Best Documentary Movies of 1944

1.

The Memphis Belle: A Story of a Flying Fortress

3.7
7.3/10 IMDB

This WW2 documentary centers on the crew of the American B-17 Flying Fortress Memphis Belle as it prepares to execute a strategic bombing raid on Nazi submarine pens in Wilhelmshaven, Germany.

Starring: Vince Evans, Jacob L. Devers, Ira C. Eaker, Haywood Hansell, Technical Sergeant Robert J. Hanson, Eugene Kern, King George VI of the United Kingdom, Captain Charles B. Leighton, Technical Sergeant Harold P. Loch, Staff Sergeant Casimer A. Nastal ..
Directed by: William Wyler
Release date: 1944-04-13
Best Documentary Movies of 1944 : Jammin' the Blues
2.

Jammin' the Blues

3.1
7.9/10 IMDB

In this short film, prominent jazz musicians of the 1940s gather for a rare filming of a jam session. This highly stylized chronicle features tenor sax legend Lester Young.

Starring: Lester Young, George 'Red' Callender, Harry Edison, Marlowe Morris, Sidney Catlett, Barney Kessel, Jo Jones, John Simmons, Illinois Jacquet, Marie Bryant ..
Directed by: Gjon Mili
Release date: 1944-05-05
3.

Resisting Enemy Interrogation

3.0
6.8/10 IMDB

A downed American bomber crew quickly falls prey to the clever interrogation techniques of the Germans in this dramatic training film.

Starring: Rand Brooks, Louis Adlon, George Dolenz, Poldi Dur, Carl Esmond, Steven Geray, Arthur Kennedy, Sam Locke, Lloyd Nolan, George O'Hanlon ..
Directed by: Bernard Vorhaus
Release date: 1944-08-01
Best Documentary Movies of 1944 : With the Marines at Tarawa
4.

With the Marines at Tarawa

3.0
7.0/10 IMDB

Documentary short film depicting the harrowing battle between the U.S. Marines and the Japanese for control of the Pacific island of Tarawa.

Starring: William Lundigan ..
Directed by: Lewis Hayward, Richard Brooks
Release date: 1944-03-02
Best Documentary Movies of 1944 : Why We Fight: The Battle of China
5.

Why We Fight: The Battle of China

2.9
7.0/10 IMDB

The sixth film of Frank Capra's Why We Fight propaganda film series illustrates Japan's occupation of China, including Madame Chiang Kai-Shek's stirring address before congress, the rape of Nanking, the great 2,000 mile migration, and Claire Chennault's Flying Tigers.

Starring: Anthony Veiller, Walter Huston ..
Directed by: Frank Capra, Anatole Litvak
Release date: 1944-11-01
6.

Children of the City

2.8
6.2/10 IMDB

Attitudes to and treatment of juvenile delinquency in Scotland.

Directed by: Budge Cooper
Release date: 1944-01-02
Best Documentary Movies of 1944 : The Fighting Lady
7.

The Fighting Lady

2.8
7.2/10 IMDB

Oscar winner William Wyler directed this 1944 "newsdrama," narrated by Lieut. Robert Taylor, USNR (Bataan), and photographed in zones of combat by the U.S. Navy. The film follows one of the many new aircraft carriers built since Pearl Harbor, known as THE FIGHTING LADY in honor of all American carriers, as it goes into action against the Japanese in the Pacific Ocean in 1943. See the ship and its pilots undergo their baptism of fire, attacking the Japanese base on Marcus Island.

Starring: Charles Boyer, Robert Taylor, John S. McCain, Joesph J. Clark, Dixie Kiefer ..
Directed by: Edward Steichen, William Wyler
Release date: 1944-12-21
Best Documentary Movies of 1944 : Tunisian Victory
8.

Tunisian Victory

2.8
6.7/10 IMDB

Documentary made by the U.S. Army Signal Corps after the North African campaign.

Starring: Leo Genn, Burgess Meredith, Bernard Miles, Jacques Duchesne ..
Directed by: Frank Capra, Hugh Stewart, John Huston
Release date: 1944-03-23
Best Documentary Movies of 1944 : The Negro Soldier
9.

The Negro Soldier

2.6
5.9/10 IMDB

Documentary focusing on the contributions to the American war effort of African-American soldiers.

Starring: Carlton Moss, William Broadus, Clarence Brooks, Norman Ford, Clyde Turner, Bertha Woolford, George Washington Carver, Benjamin O. Davis Jr., Jesse Owens ..
Directed by: Stuart Heisler
Release date: 1944-04-10
Best Documentary Movies of 1944 : Naples Is a Battlefield
10.

Naples Is a Battlefield

2.6
6.2/10 IMDB

The capture of Naples, the first great European city to be liberated, revealed the magnitude of the tasks involved in re-creating the means of livelihood and the machinery of government in a devastated, starving and disease-ridden city.

Directed by: Jack Clayton
Release date: 1944-09-01
Best Documentary Movies of 1944 : This Is Guadalcanal
11.

This Is Guadalcanal

2.5
5.7/10 IMDB

This U.S. Marine Corps documentary from 1944 showcases the battle of Guadalcanal. The small island of Guadalcanal was, like many of the Pacific islands, defended with great determination by the Japanese forces. Both the landing on the beaches and the subsequent inland fighting resulted in heavy casualties for the Americans - and the Japanese fought to almost the last man and the last bullet.

Starring: Donald L. Dickson ..
Release date: 1944-03-14
12.

You Can't Kill a City

2.5
5.3/10 IMDB

A film which features the people of Caen in Normandy, France after the allied armies had forced out the occupying German army. The film demonstrates the courage and perseverance of the city's people as they slowly begin the long and difficult process of rebuilding a city which has been destroyed by war. Shots include machinery clearing away rubble, a flag raising ceremony and distribution of food, water and a locally produced newspaper. The people of Caen begin the process of establishing lines of communication with other regions of the liberated country, searching for spies in the community and repairing the pipes and sewers buried beneath the streets. Life is slowly returning to normal as people enjoy idle time spent fishing or enjoying a concert but they also remember the allied soldiers who have given their lives for their freedom. Included is a shot of a grave-site with a cross which reads "Bdr. Hill, E.I.; July 18, 1944".

Release date: 1944-09-08
Best Documentary Movies of 1944 : Return to Guam
13.

Return to Guam

2.5
5.4/10 IMDB

Return to Guam is a 1944 short propaganda film produced by the US Navy about the taking and recapture of the island of Guam. The film starts when a convoy of ships nearing the island sees strange lights flashing from the island in Morse code "information". After cautiously investigating the signal, they find that it was made by a white man, George Tweed, the last survivor of the original garrison at Guam. Tweed relates his harrowing story of how he survived in the bush for 31 months with the help of the natives, Chamorros.

Directed by: Richard Brooks
Release date: 1944-03-14
14.

Know Your Ally: Britain

2.4
6.3/10 IMDB

Know Your Ally: Britain was a 45-minute propaganda film made in 1944. It was narrated by Walter Huston and produced by the United States War Department and Signal Corp to solidify Anglo-American solidarity within the ranks as well as counter Nazi propaganda aimed at weakening the Alliance.

Starring: Walter Huston, Ernest Bevin, Winston Churchill, Adolf Hitler, Herbert Morrison, Louis Mountbatten, Benito Mussolini, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Orson Welles ..
Directed by: Robert Stevenson
Release date: 1944-01-01
Best Documentary Movies of 1944 : Hymn of the Nations
15.

Hymn of the Nations

2.4
6.2/10 IMDB

Hymn of the Nations, originally titled Arturo Toscanini: Hymn of the Nations, is a 1944 film directed by Alexander Hammid, which features the "Inno delle nazioni," a patriotic work for tenor soloist, chorus, and orchestra, composed by Italian opera composer Giuseppe Verdi in the early 1860s. (For this musical work, Verdi utilized the national anthems of several European nations.) In December 1943, Arturo Toscanini filmed a performance of this music for inclusion in an Office of War Information documentary about the role of Italian-Americans in aiding the Allies during World War II. Toscanini added a bridge passage to include arrangements of "The Star-Spangled Banner" for the United States and "The Internationale" for the Soviet Union and the Italian partisans. Joining Toscanini in the filmed performance in NBC Studio 8-H, were tenor Jan Peerce, the Westminster Choir, and the NBC Symphony Orchestra. The film also included the overture to Verdi's opera La Forza del Destino.

Starring: Arturo Toscanini, Jan Peerce, Burgess Meredith, Walfredo Toscanini ..
Directed by: Alexander Hammid
Release date: 1944-02-01
Best Documentary Movies of 1944 : The Road to Victory
16.

The Road to Victory

2.4
5.9/10 IMDB

Documentary short film intended to drum up support for the Fifth War Loan Campaign. It shows a happy family in the future of 1960 enjoying the prosperity and advantages made possible by the successful prosecution of the war, and how the sacrifices of 1944 have made the world a better place. Edited down from The Shining Future (1944).

Starring: Bing Crosby, Cary Grant, Frank Sinatra, Charles Ruggles, Dennis Morgan, Irene Manning, Jack Carson, Jimmy Lydon, Olive Blakeney ..
Directed by: LeRoy Prinz
Release date: 1944-05-18
Best Documentary Movies of 1944 : The Town
17.

The Town

2.4
5.8/10 IMDB

The Town was a short propaganda film produced by the Office of War Information in 1945. It presents an idealized vision of American life, shown in microcosm by Madison, Indiana.

Starring: Myron McCormick ..
Directed by: Josef von Sternberg
Release date: 1944-01-01
18.

The Volunteer

2.3
5.9/10 IMDB

World War II propaganda film.

Starring: Ralph Richardson, Pat McGrath, Anna Neagle, Laurence Olivier, Michael Powell, Herbert Wilcox, Tommy Woodrooffe, Pat McGrath ..
Directed by: Michael Powell, Emeric Pressburger
Release date: 1944-01-10
Best Documentary Movies of 1944 : The Shining Future
19.

The Shining Future

1.8
6.3/10 IMDB

Documentary short film intended to drum up support for the Fifth War Loan Campaign. It shows a happy family in the future of 1960 enjoying the prosperity and advantages made possible by the successful prosecution of the war, and how the sacrifices of 1944 have made the world a better place.

Starring: Charles Ruggles, Olive Blakeney, Jack Carson, Benny Goodman, Jimmy Lydon, Deanna Durbin, Cary Grant, Irene Manning, Herbert Marshall, Dennis Morgan ..
Directed by: LeRoy Prinz
Release date: 1944-04-11
Best Documentary Movies of 1944 : Land and Live in the Jungle
20.

Land and Live in the Jungle

1.8
8.1/10 IMDB

In this World War II military training film, a B-25 crew bails out over the jungle, and the pilot is separated from the rest of of his crew. The two groups of soldiers must survive until they can meet up and be rescued. The pilot does almost everything wrong, and the rest of his crew does almost everything right. We learn, by both bad and good example, how to survive in the jungle.

Starring: Mel Ford, Van Heflin, Patrick McVey, Charles Tannen ..
Release date: 1944-03-14
Best Documentary Movies of 1944 : Western Approaches
21.

Western Approaches

1.8
7.3/10 IMDB

A World War II drama-documentary showing the struggles of Merchant Navy seamen folliowing an attack by a U-Boat.

Directed by: Pat Jackson
Release date: 1944-12-02
Best Documentary Movies of 1944 : Soldier, Sailor
22.

Soldier, Sailor

1.6
7.0/10 IMDB

Life aboard merchant ships with the Maritime Regiment of the Royal Artillery.

Starring: Ted Holliday, David Syme, Rosamund John, Charles Victor, Jean Kent, Jean Cadell, George Carney ..
Directed by: Alexander Shaw
Release date: 1944-06-01
23.

Some of the Best

1.6
6.4/10 IMDB

This film features highlights of MGM's productions from 1924 through 1943, in honor of the studio's twentieth anniversary.

Starring: Lewis Stone ..
Release date: 1944-01-01
Best Documentary Movies of 1944 : As the Twig Is Bent
24.

As the Twig Is Bent

1.5
4.7/10 IMDB

This film, produced by the Aetna Life Insurance Co., shows parents how their children can be prevented from descending into a life of crime, immorality, drugs, perversion, licentiousness, voting Democratic and cigarette smoking by the purchase of an Aeta Life Insurance policy.

Release date: 1944-03-13
25.

Mackinac Island

1.5
6.7/10 IMDB

This Traveltalk series short begins in Chicago, where the narrator and his crew board a cruise ship. After a 20-hour trip up Lake Michigan, they arrive at Mackinac Island, near the southeast tip of Michigan's Upper Peninsula. On the island, we see many of the attractions for which it is famous. These include Arch Rock, Old Fort Mackinack, and a hotel owned by Chauncey Depew. No automobiles are allowed on the island. Transportation is limited to bicycles and horse-drawn carriages.

Starring: James A. FitzPatrick ..
Directed by: James A. FitzPatrick
Release date: 1944-03-18
Best Documentary Movies of 1944 : A Lady Fights Back
26.

A Lady Fights Back

1.5
6.6/10 IMDB

The saga of the Normandie is recounted from her life as a luxury liner, the horrific fire that nearly destroyed her, and her resuscitation to join in the war effort. A John Nesbitt's Passing Parade short.

Starring: John Nesbitt ..
Release date: 1944-11-11
27.

Monumental Utah

1.5
6.6/10 IMDB

This Traveltalk series short visits Zion National Park and Bryce Canyon National Park in Utah.

Starring: James A. FitzPatrick ..
Directed by: James A. FitzPatrick
Release date: 1944-07-29
28.

Visiting St. Louis

1.5
6.7/10 IMDB

This FitzPatrick Traveltalk series short visit to St. Louis, Missouri starts with a brief history lesson. We then see several of the city's architectural landmarks and the many types of vessels that travel on the Mississippi River. Time is also spent at the zoological garden in Forest Park, where we see rhinoceros, giraffes, polar bears, giant pandas, and a group of trained elephants.

Starring: James A. FitzPatrick ..
Directed by: James A. FitzPatrick
Release date: 1944-02-19
Best Documentary Movies of 1944 : Out of Chaos
29.

Out of Chaos

1.5
6.6/10 IMDB

Examines the role of art in WWII; featuring Henry Moore's drawings of London Underground during bombing raids, Paul Nash's paintings of aircraft dumps, Stanley Spencer's shipbuilding panels, Evelyn Dunbar's land girls, alongside many amateur artists too.

Starring: Diana Beaumont, Nova Pilbeam ..
Directed by: Jill Craigie
Release date: 1944-01-02
Best Documentary Movies of 1944 : Before the Raid
30.

Before the Raid

1.5
6.8/10 IMDB

A dramatised account of Norwegian fishermen outwitting occupational forces during World War II, directed by Ji?í Weiss and written by acclaimed author Laurie Lee.

Directed by: Ji?í Weiss
Release date: 1944-02-25
31.

Target for Today

1.5
7.1/10 IMDB

A bombing mission over Germany by the American Eighth Air Force, from the initial planning for the mission through final completion, with all of its intricacies from beginning to end.

Directed by: William Keighley
Release date: 1944-01-02
32.

Wandering Here and There

1.5
6.5/10 IMDB

This Traveltalk series short visits various places around the United States. At the first stop, we admire the natural beauty of Crater Lake in Oregon. The next stop is the open pit copper mine at Bingham Canyon, Utah, the world's largest copper mine. We then spend time in Hannibal, Missouri, the hometown of author Mark Twain. After a short visit to a log-rolling contest in Washington State, we cross the country to get a view of Washington, DC from across the Potomac River. The final stop on this tour is Arlington National Cemetery, where we see the Tomb of the Unknown, Arlington House, and the mast of the USS Maine, which was sunk in 1898 in Havana Harbor.

Starring: James A. FitzPatrick ..
Directed by: James A. FitzPatrick
Release date: 1944-12-14
33.

Prices Unlimited

1.5
6.3/10 IMDB

Two young women, frustrated by war rationing, have a dream illustrating the likely results on prices in America should the measure were prematurely lifted.

Starring: Leon Errol, Martha O'Driscoll, Lois Collier, Milburn Stone ..
Directed by: Erle C. Kenton
Release date: 1944-03-16
Best Documentary Movies of 1944 : Grandpa Called It Art
34.

Grandpa Called It Art

1.5
6.5/10 IMDB

This MGM Passing Parade series short takes a look at changing definitions of art in the United States.

Starring: John Nesbitt, Sheldon Jett ..
Directed by: Walter Hart
Release date: 1944-07-15
35.

A Day in Death Valley

1.5
6.4/10 IMDB

A tour of the arid, inhospitable region of the southern California desert known as Death Valley, originally named because of the many travelers in the 1840s who died of thirst, starvation and/or exposure trying to cross it.

Starring: James A. FitzPatrick ..
Directed by: James A. FitzPatrick
Release date: 1944-01-22
Best Documentary Movies of 1944 : It's Your War Too
36.

It's Your War Too

1.5
6.4/10 IMDB

Documentary short film detailing the history of the American Women's Army Corps, the WACS.

Starring: George C. Marshall ..
Release date: 1944-04-20
37.

Colorful Colorado

1.5
6.3/10 IMDB

This Traveltalk series short starts off in Denver, capital of Colorado. Known as a recreational and health center, it is noted for its beautiful parks. The Museum of Natural History has specimens of local animal life. About an hour's drive from Denver on Lookout Mountain is the grave of Col. William Cody, 'Buffalo Bill', known as a scout and a plainsman. In Colorado Springs, there is a monument to the great American humorist Will Rogers who loved the stretches of open country. Much of the mountain area of Colorado is owned by the Federal government as national forest and there are many well stocked trout streams. In Mesa Verde National Park you will find the cave dwellings once used by Native Americans.

Starring: James A. FitzPatrick ..
Directed by: James A. FitzPatrick
Release date: 1944-05-20
38.

Roaming Through Arizona

1.5
6.3/10 IMDB

This Traveltalk series short focuses first on the architectural styles found in Arizona, then switches to the natural wonders in the state.

Starring: James A. FitzPatrick ..
Directed by: James A. FitzPatrick
Release date: 1944-06-03
39.

Along the Cactus Trail

1.5
6.4/10 IMDB

The drive from Riverside, California to Phoenix, Arizona is affectionately known as the Cactus Trail. Starting in Riverside, sights of note include: the Mission Inn in Riverside whose unique style was the brainchild of Frank Miller; the Chapel of St. Francis in Riverside, which because of its dedication to aviation is the site of many weddings associated with aviators; the Camelback Mountain outside of Phoenix, so named for its shape.

Starring: James A. FitzPatrick ..
Directed by: James A. FitzPatrick
Release date: 1944-04-15
Best Documentary Movies of 1944 : Memo for Joe
40.

Memo for Joe

1.4
5.9/10 IMDB

Documentary short film extolling the virtues of the American Community Chest charity program and its value to the Allied war effort.

Starring: Quentin Reynolds, Joe E. Brown, Gary Cooper, Marlene Dietrich, Bob Hope, Frances Langford, John Wayne ..
Directed by: Richard Fleischer
Release date: 1944-08-10
Best Documentary Movies of 1944 : Valley of the Tennessee
41.

Valley of the Tennessee

1.4
5.9/10 IMDB

U.S. Goverment film about the creation of the Tennessee Valley Authority in the 1930s and 1940s.

Starring: Fredric March, Franklin D. Roosevelt ..
Directed by: Alexander Hammid
Release date: 1944-03-14
42.

Crofters

1.4
5.6/10 IMDB

A look at everyday life in the crofting community of Achriesgill in Sutherland.

Directed by: Ralph Keene
Release date: 1944-12-30
Best Documentary Movies of 1944 : The Birds and the Beasts Were There
43.

The Birds and the Beasts Were There

1.3
5.8/10 IMDB

Visits to three animal parks in Miami, Florida: the Rare Bird Farm, with it's many chickens, cranes, and other birds; the Monkey Jungle, where the visitors are caged and the simian inhabitants roam freely; and finally the Parrot Jungle.

Starring: Knox Manning ..
Directed by: André de la Varre
Release date: 1944-12-30
44.

City of Brigham Young

1.3
5.5/10 IMDB

A tour of Salt Lake City, Utah.

Starring: James A. FitzPatrick ..
Directed by: James A. FitzPatrick
Release date: 1944-06-17
Best Documentary Movies of 1944 : The Case of the Tremendous Trifle
45.

The Case of the Tremendous Trifle

1.3
5.4/10 IMDB

This documentary short film depicts the importance of tiny ball bearings in the ability of a nation to carry out warfare. As ball bearings are necessary for the operation of almost all machinery, war materiel is vitally dependent on the production of these small metallic globes. Allied military forces in World War II decide it is necessary to curtail Germany's ability to provide itself with ball bearings. Intelligence is gathered from many sources in order to plan an aerial bombing raid on Schweinfurt, home of Germany's ball bearing industry.

Starring: William Forrest, Russell Hicks, Kurt Kreuger, Emory Parnell, Ian Wolfe ..
Release date: 1944-03-14
Best Documentary Movies of 1944 : Screen Snapshots' 50th Anniversary of Motion Pictures
46.

Screen Snapshots' 50th Anniversary of Motion Pictures

1.3
5.5/10 IMDB

1944 short film nominated for an Oscar in the category of Best Short Subject, One Reel

Directed by: Ralph Staub
Release date: 1944-01-01
Best Documentary Movies of 1944 : How to Fly the B-26 Airplane
47.

How to Fly the B-26 Airplane

1.3
5.4/10 IMDB

Documentary feature film depicting the training of young Lieutenant Jim Anthony as a pilot of the B-26 Marauder bomber. Dick, the captain charged with pilot instruction, leads Jim through every aspect of preparation to fly the bomber, going through a detailed checklist of pre-flight procedures, long before he allows Jim to turn an engine over. Once preparations are completed, Dick shows Jim the process of starting the engines, followed by take-off. In the air, further instruction helps Jim understand the various limits and capabilities of the aircraft. When one engine fails, Dick must simultaneously guide the limping plane back to a safe landing and explain to Jim each step of the procedure.

Starring: Don Porter, Craig Stevens, Frank Wilcox ..
Release date: 1944-03-14
Best Documentary Movies of 1944 : The Grassy Shires
48.

The Grassy Shires

1.2
5.1/10 IMDB

Profile of the Heart of England shires of Nottinghamshire, Leicestershire, Northamptonshire, Rutland, and Warwickshire, and their important roles in feeding the nation.

Directed by: Ralph Keene
Release date: 1944-01-01
49.

Flight 6

1.1
4.7/10 IMDB

Documentary films about air mail. Dramatizes the near-collision of a Trans-Canada Air Lines Lockheed Model 14 Super Electra airliner with an Avro Anson training aircraft.

Directed by: Sydney Newman
Release date: 1944-08-17
Best Documentary Movies of 1944 : Dangerous Journey
50.

Dangerous Journey

0.0
0.0/10 IMDB

Exploring the wonders in nature and culture which our young soldiers meet on their brave voyage to unknown lands.

Starring: Conrad Nagel ..
Directed by: Armand Denis, Leila Roosevelt
Release date: 1944-09-30

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