Award Winning Documentaries
Terms in this set (74)
The Battle of Midway (1942)
A 1942 American Film Short directed by John Ford, it is a montage of Color footage of the title event, with voice overs from various narrarotors.
Kokoda Front Line! (1942)
A Full length edition of the Australian Newsreel, Cinesound review, and the first Australian film to win an oscar. It was directed by Ken G Hall.
Moscow Strikes Back (1942)
A 1942 Soviet War Documentary about the battle of the titular location, directed by Varlamov. In the USSR, it was awarded the Stalin Prize.
Prelude to War (1942)
The First Film of Frank Capra's Why We Fight series. It was made to convince American troops of the necessity of fighting Axis powers during WWII.
Desert Victory (1943)
A Film produced by the British Ministry of Information, which documenting the Allie's north African campaign. It traces the struggle between General Erwin Rommel and Field Marsal Bernard Montgomery from the German's defeat at El Alamein to Tripoli. It won Best Documentary 1943. Directed by Roy Boulting
The Fighting Lady (1944)
It revolves around the life of sailors on board an aircraft carrier.. It follows the life on board, and when it is sent on a hit-and-run, and participated in the famous Marianas Turkey Shoot. It won the 1944 Academy Award for Best Documentary. Directed by Edward Steichen.
The True Glory (1945)
Documenting the victory on the western front, from Normandy to the collapse of the Third Reich. Known for using several first person perspectives. The title is taken from a letter of Sir Francis Drake. It won the AA award for Best Documentary in 1945. Directed by Carol Reed
Design for Death (1947)
A 1947 Documentary that won the award for Best Documentary. Based off of Our Job in Japan. It deals with Japanese Culture and the origins of the war. It was written by Dr. Seuss. Directed by Richard Fleischer
The Secret Land (1948)
A 1948 Best Documentary winner, it is an American documentary film about an American expedition code-named Operation High Jump to explore Antarctica. Directed by Orville O. Dull.
Daybreak in Udi (1949)
A 1949 AA for Best Documentary winner. It was directed by Terry Bishop, and centers on the cultural changes happening in the titular location in Nigeria.
The Titan: Story of Michelangelo (1950)
A winner for Best Documentary in 1950, it was the first full length documentary to be shown on network television. IT is about the title artist and his life.
A Norewegian documentary, winner of the 1951 Best Documentary, it is in black and white, and is about the title model of boat, and how the crew launches from Peru and sails in the ocean. It was directed by Thor Heyerdahl
The Sea Around Us (1952)
A 1953 Documentary directed by Irwin Allen. based on the Rachel Carson book of the same name, about the ocean and marine life.
The Living Desert (1953)
A nature documentary that shows everyday lives of animals in the desert in 1953. It was directed by James Algar and produced by Walt Disney.
Helen Keller in Her Story (1955) (AKA The Unconquered)
An American biographical documentary about the titular figure, using extensive footage of her vistis and remembrances of Dwight Eisenhower and Martha Grahm, narrarated by her friend Ms. Cornell.
The Silent World (1956)
An oceographic film about the ocean, it is one of the first films to use underwater cinematography to show the ocean in color. It was directed by Cousteau in 1956.
Albert Schweitzer (1957)
A German biographical documentary about the titular person. It was directed by Jerome Hill. There is almost nothing about this stupid documentary so just know the year 1957 1957 1957
White Wilderness (1958)
A nature documentary about the arctic, and noted for its propagation of the misconception of lemming suicide. It was created in 1958 in Canada over the course of three years. It was directed by James Algar
Serengeti Shall Not Die (1959)
A German documentary film written and directed by Bernhard Grizmek. His son died on location during the filming of the documentary when his plane collided with a vulture. It centers on the title location and the animals within it.
The Horse with the Flying Tail (1960)
A Walt Disney Pictures Film about the palomino horse, Nautical, who won the team gold medal at the 1959 Pan American Games
Rebel in Paradise (1960)
A .1960 American documentary film on the artist Paul Gauguin produced by Robert D. Fraser.
Sky Above and Mud Beneath (1961)
A French Documentary film about a 7-month, thousand mile expedition led by Pierre-Dominique Gaisseau into what was then the uncharted territories of the Netherlands New Guinea. They interacted with tribes of cannibals, headhunters, Pygmies, leeches, hunger, and exhaustion. It was directed by Gaisseau.
Black Fox: The Rise and Fall of Adolf Hitler (1962)
A 1962 documentary directed by Louis Clyde Stoumen, depicting the rise and fall of Nazi Germany.
Robert Frost: A Lover's Quarrel with the Word (1963)
A 1963 movie on which there is almost nothing on the internet about it and Imma take a blatant guess here and say that its probably about the title poet, and his writing. if they ask about it I'm sorry.
World Without Sun (1964)
a 1964 French documentary film directed by Jacques-Yves Cousteau. It details Conshelf Two, the first attempt to create an environment where men could live and work on the sea floor.
The Eleanor Roosevelt Story (1965)
A 1965 American biographical documentary film directed by Richard Kaplan, following the life of a famous first lady.
The War Game (1966)
a 1965 television drama-documentary film depicting a nuclear war. Written, directed, and produced by Peter Watkins for the BBC's The Wednesday Play. It was deemed to terrible to air on the TV at first, so they put it in theaters first.
The Anderson Platoon (1967)
a 1967 documentary feature by Pierre Schoendoerffer about the Vietnam War, named after the leader of the namesake army formation.
Journey Into Self (1968)
a documentary film introduced by Stanley Kramer, produced by Bill McGaw, and directed by Tom Skinner. The film portrays a 16-hour group-therapy session for eight well-adjusted people who had never met before. The session was led by psychologists Carl Rogers and Richard Farson. The participants included a cashier, a theology student, a teacher, a principal, a housewife, and three businessmen.
Arthur Rubinstein- The Love of Life (1969)
a 1969 documentary about a Polish-American pianist directed by Reichenbach
A 1970 documentary of the watershed counterculture at the namesake music festival in New York. It is called the benchmark of concert movies. Directed by Michael Wadleigh, it is supposed to be one of the most entertaining documentaries ever made.
The Hellstrom Chronicle (1971)
an American film released in 1971 which combines elements of documentary, science fiction, horror and apocalyptic prophecy to present a gripping satirical depiction of the Darwinian struggle for survival between humans and insects
a 1972 American documentary film produced and directed by Howard Smith and Sarah Kernochan about the life of the title evangelist.
The Great American Cowboy (1973)
a 1973 documentary film by Kieth Merrill. The film, which won the 1973 Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature, is about the battle between two rodeo stars for the world championship: veteran Larry Mahan and newcomer Phil Lyne.
The Man Who Skied Down Everest (1975)
a documentary about Yuichiro Miura, a Japanese alpinist who skied down Mt. Everest in 1970. Directed by Schiller
Harlan County, USA (1976)
a 1976 Oscar-winning documentary film covering the "Brookside Strike", an effort of 180 coal miners and their wives against the Duke Power Company-owned Eastover Coal Company's Brookside Mine and Prep Plant in the title location in Kentucky. It was directed by Barbara Kopple.
Who Are the DeBolts? And Where Did They Get Nineteen Kids? (1977)
1977 documentary film about Dorothy and Bob DeBolt, an American couple who have adopted 14 children, some of whom are severely disabled war orphans (in addition to raising Dorothy's five biological children and Bob's biological daughter, directed by John Korty.
Scared Straight! (1978)
1978 documentary directed by Arnold Shapiro. Narrated by Peter Falk, the subject of the documentary is a group of juvenile delinquents and their three-hour session with actual convicts. Filmed at Rahway State Prison, a group of inmates known as the "lifers" berate, scream at, and terrify the young offenders in an attempt to "scare them straight"
a 1979 documentary made by Ira Wohl. The film follows Ira's mentally handicapped cousin, Philly Wohl, who at that time was 52 years old and still living with his elderly parents. Ira forces his aunt and uncle to realize that they will not be around to care for Philly forever, and that they must start making preparations for when that time should come.
From Mao to Mozart: Isaac Stern in China (1980)
a 1980 documentary produced and directed by Murray Lerner. It follows famous violinist and music teacher Isaac Stern as the first American to collaborate with the China Central Symphony. It shows how Western Culture broke into china and it won the 1980 Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature.
a 1981 documentary directed by Arnold Schwartzman. It follows the mass murder of Jewish people by the Nazi regime and warns that since antisemitism is on the rise, the events of the holocaust could happen again. It shows the history of European Jewish culture and events before and after the Holocaust through newsreels, photographs, and animated shorts
Just Another Missing Kid (1982)
a 1982 documentary film directed by John Zaritsky. Its about a man, Eric Wilson, who disappeared somewhere in Nebraska on a camping trip to Boulder, Colorado. It follows how his family and investigators work to find out waht happened and how the police were not very helpful or apathetic to the situation. Two hitchhikers, Raymond Hatch and Bethram Davis, confess to the murder and Hatch was only made to serve 13 years. When he got out of jail he stabbed his girlfriend and served 9 months for it. It's follow up documentary is named The Fifth Estate
He Makes Me Feel Like Dancin' (1983)
a 1983 documentary film directed by Emile Ardolino about Jacques d'Amboise, a noted former American ballet star who becomes a New York dancing instructor. It won both and Academy Award and an Emmy, which is rare
The Times of Harvey Milk (1984)
a 1984 documentary film directed by Rob Epstein. It follows the political career of San Francisco's first openly gay supervisor as he rose from a neighborhood activist to a symbol of gay political achievement, through to his assassination in November 1978 at San Francisco's city hall, and the Dan White trial and aftermath
Broken Rainbow (1985)
a 1985 documentary film about the government enforced relocation of thousands of Navajo Native Americans from their ancestral homes in Arizona. It was directed by Mria Florio and Victoria Mudd
Artie Shaw: Time is All You've Got (1986)
a 1986 American documentary film about clarinetist Artie Shaw. It was written, directed and narrated by Brigitte Berman
Down and Out in America (1986)
a 1986 film that critiques Reagnomics by showing examples of poverty in the United States. It was directed by Lee Grant
The Ten-Year Lunch (1987)
about the Algonquin Round table, a floating group of writers and actors in the "Roaring Twenties" in New York City, which included great names such as Dorothy Parker, George S Kaufman, Edna Ferber, Marc Connelly, Harold Ross and Harpo Marx. It was produced and directed by Aviva Slesin and narrated by Heywood Hale Broun. The title refers to the fact that the members of the Round Table met over lunch at the Algonquin Hotel from 1919 until roughly 1929. The film shows how the group drifted apart once the 1920s ended and as Hollywood beckoned for some and they grew older. In 1987, the film won Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature.
Hotel Terminus: The Life and Times of Klaus Barbie (1988)
Directed by Marcel Ophuls, it is about the life of a namesake Nazi war criminal and it covers from his relatively innocent childhood, his time in the Gestapo in Lyon, where he apparently excelled in torture, through the forty years between the end of the World War II and his eventual deportation from Bolivia to stand trial for crimes against Humanity in France. The film explores a number of themes including the nature of evil and the diffusion of responsibility in hierarchical situations
Common Threads: Stories from the Quilt (1989)
1989 documentary film that tells the story of the NAMES Project AIDS Memorial. It is narrorated by Dustin Hoffman with a musical score written and performed by Bobby McFerrin, the film focuses on several people who are represented by panels in the Quilt, combining personal reminiscences with archive footage of the subjects, along with footage of various politicians, health professionals, and other people with AIDS. Each section of the film is punctuated with statistics detailing the number of Americans diagnosed and dead of AIDS through the early years of the epidemic. The film ends with the first display of the complete Quilt at the National Mall in Washington DC during the 1987 Second National March on Washington for Lesbian and Gay Rights
American Dream (1990)
directed by Barbara Kopple and co-directed by Cathy Caplan, Thomas Haneke, and Lawrence Silk. The film recounts an unsuccessful strike in the heartland of America against the Hormel Foods coorperation
In the Shadow of the Stars (1981)
about the San Francisco Opera. It depicts the lives of various members of the chorus, rather than the big named stars. It was co-edited and co-produced by the husband and wife team Irivng Saraf and Allie Light. The film won the 1991 accademy award for best documentary feature for Light and Saraf.
The Panama Deception (1992)
a 1992 American documentary film that won the Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature. The film is critical of the actions of the US military during the 1989 invasion of Panama by the United States, covering the conflicting reasons for the invasion and depicting the US media as biased. It also highlighted media bias, showing events that were unreported or misreported in the news. It was directed by Barbara Trent of the Empowerment Project and was narrated by actress Elizabeth Montgomery.
I Am a Promise: The Children of Stanton Elementary School (1993)
a 1993 documentary film about the pupils at Stanton Elementary School, an inner city school in Philadelphia. The film won the Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature for producers Alana and Susan Raymond.
Maya Lin: A Strong Clear Vision (1994)
documentary film made by Freida Lee Mock about the life of the American Artist best known for the Vietnam Veteran's day memorial. It won the 1994 Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature
Anne Frank Remembered (1995)
a 1995 documentary film by Jon Blair about the life of the diarist Anne Frank. It is narrated by Kenneth Branagh and extracts from Frank's diary are read by Glenn Close.
When We Were Kings (1996)
a 1996 documentary film directed by Leon Gast about the famous "Rumble in the Jungle" heavyweight championshipship between Muhammad Ali and George Foreman. The fight was held in Zaire on October 20, 1974. It features a number of celebrities, including James Brown, Jim Brown, BB King, Norman Mailer, George Plimpton, Spike Lee and Thomas Hauser.
The Long Way Home (1997)
documentary directed by Mark Jonathan Harris. It depicts the plight of Jewish Refugees after World War II that contributed to the creation of the State of Israel. It is narrated by Morgan Freeman and features the voices of alot of other people who are not Morgan Freeman. It won the Academy Award for best documentary feature in 1998.
The Last Days (1998)
a documentary directed by James Moll and produced by June Beallor and Kenneth Lipper in 1998. Steven Spielberg was one of the executive producers, in his role as founder of the Shoah Foundation. The film tells the stories of five Hungarian Jews during the Shoah. It focuses on the horrors of the lives of Nazi concentration camps, but also stresses the optimism and desire to survive of the survivors. The film won an Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature
One Day in September (1999)
a 1999 documentary film directed by Kevin Macdonald examining the 5 September 1972 murder of 11 Israeli athletes at the 1972 Summer Olympics in Munich Germany. Michael Douglas provides sparse narration throughout the film. The film won the Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature in 2000.
Into the Arms of Strangers: Stories of the Kindertransport (2000)
2000 Academy Award-winning Warner Bros. documentary feature film about the remarkable British rescue operation, known as the Kindertransport, which saved the lives of over 10,000 Jewish children from Nazi Germany, Austria, and Czechoslovakia by transporting them via train to England. These children, or kinder, were taken into foster homes and hostels in Britain, expecting eventually to be reunited with their parents. The majority of them never saw their families again. Written and directed by Mark Jonathan Harris, produced by Deborah Oppenheimer, narrated by Judi Dench, and made with the cooperation of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, it utilized rare and extensive footage, photographs, and artifacts, and is told in the words of the child survivors, rescuers, parents, and foster parents. These are the stories of those who survived with the help of others; they are stories of courage and hope; stories about the strength and resolve of children; and most astonishing, these are stories rarely heard about the impact of the Holocaust.
Murder on a Sunday Morning (2001)
a documentary film by French filmmaker Jean-Xavier de Lestrade. It's subject is the Brenton Butler case, a criminal case in which a fifteen-year-old boy was wrongfully accused of murder. The film won the Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature at the 74th Academy Awards in 2002. He was arrested in 200 and tried for murder of a tourist in Jacksonville, FL. The prosecution's case relied heavily upon a positive identification made by the victim's husband, and on Butler's confession, which the teen claimed was coerced. The film follows Butler's defense team building their case for his innocence.
Bowling for Columbine (2002)
a 2002 American documentary film written, directed, and narrated by Michael Moore. The film explores what Moore explains to be the main causes fro the Columbine High School Massacre in 1999 and other acts of violence with guns. Moore focuses on the background and environment in which the massacre took place and some common public opinions and assumptions about related issues. The film also looks into the nature of violence in the united states. The film brought Moore international attention as a rising filmmaker and won numerous awards, including the Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature, the Independent Spirit Award for Best Documentary Feature, and a special 55th anniversary Prize at the 2002 Cannes film festival, and the Cesar Award for Best Foreign film.
The Fog of War (2003)
a 2003 documentary film about the life and times of a former US Secretary of Defense Robert S McNamara illustrating his observations of the nature of modern warfare. The film was directed by Errol Morris and features an original score by Philip Glass. The Title derives fromt he military concept of the "___ __ ___" depicting the difficulty of making decisions in the midst of conflict
Born Into Brothels: Calcutta's Red Lights Kids (2004)
Indian-American documentary film about the children of prostitutes in Sonagachi, Kolkata's red light district. This widely acclaimed film, written and directed by Zana Briski and Ross Kauffman, won a string of accolades including the Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature in 2004
March of the Penguins (2005)
a 2005 French nature documentary directed and co-written by Luc Jacquet and co produced by Bonne Pioche and the National Geographic Society. The documentary depicts the yearly journey of the emperor penguins of Antartica. It took one year for the two isolated cinematographers Laurent Chalet and Jerome Maison to shoot the documentary
An Inconvenient Truth (2006)
Al Gore. Global Warming. Directed by Davis Guggenhiem
Taxi to the Dark Side (2007)
A 2007 documentary by American filmmaker Alex Gibney. It focueses on the killing of an Afghan taxi driver named Dilawar, beaten to death by American soldiers while being held in extrajudicial detention at the Parwan Detention Facility. It examine's the USA's policy on torture and interrogation in general, specifically the CIA's use of torture and their research into sensory deprivation. It is a part of the Why Democracy? series
Man On Wire (2008)
directed by James Marsh it is a 2008 British documentary film directed by James Marsh. The film chronicles Philippe Petit's 1974 high-wire walk between the Twin Towers of New York's World Trade Center. It is based on Philippe Petit's book, To Reach the Clouds, recently released in paperback with the new title Man on Wire. The title of the movie is taken from the police report that led to the arrest (and later release) of Petit, whose performance had lasted for almost one hour. The film is crafted like a heist film, presenting rare footage of the preparations for the event and still photographs of the walk, alongside re-enactments (with Paul McGill as the young Petit) and present-day interviews with the participants. (High Wire (1986) was a short documentary on the same subject, featuring music by Michael Nyman.)
The Cove (2009)
a 2009 documentary that was directed by Louis Psihoyos and analuzes and questions dolphin hunting practices in Japan.
Inside Job (2010)
a 2010 documentary film that was directed by Charles H Ferguson about the late-2000s financial crisis. In five parts it describes how the changes in policy environment and banking practice helped create the financial crisis
a 2011 documentary by Daniel Lindsay and TJ Martin. The film documents the struggle of a high school football team, the Manassas Tigers of Memphis, as they attempt a winning season after years of losses. The team in turned around by Bill Courtney, who helps form a group of young men into an academic and athletic team
Searching for Sugar Man (2012)
a 2012 Swedish-British documentary directed and written by Malik Bendejelloul which details the efforts of two Cape Town fans in the late 1990s, Stephen "Sugar" Segerman and Craig Bartholomew-Styrdom to find out whether the rumored death of the American musician Sixto Rodriguez was true, and if not, to discover success in the United States.
20 Feet From Stardom (2013)
a 2013 American documentary film directed by Morgan Neville. The film follows the behind-the-scenes of backup singers and stars Darlene Love, Judith Hill, Merry Clayton, Lisa Fishcer, Tata Vega, and Jo Lawry, among many others. On March 2, 2014, it won the Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature at the 86th Academy Awards
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