Best Documentary Feature

by BrunoRibeiro90 | created - 04 Mar 2017 | updated - 1 month ago | Public

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1. The Battle of Midway (1942)

TV-G | 18 min | Documentary, Short, War

The Japanese attack on Midway in June 1942, filmed as it happened.

Director: John Ford | Stars: Henry Fonda, Jane Darwell, Logan Ramsey, James Roosevelt

Votes: 1,395

2. Kokoda Front Line! (1942)

9 min | Documentary, Short, War

Cameraman Damien Parer has just returned from the front in New Guinea, where he's documented Australian troops in action. He explains this to us in a prolog. We then see air drops of ... See full summary »

Stars: Peter Bathurst, Damien Parer

Votes: 162

4. Prelude to War (1942)

Not Rated | 52 min | Documentary, War

The official World War II US Government film statement defining the various enemies of the Allies and why they must be fought.

Directors: Frank Capra, Anatole Litvak | Stars: Walter Huston, Victor Bulwer-Lytton, Kai-Shek Chiang, Walter Darré

Votes: 1,576

5. Desert Victory (1943)

62 min | Documentary, War

The Allied campaign to drive Germany and Italy from North Africa is analysed, with the major portion of the film examining the battles at El Alamein, including a re-enactment.

Directors: Roy Boulting, David MacDonald | Stars: Harold Alexander, Winston Churchill, Adolf Hitler, Bernard L. Montgomery

Votes: 217

6. The Fighting Lady (1944)

Approved | 61 min | Documentary, History, War

The film follows the WWII exploits of the Essex-class aircraft carrier USS Yorktown (CV-10) (unidentified in the film), in its first major operations following its commissioning in 1943. ... See full summary »

Directors: Edward Steichen, William Wyler | Stars: Robert Taylor, Charles Boyer, Joseph J. Clark, Dixie Kiefer

Votes: 337

7. The True Glory (1945)

Not Rated | 87 min | Documentary, War

A documentary account of the allied invasion of Europe during World War II compiled from the footage shot by nearly one thousand four hundred cameramen. It opens as the assembled Allied ... See full summary »

Directors: Garson Kanin, Carol Reed | Stars: Leslie Banks, Dwight D. Eisenhower, Richard Fallon, Joseph Goebbels

Votes: 372

8. Design for Death (1947)

Approved | 48 min | Documentary

An Academy Award winner for best documentary, the film opens with a notice that..."Exhibition of confiscated Japanese film material authorized by permission of the Alien Property Custodian ... See full summary »

Stars: Kent Smith, Hans Conried

Votes: 24

9. The Secret Land (1948)

Approved | 71 min | Documentary

The 1946-1947 U.S. military expedition to explore and map Antarctica, led by Admiral Richard E. Byrd, is presented from its planning stages through its successful completion.

Stars: Robert Montgomery, Robert Taylor, Van Heflin, James Forrestal

Votes: 249

10. Daybreak in Udi (1949)

Approved | 47 min | Documentary

This 47-minute documentary, financed by HRH's government, won an Oscar in the special category, and most of it was later edited into a 1953 two-segment documentary called "Savage World" by ... See full summary »

Director: Terry Bishop | Stars: E.R. Chadwick, Harford Anerobi, Fanny Elumeze, Joseph Amalu

Votes: 31

11. The Titan: Story of Michelangelo (1950)

Not Rated | 70 min | Documentary

The life and works of the great artist Michelangelo Buonarroti are shown against the historical background of his time. It begins with his earliest artworks, and follows his life and career... See full summary »

Directors: Robert J. Flaherty, Richard Lyford, Curt Oertel | Star: Fredric March

Votes: 50

12. Kon-Tiki (1950)

Approved | 77 min | Documentary

A documentary about the Kon-Tiki expedition of the Norwegian explorer Thor Heyerdahl.

Director: Thor Heyerdahl | Stars: Thor Heyerdahl, Herman Watzinger, Erik Hesselberg, Knut Haugland

Votes: 2,121

13. The Sea Around Us (1953)

Approved | 62 min | Documentary

Oscar-winning documentary based on Rachel L. Carson's pioneering study of ocean life chronicled in her award-winning and best-selling 1951 book of the same name.

Director: Irwin Allen | Stars: Don Forbes, Theodore von Eltz

Votes: 204

14. The Living Desert (1953)

Passed | 69 min | Family, Documentary

Documentary of the live of flora and fauna in a desert in the US.

Director: James Algar | Star: Winston Hibler

Votes: 1,062

15. The Vanishing Prairie (1954)

Approved | 71 min | Documentary, Family

Story of the American Prairie as it was when vast herds of bison and elk grazed.

Director: James Algar | Star: Winston Hibler

Votes: 342

16. The Unconquered (1954)

Approved | 55 min | Documentary

This documentary chronicles the life of Helen Keller, who was struck by an illness as a young child that left her both blind and deaf. Aided by her devoted teacher, Anne Sullivan, Keller is... See full summary »

Director: Nancy Hamilton | Stars: Katharine Cornell, Helen Keller, Polly Thompson, Dwight D. Eisenhower

Votes: 53

17. The Silent World (1956)

86 min | Documentary

This pioneering nature documentary investigates aquatic habitats in various locations around the world. It doesn't shy away from the brutality present in the natural world, but it also ... See full summary »

Directors: Jacques-Yves Cousteau, Louis Malle | Stars: Frédéric Dumas, Albert Falco, Jacques-Yves Cousteau, François Saout

Votes: 1,220

18. Albert Schweitzer (1957)

Approved | 85 min | Documentary, Biography, History

This biographical drama/part-time documentary, narrative written by Dr. Albert Schweitzer and spoken by Fredric March, traces the life of Dr. Schweitzer (with actors playing the characters)... See full summary »

Director: Jerome Hill | Stars: Burgess Meredith, Fredric March, Albert Schweitzer, Helene Schweitzer

Votes: 76

19. White Wilderness (1958)

Approved | 72 min | Documentary, Family

The wildlife of the arctic is explored in this true-life adventure.

Director: James Algar | Stars: Winston Hibler, Volmer Sørensen

Votes: 326

21. The Horse with the Flying Tail (1960)

G | 48 min | Family, Documentary

A palimino cow pony, through a series of owners and adventures becomes a champion mount for one of the US equestrian team.

Director: Larry Lansburgh | Stars: George Fenneman, Nautical the Horse, Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother, Dorian Williams

Votes: 122

22. Le ciel et la boue (1961)

92 min | Documentary

In September, 1959, six Europeans leave Cook's Bay on the southern coast of Dutch New Guinea, now West Papua or Irian Jaya, to trek north to the far side of the island. The journey (450 ... See full summary »

Director: Pierre-Dominique Gaisseau | Stars: Gerard Delloye, Tony Saulnier, Herve de Maigret, William Dexter

Votes: 193

23. Black Fox: The True Story of Adolf Hitler (1962)

89 min | Documentary, Biography, War

The rise and fall of Nazi Germany in part through the use of classical allegory.

Director: Louis Clyde Stoumen | Star: Marlene Dietrich

Votes: 132

24. Robert Frost: A Lover's Quarrel with the World (1963)

41 min | Documentary, Short, Biography

Acclaimed poet Robert Frost reminisces on his career. He is also seen giving lectures at Amherst and Sarah Lawrence Colleges, in daily life at his rural Vermont home, and receiving the Congressional Gold Medal from President Kennedy.

Director: Shirley Clarke | Stars: Robert Frost, John F. Kennedy, Lyndon Johnson

Votes: 123

25. World Without Sun (1964)

93 min | Documentary

Fascinating underwater documentary filmed with hand-held cameras by frogmen and mostly filmed in deep-water seas from within a special designed batiscaff, by the Cousteau family of sea explorers.

Director: Jacques-Yves Cousteau

Votes: 345

26. The Eleanor Roosevelt Story (1965)

Not Rated | 90 min | Documentary, Biography, History

Richard Kaplan documents the life of one of America's most influential first ladies. Orphaned at age 10, Eleanor Roosevelt marries her fifth cousin, Franklin D. Roosevelt, in 1905. His ... See full summary »

Director: Richard Kaplan | Stars: Archibald Macleish, Eric Sevareid, Corinne Alsop Cole, Hillary Clinton

Votes: 140

27. The War Game (1965 TV Movie)

48 min | Drama, War

A docudrama depicting a hypothetical nuclear attack on Britain.

Director: Peter Watkins | Stars: Michael Aspel, Peter Graham, Dave Baldwin, Kathy Staff

Votes: 5,708

28. The Anderson Platoon (1967)

Not Rated | 65 min | Documentary, War

The director, a French veteran of the Indochina war (La 317e Section), returned to follow a platoon of American soldiers for six weeks at the height of fighting in Vietnam in 1966. The ... See full summary »

Director: Pierre Schoendoerffer | Stars: Joseph B. Anderson, Stuart Whitman

Votes: 267

29. Journey Into Self (1969)

47 min | Documentary

The film portrays a 16-hour group-therapy session for eight well-adjusted people who had never met before.

Director: Bill McGaw | Stars: Richard Farson, Stanley Kramer, Carl Rogers

Votes: 43

30. Love of Life (1969)

91 min | Documentary, Biography, Music

An Oscar winning look at the life of Albert Rubinstein shortly after he turned 70. It contains some home movies of him and his family, but is primarily him talking and demonstrating his great skill as a pianist.

Directors: Gérard Patris, François Reichenbach | Stars: Artur Rubinstein, Eliahu Inbal, Paul Kletzki

Votes: 71

31. Woodstock (1970)

R | 184 min | Documentary, History, Music

The film chronicle of the legendary 1969 music festival.

Director: Michael Wadleigh | Stars: Joan Baez, Richie Havens, Roger Daltrey, Joe Cocker

Votes: 14,593 | Gross: $50.00M

32. The Hellstrom Chronicle (1971)

G | 90 min | Documentary, Drama

A scientist explains how the savagery and efficiency of the insect world could result in their taking over the world.

Directors: Walon Green, Ed Spiegel | Stars: Lawrence Pressman, Conlan Carter, Ian McShane, Suzanne Pleshette

Votes: 649

33. Marjoe (1972)

PG | 88 min | Documentary, Biography

Part documentary, part expose, this film follows one-time child evangelist Marjoe Gortner on the "church tent" Revivalist circuit, commenting on the showmanship of Evangelism and "the ... See full summary »

Directors: Sarah Kernochan, Howard Smith | Stars: Marjoe Gortner, Sarah Kernochan

Votes: 1,325

34. The Great American Cowboy (1974)

G | 89 min | Documentary, Sport

A documentary about the rivalry between veteran Larry Mahan and newcomer Phil Lyne, as the two vie for the National Finals Rodeo Championship title.

Director: Kieth Merrill | Stars: Larry Mahan, Phil Lyne, Joel McCrea

Votes: 60

35. Hearts and Minds (1974)

R | 112 min | Documentary, History, War

68 Metascore

An examination of the conflicting attitudes of the opponents of the Vietnam War.

Director: Peter Davis | Stars: Tin Chan, Chau Diem, Ngo Dinh Diem, John Foster Dulles

Votes: 4,900 | Gross: $0.03M

36. The Man Who Skied Down Everest (1975)

G | 86 min | Documentary

A Japanese skier ultimately dreamed of literally skiing Mt. Everest. He planned to ski some 8,000 feet down an icy glacier at a 40 to 45 degree angle, from the 26,000 foot level near the ... See full summary »

Director: Bruce Nyznik | Stars: Yûichirô Miura, Douglas Rain

Votes: 367

37. Harlan County U.S.A. (1976)

PG | 103 min | Documentary

80 Metascore

A filmed account of a bitterly violent miner strike.

Director: Barbara Kopple | Stars: Norman Yarborough, Houston Elmore, Phil Sparks, John Corcoran

Votes: 4,250

38. Who Are the DeBolts? [And Where Did They Get 19 Kids?] (1977)

Not Rated | 72 min | Documentary, Biography

Dorothy and Bob DeBolt's tale of the struggles and joys involved in their 19 adopted children, many of who are physically disabled war orphans.

Director: John Korty | Stars: Kim Atwood, Marty Atwood, Mike Atwood, Mimi Atwood

Votes: 165

39. Scared Straight! (1978)

96 min | Crime, Documentary

The filmed depiction of a program where convicts tell troubled kids about the horrors of prison life.

Director: Arnold Shapiro | Stars: Peter Falk, Mickie Cold, Doug Cronin, Carlo Gallo

Votes: 694

40. 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: 574

41. From Mao to Mozart: Isaac Stern in China (1979)

G | 84 min | Documentary, Music

Isaac Stern's cultural tour of China is seen, with the master violinist performing and mentoring young Chinese musicians. He visits rehearsals of the Peking Opera, meeting with their ... See full summary »

Director: Murray Lerner | Stars: Isaac Stern, David Golub, Delun Li, Ching-Ling Soong

Votes: 378

42. 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: 392

43. The Fifth Estate (1976– )
Episode: Just Another Missing Kid (1981)

90 min | Documentary, News

On July 10, 1978, Eric Wilson - a 19-year from Ottawa and student at Tufts University - left home to drive to a summer college course in Colorado. When he went missing four days afterward ... See full summary »

Director: John Zaritsky | Stars: Ian Parker, Jim Conway, Raymond Hatch, Marilyn Wilson

Votes: 77

44. He Makes Me Feel Like Dancin' (1983)

51 min | Documentary, Family

Jacques d'Amboise, a noted former American ballet star who had dancing roles in such films as Seven Brides for Seven Brothers (1954) and Carousel (1956), and who later became a New York dancing instructor.

Director: Emile Ardolino | Stars: Jacques d'Amboise, Judy Collins, Kevin Kline, Tom McCaffrey

Votes: 74

45. The Times of Harvey Milk (1984)

Not Rated | 90 min | Documentary, Biography, History

A documentary of the successful career and assassination of San Francisco's first elected gay city supervisor.

Director: Rob Epstein | Stars: Harvey Fierstein, Harvey Milk, Anne Kronenberg, Tory Hartmann

Votes: 5,194 | Gross: $0.01M

46. Broken Rainbow (1985)

70 min | Documentary, History

Documentary chronicling the government relocation of 10,000 Navajo Indians in Arizona.

Director: Victoria Mudd | Stars: Martin Sheen, Buffy Sainte-Marie, Burgess Meredith, Laura Nyro

Votes: 185

47. Artie Shaw: Time Is All You've Got (1985)

114 min | Documentary, Biography, Music

Documentary cataloging the life and music of the band leader and clarinetist, Artie Shaw.

Director: Brigitte Berman | Stars: Artie Shaw, John Best, Lee Castle, Helen Forrest

Votes: 72

48. Down and Out in America (1986)

Unrated | 57 min | Documentary

A recession in the mid-1980s affects Minnesota farm workers, unemployed urban workers and the newly homeless in Los Angeles and New York.

Director: Lee Grant | Stars: Lee Grant, Jeff Farmer, Bob Hanson, Robert Hayes

Votes: 68

49. American Masters (1985– )
Episode: The Ten-Year Lunch: The Wit and Legend of the Algonquin Round Table (1987)

TV-14 | 56 min | Documentary, Biography

Profile of the group of writers and humorists who formed lasting friendships and collaborations centered on their daily lunches at New York City's Algonquin Hotel through the 1920s, which ... See full summary »

Director: Aviva Slesin | Stars: Heywood Hale Broun, Marc Connelly, Marg