Film Documentaries to Watch

by shawnevans666 | created - 07 Jun 2013 | updated - 7 months ago | Public
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1. Chaplinesque, My Life and Hard Times (1972)

56 min | Documentary

The biography of silent film legend Charlie Chaplin is brought to the screen with the narration of fellow silent star, Gloria Swanson.

Director: Harry Hurwitz | Stars: Charles Chaplin, Gloria Swanson

Votes: 16

2. The Gentleman Tramp (1976)

G | 78 min | Documentary, Biography

A film about the life and work of the master comedy filmmaker, Charles Chaplin.

Director: Richard Patterson | Stars: Charles Chaplin, Jack Lemmon, Walter Matthau, Laurence Olivier

Votes: 117

4. This Is Cinerama (1952)

G | 115 min | Documentary

A standard screen B&W prologue during which Lowell Thomas shows how, from the dawn of history, mankind has attempted to create the illusion of depth & movement by artistic, mechanical and ... See full summary »

Directors: Merian C. Cooper, Gunther von Fritsch, Ernest B. Schoedsack, Michael Todd Jr. | Stars: Lowell Thomas, Kathy Darlyn, Toni Valk

Votes: 398 | Gross: $41.60M

5. The Making of 'Star Wars' (1977 TV Movie)

Unrated | 50 min | Documentary

C-3PO and R2-D2 explore the creation of the film that made them famous.

Director: Robert Guenette | Stars: William Conrad, Anthony Daniels, George Lucas, Mark Hamill

Votes: 549

6. Billy Baxter Presents Diary of the Cannes Film Festival with Rex Reed (1980 TV Movie)

52 min | Documentary

An eye-opening documentary that reveals the behind-the-scenes partying and plotting at one of the most memorable festivals in Cannes' storied history.

Director: Iain Johnstone | Stars: Anouk Aimée, Samuel Z. Arkoff, Lucie Arnaz, Bruce Beresford

Votes: 12

7. From 'Star Wars' to 'Jedi': The Making of a Saga (1983 TV Movie)

Unrated | 65 min | Documentary

Ever wonder how they ever made Star Wars, Empire Strikes Back, and Return of the Jedi? Well this documentary explains it all as we're taken on a behind-the-scenes tour of the making of the ... See full summary »

Stars: Mark Hamill, George Lucas, Anthony Daniels, Harrison Ford

Votes: 557

8. Unknown Chaplin (1983– )

156 min | Documentary, Comedy

Using in part rare out-take footage, the film-making methods and techniques of Charles Chaplin are explored.

Stars: James Mason, Hans-Joachim Kulenkampff, Virginia Cherrill, Jackie Coogan

Votes: 478

9. Tokyo-Ga (1985)

92 min | Documentary

Moved by the work of director Yasujirô Ozu, Wim Wenders travels to Japan in search of the Tokyo seen in Ozu's films.

Director: Wim Wenders | Stars: Chishû Ryû, Werner Herzog, Yûharu Atsuta, Chris Marker

Votes: 2,178

10. Location Africa (1987 TV Movie)

45 min | Documentary

This film essay by Steff Gruber is a report on the exceedingly difficult work of making Werner Herzog's film COBRA VERDE in Ghana. The very personal film however is more than just a blow by... See full summary »

Director: Steff Gruber | Stars: Werner Herzog, Klaus Kinski, Steff Gruber, Peter Berling

Votes: 63

11. Histoire(s) du cinéma (1989–1999)
Episode: Toutes les histoires (1989)

51 min | Documentary

An 8-part documentary chronically the history of cinema: "All the Histories", "A Single History", "Only Cinema", "Deadly "Beauty", "The Coin of the Absolute", "A New Wave", "The Control of the Universe", and "The Signs Among Us".

Director: Jean-Luc Godard

Votes: 888

12. The Incredibly Strange Film Show (1988–1989)

45 min | Documentary

This show is a series of documentaries focusing on the world of psychotronic movies. Episodes focus on the lives of such diverse filmakers as Hershell Gordon Lewis, Saim Raimi, Doris ... See full summary »

Stars: Jonathan Ross, David F. Friedman, Johnny Legend, Ric Meyers

Votes: 123

13. Histoire(s) du cinéma (1989–1999)
Episode: Une histoire seule (1989)

42 min | Documentary

An 8-part documentary chronically the history of cinema: "All the Histories", "A Single History", "Only Cinema", "Deadly "Beauty", "The Coin of the Absolute", "A New Wave", "The Control of the Universe", and "The Signs Among Us".

Director: Jean-Luc Godard

Votes: 704

15. Visions of Light (1992)

92 min | Documentary, History

Cameramen and women discuss the craft and art of cinematography and of the "DP" (the director of photography), illustrating their points with clips from 100 films, from Birth of a Nation to... See full summary »

Directors: Arnold Glassman, Todd McCarthy, Stuart Samuels | Stars: Conrad L. Hall, John Bailey, Vilmos Zsigmond, Charles Lang

Votes: 2,888 | Gross: $0.80M

16. It's All True (1993)

G | 87 min | Documentary

A documentary about Orson Welles's unfinished three-part film about South America.

Directors: Bill Krohn, Myron Meisel, Orson Welles, Richard Wilson, Norman Foster | Stars: Manuel 'Jacare' Olimpio Meira, Jeronimo André De Souza, Raimundo 'Tata' Correia Lima, Manuel 'Preto' Pereira da Silva

Votes: 680

17. Warren Oates: Across the Border (1993)

54 min | Documentary

A retrospective of the work of the late actor Warren Oates, with clips from his films and interviews with cast and crew members who worked with him.

Director: Tom Thurman | Stars: Ned Beatty, Robert Culp, Becky Fonda, Peter Fonda

Votes: 80

18. Totally Bill Hicks (1994 Video)

Not Rated | 116 min | Documentary, Comedy

A celebration of the comedy of Bill Hicks. The film is structured around the different strains of comedy in the Hicks stand-up, sampling the best of his confrontational performance. ... See full summary »

Director: Rupert Edwards | Stars: Bill Hicks, Richard Belzer, Eric Bogosian, Kevin Booth

Votes: 813

19. The Making of 'Jaws' (1995 Video)

125 min | Documentary

Excellent and very detailed documentary on the making of a classic. Filled with appealing trivia, exhaustive interviews with cast and crew members, and never before seen footage.

Director: Laurent Bouzereau | Stars: Steven Spielberg, Peter Benchley, David Brown, Richard D. Zanuck

Votes: 657

20. You Can't Do That! The Making of 'A Hard Day's Night' (1995 Video)

62 min | Documentary, Music

Thirty years after A Hard Day's Night, its producer, director, writer and others describe its making. United Artists Records came to Walter Shenson, asking him to produce a movie so UA ... See full summary »

Stars: Phil Collins, Micky Dolenz, Roger Ebert, Michael Friend

Votes: 135

21. Chaplin's Goliath (1996)

54 min | Documentary, Biography

A film about Eric Campbell, the tall Scottish actor who was most famous for playing the quintessential villain for Charles Chaplin's Tramp character.

Director: Kevin Macdonald | Stars: Bill Paterson, Brenda Bull, Peter Menzies, Jimmy Logan

Votes: 87

22. The Hamster Factor and Other Tales of Twelve Monkeys (1996 Video)

88 min | Documentary

A documentary following Terry Gilliam through the creation of "12 Monkeys" (1995)

Directors: Keith Fulton, Louis Pepe | Stars: Keith Fulton, Terry Gilliam, Charles Roven, Lloyd Phillips

Votes: 916

25. Eastwood on Eastwood (1997 TV Movie)

68 min | Documentary, Biography

Autobiography of Clint Eastwood up to his movie "Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil."

Director: Richard Schickel | Stars: John Cusack, Clint Eastwood

Votes: 224

26. Histoire(s) du cinéma (1989–1999)
Episode: Fatale beauté (1994)

28 min | Documentary

An 8-part documentary chronically the history of cinema: "All the Histories", "A Single History", "Only Cinema", "Deadly "Beauty", "The Coin of the Absolute", "A New Wave", "The Control of the Universe", and "The Signs Among Us".

Director: Jean-Luc Godard | Stars: Jean-Luc Godard, Sabine Azéma

Votes: 695

27. Histoire(s) du cinéma (1989–1999)
Episode: Seul le cinéma (1994)

26 min | Documentary

An 8-part documentary chronically the history of cinema: "All the Histories", "A Single History", "Only Cinema", "Deadly "Beauty", "The Coin of the Absolute", "A New Wave", "The Control of the Universe", and "The Signs Among Us".

Director: Jean-Luc Godard | Stars: Jean-Luc Godard, Serge Daney, Julie Delpy

Votes: 668

28. The Making of 'Psycho' (1997 Video)

94 min | Documentary

A retrospective on the entire movie, from start to finish. There are interviews with many of the principle cast and crew (including Janet Leigh and Joseph Stefano), who all talk openly and ... See full summary »

Director: Laurent Bouzereau | Stars: Alfred Hitchcock, Peggy Robertson, Clive Barker, Joseph Stefano

Votes: 348

29. Obsessed with Vertigo (1997 TV Short)

30 min | Documentary, Short

A documentary about the making and restoration of Alfred Hitchcock's masterpiece "Vertigo". Narrated by Roddy McDowall, with behind-the-scenes talk from Barbara Bel Geddes, Henry Bumstead, ... See full summary »

Director: Harrison Engle | Stars: Roddy McDowall, Robert A. Harris, James C. Katz, Martin Scorsese

Votes: 323

30. The Race to Save 100 Years (1997)

PG | 57 min | Documentary

As the documentary points out, 85 percent of all silent pictures are gone forever because of neglect, abuse, and improper storage of original prints. This film stresses the importance of ... See full summary »

Director: Scott Benson | Stars: Peter Brooks, Mary Lea Bandy, James H. Billington, Kevin Brownlow

Votes: 65

31. Chicago Filmmakers on the Chicago River (1998)

77 min | Documentary

"Chicago Filmmakers on the Chicago River" is an independent documentary film that reviews the careers of movie makers indigenous to Chicago. The filmmakers are interviewed aboard an amusing... See full summary »

Director: D.P. Carlson | Stars: Louis Antonelli, D.P. Carlson, Richard M. Daley, Andrew Davis

Votes: 31

32. Glorious Technicolor (1998 TV Movie)

60 min | Documentary, History

The history of color photography in motion pictures, in particular the Technicolor company's work.

Director: Peter Jones | Stars: Angela Lansbury, Esther Williams, Arlene Dahl, Evelyn Keyes

Votes: 204

33. Histoire(s) du cinéma (1989–1999)
Episode: Le contrôle de l'univers (1999)

27 min | Documentary

An 8-part documentary chronically the history of cinema: "All the Histories", "A Single History", "Only Cinema", "Deadly "Beauty", "The Coin of the Absolute", "A New Wave", "The Control of the Universe", and "The Signs Among Us".

Director: Jean-Luc Godard

Votes: 620

34. Histoire(s) du cinéma (1989–1999)
Episode: La monnaie de l'absolu (1999)

27 min | Documentary

An 8-part documentary chronically the history of cinema: "All the Histories", "A Single History", "Only Cinema", "Deadly "Beauty", "The Coin of the Absolute", "A New Wave", "The Control of the Universe", and "The Signs Among Us".

Director: Jean-Luc Godard | Stars: Alain Cuny, Juliette Binoche

Votes: 624

35. Histoire(s) du cinéma (1989–1999)
Episode: Les signes parmi nous (1999)

38 min | Documentary

An 8-part documentary chronically the history of cinema: "All the Histories", "A Single History", "Only Cinema", "Deadly "Beauty", "The Coin of the Absolute", "A New Wave", "The Control of the Universe", and "The Signs Among Us".

Director: Jean-Luc Godard

Votes: 607

36. Histoire(s) du cinéma (1989–1999)
Episode: Une vague nouvelle (1999)

27 min | Documentary

An 8-part documentary chronically the history of cinema: "All the Histories", "A Single History", "Only Cinema", "Deadly "Beauty", "The Coin of the Absolute", "A New Wave", "The Control of the Universe", and "The Signs Among Us".

Director: Jean-Luc Godard

Votes: 670

38. The Harryhausen Chronicles (1998 TV Movie)

60 min | Documentary

Narrated by actor Leonard Nimoy and featuring appearances by George Lucas and Ray Bradbury, this film documents Ray Harryhausen's remarkable visual effects work, including his hand in ... See full summary »

Director: Richard Schickel | Stars: Ray Harryhausen, Leonard Nimoy, Ray Bradbury, Dennis Muren

Votes: 268

39. Ingmar Bergman on Life and Work (1998 TV Movie)

91 min | Documentary

Sitting together on a sound stage, Donner interviews Ingmar Bergman in depth, with an emphasis put on on his Bergman's film and theater work. Bergman's personal life and thoughts on religion, family, and loss are also discussed.

Director: Jörn Donner | Stars: Ingmar Bergman, Jörn Donner

Votes: 169

40. Scandalize My Name: Stories from the Blacklist (1998)

TV-PG | 54 min | Documentary

A documentary look at the confluence of the Red scare, McCarthyism, and blacklists with the post-war activism by African Americans seeking more and better roles on radio, television, and ... See full summary »

Director: Alexandra Isles | Stars: Morgan Freeman, Rosetta LeNoire, Dick Campbell, Frederick O'Neal

Votes: 100

41. Hitchcock: Shadow of a Genius (1999 TV Movie)

101 min | Documentary, Biography

This documentary is a fascinating look at the cinematic genius of Alfred Hitchcock. Briefly covering much of his early British works, the film primarily focuses on his American classics, ... See full summary »

Director: Ted Haimes | Stars: Kevin Spacey, Jonathan Demme, Alfred Hitchcock, Joseph Stefano

Votes: 499

42. Monsieur Truffaut Meets Mr. Hitchcock (1999 TV Short)

30 min | Documentary, Short

When Francois Truffaut approached Alfred Hitchcock in 1962 with the idea of having a long conversation with him about his work and publishing this in book form, he didn't imagine that more ... See full summary »

Director: Robert Fischer | Stars: Claude Chabrol, Patricia Hitchcock, Madeleine Morgenstern, Jean-Louis Richard

Votes: 25

43. Stanley and Us (1999)

58 min | Documentary

Three hapless directors arrive in England from Italy to make a documentary on their idol. The funny thing is, they have no interviews lined up! Not to worry, these guys have a miracle or ... See full summary »

Directors: Mauro Di Flaviano, Federico Greco, Stefano Landini, Faisal A. Qureshi | Stars: Ken Adam, Michel Ciment, Mauro Di Flaviano, Nigel Galt

Votes: 152

44. All About 'The Birds' (2000 Video)

80 min | Documentary

A wonderfully informative 80-minute documentary combining current interviews with archival materials and scenes from the film. Hitchcock's daughter Pat, production designer Robert Boyle, ... See full summary »

Director: Laurent Bouzereau | Stars: Alfred Hitchcock, Patricia Hitchcock, Robert F. Boyle, Evan Hunter

Votes: 262

45. Beyond Doubt: The Making of Hitchcock's Favorite Film (2000 Video)

35 min | Documentary, Short

This is a documentary about the making of Alfred Hitchcock's Shadow of a Doubt (1943).

Director: Laurent Bouzereau | Stars: Patricia Hitchcock, Peter Bogdanovich, Teresa Wright, Hume Cronyn

Votes: 115

46. Destination Hitchcock: The Making of 'North by Northwest' (2000 Video)

40 min | Documentary, Short

Hosted by Eva Marie Saint, the film's leading lady, this 40-minute documentary of Alfred Hitchcock's only M-G-M film combines interviews (Martin Landau, Patricia Hitchcock, production ... See full summary »

Director: Peter Fitzgerald | Stars: Eva Marie Saint, Patricia Hitchcock, Ernest Lehman, Robert F. Boyle

Votes: 258

47. Inside: 'Dr. Strangelove or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb' (2000 Video)

46 min | Documentary

Documentary on the making of Kubrick's classic film.

Director: David Naylor | Stars: James B. Harris, Alexander Walker, Lee Minoff, Ken Adam

Votes: 324