Best Documentary Movies of 1903


The Georgetown Loop (Colorado)

6.1/10 IMDB

Georgetown is a silver-mining town at 8,500 feet near the crest of the Rockies. Hooked somehow to the rear of a four-car passenger train is a camera that pans the scenery and, when the train goes around curves, looks ahead to see the engine and passenger cars: the passengers wave hundreds of white handkerchiefs out of the train's left-side windows for the benefit of the camera. The town comes into view; the tracks are above the town, so the camera looks down on dozens of modest rooftops as it pans the area.

Release date: 1903-01-01

At the Foot of the Flatiron

5.4/10 IMDB

It's a very windy day, and the pedestrians passing by the Flatiron Building are having considerable difficulty in keeping their hats from flying off.

Directed by: A.E. Weed
Release date: 1903-11-11

Down the Hudson

5.8/10 IMDB

Film taken from a boat heading down the Hudson is shown at varying speeds, often giving a sense of rapid transit.

Directed by: Frederick S. Armitage, A.E. Weed
Release date: 1903-03-22
Best Documentary Movies of 1903 : Skyscrapers of New York City, from the North River

Skyscrapers of New York City, from the North River

5.9/10 IMDB

A beautiful panoramic view of lower New York from Barclay Street to Battery Park, showing a beautiful stereoscopic effect of the sky-scrapers in the business section of the city.

Directed by: J.B. Smith
Release date: 1903-05-01

The Cheese Mites

6.0/10 IMDB

A gentleman is here shown partaking of a little lunch of bread and cheese, and occasionally is seen to glance at his morning paper through a reading glass. He suddenly notices that the cheese is a little out of the ordinary, and examines it with his glass. To his horror, he finds it to be alive with mites, and, in disgust, leaves the table. Hundreds of mites resembling crabs are seen scurrying in all directions. A wonderful picture and a subject hitherto unthought of in animated photography. Notable for being the first science film made for the general public.(IMDB)

Starring: Francis Martin-Duncan ..
Directed by: F. Martin Duncan
Release date: 1903-08-13
Best Documentary Movies of 1903 : Seeing New York by Yacht

Seeing New York by Yacht

4.6/10 IMDB

Seeing New York by Yacht.

Directed by: Frederick S. Armitage, A.E. Weed
Release date: 1903-09-22

Move On

4.9/10 IMDB

In certain sections of New York City large numbers of Jewish and Italian push-cart vendors congregate so closely along the sidewalks that they interfere with traffic. Policemen keep them moving. The picture shows how the frightened peddlers hurry away when a bluecoat appears. Some of the carts are piled high with fruits of all kinds, and it is interesting and amusing to see the expressions of combined fear and anxiety on the faces of the men as they hurry away; the fear of being arrested if they stand, and of losing some of their wares if the carts strike an obstruction in the street. Very fine photographically. (Edison film company catalog)

Directed by: A.C. Abadie
Release date: 1903-10-11

The Ghost Train

5.4/10 IMDB

Special effects film with a train double exposed on the negative, creating a ghostly image.

Directed by: Frederick S. Armitage
Release date: 1903-01-21
Best Documentary Movies of 1903 : The Forbidden City, Pekin

The Forbidden City, Pekin

4.1/10 IMDB

Panoramic view of the Forbidden City (Imperial Palace), Peking, China.

Release date: 1903-08-19

Fireboat 'New Yorker' Answering an Alarm

3.4/10 IMDB

This picture gives a good idea of how soon one of the New York fireboats can be gotten under way after they receive an alarm of fire...

Directed by: J.B. Smith
Release date: 1903-05-22
Best Documentary Movies of 1903 : Electrocuting an Elephant

Electrocuting an Elephant

2.8/10 IMDB

This is a film taken of the execution of Topsy, an elephant employed to help build Luna Park on Coney Island.

Starring: Carl Goliath, Topsy ..
Directed by: Edwin S. Porter, Jacob Blair Smith, Thomas A. Edison
Release date: 1903-01-12

Pope Leo XIII in His Carriage

5.7/10 IMDB

Filmmaker WKL Dickson, one-time right hand man to Thomas Edison, the 'Wizard of Menlo Park', here captures an even greater eminence, Pope Leo XIII. This was one of a series of films that exploited Dickson's unique, hard-won access to the Pontiff. Here the Pope arrives in a carriage and bestows a blessing. Whether this blessing was intended for the camera or for the audience beyond it, capturing it on film was a great prize for Dickson.

Directed by: William K.L. Dickson
Release date: 1903-09-25

Tub Race

4.0/10 IMDB

A number of boys are engaged in a tub race. They are lined up in a row, and the fun begins from the start. Some of the tubs upset and give the boys a good ducking each time an attempt is made to get in them.

Release date: 1903-09-25

In My Lady's Boudoir

4.1/10 IMDB

Kathryn Osterman was a legitimate actress who worked occasionally in the movies during the first decade and a half of the 20th century. This looks like a Mutoscope cut-down of an actuality released in 1900, "The Art of "Making Up"". In it, we see her from the rear, sitting in front of a dressing mirror, putting up her hair and powdering her face.

Starring: Kathryn Osterman ..
Release date: 1903-07-31

Rock Drill at Work in Subway

3.5/10 IMDB

A very interesting and unusual view showing the progress of the deep excavation at 42nd St. and Broadway. The camera is tilted up and down instead of across the field as in most panoramas.

Release date: 1903-06-09

Old London Street Scenes

5.4/10 IMDB

London street scenes, showing varieties of horse-drawn traffic. Views of Parliament Square, Charing Cross, Pall Mall, the Royal Exchange and others.

Release date: 1903-01-01
Best Documentary Movies of 1903 : Man Overboard! 'Indiana'

Man Overboard! 'Indiana'

4.2/10 IMDB

The USS Indiana stages a rescue operation of a crewman that's fallen overboard.

Release date: 1903-11-13

Arrival of the Stage at Wawona Hotel en Route to Yosemite

0.0/10 IMDB

This film was part of a lecture series conducted by Burton Holmes showing a mix of lantern slides and motion pictures of Yosemite entitled, “The Yosemite Valley, Nature’s Scenic Masterpiece.” It was just one tiny piece of a long lecture that illustrated the journey to Yosemite and a visit to all of its wonders.

Release date: 1903-01-02
Best Documentary Movies of 1903 : Sarnia Tunnel, Grand Trunk Railway

Sarnia Tunnel, Grand Trunk Railway

0.0/10 IMDB

Here, on Grand Trunk's main line between Canada and the US, one of Biograph's early production crews rode the pilot of a locomotive from Sarnia, Ontario to Port Huron, MI. The film features a view of the illuminated interior of Sarnia's St. Clair Tunnel and a lap dissolve which fades into the exit of the tunnel-- An impressive technique still in its infancy.

Release date: 1903-01-01

Carriers Leaving Building, U.S.P.O. (No. 2)

3.7/10 IMDB

Male letter carriers of the U.S. Post Office are the subject of this series on the Postal Department. The camera was placed to show a large number of uniformed mail carriers as they leave the main post office to deliver letters. They can be seen walking down the steps of the building toward the camera position. Some mount bicycles and ride away, while others just walk. There are also some women in the film.

Release date: 1903-07-01

Leap Frog

6.8/10 IMDB

Boys play a rough game of leap frog.

Release date: 1903-01-01

A Total Accident

0.0/10 IMDB

Showing the entire catastrophe resulting from the attempt of Mr. Gorham to ride around the loop the loop on a bicycle. While the enormous crowd watches him he comes down the slide with the speed of the wind, circles the loop, but as he nears the bottom his wheel swerves from the path and the rider crashes into the framework of the structure. Attendants rush up and carry away the injured man. (Biograph Catalog)

Starring: William Gorham ..
Directed by: Wallace McCutcheon
Release date: 1903-07-31

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