Documentaries on cinema

by richie-tm | created - 27 Aug 2012 | updated - 3 months ago | Public

a movie buff companion guide

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1. Cameraman: The Life and Work of Jack Cardiff (2010)

Not Rated | 86 min | Documentary, Biography

71 Metascore

In 2001 Jack Cardiff (1914-2009) became the first director of photography in the history of the Academy Awards to win an Honorary Oscar. But the first time he clasped the famous statuette ... See full summary »

Director: Craig McCall | Stars: Jack Cardiff, Martin Scorsese, Kirk Douglas, Lauren Bacall

Votes: 1,120 | Gross: $0.02M

2. 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: 2,930 | Gross: $0.80M

3. These Amazing Shadows (2011)

Not Rated | 88 min | Documentary

Tells the history and importance of The National Film Registry, a roll call of American cinema treasures that reflects the diversity of film, and indeed the American experience itself.

Directors: Paul Mariano, Kurt Norton | Stars: Jeff Adachi, James H. Billington, Robin Blaetz, Brooks Boliek

Votes: 1,550

4. The Cutting Edge: The Magic of Movie Editing (2004)

TV-PG | 98 min | Documentary

Documentary about the art of film editing. Clips are shown from many groundbreaking films with innovative editing styles.

Director: Wendy Apple | Stars: Kathy Bates, Zach Staenberg, Jodie Foster, Michael Tronick

Votes: 2,507

5. Side by Side (2012)

Not Rated | 99 min | Documentary

82 Metascore

The documentary investigates the history, process and workflow of both digital and photochemical film creation.

Director: Christopher Kenneally | Stars: Derek Ambrosi, Michael Ballhaus, Andrzej Bartkowiak, Dion Beebe

Votes: 12,712 | Gross: $0.03M

6. The Pervert's Guide to Cinema (2006)

150 min | Documentary

Slavoj Zizek examines famous films in a philosophical and a psychoanalytic context.

Director: Sophie Fiennes | Star: Slavoj Zizek

Votes: 5,956

7. A Decade Under the Influence (2003)

R | 138 min | Documentary

67 Metascore

A documentary examining the decade of the 1970s as a turning point in American cinema. Some of today's best filmmakers interview the influential directors of that time.

Directors: Ted Demme, Richard LaGravenese | Stars: Francis Ford Coppola, William Friedkin, Robert Altman, John G. Avildsen

Votes: 2,447 | Gross: $0.03M

8. Easy Riders, Raging Bulls: How the Sex, Drugs and Rock 'N' Roll Generation Saved Hollywood (2003)

TV-14 | 119 min | Documentary

A look at 1970s Hollywood when it was known as New Hollywood, and the director was the star of the movie.

Director: Kenneth Bowser | Stars: Martin Scorsese, Dennis Hopper, Peter Bogdanovich, Sam Peckinpah

Votes: 2,555

9. Century of Cinema (1995–1998)
Episode: A Personal Journey with Martin Scorsese Through American Movies (1995)

225 min | Documentary

Martin Scorsese describes his initial and growing obsession with films from the 1940s and 50s as the art form developed and grew with clips from classics and cult classics.

Directors: Martin Scorsese, Michael Henry Wilson | Stars: Martin Scorsese, Allison Anders, Kathryn Bigelow, Francis Ford Coppola

Votes: 4,520

10. Hearts of Darkness: A Filmmaker's Apocalypse (1991)

R | 96 min | Documentary

Documentary that chronicles how Francis Ford Coppola's Apocalypse Now (1979) was plagued by extraordinary script, shooting, budget, and casting problems--nearly destroying the life and career of the celebrated director.

Directors: Fax Bahr, George Hickenlooper, Eleanor Coppola | Stars: Dennis Hopper, Martin Sheen, Marlon Brando, George Lucas

Votes: 17,564 | Gross: $1.32M

11. Stanley Kubrick: A Life in Pictures (2001)

Not Rated | 142 min | Documentary, Biography

The career and life of Stanley Kubrick is explored through pictures, clips from his films, his old home movies, comments from his colleagues and a narration by Tom Cruise.

Director: Jan Harlan | Stars: Katharina Kubrick, Malcolm McDowell, Stanley Kubrick, Barbara Kroner

Votes: 9,608

12. This Film Is Not Yet Rated (2006)

Unrated | 98 min | Documentary

75 Metascore

Kirby Dick's exposé about the American movie ratings board.

Director: Kirby Dick | Stars: Kirby Dick, Kimberly Peirce, Darren Aronofsky, Atom Egoyan

Votes: 27,008 | Gross: $0.30M

13. No Subtitles Necessary: Laszlo & Vilmos (2008)

Not Rated | 86 min | Documentary

The lifelong friendship of the great cinematographers Laszlo Kovacs and Vilmos Zsigmond and their impact on American cinema.

Director: James Chressanthis | Stars: Karen Black, Peter Bogdanovich, Sandra Bullock, James L. Carter

Votes: 330

14. Tales from the Script (2009)

Not Rated | 105 min | Documentary

War stories and life lessons from the industry's top writers.

Director: Peter Hanson | Stars: Allison Anders, Jane Anderson, Doug Atchison, John August

Votes: 1,409 | Gross: $0.01M

15. Not Quite Hollywood: The Wild, Untold Story of Ozploitation! (2008)

R | 103 min | Documentary, History

76 Metascore

The story of the Australian exploitation genre cinema of 1970s and 80s.

Director: Mark Hartley | Stars: Phillip Adams, Glory Annen, Christine Amor, Victoria Anoux

Votes: 3,820 | Gross: $0.02M

16. Dangerous Days: Making Blade Runner (2007 Video)

214 min | Documentary

The definitive three-and-a-half hour documentary about the troubled creation and enduring legacy of the science fiction classic Blade Runner (1982), culled from 80 interviews and hours of never-before-seen outtakes and lost footage.

Director: Charles de Lauzirika | Stars: Daryl Hannah, Michael Deeley, Harrison Ford, Joanna Cassidy

Votes: 1,772

17. Brando (2007 TV Movie)

165 min | Documentary, Biography

The life and legacy of Marlon Brando and how he changed acting.

Directors: Mimi Freedman, Leslie Greif | Stars: Marlon Brando, Edward R. Murrow, Janet Aemisegger, Betty Gossell

Votes: 573

18. Blood, Boobs & Beast (2007)

75 min | Documentary

Blood, Boobs and Beast tells the compelling story of Don Dohler, whose movies have been called everything from oddly brilliant to some of the worst films of all time. Despite his critics, ... See full summary »

Director: John Kinhart | Stars: Don Dohler, J.J. Abrams, Robert Long II, Mitch Klein

Votes: 251

19. Wanderlust (2006 TV Movie)

Not Rated | 84 min | Documentary, History

A documentary on road movies and their effect on American culture.

Directors: Shari Springer Berman, Robert Pulcini | Stars: Allison Anders, Jeanine Basinger, Robert Benton, Karen Black

Votes: 100

20. Midnight Movies: From the Margin to the Mainstream (2005)

TV-14 | 86 min | Documentary

From 1970-1977, six low budget films shown at midnight transformed the way we make and watch films.

Director: Stuart Samuels | Stars: John Waters, Ben Barenholtz, Alejandro Jodorowsky, Alan Douglas

Votes: 1,403

21. 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

22. Edgar G. Ulmer - The Man Off-screen (2004)

77 min | Documentary, Biography, History

58 Metascore

A documentary about the "King of B-Movies", Edgar G. Ulmer. It includes interviews with well-known filmmakers Roger Corman, Peter Bogdanovich, Wim Wenders, Joe Dante, and Ulmers's daughter, Arianne Ulmer.

Director: Michael Palm | Stars: Peter Bogdanovich, Christian Cargnelli, John Carradine, Robert Clarke

Votes: 173

23. Charlie: The Life and Art of Charles Chaplin (2003)

TV-PG | 132 min | Documentary, Biography

80 Metascore

Narrated by Sydney Pollack, film critic Richard Schickel's dazzling two-hour plus documentary to one of the towering figures in film: Charles Chaplin. Hardcore Chaplin fans may not find ... See full summary »

Director: Richard Schickel | Stars: Charles Chaplin, Sydney Pollack, Bill Irwin, Norman Lloyd

Votes: 1,283

24. Hell's Highway: The True Story of Highway Safety Films (2003)

Not Rated | 91 min | Documentary, History

The history of traffic safety educational films and their notoriously lurid content.

Director: Bret Wood | Stars: Richard Anderson, Sonny Bono, John F. Butler, Hans Conried

Votes: 186 | Gross: $0.00M

25. An Evening with Kevin Smith (2002 Video)

Not Rated | 224 min | Comedy, Documentary

Kevin Smith interacts in Q&A sessions throughout various college stops in the USA.

Director: J.M. Kenny | Stars: Kevin Smith, Jason Mewes, Scott Mosier, Anthony Snitzer

Votes: 5,971

26. Lost in La Mancha (2002)

R | 89 min | Documentary

74 Metascore

Terry Gilliam's doomed attempt to get his film, The Man Who Killed Don Quixote (2018), off the ground.

Directors: Keith Fulton, Louis Pepe | Stars: Terry Gilliam, Johnny Depp, Jeff Bridges, Tony Grisoni

Votes: 10,918 | Gross: $0.73M

27. The Kid Stays in the Picture (2002)

R | 93 min | Documentary, Biography

75 Metascore

Documentary about legendary Paramount producer Robert Evans (the film shares the same name as Evans's famous 1994 autobiography).

Directors: Nanette Burstein, Brett Morgen | Stars: Robert Evans, Eddie Albert, Peter Bart, Charlie Bluhdorn

Votes: 6,734 | Gross: $1.43M

28. The Short Films of David Lynch (2002 Video)

97 min | Documentary, Animation, Drama

A collection of visionary director David Lynch's short films from the first 29 years of his career is accompanied by a special introduction to each film by the director himself.

Director: David Lynch | Stars: Jeffe Alperi, Robert Chadwick, Catherine E. Coulson, Eddy Dixon

Votes: 3,039

29. Masters of Horror (2002 TV Movie)

Unrated | 90 min | Documentary

More clips from horror movies, plus interviews with other horror legends.

Directors: Mike Mendez, Dave Parker | Stars: Dario Argento, Bruce Campbell, John Carpenter, Wes Craven

Votes: 505

30. The 'Alien' Saga (2002 TV Movie)

108 min | Documentary

The special edition of the Alien saga.

Director: Brent Zacky | Stars: John Hurt, Jay Benedict, Michael Biehn, Martin Bower

Votes: 370

31. The Tramp and the Dictator (2002)

56 min | Documentary, Biography, History

A look at the parallel lives of Charles Chaplin and Adolf Hitler and how they crossed with the creation of The Great Dictator (1940).

Directors: Kevin Brownlow, Michael Kloft | Stars: Kenneth Branagh, Sydney Chaplin, Walter Bernstein, Ray Bradbury

Votes: 589

32. Life Goes On (2002 TV Movie)

86 min | Documentary, War

The absurd and often surrealistic story of the last propaganda film of the Third Reich.

Director: Mark Cairns | Stars: Dieter Moor, Hans Abich, Günther Anders, Frank Brückner

Votes: 68

33. The Matrix Revisited (2001 Video)

Not Rated | 123 min | Documentary

An "extras-only" DVD, packed with documentaries and behind-the-scenes footage from the filming of the ground-breaking 1999 movie "The Matrix". Includes a rare interview with the elusive ... See full summary »

Director: Josh Oreck | Stars: Lorenzo di Bonaventura, Joel Silver, Bill Pope, Owen Paterson

Votes: 3,072

34. Schlock! The Secret History of American Movies (2001)

Not Rated | 89 min | Documentary

A look at several legendary 'exploitation' film-makers from the golden days of drive-in movies, and how they had a lasting effect on the movie landscape in general.

Director: Ray Greene | Stars: F.X. Feeney, Maila Nurmi, Michael Copner, Samuel Z. Arkoff

Votes: 522

35. The American Nightmare (2000)

Not Rated | 73 min | Documentary, Horror

An examination into the nature of 1960s-'70s horror films, the artists involved, and how they reflected contemporary society.

Director: Adam Simon | Stars: George A. Romero, John Carpenter, Tom Savini, David Cronenberg

Votes: 1,787

36. My Best Fiend (1999)

Not Rated | 95 min | Documentary, Biography

70 Metascore

In the 1950s, an adolescent Werner Herzog was transfixed by a film performance of the young Klaus Kinski. Years later, they would share an apartment where, in an unabated, forty-eight-hour ... See full summary »

Director: Werner Herzog | Stars: Werner Herzog, Klaus Kinski, Claudia Cardinale, Justo González

Votes: 9,846 | Gross: $0.10M

37. American Movie (1999)

R | 107 min | Documentary, Comedy

84 Metascore

Documentary about an aspiring filmmaker's attempts to finance his dream project by finally completing the low-budget horror film he abandoned years before.

Director: Chris Smith | Stars: Mark Borchardt, Mike Schank, Tom Schimmels, Monica Borchardt

Votes: 16,190 | Gross: $1.16M

38. Divine Trash (1998)

97 min | Documentary

The life and times of Baltimore film maker and midnight movie pioneer, John Waters. Intercut with a 1972 interview of Waters are clips from his first films and recent interviews with his ... See full summary »

Director: Steve Yeager | Stars: John Waters, Pat Waters, John Waters Sr., Steve Buscemi

Votes: 990 | Gross: $0.04M

39. Behind the Planet of the Apes (1998 TV Movie)

Not Rated | 127 min | Documentary

The story behind the making of the 5 "Planet of the Apes" movies.

Directors: Kevin Burns, David Comtois | Stars: Roddy McDowall, Mort Abrahams, Charlton Heston, Richard D. Zanuck

Votes: 1,539

40. 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: 935

41. The Celluloid Closet (1995)

R | 102 min | Documentary, History

A documentary surveying the various Hollywood screen depictions of homosexuals and the attitudes behind them throughout the history of North American film.

Directors: Rob Epstein, Jeffrey Friedman | Stars: Lily Tomlin, Tony Curtis, Susie Bright, Arthur Laurents

Votes: 5,932 | Gross: $1.51M

43. The Wonderful, Horrible Life of Leni Riefenstahl (1993)

183 min | Documentary, Biography, History

A documentary about the life and work of Leni Riefenstahl, a German film director most notorious for making the most effective propaganda films for the Nazis.

Director: Ray Müller | Stars: Leni Riefenstahl, Marlene Dietrich, Arnold Fanck, Walter Frentz

Votes: 1,660 | Gross: $0.45M

44. The Godfather Family: A Look Inside (1990 TV Movie)

73 min | Documentary

A documentary on the making of the three Godfather films, with interviews and recollections from the film makers and cast. This feature also includes the original screen tests of some of ... See full summary »

Director: Jeff Werner | Stars: Francis Ford Coppola, Mario Puzo, Marlon Brando, James Caan

Votes: 986