In Albert and David Maysles’s 1976 cult classic, Grey Gardens, meet Big and Little Edie Beale—high-society dropouts, mother and daughter, reclusive cousins of Jackie O.—thriving together amid the decay and disorder of their ramshackle East Hampton mansion.
1975 • 87 minutes • 1.66:1 • United States
Spine: #288 Editions: DVD, Hulu Plus, iTunes
Trickery. Deceit. Magic. In Orson Welles’s free-form documentary F for Fake, the legendary filmmaker (and self-described charlatan) gleefully engages the central preoccupation of his career—the tenuous line between truth and illusion, art and lies.
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.
1994 • 171 minutes • 1.33:1 • United States
Spine: #289 Editions: DVD, Hulu Plus, iTunes
Filmed over a five-year period, Hoop Dreams follows young Arthur Agee and William Gates as they navigate the complex, competitive world of scholastic athletics, while striving to overcome the intense pressures of family life and the realities of their Chicago streets.
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.