7.8/10
7,349
31 user 42 critic

Nanook of the North (1922)

Not Rated | | Documentary | 11 June 1922 (USA)
In this silent predecessor to the modern documentary, film-maker Robert J. Flaherty spends one year following the lives of Nanook and his family, Inuit living in the Arctic Circle.

Director:

Reviews

Watch Now

From $2.99 on Amazon Video

1 win. See more awards »
Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Documentary
    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
Stars: Mikhail Kaufman
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.

Director: Robert J. Flaherty
Stars: Colman 'Tiger' King, Maggie Dirrane, Michael Dirrane
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

One of the first feminist movies, The Smiling Madame Beudet is the story of an intelligent woman trapped in a loveless marriage. Her husband is used to playing a stupid practical joke in ... See full summary »

Director: Germaine Dulac
Stars: Germaine Dermoz, Alexandre Arquillière, Jean d'Yd
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

A frail waif, abused by her brutal boxer father in London's seedy Limehouse District, is befriended by a sensitive Chinese immigrant with tragic consequences.

Director: D.W. Griffith
Stars: Lillian Gish, Richard Barthelmess, Donald Crisp
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  

An aging doorman, after being fired from his prestigious job at a luxurious Hotel is forced to face the scorn of his friends, neighbours and society.

Director: F.W. Murnau
Stars: Emil Jannings, Maly Delschaft, Max Hiller
Drama | History
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  

Two orphaned sisters are caught up in the turmoil of the French Revolution, encountering misery and love along the way.

Director: D.W. Griffith
Stars: Lillian Gish, Dorothy Gish, Joseph Schildkraut
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

The idyllic life of a young Cajun boy and his pet raccoon is disrupted when the tranquility of the bayou is broken by an oil well drilling near his home.

Director: Robert J. Flaherty
Stars: Joseph Boudreaux, Lionel Le Blanc, E. Bienvenu
Crime | Mystery | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  

Arch-criminal Dr. Mabuse sets out to make a fortune and run Berlin. Detective Wenk sets out to stop him.

Director: Fritz Lang
Stars: Rudolf Klein-Rogge, Aud Egede-Nissen, Gertrude Welcker
Drama | History
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  

The story of a poor young woman, separated by prejudice from her husband and baby, is interwoven with tales of intolerance from throughout history.

Director: D.W. Griffith
Stars: Lillian Gish, Douglas Fairbanks, Spottiswoode Aitken
Foolish Wives (1922)
Drama | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

A con artist masquerades a Russian nobility and attempts to seduce the wife of an American diplomat.

Director: Erich von Stroheim
Stars: Rudolph Christians, Miss DuPont, Maude George
Drama | Fantasy | Horror
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  

It's New Year's Eve. Three drunkards evoke a legend. The legend tells that the last person to die in a year, if he is a great sinner, will have to drive during the whole year the Phantom ... See full summary »

Director: Victor Sjöström
Stars: Victor Sjöström, Hilda Borgström, Tore Svennberg
Documentary | Fantasy | Horror
    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.

Director: Benjamin Christensen
Stars: Benjamin Christensen, Elisabeth Christensen, Maren Pedersen
Edit

Cast

Complete credited cast:
Allakariallak ...
Nanook (as Nanook)
Nyla ...
Herself - Nanook's Wife - the Smiling One
Allee ...
Himself - Nanook's Son
Cunayou ...
Herself - Nanook's Wife
Allegoo ...
Himself - Nanook's Son
Camock ...
Himself - Nanook's Cat
Edit

Storyline

Documents one year in the life of Nanook, an Eskimo (Inuit), and his family. Describes the trading, hunting, fishing and migrations of a group barely touched by industrial technology. Nanook of the North was widely shown and praised as the first full-length, anthropological documentary in cinematographic history. Written by <xaviermartin@hotmail.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

winter | inuit | canada | arctic | walrus | See All (21) »

Taglines:

The truest and most human story of the Great White Snows. See more »

Genres:

Documentary

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
Edit

Details

Country:

|

Release Date:

11 June 1922 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Nanuk der Eskimo  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Box Office

Budget:

$53,000 (estimated)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (TCM print)

Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See  »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

Included among the "1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die", edited by Steven Schneider. See more »

Connections

Referenced in The Incredible Hulk: Man to Man, Beast to Beast (1996) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

 
"Typifying the melancholy spirit of the North"
15 September 2010 | by (Ontario, Canada) – See all my reviews

Affectionately remembered as "the first real documentary" since the work of the Lumière brothers as well as arguably the first feature length film, Robert Flaherty's Nanook of the North marks a remarkable fusion of intrepid anthropological chronicling of a way of life unknown to the general public at the time of its release, yet tweaked with shrewd cinematic manipulation. Whittling countless hours of footage into a compact 80 minutes, Flaherty cobbles together his footage (both real and staged) into a loose narrative following the hardships and rewarding moments of Inuit life, as focalized through chosen protagonist 'Nanook'. Flaherty's unobtrusive style is so engrossing and convincing that it is easy to overlook the recognition that real life would hardly 'flow' in such a conveniently paced Hollywood style narrative, thus educating mass audiences on unfamiliar material in a more familiar, palatable fashion.

What is surprising is, rather than depicting Nanook and his family as savages in a spirit more keeping with his time, Flaherty goes to great pains to stress the gentleness, resourcefulness and humour of the Inuit. Introducing Nanook and his family through heroic close-ups of them beaming at the camera, Flaherty instantly commands the support and sympathies of the audience, further garnering it through subjecting them to the series of perilous natural challenges undergone regularly by Nanook and his family. Through crafty yet subtle editing, Flaherty turns potentially dreary footage into exhilarating and captivating, with particular standouts being Nanook, talked up as a singular hero, undergoing devastatingly cinematic walrus and seal hunts and the horrifyingly beautiful spectacle of ferocious winds ravaging plains of snow at dusk in an exquisite, lingering long shot, still gripping even more than eighty years after the fact. Equally, Flaherty draws particular focus on the moments of levity crystallizing across the film, his cameras drinking up Nanook's children sliding down icy hills on their bellies, a husky puppy being hidden in a parka to keep it warm and even enjoying a surrogate domestic scene while keeping warm inside an igloo.

While such conventions may be increasingly commonplace in the field of contemporary documentaries and news, when even the most allegedly 'objective' footage can be assumed to have a thesis, in 1922, forging a film with humour, excitement, beauty and seeping sorrow out of an anthropological study was a work of largely unprecedented genius. Nanook of the North still brims with an unmistakable earnest energy to this day, and, unbound authenticity aside, the craftsmanship and tender affections of Flaherty's work (even ending the film in Inuit, "Tia Mak", in lieu of "The End") still cementing it as a foundational classic of the silent era.

-9/10


4 of 4 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
Documentary or Fiction bornil
Where I can find version with original soundtrack? Od1n
Reaction at time of release xMrs_Hoppusx
Discuss Nanook of the North (1922) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page