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1930s Documentary Movies

Public list by WPS with 84 movies or TV shows/series

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71 movies found (page 1/3):

À propos de Nice(1930)

24min | Documentary
3.4/5 (with 44 votes)

What starts off as a conventional travelogue turns into a satirical portrait of the town of Nice on the French Côte d'Azur, especially its wealthy inhabitants.

Directed by Jean Vigo

Olympia Part One: Festival of the Nations(1938)

2h 6min | Documentary
3.5/5 (with 33 votes)

The First part of Olympia, a documentary about the 1936 Olympic games in Berlin by German Director Leni Riefenstahl. The film played in theaters in 1938 and again in 1952 after the fall of the Nazi Regime.

Directed by Leni Riefenstahl - With Adolf Hitler, Jesse Owens, Luz Long, Spiros Louis, Rie Mastenbroek, Leni Riefenstahl, ...

Land Without Bread(1933)

29min | Documentary
3.6/5 (with 52 votes)

An exploration —manipulated and staged— of life in Las Hurdes, in the province of Cáceres, in Extremadura, Spain, as it was in 1932. Insalubrity, misery and lack of opportunities provoke the emigration of young people and the solitude of those who remain in the desolation of one of the poorest and least developed Spanish regions at that time. (Silent short, voiced in 1937 and 1996.)


3.1/5 (with 24 votes)

Short documentary directed by Jean Vigo about the French swimmer Jean Taris. The film is notable for the many innovative techniques that Vigo uses, including close ups and freeze frames of the swimmer's body.

Directed by Jean Vigo - With Jean Taris

Olympia Part Two: Festival of Beauty(1938)

1h 40min | Documentary
3.5/5 (with 24 votes)

The Second part of Olympia, a documentary about the 1936 Olympic games in Berlin by German Director Leni Riefenstahl. The film played in theaters in 1938 and again in 1952 after the fall of the Nazi Regime.

Directed by Leni Riefenstahl - With Adolf Hitler, Jesse Owens, Luz Long, Spiros Louis, Rie Mastenbroek, Leni Riefenstahl, ...


1h 7min | Documentary
3.4/5 (with 10 votes)

A lyrical documentary on the lives of Coal miners in the Donbass who are struggling to meet their production quotas under the Five Year Plan.

Directed by Dziga Vertov

Three Songs About Lenin(1934)

59min | Documentary
3.1/5 (with 13 votes)

This documentary, made up of 3 episodes, is based on three songs sung by anonymous people in Soviet Russia about Vladimir Ilyich Lenin.

Directed by Dziga Vertov

Coal Face(1935)

11min | Documentary
3.0/5 (with 6 votes)

1935 documentary about the hard working life of Welsh coal miners.

Directed by Alberto Cavalcanti

Night Mail(1936)

25min | Documentary
3.2/5 (with 11 votes)

This documentary short examines the special train on which mail is sorted, dropped and collected on the run, and delivered in Scotland on the overnight run from Euston, London to Glasgow.

Directed by Harry Watt, Basil Wright - With Stuart Legg, John Grierson

The Spanish Earth(1937)

53min | War, Documentary
3.2/5 (with 7 votes)

A propaganda film made during the Spanish Civil War in support of the Republican government against the rebellion by Gen. Francisco Franco's forces who were backed by Nazi Germany and Fascist Italy. The film would have been seen by those making it as a documentary.

Directed by Joris Ivens - With Dolores Ibárruri, Enrique Líster, Gustav Regler, José Díaz, Manuel Azaña

The Romance of Celluloid(1937)

10min | Documentary
3.5/5 (with 1 vote)

Several behind the scenes aspects of the movie-making business, which results in the enjoyment the movie going public has in going to the theater, are presented. They include: the production of celluloid aka film stock, the materials used in the production of which include cotton and silver; construction crews who build sets including those to look like cities, towns and villages around the world; a visit with Jack Dawn who demonstrates the process of creating a makeup design; the screen testing process, where many an acting hopeful gets his/her start; the work of the candid camera man, the prying eyes behind the movie camera; a visit with Adrian, who designs the clothes worn by many of the stars on screen; and a visit with Herbert Stothart as he conducts his musical score for Conquest (1937). These behind the scenes looks provide the opportunity to get acquainted with the cavalcade of MGM stars and their productions that will grace the silver screen in the 1937/38 movie season.


1h 6min | Documentary
4.8/5 (with 1 vote)

The story of Ali and his son Bin, natives of Sumatra, who hunt in a jungle village.

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2.3/5 (with 4 votes)

After the audience is instructed how to use the 3-D glasses they received, demonstrations of three-dimensional films are presented. Various objects move towards the camera, including a ladder being shoved out a window, the slide on a trombone, a woman on a swing, and a thrown baseball.

Inside Nazi Germany(1938)

16min | Documentary
2.8/5 (with 4 votes)

Short documentary film in the newsreel series 'The March of Time'.

With William Dodd, Joseph Goebbels, Adolf Hitler, Fritz Julius Kuhn

From Stump to Ship(1930)

30min | Documentary
2.9/5 (with 4 votes)

The long log drive: a spring journey down icy streams and rivers moving logs from the forest to the mill for sawing into boards, laths, and clapboards. For more than 150 years, logging techniques remained the same. Men cut trees by hand and loaded them on horse-drawn sleds to be hauled over snow to the river. Skilled river drivers maneuvered the logs downstream, risking their limbs and lives every day. This film survives as a record of the long log business.

Directed by Alfred K. Ames

Working on the Douro River(1931)

20min | Documentary
3.5/5 (with 13 votes)

Short silent documentary from 1931 about those working on the River Douro in Oporto.

Directed by Manoel de Oliveira

The River(1938)

31min | Documentary
2.7/5 (with 8 votes)

This short Depression-era documentary describes the importance of the Mississippi River to the United States and laments the environmental destruction committed in the name of progress, particularly farming and timber practices and their impact on impoverished farmers.

Directed by Pare Lorentz

Pigskin Champions(1937)

10min | Documentary

The Green Bay Packers teach football tips.

Directed by Charles G. Clarke

The Conquest of the Air(1936)

1h 11min | History, Documentary
2.2/5 (with 2 votes)

This early docudrama uses dramatic re-enactment, working models of early flying machines, and archival footage to trace man's attempts to fly from ancient times through the 1930's.

Directed by Zoltan Korda - With Laurence Olivier

The Song of Ceylon(1934)

38min | Documentary
3.1/5 (with 9 votes)

Ambitious documentary chronicling the cultural life and religious customs of the Sinhalese and the effects of advanced industrialism on such customs.

Directed by Basil Wright

En el infierno del Chaco(1932)

52min | Documentary
1.0/5 (with 2 votes)

"El infierno del Chaco" had another version in 1938, with the images of the last peace negociations.

Directed by Roque Funes - With Eusebio Ayala, José Félix Estigarribia, Vicente Almandos Almonacid

Wings Over Everest(1934)

32min | Documentary
2.3/5 (with 3 votes)

A documentary about the first flight over Mt Everest.


36min | Documentary
3.1/5 (with 7 votes)

Documentary about a miner's strike in Borinage.

With Byrd at the South Pole(1930)

1h 22min | Documentary
3.2/5 (with 5 votes)

With Byrd at the South Pole (1930) is a documentary film about Rear Admiral Richard E. Byrd and his 1st quest to the South Pole beginning at the Little America-Exploration Base. The film's soundtrack consists mostly of music and sound effects, with narration read by Floyd Gibbons. The film won at the 3rd Academy Awards for Best Cinematography.

With Richard E. Byrd, Bernt Balchen, Paul Siple, Norman D. Vaughan

Life Is Ours(1936)

1h 6min | Drama, History
3.1/5 (with 5 votes)

A propaganda film of the communist party of France, showing how the comrades help the proletariat against the capitalists.

Salt for Svanetia(1930)

3.6/5 (with 6 votes)

An ethnographic treasure that documents with visual bravado the harsh conditions of life in the isolated mountain village of Ushkul.

Directed by Mikhail Kalatozov

Dealers in Death(1934)

1h 4min | Documentary

This documentary film is a pacifistic polemic that presents the argument that the world's largest munitions works, principally those in Europe, work in conjunction with one another, even when their countries are wartime enemies. These munitions works, in the interest of making money, manipulate wartime conditions to prolong wars.

Terra nova(1932)

1h 7min | Drama

Fishermen of a small village protest the closing of the Zuiderzee.

Directed by Gerard Rutten - With Adolphe Engers

Republic Steel Strike Riots Newsreel Footage(1937)

20min | Documentary
3.0/5 (with 2 votes)

Newsreel footage of the 1937 steelworkers strikes.

Romance of Radium(1937)

2.9/5 (with 4 votes)

Romance of Radium is a 1937 American short film directed by Jacques Tourneur, and released by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. This short film tells the story of the discovery of radium and how it is used in medicine. In 1937, it was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Short Subject (One-Reel) at the 10th Academy Awards.

Directed by Jacques Tourneur - With André Cheron
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