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  
Cinema verite feature that follows presidential hopefuls John F. Kennedy and Hubert 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 7.5/10 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 6.5/10 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 8.4/10 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 (1968 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 7.1/10 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 7.8/10 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 8.4/10 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 8.5/10 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 8.1/10 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... (104 mins.)
 
35.
The Sorrow and the Pity (1969 Documentary)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.4/10 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.
Salaam 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  
(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... (20 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 8.2/10 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 9.0/10 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...