DVD Documentary Recommendations

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Jonathan Perregaux, Jan 12, 2002.

  1. Jonathan Perregaux

    Jonathan Perregaux Screenwriter

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    I just finished watching The World at War series, which I haven’t seen since I was a child. It was, in a word, awesome. I learned so much about World War II that my head spun, but now everything makes sense and I feel enriched by it. I’d rank this series right up there with a few others in my DVD collection, which includes Cosmos by Carl Sagan and Walking With Dinosaurs. I would have to say that by comparison to these, Stephen Hawking’s Universe is not quite as good but it was engrossing nonetheless.
    Now I’m hooked. Are there any other must-see documentaries on DVD that I’m missing out on?
     
  2. gregstaten

    gregstaten Supporting Actor

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    Oh yea. There are plenty of great documentaries on DVD. Among my favorites:

    IMAGES OF LIGHT - a phenomenal documentary on cinematography.

    FOR ALL MANKIND - a very moving film about the Apollo project. Very moving, especially for those who love space.

    WHEN WE WERE KINGS - about the Rumble in the Jungle. The film ALI pales in comparison to the real thing. Even if you don't like boxing (I don't), a fantastic film.

    AMERICAN MOVIE - very entertaining documentary about a somewhat hapless wanna be filmmaker and his efforts to make a film.

    THE BATTLE OVER CITIZEN KANE - (also available as part of the CITIZEN KANE Special Edition) - originally made for PBS, this documentary is a great look at the story surrounding the film.

    MAN WITH THE MOVIE CAMERA - incredibly influential Russian documentary. The film has no dialog, just music. Michael Bay was obviously strongly influenced by this film.

    STARTUP.COM - one of the best documentaries (and films) of last year. A great look at the dot com world.

    GIMME SHELTER - a document of the notorious Rolling Stones concert. Criterion did a hell of a job restoring it.

    MR. DEATH - Errol Morris' most recent documentary. Fantastic film.

    TRIUMPH OF THE WILL - perhaps the most controversial documentary ever made.

    Finally, you can't forget about Ken Burns' epic documentaries, JAZZ, BASEBALL and CIVIL WAR.

    These are but the beginning, but a great place to start.

    -greg
     
  3. Julian Lalor

    Julian Lalor Supporting Actor

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    The Planets is an excellent documentary on DVD; it's just unfortunate thr R1 version is pan and scan, where the R2 version is 16:9. A companion piece to that documentary series, Space, was also released in R2, also in anamorphic and DD 5.1. It's probably the most depressing documentary series on speace exploration I've ever seen though (it's one long downer about the inevitability of Earth's demise), but is well made and has six 30 minute episodes and is easy to watch. Another great documentary series on R2 (coming to R1 soon, I understand) is The Blue Planet, made by Sir David Attenborough. I'm not much of a nature fan, but this was great stuff. Again, presented in anamorphic.
    On the Holocaust I'd recommend The Last Days and Into the Arms of Strangers, both Oscar winners.
    Ken Burns' Jazz andBaseball are great, it's just a pity his best work The Civil War hasn't been announced yet. Go to www.pbs.org for a comprehensive list of their documentaries on DVD. There almost always worth a watch.
     
  4. Peter D

    Peter D Stunt Coordinator

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  5. Patrick Larkin

    Patrick Larkin Screenwriter

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    Frank Lloyd Wright documentary by Ken Burns. PBS Video. Great.
     
  6. Greg_Y

    Greg_Y Screenwriter

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    These are different types of documentaries than what has been recommended before, but they're some of my favorite films:
    Hands on a Hard Body
    Brother's Keeper
    American Movie
    Images of an Assassination (Zapruder film reconstruction)
    Roger & Me
    You can try this link as well:
    http://www.dvdempire.com/exec/v5_cat...at_ref_id=1283
     
  7. Neil Joseph

    Neil Joseph Lead Actor

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    Some documentaries that I thought were great include...

    - Jurassic Park

    - Dante's Peak

    - The Abyss

    - The Phantom Menace

    - The Thing
     
  8. SteveGon

    SteveGon Executive Producer

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    If you're into human-interest documentaries, try Dark Days. It chronicles the lives of various homeless people who take up residence in an abandoned tunnel in New York City. I'll get around to posting a review of it sooner or later... [​IMG]
     
  9. Lance Nichols

    Lance Nichols Supporting Actor

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    My second for For all Mankind , and although not a true documentary, but a "docudrama" From The Earth To the Moon.

    I think of all the discs I own and have rented, FTETTM is my all time favorite, and has had the most viewings. Spyder, and Galileo Was Right are my favorites, I think.

    I only lived at the tail end of the Moon shot era, but the series captures my dimly remembered feelings, and my hope for the future. The bean counters have not killed MY dreams.
     
  10. Bill J

    Bill J Producer

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    For All Mankind
     
  11. Steve jc

    Steve jc Agent

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    Crumb: a somewhat disturbing look at cartoonist R. Crumb and his family.

    Divine Trash: behind the scenes of John Waters' early works.

    Trinity and Beyond: well made documentary chronicling footage of early atomic test blasts.
     
  12. Steve_Ch

    Steve_Ch Supporting Actor

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    >>Trinity and Beyond: well made documentary chronicling footage of early atomic test blasts.
     
  13. Jesse Leonard

    Jesse Leonard Second Unit

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    Salesman is my favorite documentary. You can find it on DVD from the Criterion Collection.
     
  14. David Wilkins

    David Wilkins Supporting Actor

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    By all means... in my humble opinion: "One Day In September", the outstanding documentary about the masacre of Israeli Olympic athletes in Munich, 1972.
     
  15. Peter Overduin

    Peter Overduin Supporting Actor

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    IMAX - The Living Sea: with narration by Meryl Streep, a score from Sting and all in DTS - it's a demo disc to boot
     
  16. Darrel Johansen

    Darrel Johansen Stunt Coordinator

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    Glad to see someone mentioned "Don't Look Back," a great documentary about Bob Dylan.

    I'd also recommend "The Sorrow and the Pity," about France during the German occupation in WW II, and "Badfinger," a look at what happens to a rock band when everything goes wrong. "Half Japanese," which may, just possibly be a spoof, but riveting nevertheless --again a music documentary.

    "Six Days in Roswell" is a good film about UFO enthusiasts, as is "Trekkies," which is about Star Trek fanatics.

    "Triumph of the Will," a propaganda piece produced by Hitler is fascinating.

    Then there is "This is Spinal Tap" and "The Rutles: All You Need Is Cash," not strictly speaking documentaries or rock-umentaries, but mock-umentaries.
     
  17. Mike Brantley

    Mike Brantley Stunt Coordinator

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    A Personal Journey With Martin Scorsese: Through American Movies (1995) -- Legendary filmmaker Martin Scorsese shares his personal view and knowledge of the films, directors and actors that have shaped the world's most popular art form.
    Get this, and then spend all your days and nights seeking out and looking at every movie he mentions. That's what I'm doing, and it will take years. [​IMG]
     
  18. Ken_McAlinden

    Ken_McAlinden Producer
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    I actually quite enjoyed the documentary about The Sex Pistols, "The Filth and the Fury". If you are a politics junkie, you will want to see "The War Room".

    Errol Morris always makes great films, and you can't really go wrong with him.

    Despite it's status as a Woody Allen punch-line, "The Sorrow and the Pity" is a compelling view if you are interested in WWII history.

    Regards,
     
  19. Matthew Anderson

    Matthew Anderson Second Unit

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    I really like the documentaries on all the James Bond DVDs such as the ones on set designers Ken Adam and Peter Lamont. There are some really ones on other Bond discs.
     
  20. Jeff_HR

    Jeff_HR Producer

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    Connections 1 with James Burke! Great stuff!
     

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