National film registry documentariesby tug-7 | created - 6 months ago | updated - 6 months ago | Public
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1. Nanook of the North (1922)
Not Rated | 78 min | Documentary
In this silent predecessor to the modern documentary, film-maker Robert J. Flaherty spends one year following the lives of Nanook and his family, Inuits living in the Arctic Circle.
2. Primary (1960)
Not Rated | 60 min | Documentary, History
3. Harlan County U.S.A. (1976)
PG | 103 min | Documentary
A heartbreaking record of the thirteen-month struggle between a community fighting to survive and a corporation dedicated to the bottom line.
4. Salesman (1969)
G | 91 min | Documentary, Drama
Four dogged door-to-door Bible salesmen travel from Boston to Florida on a seemingly futile quest to sell luxury editions of the Good Book to working-class Catholics.
6. Point of Order! (1964)
Not Rated | 97 min | Documentary
Point of Order is compiled from TV footage of the 1954 Army-McCarthy hearings, in which the Army accused Senator McCarthy of improperly pressuring the Army for special privileges for ... See full summary »
7. Chulas Fronteras (1976)
58 min | Documentary, Music
"Chulas Fronteras" is a documentary about the music of the Mexican community on both sides of the Texas-Mexico border, particularly of migrant farmers. It includes material about the roots ... See full summary »
Votes: 144 | Gross: $0.01M
8. Woodstock (1970)
R | 184 min | Documentary, History, Music
Oscar-winning musical chronicle that brilliantly captures the three-day rock concert and celebration of peace and love that became a capstone for the Sixties.
Votes: 16,229 | Gross: $50.00M
11. Dead Birds (1963)
Not Rated | 85 min | Documentary
DEAD BIRDS is a film about the Dani, a people dwelling in the Grand Valley of the Baliem high in the mountains of West Irian. When I shot the film in 1961, the Dani had an almost classic ... See full summary »
13. Why We Fight (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.
14. Sherman's March (1985)
Not Rated | 157 min | Documentary, Biography, Comedy
Documentary filmmaker Ross McElwee sets out to make a movie about Union General Sherman's March to the Sea towards the end of the American Civil War, but keeps getting sidetracked by his own love life.
15. The Living Desert (1953)
G | 69 min | Family, Documentary
Although first glance reveals little more than stones and sand, the desert is alive. Witness moving rocks, spitting mud pots, gorgeous flowers and the never-ending battle for survival between creatures of every shape, size and description.
16. Koyaanisqatsi (1982)
Not Rated | 86 min | Documentary, Music
A collection of expertly photographed phenomena with no conventional plot. The footage focuses on nature, humanity and the relationship between them.
Votes: 36,153 | Gross: $1.72M
17. The Thin Blue Line (1988)
Not Rated | 101 min | Documentary, Crime
A film that successfully argued that a man was wrongly convicted for murder by a corrupt justice system in Dallas County, Texas.
Votes: 21,919 | Gross: $1.21M
Not Rated | 45 min | Documentary, History, War
A documentary on the 25th bombing mission of the Memphis Belle, a B-17 in the US 8th Air Force.
19. This Is Cinerama (1952)
G | 115 min | Documentary
On the evening of September 30, 1952, the shape and sound of movies changed forever with the introduction of Cinerama.
Votes: 460 | Gross: $41.60M
20. The Endless Summer (1965)
Not Rated | 95 min | Documentary, Sport
The crown jewel to ten years of Bruce Brown surfing documentaries. Brown follows two young surfers around the world in search of the perfect wave, and ends up finding quite a few in addition to some colorful local characters.
21. All My Babies: A Midwife's Own Story (1953)
Not Rated | 55 min | Documentary
This beautiful film is the story of "Miss Mary" Coley, an African-American midwife more than half a century ago in rural Georgia. Conceived as a demonstration film for illiterate "granny" ... See full summary »
23. Antonia: A Portrait of the Woman (1974)
G | 58 min | Documentary, Biography
A special deluxe edition of the 1974 Oscar nominated documentary film about the first female conductor to conduct major orchestras in the US and Europe, Antonia Brico!
24. Garlic Is as Good as Ten Mothers (1980)
Not Rated | 51 min | Documentary, History
A documentary on the history of garlic. Blank interviews chefs, garlic lovers, and historians about the their love of the 'stinking rose.'
25. A Time for Burning (1967)
58 min | Documentary
In the mid-1960s, 1200 White people attend Augustana Lutheran Church in Omaha, Nebraska. Nearby, Negro Lutherans worship at Hope Lutheran Church. Reverend Bill Youngdahl, Augustana's pastor... See full summary »
26. Hoop Dreams (1994)
PG-13 | 170 min | Documentary, Drama, Sport
A film following the lives of two inner-city Chicago boys who struggle to become college basketball players on the road to going professional.
Votes: 24,860 | Gross: $7.83M
28. Uksuum Cauyai: The Drums of Winter (1989)
Not Rated | 90 min | Documentary, Music
This feature-length documentary explores the traditional dance, music and spiritual world of the Yupik Eskimo people of Emmonak, a remote village at the mouth of the Yukon River on the ... See full summary »
29. Water and Power (1989)
57 min | Documentary
By using a series of visually and aurally dense tableaux created with advanced motion control, optical printing and animation techniques, the film explores the complex battle for natural ... See full summary »
30. On the Bowery (1956)
Not Rated | 65 min | Documentary, Drama
At the time of this film, the Bowery was a neighborhood in New York City populated largely by the down and out, and largely by transients. Those that can work generally can only find short ... See full summary »
Votes: 861 | Gross: $0.01M
31. Grey Gardens (1975)
PG | 95 min | Documentary, Comedy, Drama
Meet a mother and daughter, high-society dropouts, reclusive cousins of Jackie O., managing to thrive together amid the decay and disorder of their East Hampton, NY, mansion, making for an eerily ramshackle echo of the American Camelot.
Votes: 12,623 | Gross: $0.03M
34. 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.
Votes: 5,732 | Gross: $0.01M
35. Roger & Me (1989)
R | 91 min | Documentary
Votes: 25,761 | Gross: $6.71M
36. Decasia (2002)
Not Rated | 70 min | Documentary
A meditation on the human quest to transcend physicality, constructed from decaying archival footage and set to an original symphonic score.
37. Sink or Swim (1990)
Not Rated | 48 min | Documentary
Through a series of twenty six short stories, a girl describes the childhood events that shaped her ideas about fatherhood, family relations, work and play. As the stories unfold, a dual ... See full summary »
39. Paris Is Burning (1990)
R | 71 min | Documentary
A chronicle of New York's drag scene in the 1980s, focusing on balls, voguing and the ambitions and dreams of those who gave the era its warmth and vitality.
Votes: 13,402 | Gross: $3.78M
40. The Decline of Western Civilization (1981)
Not Rated | 100 min | Documentary, History, Music
A look into the Los Angeles punk rock scene, that was largely ignored by the rock music press of the time.
41. The Atomic Cafe (1982)
Not Rated | 86 min | Documentary, History
Disturbing collection of 1940s and 1950s United States government-issued propaganda films designed to reassure Americans that the atomic bomb was not a threat to their safety.
Votes: 3,953 | Gross: $0.02M
43. Thelonious Monk: Straight, No Chaser (1988)
PG-13 | 90 min | Documentary, Biography, Music
A documentary film about the life of pianist and jazz great Thelonious Sphere Monk. Features live performances by Monk and his band, and interviews with friends and family about the offbeat genius.
Votes: 1,093 | Gross: $0.52M
44. 4 Little Girls (1997)
TV-14 | 102 min | Documentary, History
A documentary of the notorious racial terrorist bombing of an African American church during the Civil Rights Movement.
Votes: 2,958 | Gross: $0.13M
46. Hearts and Minds (1974)
R | 112 min | Documentary, History, War