While laboring to sell a gold-embossed version of the Good Book, Paul Brennan and his colleagues target the beleaguered masses—then face the demands of quotas and the frustrations of life on the road. A landmark American documentary.
1955 • 31 minutes • 1.33:1 • France
Spine: #197 Editions: DVD, Hulu Plus, iTunes
One of the first cinematic reflections on the horrors of the Holocaust, Alain Resnais’ documentary Night and Fog (Nuit et Brouillard) contrasts the stillness of the abandoned camps’ quiet, empty buildings with haunting wartime footage.
1982 • 95 minutes • 1.33:1 • United States
Spine: #287 Editions: DVD, Hulu Plus, iTunes
Les Blank documents acclaimed German filmmaker Werner Herzog’s ambitious and troubled production of Fitzcarraldo, the story of one man’s attempt to build an opera house deep in the Amazon jungle.
1984 • 72 minutes • 1.33:1 • Japan
Spine: #425 Editions: DVD, Hulu Plus, iTunes
A unique, enthralling cinematic experience, Teshigahara’s Antonio Gaudí, less a documentary than a visual poem, takes viewers on a tour of Gaudí’s truly spectacular architecture.
1989 • 79 minutes • 1.33:1 • United States
Spine: #54 Editions: DVD, Blu-Ray, Hulu Plus, iTunes
Al Reinert’s visually dazzling documentary For All Mankind is the story of the twenty-four men who traveled to the moon—told in their words, in their voices, using the images of their experiences.
1985 • 60 minutes • 1.33:1 • United States
Spine: #532 Editions: DVD, Hulu Plus, iTunes
Crumb director Terry Zwigoff’s first film is a true treat: a documentary about the obscure country-blues musician and idiosyncratic visual artist Howard “Louie Bluie” Armstrong, member of the last known black string band in America.
1984 • 88 minutes • 1.33:1 • United States
Spine: #557 Editions: DVD, Blu-Ray, Hulu Plus, iTunes
The Oscar-winning The Times of Harvey Milk, was as groundbreaking as its subject. One of the first feature documentaries to address gay life in America, it’s a work of advocacy itself, bringing Milk’s message of hope and equality to a wider audience.
Meet Big and Little Edie Beale: mother and daughter, high-society dropouts, and reclusive cousins of Jackie Onassis. The two manage to thrive together amid the decay and disorder of their East Hampton, New York, mansion.
1975 • 88 minutes • 1.66:1 • United States
Spine: #288 Editions: DVD, Blu-Ray, Hulu Plus, iTunes
Trickery. Deceit. Magic. In F for Fake, a free-form sort-of documentary by Orson Welles, the legendary filmmaker (and self-described charlatan) gleefully reengages with the central preoccupation of his career: the tenuous lines between illusion and truth, art and lies.
1994 • 172 minutes • 1.33:1 • United States
Spine: #289 Editions: DVD, Blu-Ray, Hulu Plus, iTunes
This landmark film, which documents the journeys of two remarkable families, continues to educate and inspire viewers, and it is widely considered one of the great works of American nonfiction cinema.