Best Documentary Movies of 1945


Nazi Concentration Camps

8.3/10 IMDB

Produced and presented as evidence at the Nuremberg war crimes trial of Hermann Göring and twenty other Nazi leaders, this film consists primarily of dead and surviving prisoners and of facilities used to kill and torture during the World War II.

Starring: Dwight D. Eisenhower, Jack Taylor ..
Directed by: George Stevens
Release date: 1945-11-29
Best Documentary Movies of 1945 : San Pietro

San Pietro

6.6/10 IMDB

This documentary movie is about the battle of San Pietro, a small village in Italy. Over 1,100 US soldiers were killed while trying to take this location, that blocked the way for the Allied forces from the Germans.

Starring: Mark W. Clark, John Huston ..
Directed by: John Huston
Release date: 1945-05-03
Best Documentary Movies of 1945 : A Study in Choreography for Camera

A Study in Choreography for Camera

6.4/10 IMDB

Maya Deren’s shortest, two-minute A Study in Choreography for Camera seems like an exercise piece to capture a dancer’s movement on celluloid, which later on developed into her masterpieces such as Ritual in Transfigured Time and Meditation on Violence.

Starring: Talley Beatty ..
Directed by: Maya Deren
Release date: 1945-10-17
Best Documentary Movies of 1945 : The Ship That Wouldn't Die!

The Ship That Wouldn't Die!

6.9/10 IMDB

This short film focuses on the USS Franklin, an aircraft carrier that in March 1945 suffered heavy bombing damages and a massive toll on servicemen before returning to the U.S.

Starring: John B. Kennedy ..
Release date: 1945-04-01
Best Documentary Movies of 1945 : Death Mills

Death Mills

7.6/10 IMDB

Originally made with a German soundtrack for screening in occupied Germany and Austria, this film was the first documentary to show what the Allies found when they liberated the Nazi extermination camps: the survivors, the conditions, and the evidence of mass murder. The film includes accounts of the economic aspects of the camps' operation, the interrogation of captured camp personnel, and the enforced visits of the inhabitants of neighboring towns, who, along with the rest of their compatriots, are blamed for complicity in the Nazi crimes - one of the few such condemnations in the Allied war records.

Starring: Anton Reimer ..
Directed by: Billy Wilder, Hans Burger
Release date: 1945-07-10
Best Documentary Movies of 1945 : A Diary for Timothy

A Diary for Timothy

7.0/10 IMDB

This brief documentary-style film presents the status of Great Britain near the end of the Second World War by means of a visual diary for a baby boy born in September, 1944. Narration explains to "Timothy" what his family, his neighbors, and his fellow citizens are going through as the war nears its end, and what problems may remain for new Englishmen like Timothy to solve.

Starring: Michael Redgrave, Myra Hess, John Gielgud ..
Directed by: Humphrey Jennings
Release date: 1945-12-31
Best Documentary Movies of 1945 : Why We Fight: War Comes to America

Why We Fight: War Comes to America

6.8/10 IMDB

The seventh and final film of Frank Capra's Why We Fight World War II propaganda film series. This entry attempts to describe the factors leading up to America's entry into the Second World War.

Starring: Walter Huston, Lloyd Nolan ..
Directed by: Frank Capra, Anatole Litvak
Release date: 1945-06-14
Best Documentary Movies of 1945 : München 1945

München 1945

7.3/10 IMDB

Shot in Munich just a few weeks after it was taken by the American troops on April 30, 1945.

Directed by: Willi Cronauer
Release date: 1945-12-31
Best Documentary Movies of 1945 : To the Shores of Iwo Jima

To the Shores of Iwo Jima

6.5/10 IMDB

Documentary short film depicting the American assault on the Japanese-held island of Iwo Jima and the massive battle that raged on that key island in the Allied advance on Japan. Four cameramen died bringing this footage to the public

Starring: Franklin D. Roosevelt ..
Release date: 1945-06-07
Best Documentary Movies of 1945 : Diary of a Sergeant

Diary of a Sergeant

7.4/10 IMDB

Harold Russell, an American soldier who lost his hands in a training accident, tells the story of his medical rehabilitation at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington DC, how he and his fellow amputees at the hospital at first despaired and then found new hope in the prostheses and training available to amputees through the Army's medical corps. Russell learns to wear and to operate the hooks which replace his hands and becomes competent to perform many tasks he had once thought no longer possible. Discharged from the Army, he is welcomed into Boston College by college president William J. Murphy, S.J.

Starring: Alfred Drake, Harold Russell ..
Directed by: Joseph M. Newman
Release date: 1945-01-01
Best Documentary Movies of 1945 : V-E +1

V-E +1

7.0/10 IMDB

The silent 16 mm footage that makes up "V-E +1" documents the burial of beaten and emaciated Holocaust victims found by Allied forces in the Nazi concentration camp at Falkenau, Czechoslovakia, as World War II ended in Europe.

Directed by: Samuel Fuller
Release date: 1945-05-06
Best Documentary Movies of 1945 : Here Is Germany

Here Is Germany

6.3/10 IMDB

A "know-your-enemy" propaganda film similar to "Know Your Enemy: Japan" and "My Japan", films about Japan with the same objective. It contains a history of the prelude to WW II, the death camps and other Nazi war crimes, and commentary on the character of the German people. Directed by Frank Capra, this film is in essentially the same format as his "Why We Fight" series. It was intended to be shown to American troops participating in the invasion and occupation of Germany. But by the time it was ready, events had overtaken it -- Germany was already well on its way to falling -- so the film was shelved. Although it is readily available for public-domain viewing on the Internet, it has never been widely distributed or shown.

Starring: Anthony Veiller ..
Directed by: Frank Capra
Release date: 1945-12-31
Best Documentary Movies of 1945 : The True Glory

The True Glory

7.0/10 IMDB

A documentary account of the allied invasion of Europe during World War II compiled from the footage shot by nearly 1400 cameramen. It opens as the assembled allied forces plan and train for the D-Day invasion at bases in Great Britain and covers all the major events of the war in Europe from the Normandy landings to the fall of Berlin.

Starring: Leslie Banks, Robert Harris, Sam Levene, Peter Ustinov, Dwight D. Eisenhower, George S. Patton, Richard Attenborough, Winston Churchill ..
Directed by: Garson Kanin, Carol Reed
Release date: 1945-10-04

Modern Guatemala City

6.1/10 IMDB

This FitzPatrick Traveltalk short visits Guatemala City, touching upon its sights, customs, and history.

Starring: James A. FitzPatrick ..
Release date: 1945-08-25

People on Paper

6.9/10 IMDB

Americans are preoccupied with the news, but need an escape from many of the events reported in the news. These escapes in the past have included dime store novels. The most accessible of these escapes is what are known as the funny papers, the set of serialized comic strips that are included within many newspapers. They appeal to all socio-economic classes, and all ages. Some of the earliest known from the late 19th century include the Yellow Kid, Little Nemo, Happy Hooligan, the Katzenjammer Kids, Mutt & Jeff, and Bringing Up Father. Many cartoonists are seen in action. Some originated their characters, while others have taken over following the passing of the originator. The joy of many comic strips are the absurd and the fantastical, which are limited only by the imagination of the cartoonist. Others are grounded in reality, which add to their poignancy within the public mindset.

Starring: John Nesbitt, H. H. Knerr, Chester Gould, Al Capp, Chic Young ..
Directed by: Herbert Morgan
Release date: 1945-11-17

Fury in the Pacific

6.7/10 IMDB

Documentary short film depicting American Army, Navy, Marine, Air Forces, and Coast Guard joint assaults on a Japanese-held island.

Release date: 1945-03-22
Best Documentary Movies of 1945 : The Nazi Plan

The Nazi Plan

6.8/10 IMDB

Produced and presented as evidence at the Nuremberg war crimes trial of Hermann Göring and twenty other Nazi leaders.

Directed by: George Stevens
Release date: 1945-12-11
Best Documentary Movies of 1945 : Topaz


6.2/10 IMDB

This documentary was secretly and 'illegally' shot inside the prison camps, established during World War II by American authorities to detain US citizens of Japanese descent who were considered a potential threat to national security.

Directed by: Dave Tatsuno
Release date: 1945-05-23
Best Documentary Movies of 1945 : Appointment in Tokyo

Appointment in Tokyo

6.6/10 IMDB

Produced by the Army Pictorial Service, Signal Corps, with the cooperation of the Army Air Forces and the United States Navy, and released by Warner Bros. for the War Activities Committee shortly after the surrender of Japan. Follow General Douglas MacArthur and his men from their exile from the Philippines in early 1942, through the signing of the instrument of surrender on the USS Missouri on September 1, 1945

Starring: Douglas MacArthur, Chester W. Nimitz, James Craig, George C. Kenney ..
Directed by: Jack Hively
Release date: 1945-12-07
Best Documentary Movies of 1945 : Library of Congress

Library of Congress

6.3/10 IMDB

A 1945 Oscar nominated short documentary about the Library of Congress. It is one of 26 documentary shorts produced between 1942 and 1945 by the U.S. Overseas Film Bureau, and intended to show foreign viewers something about America and it's values, this one focuses on the important institution in Washington D.C. which preserves written and other works that have been copyrighted, as part of the country's heritage.

Starring: Ralph Bellamy ..
Directed by: Alexander Hammid
Release date: 1945-01-01

Two Down and One to Go

6.1/10 IMDB

Documentary short film produced by the U.S. Army, intended to enlighten the American public on the final thrust of the Allied war effort in Europe and on the plans for the return home of American forces.

Directed by: Frank Capra
Release date: 1945-05-10
Best Documentary Movies of 1945 : That Justice Be Done

That Justice Be Done

6.9/10 IMDB

Newsreel footage from both sides of World War II make a case for convicting Nazi war criminals.

Starring: Irving Pichel ..
Directed by: George Stevens
Release date: 1945-10-18
Best Documentary Movies of 1945 : Know Your Enemy: Japan

Know Your Enemy: Japan

5.9/10 IMDB

Frank Capra-directed propaganda film produced during World War II depicting the United States' new enemy: Japan.

Starring: John Beal, Howard Duff, Walter Huston, Knox Manning ..
Directed by: Frank Capra, Joris Ivens
Release date: 1945-08-09
Best Documentary Movies of 1945 : Story of a Dog

Story of a Dog

6.2/10 IMDB

Story of a Dog is a 1945 short documentary film under the supervision of Gordon Hollingshead. In the film, a dog trains for the battlefield and becomes a crucial part of the United States military. It was nominated for an Oscar for Best Live Action Short, One-Reel.

Starring: Knox Manning ..
Directed by: Gordon Hollingshead
Release date: 1945-10-27

The Atom Strikes!

5.7/10 IMDB

The U.S. Army Signal Corps Pictorial Division made this short documentary shortly after the end of WWII to look at the after-effects of the atomic bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. There is no credited crew or cast.

Directed by: U.S. Army Signal Corps Pictoral Division
Release date: 1945-12-31
Best Documentary Movies of 1945 : The Channel Islands 1940-1945

The Channel Islands 1940-1945

6.9/10 IMDB

The occupation of the Channel Islands.

Directed by: Gerard Bryant
Release date: 1945-06-01
Best Documentary Movies of 1945 : Health for the Americas: The Unseen Enemy

Health for the Americas: The Unseen Enemy

5.9/10 IMDB

Disney animated educational film about staying safe from disease.

Release date: 1945-08-12
Best Documentary Movies of 1945 : Your Job in Germany

Your Job in Germany

5.1/10 IMDB

Your Job In Germany is a short film made for the United States War Department in 1945 just before Victory in Europe Day (VE). It was shown to US soldiers about to go on occupation duty in Germany. The film was made by the military film unit commanded by Frank Capra and was written by Theodor Geisel, better known by his pen name Dr. Seuss.

Starring: Dana Andrews ..
Directed by: Frank Capra, Anatole Litvak
Release date: 1945-04-15
Best Documentary Movies of 1945 : Health for the Americas: Cleanliness Brings Health

Health for the Americas: Cleanliness Brings Health

5.3/10 IMDB

The comparison of two rural families to demonstrate the need for proper hygiene and the consequences of its neglect.

Directed by: James Algar
Release date: 1945-06-29

The Fight for the Sky

5.5/10 IMDB

Documentary detailing the activities of American fighter escort pilots during bombing raids over Germany.

Starring: Ronald Reagan, Jimmy Doolittle ..
Release date: 1945-06-21
Best Documentary Movies of 1945 : Hitler Lives

Hitler Lives

5.3/10 IMDB

This short film, produced at the end of WWII, warns that although Adolf Hitler is dead, his ideas live on.

Starring: Knox Manning ..
Directed by: Don Siegel
Release date: 1945-12-29
Best Documentary Movies of 1945 : Watchtower Over Tomorrow

Watchtower Over Tomorrow

6.2/10 IMDB

Short documentary film about the Dumbarton Oaks plan and the proposed formation of the United Nations.

Starring: John Nesbitt, Edward R. Stettinius Jr., Jonathan Hale, Martin Kosleck, Miles Mander, Grant Mitchell, Lionel Stander, George Zucco ..
Directed by: Alfred Hitchcock, John Cromwell, Harold F. Kress, Elia Kazan
Release date: 1945-03-29

Parad Pobedy

7.9/10 IMDB

Color documentary film about the victory parade held on June 24, 1945, in Moscow, Red Square.

Directed by: Irina Venzher, N.V. Solovyov, Iosif Poselski
Release date: 1945-12-12

Wings for This Man

7.4/10 IMDB

A tribute to the pioneering achievements of the Negro combat pilots trained at the Tuskegee Institute in Alabama.

Starring: Ronald Reagan ..
Release date: 1945-12-13

March of Progress

7.4/10 IMDB

Tour of the modern interurban trolley system of San Francisco's East Bay and over the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge. Predicts the bright postwar future of streetcar transit, with visionary images of advanced-design railcars.

Starring: Emory Green ..
Directed by: Hugh Harman, Wallace Bosco
Release date: 1945-12-10


6.4/10 IMDB

An introduction to the famous and historic university town, showing the colleges, as well as the place itself.

Starring: Lawrence Bragg, G.M. Trevelyan ..
Directed by: Richard Massingham
Release date: 1945-12-09

American Beauty

7.1/10 IMDB

Part of the March of Time series, this episode (Volume 12, Number 2) focuses entirely on the beauty industry in the USA. With spending of over $1 billion (in 1945) on cosmetic products, it has evolved into a major commercial enterprise. Packaging has proved to be a very important factor in sales and some $50 million per year is spent on advertising. The FDA look out for harmful products and Federal Trade Commission keeps an eye out for misleading claims. Spas and country resorts, where you can rest and relax, are gaining popularity for those who can afford it as are slenderizing salons and gymnasiums. Hairstyling has become an even bigger business. It's not only women who spend money on beauty products as some $300 million per year is spent by men.

Starring: Arlene Francis, Westbrook Van Voorhis ..
Release date: 1945-10-05
Best Documentary Movies of 1945 : The Seesaw and the Shoes

The Seesaw and the Shoes

6.9/10 IMDB

This short shows how two objects led to important discoveries. Children playing with a seesaw inspire French physician Rene Laennec to invent the stethoscope, and a pair of shoes made of caoutchouc lead Charles Goodyear to discover the process for vulcanizing rubber.

Starring: John Nesbitt ..
Directed by: Douglas Foster
Release date: 1945-05-05

Time to Kill

6.9/10 IMDB

A group of sailors kid their shipmate Frank about his constant reading, when they would all rather play cards. But each of them has a dream for the future that they consider impossible. Harry wants a better world for his two kids, Shorty and Eddie want to start a trucking company, Joe wants to learn about engines, and another of the gang just wants to know how to write well. When Frank reveals that he's been studying to get his high school diploma and to have a career in the Navy, the others realize that the educational benefits offered by the Armed Forces Institute can help them achieve their dreams.

Starring: George Reeves, Barry Nelson, Don Hanmer, Jimmy Lydon, Don Taylor, DeForest Kelley, Betty White ..
Release date: 1945-12-13
Best Documentary Movies of 1945 : Steel


6.7/10 IMDB

A colorful British documentary about the manufacturing of steel.

Starring: John Laurie ..
Directed by: Jack Cardiff, Ronald H. Riley
Release date: 1945-07-12

Beachhead to Berlin

6.5/10 IMDB

From the Department of the Navy.This historical recording from the National Archives may contain variations in audio and video quality based on the limitations of the original source material.

Starring: Truman Bradley ..
Release date: 1945-01-06

A Better Tomorrow

7.2/10 IMDB

A Better Tomorrow (1945) is a documentary short that focuses on New York City progressive public schools.

Directed by: Alexander Hammid
Release date: 1945-11-03
Best Documentary Movies of 1945 : Children's Charter

Children's Charter

6.2/10 IMDB

A documentary about how a bill for education (also known as the children's charter) passed by the British government in the 1940's will help all children get a good education.

Directed by: Gerard Bryant
Release date: 1945-01-02
Best Documentary Movies of 1945 : The Fleet That Came to Stay

The Fleet That Came to Stay

6.8/10 IMDB

A propaganda short film produced by the US Navy in 1945 about the naval engagements of the invasion of Okinawa.

Directed by: Budd Boetticher
Release date: 1945-07-26

The Sport Parade: Snow Thrills

3.4/10 IMDB

A silent short documentary highlighting winter sports - skating, skiing, bobsled, dogsledding, and features lots of folks falling down.

Starring: Clyde Kittel ..
Directed by: Eugene W. Castle
Release date: 1945-01-01


6.4/10 IMDB

Two expert badminton players demonstrate how the best play the game, including some slick trick shots. Meanwhile, befuddled bungler Bellamy B. Birdbrain bumbles his way through building a backyard badminton court. (This film is played in its entirety in MGM's short feature "The Great Morgan")

Starring: Pete Smith, Ken Davidson, Joe Watters, Ben Blue ..
Directed by: Philip W. Anderson
Release date: 1945-12-08

The Story of Willow Run

6.7/10 IMDB

This Ford Motor Company promotional film describes its huge aircraft factory at Willow Run, east of Ypsilanti, Michigan. The plant made B-24 Liberator heavy bombers during World War II. At peak capacity, one four-engine B-24 rolled out the door every 55 minutes. The plant combined parts fabrication with final assembly under one roof, and employed up to 42,000 workers. This film also provides a detailed description of each stage of construction of a B-24, including parts manufacture, assembly, and flight test.

Release date: 1945-01-01
Best Documentary Movies of 1945 : The Fleet That Came to Stay

The Fleet That Came to Stay

6.8/10 IMDB

Well before he made the Westerns for which he would primarily be remembered, director Budd Boetticher put together this documentary of World War II's Battle of Okinawa from footage shot by Navy cameramen in the thick of the fighting.

Directed by: Budd Boetticher
Release date: 1945-07-26
Best Documentary Movies of 1945 : Land and Live in the Desert

Land and Live in the Desert

6.4/10 IMDB

Documentary short film depicting the correct methods of surviving the crash landing of a military aircraft in the desert. Methods of conserving water, providing shelter, and signaling for help are depicted.

Starring: John Beal, Wally Cassell, Robert Foulk, Van Heflin, William T. Orr, Craig Stevens ..
Release date: 1945-12-11

The Army Nurse

6.2/10 IMDB

This short details the importance of U.S. Army Nurses and all of the hard work and compassion that they provide on a daily basis. The film also shows the many different conditions they have to deal with in and out of work during wartime.

Starring: Gary Cooper ..
Release date: 1945-12-28

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