X  

A documentary following Kenzo Okuzaki, a 62-year-old WW2 veteran notorious for his protests against Emperor Hirohito, as he tries to expose the needless executions of two Japanese soldiers during the war.

Director: Kazuo Hara | Stars: Kenzo Okuzaki, Riichi Aikawa, Masaichi Hamaguchi, Toshio Hara

Votes: 1,039

24. To Be and to Have (2002)

Not Rated | 104 min | Documentary, Family

7.9
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  
87 Metascore

A documentary portrait of a one-room school in rural France, where the students (ranging in age from 4 to 11) are educated by a single dedicated teacher.

Director: Nicolas Philibert | Stars: Georges Lopez, Alizé, Axel Thouvenin, Guillaume

Votes: 6,970 | Gross: $0.78M

25. Padenie dinastii Romanovykh (1927)

Not Rated | 90 min | Documentary, History

6.6
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  

In May 1913 the Romanov Dynasty celebrates its 300th anniversary at the Russian throne. The last emperor in the long line is czar Nicholas II. He rules over a country with huge social and ... See full summary »

Director: Esfir Shub | Stars: Mikhail Alekseyev, Alexei Brusilov, Nikolai Chkheidze, Emperor Franz Josef

Votes: 193

26. Farrebique ou Les quatre saisons (1946)

90 min | Documentary

7.5
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

The story of a family of peasants during a whole year,following the circle game of the seasons .

Director: Georges Rouquier

Votes: 157

27. Baraye azadi (1979)

111 min | Documentary

7.5
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

A documentary on last days of Shah's regime, the event ensued after the arson of cinema Rex in Abadan, which lead to final victory of 1979 revolution.

Director: Hossein Torabi | Stars: Shapour Bakhtiar, Mehdi Bazargan, Mohammad Beheshti, Empress Farah

Votes: 30

28. Fast, Cheap & Out of Control (1997)

PG | 80 min | Documentary

7.3
Rate this
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

What do an elderly topiary gardener, a retired lion tamer, a man fascinated by mole rats, and a cutting-edge robotics designer have in common? Both nothing and everything in this ... See full summary »

Director: Errol Morris | Stars: Dave Hoover, George Mendonça, Rodney Brooks, Raymond A. Mendez

Votes: 3,316 | Gross: $0.83M

29. Forgotten Silver (1995 TV Movie)

53 min | Comedy

7.6
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

The film deals with the career of a supposedly forgotten pioneer of international cinema, Colin McKenzie, who was allegedly born in rural New Zealand in 1888.

Directors: Costa Botes, Peter Jackson | Stars: Peter Jackson, Jeffrey Thomas, Costa Botes, Marguerite Hurst

Votes: 5,210 | Gross: $0.03M

30. Les glaneurs et la glaneuse (2000)

Not Rated | 82 min | Documentary

7.6
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  
83 Metascore

An intimate, picaresque inquiry into French life as lived by the country's poor and its provident, as well as by the film's own director, Agnes Varda. The aesthetic, political and moral ... See full summary »

Director: Agnès Varda | Stars: François Wertheimer, Agnès Varda, Bodan Litnanski

Votes: 4,198 | Gross: $0.15M

31. Grey Gardens (1975)

PG | 94 min | Documentary, Comedy, Drama

7.7
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

An old mother and her middle-aged daughter, the aunt and cousin of Jacqueline Kennedy, live their eccentric lives in a filthy, decaying mansion in East Hampton.

Directors: Ellen Hovde, Albert Maysles, David Maysles, Muffie Meyer | Stars: Edith Bouvier Beale, Edith 'Little Edie' Bouvier Beale, Brooks Hyers

Votes: 9,490 | Gross: $0.03M

32. Grizzly Man (2005)

R | 103 min | Documentary, Biography

7.8
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  
87 Metascore

A devastating and heartrending take on grizzly bear activists Timothy Treadwell and Amie Huguenard, who were killed in October of 2003 while living among grizzlies in Alaska.

Director: Werner Herzog | Stars: Timothy Treadwell, Amie Huguenard, Werner Herzog, Carol Dexter

Votes: 45,260 | Gross: $3.17M

33. Handsworth Songs (1987)

61 min | Documentary

6.9
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

Documentary examining the 1985 riots in London and Birmingham's Handsworth district that erupted in reaction to the repressive policing of black communities.

Director: John Akomfrah | Stars: Pervaiz Khan, Meera Syal, Yvonne Weekes

Votes: 105

34. Happy Mother's Day (1963)

26 min | Documentary, Short

6.1
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.1/10 X  

In 1963, the first US quintuplets to survive were born in Aberdeen, South Dakota. We meet the Fischers - the babies' parents - two weeks after the babies' birth; we see the physician and ... See full summary »

Directors: Joyce Chopra, Richard Leacock

Votes: 71

35. Harlan County U.S.A. (1976)

PG | 103 min | Documentary

8.3
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.3/10 X  
80 Metascore

A filmed account of a bitterly violent miner strike.

Director: Barbara Kopple | Stars: Norman Yarborough, Houston Elmore, Phil Sparks, John Corcoran

Votes: 3,901

36. CBS Reports (1959– )
Episode: Harvest of Shame (1960)

60 min | Documentary, News

8.4
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.4/10 X  

In this CBS News production broadcast on Thanksgiving 1960, Edward R. Murrow points out the plight of migrant farm workers in America. Topics range from the harsh living conditions, endless... See full summary »

Director: Fred W. Friendly | Star: Edward R. Murrow

Votes: 140

37. Heidi Fleiss: Hollywood Madam (1995 TV Movie)

Not Rated | 106 min | Documentary, Biography

6.6
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  

A documentary crew from the BBC arrives in L.A. intent on interviewing Heidi Fleiss, a year after her arrest for running a brothel but before her trial. Several months elapse before the ... See full summary »

Director: Nick Broomfield | Stars: Nick Broomfield, Nina Xining Zuo, Madam Alex, Corinne Bohrer

Votes: 586

38. Hoop Dreams (1994)

PG-13 | 170 min | Documentary, Drama, Sport

8.3
Rate this
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.3/10 X  
98 Metascore

A film following the lives of two inner-city Chicago boys who struggle to become college basketball players on the road to going professional.

Director: Steve James | Stars: William Gates, Arthur Agee, Emma Gates, Curtis Gates

Votes: 20,875 | Gross: $7.83M

39. The Hour of the Furnaces (1968)

Unrated | 260 min | Documentary

7.9
Rate this
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  

Divided into three segments, namely 1 Neocolonialism, 2 Act for liberation, 3 Violence and liberation, the documentary lasts more than 4 hours this deals with the defense of the revolution ... See full summary »

Directors: Octavio Getino, Fernando E. Solanas | Stars: María de la Paz, Fernando E. Solanas, Edgardo Suárez, Fidel Castro

Votes: 707

40. Housing Problems (1935)

16 min | Short, Documentary

6.4
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  

Slum conditions, slum clearance, bright new public housing.

Directors: Edgar Anstey, Arthur Elton | Stars: Councillor Lauder, Mr. Norwood, Mrs. Hill, Mrs. Graves

Votes: 234

41. Las Hurdes (1933)

30 min | Documentary, Short

7.5
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

A surrealistic documentary portrait of the region of Las Hurdes, a remote region of Spain where civilisation has barely developed, showing how the local peasants try to survive without even the most basic utilities and skills.

Director: Luis Buñuel | Stars: Abel Jacquin, Alexandre O'Neill

Votes: 4,125

42. I for India (2005)

70 min | Documentary

6.9
Rate this
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

The myth of return. In 1966, Yash and Sheel Suri leave India for a temporary stay in England while he burnishes his resume as a doctor. He buys projectors, tape recorders, and movie cameras... See full summary »

Director: Sandhya Suri | Star: Yash Pal Suri

Votes: 159

43. In the Year of the Pig (1968)

Not Rated | 103 min | Documentary, War

7.7
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

Produced at the height of the Vietnam War, Emile de Antonio's Oscar-nominated 1968 documentary chronicles the war's historical roots. With palpable outrage, De Antonio (Point of Order, ... See full summary »

Director: Emile de Antonio | Stars: Harry S. Ashmore, Daniel Berrigan, Joseph Buttinger, William R. Corson

Votes: 1,280

44. Jazz (2001)

114 min | Documentary, History, Music

8.6
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.6/10 X  

A survey of the musical form's history and major talents.

Stars: Keith David, Louis Armstrong, Sidney Bechet, Duke Ellington

Votes: 1,515

45. Kon-Tiki (1950)

Approved | 77 min | Documentary

8.0
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  

A documentary about the Kon-Tiki expedition of the Norwegian explorer Thor Heyerdahl.

Director: Thor Heyerdahl | Stars: Thor Heyerdahl, Herman Watzinger, Erik Hesselberg, Knut Haugland

Votes: 1,972

46. Koyaanisqatsi (1982)

Not Rated | 86 min | Documentary, Music

8.3
Rate this
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.3/10 X  

A collection of expertly photographed phenomena with no conventional plot. The footage focuses on nature, humanity and the relationship between them.

Director: Godfrey Reggio | Stars: Lou Dobbs, Ted Koppel

Votes: 29,303 | Gross: $1.72M

47. Lektionen in Finsternis (1992)

Not Rated | 54 min | Documentary, War

8.1
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  

This film shows the disaster of the Kuwaitian oil fields in flames, with few interviews and no explanatory narration. Hell itself is presented in such beautiful sights and music that one has to be fascinated by it.

Director: Werner Herzog | Star: Werner Herzog

Votes: 4,187

48. Let There Be Light (1946)

Not Rated | 58 min | Documentary, War

7.6
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

A group of mentally traumatized veteran patients is followed as they go through psychiatric treatment.

Director: John Huston | Star: Walter Huston

Votes: 995

49. The Life and Times of Rosie the Riveter (1980)

65 min | Documentary, History, War

7.3
Rate this
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

Documentary about women working in factories during WWII and resultant loss of jobs after the war. Five women tell their stories. Fascinating clips of racist, sexist propaganda of the era.

Director: Connie Field | Stars: Wanita Allen, Gladys Belcher, Lyn Childs, Lola Weixel

Votes: 243

50. Lonely Boy (1963)

27 min | Documentary, Short, Biography

7.4
Rate this
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

A documentary chronicling the career of teen singing star Paul Anka (the title is taken from one of his hit songs).

Directors: Wolf Koenig, Roman Kroitor | Stars: Paul Anka, Jules Podell

Votes: 279

51. Lost, Lost, Lost (1976)

178 min | Documentary

8.0
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  

Add a Plot

Director: Jonas Mekas | Stars: Peter Beard, Ed Emshwiller, Ken Jacobs, Adolfas Mekas

Votes: 164

52. Employees Leaving the Lumière Factory (1895)

1 min | Documentary, Short

6.9
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

A man opens the big gates to the Lumière factory. Through the gateway and a smaller doorway beside it, workers are streaming out, turning either left or right. Most of them are women in ... See full summary »

Director: Louis Lumière

Votes: 4,786

53. Trick Riding (1895)

1 min | Documentary, Short, Comedy

5.6
Rate this
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.6/10 X  

In the background is a house. In the foreground, a groom holds the reins of a sleek black horse that stands in profile. A tall man, dressed in a black uniform, demonstrates how to mount the... See full summary »

Director: Louis Lumière

Votes: 673

54. Fishing for Goldfish (1895)

1 min | Documentary, Short

5.2
Rate this
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.2/10 X  

A man holds a child of about 10 or 11 months so the child can stand on a table and look down into a large clear goldfish bowl, nearly full of water, with two goldfish swimming in it. The ... See full summary »

Director: Louis Lumière

Votes: 650

55. The Photographical Congress Arrives in Lyon (1895)

Not Rated | 1 min | Documentary, Short

5.7
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.7/10 X  

Members of the French Photographic Society arrive from a riverboat to their congress venue in Neuville-sur-Saône on a summer day. They go ashore across a wooden landing stage. Among the ... See full summary »

Director: Louis Lumière | Stars: Auguste Lumière, P.J.C. Janssen

Votes: 1,213

56. Blacksmith Scene (1895)

1 min | Documentary, Short

5.1
Rate this
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.1/10 X  

Two blacksmiths are at work, facing the camera, a wall, window, and stacked boxes behind them. Both are mustachioed with dark hair. On our right, a smith in the dark clothes of a laborer ... See full summary »

Director: Louis Lumière

Votes: 685

57. Tables Turned on the Gardener (1895)

1 min | Comedy, Short

7.2
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

A gardener is watering his flowers, when a mischievous boy sneaks up behind his back, and puts a foot on the water hose. The gardener is surprised, and looks into the nozzle to find out why... See full summary »

Director: Louis Lumière | Stars: François Clerc, Benoît Duval

Votes: 3,450

58. Baby's Dinner (1895)

1 min | Documentary, Short

5.9
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.9/10 X  

As part of a maiden public film screening at the Salon Indien, on December 28, in Paris, Auguste Lumière pivots the centre of attention around his baby daughter, as he tries to feed her from a spoon.

Director: Louis Lumière | Stars: Auguste Lumière, Mrs. Auguste Lumiere, Andrée Lumière

Votes: 2,272

59. Jumping the Blanket (1895)

1 min | Documentary, Short

5.6
Rate this
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.6/10 X  

Outdoors, with a nondescript building in the background, four men stand, each holding the corner of a blanket stretched parallel to the ground. They wear the clothes of laborers. By the ... See full summary »

Director: Louis Lumière

Votes: 634

60. Cordeliers' Square in Lyon (1895)

1 min | Documentary, Short

5.6
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.6/10 X  

A stationary camera looks across the boulevard at a diagonal toward one corner of Lyon's Cordeliers' Square. It's a long shot, with a great deal of depth of focus. We can see the sky and ... See full summary »

Director: Louis Lumière

Votes: 708

61. The Sea (1895)

1 min | Documentary, Short

5.6
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.6/10 X  

Several little boys run along a pier, then jump into the ocean.

Director: Louis Lumière

Votes: 850

62. Les maîtres fous (1955)

36 min | Documentary, Short, Horror

6.9
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

In one of the first mockumentaries ever created, director Jean Rouch takes his viewers to the city of Accra (West Africa) where he follows the Hauka movement and their religious and ritual ... See full summary »

Director: Jean Rouch | Star: Jean Rouch

Votes: 1,059

63. Manhatta (1921)

11 min | Documentary, Short

6.5
Rate this
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  

This groundbreaking silent documentary captures the beauty and majesty of the New York City in its streets, skyscrapers, bridges, rail yards and harbors.

Directors: Charles Sheeler, Paul Strand

Votes: 1,035

64. Man with a Movie Camera (1929)

Not Rated | 68 min | Documentary, Music

8.4
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.4/10 X  

A man travels around a city with a camera slung over his shoulder, documenting urban life with dazzling invention.

Director: Dziga Vertov | Star: Mikhail Kaufman

Votes: 17,659

65. Man of Aran (1934)

Not Rated | 76 min | Documentary

7.5
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

In this blend of documentary and fictional narrative from pioneering filmmaker Robert Flaherty, the everyday trials of life on Ireland's unforgiving Aran Islands are captured with attention to naturalistic beauty and historical detail.

Director: Robert J. Flaherty | Stars: Colman 'Tiger' King, Maggie Dirrane, Michael Dirrane, Pat Mullin

Votes: 1,565

66. March of the Penguins (2005)

G | 80 min | Documentary, Family

7.6
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  
79 Metascore

In the Antarctic, every March since the beginning of time, the quest begins to find the perfect mate and start a family.

Director: Luc Jacquet | Stars: Morgan Freeman, Charles Berling, Romane Bohringer, Jules Sitruk

Votes: 50,391 | Gross: $77.44M

67. A Married Couple (1969)

97 min | Documentary

7.6
Rate this
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

An "actuality drama" about a real-life marriage in crisis, in which the couple attempts to identify and resolve the conflicts and resentments that have driven them to the brink of separation.

Director: Allan King | Stars: Billy Edwards, Antoinette Edwards, Bogart Edwards, Merton

Votes: 396

68. Minamata (1971)

105 min | Documentary

7.9
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  

A documentary about the plight of the victims of Minamata disease, which was caused by the ingestion of fish containing abnormal amounts of mercury released into the sea by a fertilizer factory owned by the Chisso company.

Director: Noriaki Tsuchimoto

Votes: 96

69. My Winnipeg (2007)

Not Rated | 80 min | Documentary, Comedy, Drama

7.7
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  
84 Metascore

Fact, fantasy and memory are woven seamlessly together in this portrait of film-maker Guy Maddin's home town of Winnipeg, Manitoba.

Director: Guy Maddin | Stars: Darcy Fehr, Ann Savage, Louis Negin, Amy Stewart

Votes: 4,118 | Gross: $0.16M

70. Nanook of the North (1922)

Not Rated | 78 min | Documentary

7.7
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

In this silent predecessor to the modern documentary, film-maker Robert J. Flaherty spends one year following the lives of Nanook and his family, Inuits living in the Arctic Circle.

Director: Robert J. Flaherty | Stars: Allakariallak, Nyla, Cunayou, Allegoo

Votes: 8,715

71. Native Land (1942)

Not Rated | 80 min | Documentary, Drama, History

6.5
Rate this
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  

Paul Robeson narrates a mix of dramatizations and archival footage about the bill of rights being under attack during the 1930s by union busting corporations, their spies and contractors. ... See full summary »

Directors: Leo Hurwitz, Paul Strand | Stars: Paul Robeson, Fred Johnson, Mary George, John Rennick

Votes: 251

72. Necrology (1971)

12 min | Short

6.4
Rate this
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  

People ascending into darkness.

Director: Standish Lawder | Stars: Louise P. Adams, Jack Alpern, Prescott Anderson, Daniel Babbage

Votes: 384

73. Nieuwe gronden (1933)

36 min | Documentary, Short

7.2
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

The film is a documentary portraying a struggle as man tries to subdue nature. To prevent flooding and for purposes of land reclamation, the people of the Netherlands struggle and succeed ... See full summary »

Director: Joris Ivens | Star: Joris Ivens

Votes: 173

74. News from Home (1977)

85 min | Documentary

7.5
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

Chantal Akerman, the Belgian filmmaker, lives in New York. Filmed images of the City are accompanied by the texts of Chantal Akerman's loving but manipulative mother back home in Brussels. ... See full summary »

Director: Chantal Akerman | Star: Chantal Akerman

Votes: 834

75. North Sea (1938)

Approved | 24 min | Drama, Documentary, Short

6.1
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.1/10 X  

A dramatic reconstruction of the fishing trawler 'John Gillman' in trouble in a storm.

Director: Harry Watt | Star: Bill Blewitt

Votes: 98

76. Night and Fog (1956)

Not Rated | 32 min | Documentary, Short, History

8.6
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.6/10 X  

The history of Nazi Germany's death camps of the Final Solution and the hellish world of dehumanization and death contained inside.

Director: Alain Resnais | Stars: Michel Bouquet, Reinhard Heydrich, Heinrich Himmler, Adolf Hitler

Votes: 14,229

77. Not a Love Story: A Film About Pornography (1981)

69 min | Documentary

5.6
Rate this
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.6/10 X  

Documentary about the pornography industry and the apparent violent anti-woman slant much of it takes.

Director: Bonnie Sherr Klein | Stars: Linda Lee Tracey, Bonnie Sherr Klein, Suze Randall, Kate Millett

Votes: 216

78. La guerre d'un seul homme (1982)

105 min | Documentary, History

8.0
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  

Add a Plot

Director: Edgardo Cozarinsky | Star: Niels Arestrup

Votes: 62

79. Paris Is Burning (1990)

R | 71 min | Documentary

8.1
Rate this
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  

A chronicle of New York's drag scene in the 1980s, focusing on balls, voguing and the ambitions and dreams of those who gave the era its warmth and vitality.

Director: Jennie Livingston | Stars: Brooke Xtravaganza, André Christian, Dorian Corey, Paris Duprée

Votes: 6,225 | Gross: $3.78M

80. People on Sunday (1930)

Not Rated | 73 min | Comedy, Drama, Romance

7.5
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

Edwin, a taxi driver, lives with Annie, a neurasthenic model. They plan to spend Sunday at the Nikolassee beach with Wolfgang, an officer, gentleman, antiquarian, gigolo, at the moment a ... See full summary »

Directors: Robert Siodmak, Edgar G. Ulmer, Rochus Gliese, Curt Siodmak, Fred Zinnemann | Stars: Erwin Splettstößer, Brigitte Borchert, Wolfgang von Waltershausen, Christl Ehlers

Votes: 2,138

81. The Plow That Broke the Plains (1936)

Unrated | 25 min | Documentary, Short, Drama

6.3
Rate this
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.3/10 X  

This documentary is about what happened to the Great Plains of the United States when a combination of farming practices and environmental factors led to the Dust Bowl of the 1930s.

Director: Pare Lorentz | Stars: Thomas Chalmers, Bam White

Votes: 536

82. Portrait of Jason (1967)

Not Rated | 105 min | Documentary, Biography

7.3
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  
87 Metascore

The highlights of a 12-hour interview with Aaron Payne, alias Jason Holliday, a former houseboy, would-be cabaret performer, and self-proclaimed hustler who, while drinking and smoking ... See full summary »

Director: Shirley Clarke | Stars: Jason Holliday, Shirley Clarke, Carl Lee

Votes: 595

83. Primary (1960)

Not Rated | 60 min | Documentary

7.2
Rate this
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

Cinéma vérité feature that follows presidential hopefuls John F. Kennedy and Hubert H. Humphrey during the 1960 Wisconsin primary.

Director: Robert Drew | Stars: Robert Drew, Hubert H. Humphrey, Muriel Buck Humphrey, Joseph Julian

Votes: 826

84. Primate (1974)

105 min | Documentary

7.6
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

This film casts a forensic observational eye over researchers working with primates. After a time watching it is possible to wonder which ones of these two sets of primates is the more strange.

Director: Frederick Wiseman

Votes: 136

85. Les raquetteurs (1958)

15 min | Short, Documentary

7.0
Rate this
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

Footage of a snowshoe festival in Sherbrooke, Quebec. Depictions of culture in the early years including snowshoe races, and musical attractions.

Directors: Michel Brault, Gilles Groulx

Votes: 296

86. Roger & Me (1989)

R | 91 min | Documentary

7.5
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  
70 Metascore

Director Michael Moore pursues GM CEO Roger B. Smith to confront him about the harm he did to Flint, Michigan with his massive downsizing.

Director: Michael Moore | Stars: Michael Moore, Roger B. Smith, Rhonda Britton, Fred Ross

Votes: 23,909 | Gross: $6.71M

87. Salesman (1969)

G | 85 min | Documentary, Drama

7.9
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  

Four relentless door-to-door salesmen deal with constant rejection, homesickness and inevitable burnout as they go across the country selling very expensive bibles to low-income Catholic families.

Directors: Albert Maysles, David Maysles, Charlotte Zwerin | Stars: Paul Brennan, Charles McDevitt, James Baker, Raymond Martos

Votes: 3,834

88. Le sang des bêtes (1949)

22 min | Documentary, Short, Horror

7.9
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  

An early example of ultra-realism, this movie contrasts the quiet, bucolic life in the outskirts of Paris with the harsh, gory conditions inside the nearby slaughterhouses. Describes the ... See full summary »

Director: Georges Franju | Stars: Georges Hubert, Nicole Ladmiral, Alfred Macquart, Maurice Griselle

Votes: 1,833

89. Sans Soleil (1983)

Not Rated | 100 min | Documentary, Drama

8.1
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  

A woman narrates the contemplative writings of a seasoned world traveler, focusing on contemporary Japan.

Director: Chris Marker | Stars: Florence Delay, Arielle Dombasle, Riyoko Ikeda, Charlotte Kerr

Votes: 7,584 | Gross: $0.03M

90. 79 primaveras (1969)

25 min | Short, Documentary

6.8
Rate this
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

An agit-prop documentary marking the death of Vietnamese nationalist leader Ho Chí Minh, using found footage to link his work to worldwide political movements including the Cuban revolution and resistance within the USA to the Vietnam war.

Director: Santiago Álvarez

Votes: 345

91. Shipyard (1935)

24 min | Documentary, Short

6.3
Rate this
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.3/10 X  

The building and launch of an ocean liner.

Director: Paul Rotha

Votes: 55

92. Shoah (1985)

Not Rated | 566 min | Documentary, History, War

8.4
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.4/10 X  
99 Metascore

Claude Lanzmann's epic documentary recounts the story of the Holocaust through interviews with witnesses - perpetrators as well as survivors.

Director: Claude Lanzmann | Stars: Simon Srebnik, Michael Podchlebnik, Motke Zaïdl, Hanna Zaïdl

Votes: 6,472 | Gross: $0.02M

93. El sol del membrillo (1992)

133 min | Documentary, Biography, Drama

7.9
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  
82 Metascore

The artist, Antonio Lopez, tries to paint the quince tree he planted some time back in his garden. Throughout his life, he has worked on the same theme many times, almost as if it were a ... See full summary »

Director: Víctor Erice | Stars: Antonio López, María Moreno, Enrique Gran, María López

Votes: 1,350

94. The Spanish Earth (1937)

Unrated | 52 min | Documentary, War

6.7
Rate this
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

A documentary showing the struggle of the Spanish Republican government against a rebellion by ultra-right-wing forces led by Gen. Francisco Franco and backed by Nazi Germany and Fascist Italy.

Director: Joris Ivens | Stars: Manuel Azaña, José Díaz, Dolores Ibárruri, Enrique Lister

Votes: 557

95. Surname Viet Given Name Nam (1989)

108 min | Documentary, History, Romance

6.4
Rate this
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  

Add a Plot

Director: T. Minh-ha Trinh

Votes: 111

96. Gadajace glowy (1980)

16 min | Documentary, Short

8.1
Rate this
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  

People of different age, profession and social status answer two simple questions: who they are and what they want from life.

Director: Krzysztof Kieslowski

Votes: 1,822

97. The Thin Blue Line (1988)

Not Rated | 101 min | Documentary, Crime, Drama

8.1
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  
79 Metascore

A film that successfully argued that a man was wrongly convicted for murder by a corrupt justice system in Dallas County, Texas.

Director: Errol Morris | Stars: Randall Adams, David Harris, Gus Rose, Jackie Johnson

Votes: 17,912 | Gross: $1.21M

98. This Is Spinal Tap (1984)

R | 82 min | Comedy, Music

8.0
Rate this
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/11 X  
85 Metascore

Spinal Tap, one of England's loudest bands, is chronicled by film director Marty DiBergi on what proves to be a fateful tour.

Director: Rob Reiner | Stars: Rob Reiner, Michael McKean, Christopher Guest, Kimberly Stringer

Votes: 113,049 | Gross: $0.19M

99. Time Indefinite (1993)

Not Rated | 114 min | Biography

7.6
Rate this
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

Forty year old documentary filmmaker Ross McElwee has a penchant for filming everything around him. Following the announcement of his impending marriage to his film-making partner Marilyn ... See full summary »

Director: Ross McElwee | Stars: Steve Ascher, Michael Blumenthal, Robert Gardner, Dee Dee Geraty

Votes: 300

100. Titicut Follies (1967)

Unrated | 84 min | Documentary

7.9
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  

Documentary filmmaker Frederick Wiseman takes us inside the Massachusetts Correctional Institution Bridgewater where people stay trapped in their madness.

Director: Frederick Wiseman

Votes: 3,169