Maven's Jewish & Israeli Documentaries

by maven0690 | created - 19 Jan 2013 | updated - 5 months ago | Public

The Best Documentaries with primarily Jewish and/or Israeli Themes. Recommended for both English Speaking Jews & non-Jews interested in the Traditions, History, Comedy, Arts and Culture of the Jewish People. Also see:

Maven's Jewish & Israeli Jewels for popular movies, Maven's Jewish Essentials, Select Jewish-Israeli non-English Movies and Animated Jewish & Bible Stories

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1. The 50 Years War: Israel and the Arabs (1999 TV Movie)

300 min | Documentary, History, War

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Directors: David Ash, Dai Richards | Stars: Abba Eban, Will Lyman

Votes: 196

2. The Jewish Americans (2008– )

360 min | Documentary

Acclaimed filmmaker David Grubin traces 350 years of Jewish American history, from the arrival of the first Jews in 1654 up to the present day. THE JEWISH AMERICANS tells the story of the ... See full summary »

Stars: Liev Schreiber, Blair Brown, Kasey Fechtor, Eno Freedman Brodmann

Votes: 84

3. One Day in September (1999)

R | 94 min | Documentary, History, Sport

82 Metascore

The Palestinian terrorist group Black September holds Israeli athletes hostage at the 1972 Summer Olympic Games in Munich.

Director: Kevin Macdonald | Stars: Michael Douglas, Ankie Spitzer, Jamal Al Gashey, Gerald Seymour

Votes: 5,396 | Gross: $0.16M

4. A Life Apart: Hasidism in America (1997)

Not Rated | 96 min | Documentary

Hasidic Jews seem alien, and even hostile, to those outside their culture,which frequently includes other Jews. They dress differently, don't mingle between the sexes, speak Yiddish, and ... See full summary »

Directors: Menachem Daum, Oren Rudavsky | Stars: Leonard Nimoy, Sarah Jessica Parker, Zeldy Abromowitz, Yaffa Eliach

Votes: 152

6. Auschwitz: The Nazis & the 'Final Solution' (2005)

285 min | Documentary, History, War

The history of the Final Solution phase of the Nazi Holocaust, particularly with the most infamous of the death camps.

Stars: Samuel West, Horst-Günter Marx, Gert Heidenreich, Linda Hunt

Votes: 4,019

7. Best Boy (1979)

111 min | Documentary, Biography

In this documentary, the director follows the day-to-day activities of his retarded, middle-aged cousin Philly, over a three-year period.

Director: Ira Wohl | Stars: Ira Wohl, Philip Wohl, Zero Mostel, Christine O'Connor

Votes: 573

10. Hidden Heroes (1999)

Not Rated | 50 min | Documentary

Two Canadian women return to the Netherlands to recount the terrifying ordeal they experienced as children at the hands of the Nazis, and to connect with the individuals and families who risked their lives to save them.

Director: Karen Pascal | Stars: Sonja Smits, Vera van der Wijk Yehros, Jan Hof, Remkes Kooistra

Votes: 9

11. Hiding and Seeking: Faith and Tolerance After the Holocaust (2004)

Unrated | 97 min | Documentary

67 Metascore

Menachem Daum, the son of holocaust survivors, and a New York Orthodox Jew worries that both of his sons, full time yeshiva students who live with their families in Israel, are becoming ... See full summary »

Directors: Menachem Daum, Oren Rudavsky | Stars: Akiva Daum, Menachem Daum, Rifka Daum, Tzvi Dovid Daum

Votes: 154 | Gross: $0.05M

12. Hitler's Holocaust (2000– )

270 min | Documentary, History

Under the guidance of Simon Wiesenthal, documents the year-long process leading up to 'the Final Solution' using newly accessible Eastern European archives, first-hand eyewitness accounts and world renowned historians.

Stars: Simon Wiesenthal, Adolf Hitler

Votes: 116

14. Hitler, Schindler and the Holocaust (1994 Video)

Unrated | 90 min | Documentary, War

Documentary describing the rise of Nazi Germany and the resultant Holocaust, with a focus on the lives of two Germans with vastly different attitudes and agendas, Oskar Schindler and Adolf Hitler.

Director: Ted Newsom | Stars: Adolf Hitler, Oskar Schindler

Votes: 17

15. Imaginary Witness: Hollywood and the Holocaust (2004)

92 min | Documentary, History

The history of Hollywood's handling of the Nazis and its later depiction of the Holocaust they perpetrated.

Director: Daniel Anker | Stars: Gene Hackman, Norma Barzman, Jack Benny, Michael Berenbaum

Votes: 600 | Gross: $0.02M

16. In Search of Peace (2001)

Not Rated | 105 min | Documentary, History, War

31 Metascore

In Search of Peace: 1948-1967 chronicles Israel's first two decades, offering new insights on the origins of the Middle East conflict. Combining a rich tapestry of rare archival film and ... See full summary »

Director: Richard Trank | Stars: Michael Douglas, Ehud Barak, Shimon Peres, Shula Cohen

Votes: 48 | Gross: $0.01M

17. Israel: Birth of a Nation (1996 TV Movie)

Unrated | 100 min | Documentary, History, War

Sir Martin Gilbert, author of over sixty books and the host of A&E's JERUSALEM, hosts this gripping account of Israel's difficult first years. Filled with rare footage, photographs, and ... See full summary »

Director: Herb Krosney | Stars: Martin Gilbert, David Ben-Gurion

Votes: 91

18. Israel in a Time of Terror (2002 Video)

Not Rated | 48 min | Documentary

Terror bombing after terror bombing, day after day. Never has a nation had to endure such attacks. A sidewalk café becomes as dangerous as a military outpost. A simple trip to the ... See full summary »

Director: Allen Estrin

Votes: 18

19. Kingdom of David: The Saga of the Israelites (2003 TV Movie)

TV-G | 220 min | Documentary, History

In 586 B.C., the Babylonians lead almost all that remains of the tribe of Judah - the Israelites - to exile in Babylon. Only a few generations earlier, the northern tribes of the Israelites... See full summary »

Directors: Carl Byker, Mitch Wilson | Stars: F. Murray Abraham, Rene Auberjonois, Jake Borowski, Keith David

Votes: 75

20. Nazi America: A Secret History (2000 TV Movie)

TV-PG | 92 min | Documentary, History, War

A history of the Nazi movement in the United States.

Stars: D. Paul Thomas, Adolf Hitler, Susan Canedy, Charles Higham

Votes: 77

21. Orthodox Stance (2007)

Not Rated | 83 min | Documentary, Sport

Dmitriy Salita is a Russian immigrant, professional boxer and a religious Jew. ORTHODOX STANCE portrays Dmitriy's maturation in each of these disparate communities, and the seemingly ... See full summary »

Director: Jason Hutt | Stars: Dmitriy Salita, Jimmy O'Pharrow, Israel Liberow, Bob Arum

Votes: 53

22. Shayna Maidels: Orthodox Jewish Teenage Girls (2002)


Three teenage girls decide to become Orthodox Jewish against the wishes of their secular parents. In a twist on teenage rebellion, these girls wish to study Torah, dress in conservative ... See full summary »

Director: Lisa Kors

Votes: 15

24. Paper Clips (2004)

G | 82 min | Documentary, War

64 Metascore

As a part of their study of the Holocaust, the children of the Whitwell, TN Middle School try to collect 6 million paper clips representing the 6 million Jews killed by the Nazis, and grows to include millions of others killed.

Directors: Elliot Berlin, Joe Fab | Stars: Sandra Roberts, Dagmar Schroeder-Hildebrand, Tom Bosley, Casey Condra

Votes: 1,649 | Gross: $1.10M

25. Praying with Lior (2008)

Unrated | 87 min | Documentary, Biography, Family

68 Metascore

Praying with Lior asks whether someone with Down syndrome can be a spiritual genius. Many believe Lior is close to God -- at least that's what his family and community believe -- though ... See full summary »

Director: Ilana Trachtman | Star: Lior Liebling

Votes: 109 | Gross: $0.08M

27. Saved by Deportation (2007)

79 min | Documentary

In 1940, a year before the Nazis started deporting Jews to death camps, Joseph Stalin ordered the deportation of approximately 200,000 Polish Jews from Russian-occupied Eastern Poland to ... See full summary »

Director: Slawomir Grunberg

Votes: 7

29. From Auschwitz to Jerusalem (1998)

51 min | Documentary

From Auschwitz to Jerusalem tells the story of Jewish children. Hidden children, often converted to the catholic religion so they could survive the genocide. After the war, many of them, ... See full summary »

Director: Michel Mees

30. Shanghai Ghetto (2002)

95 min | Documentary

68 Metascore

Stripped of possessions and rights, German and Eastern European Jews flee to an unlikely destination to avoid persecution from the Nazis.

Directors: Dana Janklowicz-Mann, Amir Mann | Stars: Stephen Chang, Irene Eber, I. Betty Grebenschikoff, Harold Janklowicz

Votes: 194 | Gross: $0.71M

31. Talmud (2007 TV Movie)

56 min | Documentary

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Director: Pierre-Henry Salfati | Star: Féodor Atkine

Votes: 20

32. Hollywoodism: Jews, Movies and the American Dream (1998 TV Movie)

98 min | Documentary, History

The history of the influence of Eastern European Jewish Emigre culture has had on Hollywood and the films created in its golden age.

Directors: Simcha Jacobovici, Stuart Samuels | Stars: Neal Gabler, R.H. Thomson, J. Hoberman, Arthur Tracy

Votes: 253

33. The Last Days (1998)

PG-13 | 87 min | Documentary, War

In late 1944, even as they faced imminent defeat, the Nazis expended enormous resources to kill or deport over 425,000 Jews during the "cleansing" of Hungary. This Oscar-winning documentary... See full summary »

Director: James Moll | Stars: Bill Basch, Martin Basch, Randolph Braham, Alice Lok Cahana

Votes: 1,778 | Gross: $0.42M

34. The Life and Times of Hank Greenberg (1998)

PG | 90 min | Documentary, Biography, Sport

75 Metascore

The life and career of Hank Greenberg, the first major Jewish baseball star in the Major Leagues.

Director: Aviva Kempner | Stars: Reeve Brenner, Hank Greenberg, Walter Matthau, Alan M. Dershowitz

Votes: 739 | Gross: $1.70M

35. The Ritchie Boys (2004)

90 min | Documentary, History, War

76 Metascore

During WWII, the U.S. formed an elite intelligence unit -- mostly German Jewish academics -- at Camp Ritchie, Maryland. Tasked with devising ways to break the morale of the SS, these men ... See full summary »

Director: Christian Bauer | Stars: Michael Hanrahan, Werner Angress, Victor Brombert, Marlene Dietrich

Votes: 218

36. They Came for Good: A History of Jews in the USA (1997)

Not Rated | 57 min | Documentary, History

Comprehensive two-part PBS series that tells the fascinating true story of 250 years of Jewish immigration in America.

Director: Amram Nowak | Stars: Robert Blumenfeld, Gordon Grinberg, Avi Hoffman, Devora Millman

Votes: 19

38. I Have Never Forgotten You: The Life & Legacy of Simon Wiesenthal (2007)

PG-13 | 105 min | Documentary, Biography

59 Metascore

A documentary on the Austrian-Jewish architectural engineer who became a Nazi hunter after surviving the Holocaust.

Director: Richard Trank | Stars: Nicole Kidman, Simon Wiesenthal, Asher BenNatan, Frederick Forsyth

Votes: 625 | Gross: $0.01M

40. Genocide (1982)

PG | 90 min | Documentary, Drama, History

A chilling, heartbreaking testament to the strength and suffering of the Jewish people and the courage and heroism of those who came to their aid. With beautiful narration by Orson Welles ... See full summary »

Director: Arnold Schwartzman | Stars: Elizabeth Taylor, Orson Welles, Simon Wiesenthal, Neville Chamberlain

Votes: 393

41. Liberation (1994)

Not Rated | 100 min | Documentary, History, War

Liberation tells the dramatic story of the battle waged on two fronts during World War II - the Allied campaign to liberate Europe and Hitler's genocidal campaign against the Jews. The ... See full summary »

Director: Arnold Schwartzman | Stars: Ben Kingsley, Miriam Margolyes, Patrick Stewart, Jean Boht

Votes: 91

42. Ever Again (2006)

Not Rated | 73 min | Documentary, History, War

Ever Again examines the sweeping resurgence of antisemitism in 21st century Europe and its connection to global terrorism.

Director: Richard Trank | Stars: Kevin Costner, Dyab Abou Jahjah, Milo Adoner, Yusuf Al-Qaradawi

Votes: 55

44. The Danish Solution: The Rescue of the Jews in Denmark (2003)

Not Rated | 58 min | Documentary

Filmmakers Karen Cantor and Camilla Kjaerilff team to reveal how the Jews of Denmark managed to escape falling victim to Hitler's Third Reich.

Directors: Karen Cantor, Camilla Kjærulff | Star: Garrison Keillor

Votes: 29

45. Sugihara: Conspiracy of Kindness (2000)

103 min | Documentary

The story of Japanese diplomat Chiune Sugihara, consul to Lithuania during World War II, who defied Tokyo authorities and wrote transit visas allowing Jewish families to flee Europe to Japan and other countries.

Director: Robert Kirk | Stars: Susan Bluman, Benjamin Fishoff, Neil Ross, Liane Schirmer

Votes: 76

46. I'm Still Here: Real Diaries of Young People Who Lived During the Holocaust (2005 TV Movie)

47 min | Documentary, History

Brings to life the diaries of young people who witnessed first-hand the horrors of the Holocaust. Through an emotional montage of archival footage, personal photos, and text from the ... See full summary »

Director: Lauren Lazin | Stars: Zach Braff, Ryan Gosling, Kate Hudson, Oliver Hudson

Votes: 136

47. Into the Arms of Strangers: Stories of the Kindertransport (2000)

PG | 122 min | Documentary, History, War

79 Metascore

The secret smuggling of 9,300 Jewish children out of Nazi-occupied Germany in the late 1930s.

Director: Mark Jonathan Harris | Stars: Judi Dench, Lory Cahn, Kurt Fuchel, Eva Hayman

Votes: 1,502 | Gross: $0.37M

48. My Knees Were Jumping: Remembering the Kindertransports (1996)

Not Rated | 76 min | Documentary

According to Hulu's offering, this documentary (from 1966) is "a Powerful account of an astonishing slice of Holocaust history, told with poignant intimacy by the daughter of a survivor. On... See full summary »

Director: Melissa Hacker | Stars: Eddie Better, Sonnie Better, Erika Estis, Kurt Fuchel

Votes: 61