Dave Tompkins :: DVD Library :: Academy Awards (Oscars) :: Best Documentary

(text-only version)

2013  Twenty Feet from Stardom (2013)

Backup singers live in a world that lies just beyond the spotlight. Their voices bring harmony to the biggest bands in popular music, but we've had no idea who these singers are or what lives they lead, until now.

2012  Searching for Sugar Man (2012)

Two South Africans set out to discover what happened to their unlikely musical hero, the mysterious 1970s rock 'n' roller, Rodriguez.

2011  Undefeated (2011)

A documentary on an underdog football team who look to reverse their fortunes with coach Bill Courtney.

2010  Inside Job (2010)

Takes a closer look at what brought about the financial meltdown.

2009  The Cove (2009)

Using state-of-the-art equipment, a group of activists, led by renowned dolphin trainer Ric O'Barry, infiltrate a cove near Taijii, Japan to expose both a shocking instance of animal abuse and a serious threat to human health.

2008  Man On Wire (2008)

A look at tightrope walker Philippe Petit's daring, but illegal, high-wire routine performed between New York City's World Trade Center's twin towers in 1974, what some consider, ''the artistic crime of the century.''

2007  Taxi to the Dark Side (2007)

An in-depth look at the torture practices of the United States in Afghanistan, Iraq and Guantanamo Bay, focusing on an innocent taxi driver in Afghanistan who was tortured and killed in 2002.

2006  An Inconvenient Truth (2006)

A documentary on Al Gore's campaign to make the issue of global warming a recognized problem worldwide.

2005  March of the Penguins (2005)

A look at the annual journey of Emperor penguins as they march -- single file -- to their traditional breeding ground.

2004  Born Into Brothels: Calcutta's Red Light Kids (2004)

Two documentary filmmakers chronicle their time in Sonagchi, Calcutta and the relationships they developed with children of prostitutes who work the city's notorious red light district.

2003  The Fog of War (2003)

A film about the former US Secretary of Defense and the various difficult lessons he learned about the nature and conduct of modern war.

2002  Bowling for Columbine (2002)

Filmmaker Michael Moore explores the roots of America's predilection for gun violence.

2001  Murder on a Sunday Morning (2001)

Oscar-winning documentary that documents a murder trial in which a 15-year-old African-American is wrongfully accused of a 2000 murder in Jacksonville, Florida.

2000  Into the Arms of Strangers: Stories of the Kindertransport (2000)

The story of the child refugees who were transported to Britain to escape the Nazi Holocaust.

1999  One Day in September (1999)

The Palestinian terrorist group Black September holds Israeli athletes hostage at the 1972 Summer Olympic Games in Munich.

1998  The Last Days (1998)

Five Jewish Hungarians, now U.S. citizens, tell their stories: before March, 1944, when Nazis began to exterminate Hungarian Jews...

1997  The Long Way Home (1997)

The story of the post World War II Jewish refugee situation from liberation to the establishment of the modern state of Israel.

1996  When We Were Kings (1996)

A documentary of the 1974 heavyweight championship bout in Zaire between champion George Foreman and underdog challenger Muhammad Ali.

1995  Anne Frank Remembered (1995)

Using previously unreleased archival material in addition to contemporary interviews, this academy award-winning...

1994  Maya Lin: A Strong Clear Vision (1994)

A film about the work of the artist most famous for her monuments such as the Vietnam Memorial Wall and the Civil Rights Fountain Memorial.

1993  I Am a Promise: The Children of Stanton Elementary School (1993)
1992  The Panama Deception (1992)

A film about the true reasons for the 1989 US invasion of Panama and big media complicity in these activities.

1991  In the Shadow of the Stars (1991)
1990  American Dream (1990)

Chronicles the six-month strike at Hormel in Austin, Minnesota, in 1985-86. The local union, P-9 of the Food and Commercial Workers...

1989  Common Threads: Stories from the Quilt (1989)

A collection of profiles of people dead from AIDS who are remembered in the AIDS Memorial Quilt.

1988  Hotel Terminus (1988)

A documentary of the prozess against Klaus Barbie, the Gestapo chief of Lyon, and about his life after the war.

1987The Ten-Year Lunch: The Wit and Legend of the Algonquin Round Table (1987)
1986Artie Shaw: Time Is All You've Got (1985)
1986Down and Out in America (1986)
1985  Broken Rainbow (1985)

Documentary chronicling the government relocation of 10,000 Navajo Indians in Arizona.

1984  The Times of Harvey Milk (1984)

A documentary of the successful career and assassination of San Francisco's first elected gay councilor.

1983He Makes Me Feel Like Dancin' (1983)
1982Just Another Missing Kid (1982)
1981  Genocide (1982)

A chilling, heartbreaking testament to the strength and suffering of the Jewish people and the courage and heroism of those who came to their aid...

1980  From Mao to Mozart: Isaac Stern in China (1981)

Isaac Stern's cultural tour of China is seen, with the master violinist performing and mentoring young Chinese musicians...

1979Best Boy (1979)
1978  Scared Straight! (1978)

The filmed depiction of a program where convicts tell troubled kids about the horrors of prison life.

1977Who Are the DeBolts? [And Where Did They Get 19 Kids?] (1977)
1976  Harlan County U.S.A. (1976)

A filmed account of a bitterly violent miner strike.

1975The Man Who Skied Down Everest (1975)
1974  Hearts & Minds (1974)

A documentary of the conflicting attitudes of the opponents of the Vietnam war.

1973The Great American Cowboy (1973)
1972Marjoe (1972)
1971The Hellstrom Chronicle (1971)
1970  Woodstock (1970)

The film chronicle of the legendary 1969 music festival.

1969L'amour de la vie - Artur Rubinstein (1969)
1968Journey Into Self (1969)
1967La section Anderson (1967)
1966  The War Game (1965)

The War Game is a fictional, worst-case-scenario docu-drama about nuclear war and its aftermath in and around a typical English city...

1965The Eleanor Roosevelt Story (1965)
1964Le monde sans soleil (1964)
1963Robert Frost: A Lover's Quarrel with the World (1963)
1962Black Fox: The True Story of Adolf Hitler (1962)
1961Le ciel et la boue (1961)
1960The Horse with the Flying Tail (1960)
1959Serengeti darf nicht sterben (1959)
1958White Wilderness (1958)
1957Albert Schweitzer (1957)
1956Le monde du silence (1956)
1955The Unconquered (1954)
1954The Vanishing Prairie (1954)
1953The Living Desert (1953)
1952The Sea Around Us (1953)
1951Kon-Tiki (1950)
1950The Titan: Story of Michelangelo (1950)
1949Daybreak in Udi (1950)
1948The Secret Land (1948)
1947Design for Death (1947)
1945The True Glory (1945)
1944The Fighting Lady (1944)
1943Desert Victory (1943)

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