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1980s Documentary Movies

Public list by WPS with 305 movies or TV shows/series

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304 movies found (page 1/11):

The Thin Blue Line(1988)

1h 43min | Crime, Documentary
3.9/5 (with 138 votes)

Errol Morris's unique documentary dramatically re-enacts the crime scene and investigation of a police officer's murder in Dallas.

Directed by Errol Morris - With Randall Dale Adams, Marianne Leone Cooper

Koyaanisqatsi(1982)

NR
| 1h 26min | Documentary, Music
4.0/5 (with 211 votes)

Takes us to locations all around the US and shows us the heavy toll that modern technology is having on humans and the earth. The visual tone poem contains neither dialogue nor a vocalized narration: its tone is set by the juxtaposition of images and the exceptional music by Philip Glass.

Roger & Me(1989)

R
| 1h 31min | Documentary, History, Comedy
3.7/5 (with 109 votes)

A documentary about the closure of General Motors' plant at Flint, Michigan, which resulted in the loss of 30,000 jobs. Details the attempts of filmmaker Michael Moore to get an interview with GM CEO Roger Smith.

For All Mankind(1989)

1h 20min | History, Documentary
4.0/5 (with 48 votes)

A testament to NASA's Apollo program of the 1960s and '70s. Composed of actual NASA footage of the missions and astronaut interviews, the documentary offers the viewpoint of the individuals who braved the remarkable journey to the moon and back.

Directed by Al Reinert - With Alan Bean, Alan Shepard, Bill Anders, Buck Owens, Buzz Aldrin, Pete Conrad, ...

Shoah(1985)

NR
| 9h 26min | Documentary, History
4.2/5 (with 67 votes)

Claude Lanzmann directed this 9½ hour documentary on the Holocaust without using a single frame of archive footage. He interviews survivors, witnesses, and ex-Nazis (whom he had to film secretly since they only agreed to be interviewed by audio). His style of interviewing, by asking for the most minute details, is effective at adding up these details to give a horrifying portrait of the events of Nazi genocide. He also shows, or rather lets some of his subjects show, that the anti-Semitism that caused 6 million Jews to die in the Holocaust is still alive and well in many people who still live in Germany, Poland, and elsewhere.

Directed by Claude Lanzmann - With Raul Hilberg, Claude Lanzmann, Jan Karski, Szymon Srebrnik, Mordechaï Podchlebnik, Rudolf Vrba, ...

Stop Making Sense(1984)

1h 28min | Music, Documentary
4.2/5 (with 74 votes)

A concert film documenting Talking Heads at the height of their popularity, on tour for their 1983 album "Speaking in Tongues." The band takes the stage one by one and is joined by a cadre of guest musicians for a career-spanning and cinematic performance that features creative choreography and visuals.

The Compleat Beatles(1982)

1h 59min | Documentary, Music
3.5/5 (with 6 votes)

- No description / details available yet. -

Burden of Dreams(1982)

1h 37min | Documentary
3.9/5 (with 44 votes)

The Amazon rain forest, 1979. The crew of Fitzcarraldo (1982), a film directed by German director Werner Herzog, soon finds itself with problems related to casting, tribal struggles and accidents, among many other setbacks; but nothing compared to dragging a huge steamboat up a mountain, while Herzog embraces the path of a certain madness to make his vision come true.

Isle of Flowers(1989)

13min | Documentary
4.0/5 (with 65 votes)

A tomato is planted, harvested and sold at a supermarket, but it rots and ends up in the trash. But it doesn’t end there: Isle of Flowers follows it up until its real end, among animals, trash, women and children. And then the difference between tomatoes, pigs and human beings becomes clear.

Directed by Jorge Furtado

Powaqqatsi(1988)

G
| 1h 39min | Documentary
3.7/5 (with 52 votes)

An exploration of technologically developing nations and the effect the transition to Western-style modernization has had on them.

Directed by Godfrey Reggio - With Cheryl Tiegs

Terror in the Aisles(1984)

R
| 1h 24min | Horror, Documentary
3.3/5 (with 10 votes)

A non-stop roller coaster ride through the scariest moments of the greatest terror films of all time.

The Times of Harvey Milk(1984)

1h 30min | Documentary
3.9/5 (with 33 votes)

Harvey Milk was an outspoken human rights activist and one of the first openly gay U.S. politicians elected to public office; even after his assassination in 1978, he continues to inspire disenfranchised people around the world.

Directed by Rob Epstein - With Harvey Milk, Dan White, George Moscone, Dianne Feinstein, Anne Kronenberg, Tom Ammiano, ...
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Twenty Years Later(1984)

1h 59min | Documentary
4.2/5 (with 16 votes)

Eduardo Coutinho was filming a movie with the same name in the Northeast of Brazil, in 1964, when there came the military coup. He had to interrupt the project, and came back to it in 1981, looking for the same places and people, showing what had ocurred since then, and trying to gather a family whose patriarch, a political leader fighting for rights of country people, had been murdered.

Directed by Eduardo Coutinho

Imagine: John Lennon(1988)

1h 40min | Documentary, Music
3.7/5 (with 25 votes)

The biography of former Beatle, John Lennon—narrated by Lennon himself—with extensive material from Yoko Ono's personal collection, previously unseen footage from Lennon's private archives, and interviews with David Bowie, his first wife Cynthia, second wife Yoko Ono and sons Julian and Sean.

The Decline of Western Civilization(1981)

1h 40min | Documentary, Music
3.6/5 (with 31 votes)

The Los Angeles punk music scene circa 1980 is the focus of this film. With Alice Bag Band, Black Flag, Catholic Discipline, Circle Jerks, Fear, Germs, and X.

Directed by Penelope Spheeris - With Black Flag, Germs, The Bags, Circle Jerks, Fear, Alice Bag, ...

Rockshow(1980)

2h 9min | Music
4.0/5 (with 5 votes)

Paul McCartney and Wings in concert, 1976. Thirty songs are performed, spanning McCartney's career with Wings (prior to Rockshow) and The Beatles.

Directed by Paul McCartney - With Paul McCartney, Linda McCartney, Denny Laine, Jimmy McCulloch, Joe English

Streetwise(1984)

1h 31min | Documentary
3.9/5 (with 16 votes)

Taking their camera to the streets of what was supposedly America’s most livable city, filmmaker Martin Bell, photographer Mary Ellen Mark, and journalist Cheryl McCall set out to tell the stories of those society had left behind: homeless and runaway teenagers living on the city’s margins. Born from a Life magazine exposé by Mark and McCall, Streetwise follows an unforgettable group of at-risk children—including iron-willed fourteen-year-old Tiny, who would become the project’s most haunting and enduring figure, along with the pugnacious yet resourceful Rat and the affable drifter Dewayne—who, driven from their broken homes, survive by hustling, panhandling, and dumpster diving. Granted remarkable access to their world, the filmmakers craft a devastatingly frank, empathetic portrait of lost youth growing up far too soon in a world that has failed them.

Directed by Martin Bell - With Baby Gramps

The Making of a Legend: Gone with the Wind(1988)

2h 4min | Documentary
4.5/5 (with 1 vote)

This documentary revisits the making of Gone with the Wind via archival footage, screen tests, insightful interviews and rare film footage.

Style Wars(1983)

3.8/5 (with 19 votes)

Tony Silver and Henry Chalfant's PBS documentary tracks the rise and fall of subway graffiti in New York in the late 1970s and early 1980s.

With DONDI, Frosty Freeze, Ed Koch, IZ the Wiz

The Decline of Western Civilization Part II: The Metal Years(1988)

R
| 1h 33min | Documentary, Music
3.4/5 (with 23 votes)

An exploration of the heavy metal scene in Los Angeles, with particular emphasis on glam metal. It features concert footage and interviews of legendary heavy metal and hard rock bands and artists such as Aerosmith, Alice Cooper, Kiss, Megadeth, Motörhead, Ozzy Osbourne and W.A.S.P..

Directed by Penelope Spheeris - With Ozzy Osbourne, Alice Cooper, Steven Tyler, Joe Perry, Megadeth, Faster Pussycat, ...

Vernon, Florida(1981)

55min | Documentary
3.4/5 (with 19 votes)

Early Errol Morris documentary intersplices random chatter he captured on film of the genuinely eccentric residents of Vernon, Florida. A few examples? The preacher giving a sermon on the definition of the word "Therefore," and the obsessive turkey hunter who speaks reverentially of the "gobblers" he likes to track down and kill.

Directed by Errol Morris

Hôtel Terminus: The Life and Times of Klaus Barbie(1988)

4h 27min | War, Documentary
3.5/5 (with 11 votes)

Winner of a Best Documentary Academy Award, Marcel Ophuls' riveting film details the heinous legacy of the Gestapo head dubbed "The Butcher of Lyon." Responsible for over 4,000 deaths in occupied France during World War II, Barbie would escape--with U.S. help--to South America in 1951, where he lived until a global manhunt led to his 1983 arrest and subsequent trial.

Directed by Marcel Ophuls - With Jeanne Moreau, Claude Bourdet, Henri Varlot, Lise Lesèvre, Lucie Aubrac, Marcel Ophuls, ...

Dear America: Letters Home from Vietnam(1987)

PG
| 1h 23min | Documentary, War
3.7/5 (with 9 votes)

- No description / details available yet. -

Chuck Berry: Hail! Hail! Rock 'n' Roll(1987)

PG-13
| 2h | Documentary, Music
4.0/5 (with 5 votes)

St. Louis, 1986. For Chuck Berry's 60th, Keith Richards assembles a pickup band of Robert Cray, Joey Spampinato, Eric Clapton, himself and long-time Berry pianist, Johnnie Johnson. Joined on stage by Etta James, Linda Ronstadt and Julian Lennon, Berry performs his classic rock songs. His abilities as a composer, lyricist, singer, musician and entertainer are on display and, in behind-the-scenes interviews, are discussed by Bo Diddley, Little Richard, Jerry Lee Lewis, Bruce Springstein, the Everly Brothers, Roy Orbison and others. There's even a rarity for Berry—a rehearsal. Archival footage from the early 1950s and a duet with John Lennon round out this portrait of a master.

The Emperor's Naked Army Marches On(1987)

2h 2min | Documentary
3.8/5 (with 12 votes)

Kenzo Okuzaki, a 62-year-old veteran of the New Guinea campaign in World War II, sets out to conduct interviews with survivors and relatives to find the truth behind atrocities committed while the Japanese garrison was surrounded, in particular the unexplained killing of two Japanese privates in his unit.

Directed by Kazuo Hara

Pumping Iron II: The Women(1985)

1h 47min | Documentary
4.0/5 (with 3 votes)

PUMPING IRON II: THE WOMEN, a film that is changing the way the world views the female physique-creating "a new definition of the female form." Join four women as they prepare for the 1983 Caesars Palace World Cup Championship: the sultry and curvaceous Rachel McLish, the current champion; the almost manly, super-muscular Bev Francis, Rachel's toughest competition; and newcomers Lori Bowen and Carla Dunlap.

Directed by George Butler - With Bev Francis, Rachel McLish

A Tale of the Wind(1988)

1h 20min | Documentary
3.4/5 (with 9 votes)

It is an autobiographical fiction starring Ivens as an old man who has spent his life trying to "tame the wind and harness the sea" by capturing them on film.

Water and Power(1989)

57min | Documentary
3.5/5 (with 7 votes)

Pat O'Neill, one of the most interesting filmmakers in America today, offers a dazzling reflection on the conflict between nature and man in Los Angeles, or the desertification of the city's surroundings due to its enormous water consumption. More interestingly, it is also a film in the age-old tradition of city symphonies: a film about LA's foundation myths and the dreams it embodies, about its history and (grim) future, its topography and ethnography. O'Neill uses footage from several classic films to recreate the several layers of meaning emanating from the city, juxtaposing images and fantasies and hardly ever allowing one picture to go untouched. George Lockwood's swarming soundtrack is likewise composed of conflicting languages, an elaborate work of plunderphonics in which snippets of sound stolen from movies collide with electronic soundscapes, contemporary chamber music, improv, and what not.

Directed by Pat O'Neill

Room 666(1982)

43min | Documentary
3.1/5 (with 10 votes)

During the 1982 Cannes Film Festival, Wenders asks a number of global film directors to, one at a time, go into a hotel room, turn on the camera and answer a simple question: "What is the future of cinema?".

Another State of Mind(1984)

1h 18min | Documentary, Music
3.1/5 (with 6 votes)

Another State of Mind is a documentary film made in the summer of 1982 chronicling the adventure (and misadventure) of two punk bands – Social Distortion and Youth Brigade – as they embark on their first international tour. Along the way they meet up with another progressive punk band, Minor Threat, whom they hang out with at the Dischord house for about a week near the end of their ill-fated tour.

With Mike Ness, Dennis Danell, Brent Liles, Keith Morris, Ian MacKaye, Derek O'Brien, ...
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