Documentaries I Need to See

1906-1999.

60 Minutes and over.

6.9 and Below IMDB - Don't watch
7.0 - 7.4 IMBD Rating - Watch if 4 star rating on Allmovie
7.5 and Above IMDB Rating - Definitely watch
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1.
A Brief History of Time (1991 Documentary)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  
A film about the life and work of the cosmologist, Stephen Hawking, who despite his near total paralysis, is one of the great minds of all time. (80 mins.)
Director: Errol Morris
 
2.
Dont Look Back (1967 Documentary)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.0/10 X  
Documentary covering Bob Dylan's 1965 tour of England, which includes appearances by Joan Baez and Donovan. (96 mins.)
Director: D.A. Pennebaker
 
3.
American Movie (1999 Documentary)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  
Documentary about an aspiring filmmaker's attempts to finance his dream project by finally completing the low-budget horror film he abandoned years before. (107 mins.)
Director: Chris Smith
 
4.
Primary (1960 Documentary)
    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. (60 mins.)
Director: Robert Drew
 
5.
Far from Vietnam (1967 Documentary)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  
In seven different segments, Godard, Klein, Lelouch, Marker, Resnais and Varda show their sympathy and... (115 mins.)
 
6.
The Interrupters (2011 Documentary)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  
A year in the life of a city grappling with urban violence. (125 mins.)
Director: Steve James
 
7.
Titicut Follies (1967 Documentary)
    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. (84 mins.)
 
8.
Back to Normandy (2007 Documentary)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  
A filmmaker returns to Normandy thirty years after a working on a movie based on a local homicide and tries to find the actors who worked on the project. (113 mins.)
 
9.
Paradise Lost: The Child Murders at Robin Hood Hills (1996 Documentary)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.3/10 X  
A horrific triple child murder leads to an indictment and trial of three nonconformist boys based on questionable evidence. (150 mins.)
 
10.
High School (1969 Documentary)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  
Documentary filmmaker Frederick Wiseman takes us inside Northeast High School as a fly on the wall to observe the teachers and how they interact with the students. (75 mins.)
 
11.
Berlin: Symphony of a Great City (1927 Documentary)
    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. (65 mins.)
 
12.
It's All True (1993 Documentary)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  
A documentary about Orson Welles's unfinished three-part film about South America. (87 mins.)
 
13.
Sherman's March (1985 Documentary)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  
Ross McElwee sets out to make a documentary about the lingering effects of General Sherman's march of... (157 mins.)
Director: Ross McElwee
 
14.
Stop Making Sense (1984 Documentary)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.5/10 X  
An innovative concert movie for the rock group The Talking Heads. (88 mins.)
Director: Jonathan Demme
 
15.
The Celluloid Closet (1995 Documentary)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  
A documentary surveying the various Hollywood screen depictions of homosexuals and the attitudes behind them throughout the history of North American film. (102 mins.)
 
16.
Buena Vista Social Club (1999 Documentary)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  
Aging Cuban musicians whose talents had been virtually forgotten following Castro's takeover of Cuba, are brought out of retirement by Ry Cooder, who travelled to Havana in order to bring the musicians together, resulting in triumphant performances of extraordinary music, and resurrecting the musicians' careers. (105 mins.)
Director: Wim Wenders
 
17.
Woodstock (1970 Documentary)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  
The film chronicle of the legendary 1969 music festival. (184 mins.)
 
18.
Hands on a Hard Body: The Documentary (1997 Documentary)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  
Twenty-four contestants compete in an endurance/sleep deprivation contest in order to win a brand new Nissan Hardbody truck... (98 mins.)
Director: S.R. Bindler
 
19.
Hearts and Minds (1974 Documentary)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.3/10 X  
An examination of the conflicting attitudes of the opponents of the Vietnam War. (112 mins.)
Director: Peter Davis
 
20.
Hospital (1970 Documentary)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.0/10 X  
Daily activities of the Metropolitan Hospital in New York City, with emphasis on the emergency ward and outpatient clinics... (84 mins.)
 
21.
Juvenile Court (1973 Documentary)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.4/10 X  
An unobtrusive and naturalistic examination of the goings-on of a children's court, Memphis Juvenile Court 616. (144 mins.)
 
22.
Dream of Light (1992 Documentary)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  
The artist, Antonio Lopez, tries to paint the quince tree he planted some time back in his garden. Throughout his life... (133 mins.)
Director: Victor Erice
 
23.
The War Room (1993 Documentary)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  
A documentary of the Bill Clinton 1992 presidential campaign and the organization who ran it. (96 mins.)
 
24.
Harlan County U.S.A. (1976 Documentary)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.3/10 X  
A filmed account of a bitterly violent miner strike. (103 mins.)
Director: Barbara Kopple
 
25.
The Emperor's Naked Army Marches On (1987 Documentary)
    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. (122 mins.)
Director: Kazuo Hara
 
26.
Louie Bluie (1985 Documentary)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  
About the obscure country-blues musician and idiosyncratic visual artist Howard "Louie Bluie" Armstrong, member of the last known black string band in America. (75 mins.)
Director: Terry Zwigoff
 
27.
Hôtel Terminus (1988 Documentary)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  
A documentary about Klaus Barbie, the Gestapo chief of Lyon, and his life after the war. (267 mins.)
Director: Marcel Ophüls
 
28.
Manufacturing Consent: Noam Chomsky and the Media (1992 Documentary)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 X  
A film about the noted American linguist/political dissident and his warning about corporate media's role in modern propaganda. (167 mins.)
 
29.
Lightning Over Water (1980 Documentary)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  
Director Nicholas Ray is eager to complete a final film before his imminent death from cancer. Wim Wenders... (91 mins.)
 
30.
Paris Is Burning (1990 Documentary)
    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. (71 mins.)
 
31.
The Beatles: The First U.S. Visit (1991 Documentary)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 X  
Maysles brothers documentary covering the first arrival of "Beatlemania" in the U.S., as well at the band's historical appearances on "The Ed Sullivan Show." (83 mins.)
 
32.
The Atomic Cafe (1982 Documentary)
    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. (86 mins.)
 
33.
Burden of Dreams (1982 Documentary)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.0/10 X  
A documentary on the chaotic production of Werner Herzog's epic Fitzcarraldo, showing how the film... (95 mins.)
Director: Les Blank
 
34.
Brother's Keeper (1992 Documentary)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  
This documentary by Joe Berlinger and Bruce Sinofsky details the murder trial of Delbert Ward. Delbert's... (104 mins.)
 
35.
The Sorrow and the Pity (1969 Documentary)
    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... (251 mins.)
Director: Marcel Ophüls
 
36.
A Face of War (1968 Documentary)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.9/10 X  
Most powerful Vietnam war doco not available except on Facebook page (72 mins.)
Director: Eugene S. Jones
 
37.
The Killing of America (1981 Documentary)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  
A documentary of the decline of America. It features a lot a great footage (most exclusive to this film) from race riots to serial killers and much-much more. (90 mins.)
Director: Sheldon Renan
 
38.
Hello Cinema (1995 Documentary)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  
Makhmalbaf puts an advertisement in the papers calling for an open casting for his next movie. However when hundreds of people show up... (75 mins.)
 
39.
Loss Is to Be Expected (1992 Documentary)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  
Looks at two communities on either side of the Czech - Austrian border. There's an elderly man in Austria looking for a new wife, and he meets a lone single woman on the Czech side of the border. (118 mins.)
Director: Ulrich Seidl
 
40.
The Hour of the Furnaces (1968 Documentary)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  
Divided into three segments, namely 1 Neocolonialism, 2 Act for liberation, 3 Violence and liberation... (260 mins.)
 
41.
Streetwise (1984 Documentary)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.3/10 X  
Gritty documentary looks at the life and lives of teenagers living on the streets of Seattle. (91 mins.)
Director: Martin Bell
 
42.
Night and Fog (1956 Documentary)
    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. (32 mins.)
Director: Alain Resnais
 
43.
Le sang des bêtes (1949 Documentary)
    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... (22 mins.)
Director: Georges Franju
 
44.
The Battle of Chile: Part I (1975 Documentary)
    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. (97 mins.)
 
45.
Lessons of Darkness (1992 Documentary)
    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. (54 mins.)
Director: Werner Herzog
 
46.
Le joli mai (1963 Documentary)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  
Chris Marker and Pierre Lhomme's LE JOLI MAI (The Lovely Month of May) is a portrait of Paris and Parisians... (165 mins.)
 
47.
China: Beyond the Clouds (1994 Documentary)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.9/10 X  
(240 mins.)
Director: Phil Agland
Stars: Lisa Lu
 
48.
If God Is Willing and da Creek Don't Rise (2010 Mini-Series)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  
In 2006, director Spike Lee created an astonishing record of the cataclysmic effects of Hurricane Katrina...
 
49.
Eat the Document (1972 Documentary)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  
Bob Dylan and The Hawks (aka The Band) on their infamous 1966 "Judas" tour of the UK. (54 mins.)
Director: Bob Dylan
 
50.
Beautiful People (1974 Documentary)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.3/10 X  
Hilarious documentary on the wildlife of the Namib Desert. (92 mins.)
Director: Jamie Uys
 
51.
Anne Frank Remembered (1995 Documentary)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  
Using previously unreleased archival material in addition to contemporary interviews, this academy award-winning... (122 mins.)
Director: Jon Blair
 
52.
Winter Soldier (1972 Documentary)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 X  
For three days in 1971, former US soldiers who were in Vietnam testify in Detroit about their war experiences... (96 mins.)
 
53.
Nobody's Business (1996 Documentary)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 X  
A portrait of the director's father, searching for the extraordinary in the subject's seemingly normal existence. (60 mins.)
Director: Alan Berliner
 
54.
For All Mankind (1989 Documentary)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 X  
This movie documents the Apollo missions perhaps the most definitively of any movie under two hours... (80 mins.)
Director: Al Reinert
 
55.
The Last Bolshevik (1993 Documentary)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  
This documentary tells the story of film director Aleksandr Medvedkin, throughout his life a sincere believer in communism... (120 mins.)
Director: Chris Marker
 
56.
David Frost Interviews Richard Nixon (1977 Documentary)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  
Originally broadcast in May of 1977, this series of interviews between Sir David Frost and U.S. President Richard Nixon... (85 mins.)
Director: Jørn Winther
 
57.
Silverlake Life: The View from Here (1993 Documentary)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  
A documentary about two gay men as they live through their last months of life with AIDS. (99 mins.)
 
58.
Little Dieter Needs to Fly (1997 Documentary)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  
German-American Dieter Dengler discusses his service as an American naval pilot in the Vietnam War. Dengler also revisits the sites of his capture and eventual escape from the hands of the Vietcong, recreating many events for the camera. (80 mins.)
Director: Werner Herzog
 
59.
Waco: The Rules of Engagement (1997 Documentary)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.0/10 X  
This controversial documentary about the stand-off between an unorthodox Christian group - the Branch Davidians... (136 mins.)
Director: William Gazecki
 
60.
Chronos (1985 Documentary)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  
Carefully picked scenes of nature and civilization are viewed at high speed using time-lapse cinematography in an effort to demonstrate the history of various regions. (43 mins.)
Director: Ron Fricke
 
61.
Visions of Light (1992 Documentary)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  
Cameramen and women discuss the craft and art of cinematography and of the "DP" (the director of photography)... (92 mins.)
 
62.
4 Little Girls (1997 Documentary)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  
A documentary of the notorious racial terrorist bombing of an African American church during the Civil Rights Movement. (102 mins.)
Director: Spike Lee
 
63.
Le mystère Picasso (1956 Documentary)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  
A filmed record of Pablo Picasso painting numerous canvases for the camera, allowing us to see his creative process at work. (78 mins.)
 
64.
One Day in September (1999 Documentary)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  
The Palestinian terrorist group Black September holds Israeli athletes hostage at the 1972 Summer Olympic Games in Munich. (94 mins.)
Director: Kevin Macdonald
 
65.
Best Boy (1979 Documentary)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.0/10 X  
In this documentary, the director follows the day-to-day activities of his retarded, middle-aged cousin Philly, over a three-year period. (111 mins.)
Director: Ira Wohl
 
66.
Dear America: Letters Home from Vietnam (1987 Documentary)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  
A documentary featuring letters written by U.S. soldiers, sailors, airmen, and Marines during the Viet Nam War to their families and friends back home... (84 mins.)
Director: Bill Couturie
 
67.
Microcosmos (1996 Documentary)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  
A documentary on insect life in meadows and ponds. (80 mins.)
 
68.
My Best Fiend (1999 Documentary)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  
In the 1950s, an adolescent Werner Herzog was transfixed by a film performance of the young Klaus Kinski... (95 mins.)
Director: Werner Herzog
 
69.
Jimi Hendrix (1973 Documentary)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  
This documentary was made three years after Jimi Hendrix's untimely death. At the time it was an example of how a visual biography should be done... (98 mins.)
Director: Joe Boyd, John Head
 
70.
Olympia Part Two: Festival of Beauty (1938 Documentary)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  
The document of the 1936 Olympics at Berlin, orchestrated as Nazi propaganda. (96 mins.)
 
71.
Tokyo Olympiad (1965 Documentary)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.0/10 X  
Ichikawa's cameras follow the 1964 Summer Olympics from opening to closing ceremonies. Sometimes he focuses on spectators... (170 mins.)
Director: Kon Ichikawa
 
72.
Land of Silence and Darkness (1971 Documentary)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.0/10 X  
Through examining Fini Straubinger, an old woman who has been deaf and blind since adolescence, and her work on behalf of other deaf and blind people... (85 mins.)
Director: Werner Herzog
 
73.
Olympia Part One: Festival of the Nations (1938 Documentary)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.0/10 X  
The document of the 1936 Olympics at Berlin. (121 mins.)
 
74.
The Wonderful, Horrible Life of Leni Riefenstahl (1993 Documentary)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.0/10 X  
A documentary about the life and work of Leni Riefenstahl, a German film director most notorious for making the most effective propaganda films for the Nazis. (180 mins.)
Director: Ray Müller
 
75.
The Decline of Western Civilization (1981 Documentary)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  
The Los Angeles punk music scene circa 1980 is the focus of this film. With Alice Bag Band, Black Flag... (100 mins.)
 
76.
Häxan (1922 Documentary)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  
Fictionalized documentary showing the evolution of witchcraft, from its pagan roots to its confusion with hysteria in modern Europe. (91 mins.)
 
77.
In the Year of the Pig (1968 Documentary)
    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... (103 mins.)
 
78.
Sick: The Life & Death of Bob Flanagan, Supermasochist (1997 Documentary)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  
Documentary about writer and performance artist Bob Flanagan who died at 43 of cystic fibrosis. His... (90 mins.)
Director: Kirby Dick
 
79.
Man of Aran (1934 Documentary)
    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. (76 mins.)
 
80.
Mr. Death: The Rise and Fall of Fred A. Leuchter, Jr. (1999 Documentary)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  
A cinematic portrait of the life and career of the infamous American execution device designer and holocaust denier. (91 mins.)
Director: Errol Morris
 
81.
American Masters (1985 TV Series)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  
Ric Burns unearths rarely seen footage and offers keen observations on the life and artistic influence of Andy Warhol. (90 mins.)
 
82.
Going Clear: Scientology & the Prison of Belief (2015 Documentary)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  
A film that claims to be a look at the inner-workings of the Church of Scientology. (119 mins.)
Director: Alex Gibney
 
83.
Cobain: Montage of Heck (2015 Documentary)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  
An authorized documentary on the late musician Kurt Cobain, from his early days in Aberdeen, Washington to his success and downfall with the grunge band Nirvana. (145 mins.)
Director: Brett Morgen