Best Documentary Movies of 1946


Let There Be Light

7.5/10 IMDB

The final entry in a trilogy of films produced for the U.S. government by John Huston. Some returning combat veterans suffer scars that are more psychological than physical. This film follows patients and staff during their treatment. It deals with what would now be called PTSD, but at the time was categorised as psychoneurosis or shell-shock. Government officials deemed this 1946 film counterproductive to postwar efforts; it was not shown publicly until 1981.

Starring: Walter Huston ..
Directed by: John Huston
Release date: 1946-12-16
Best Documentary Movies of 1946 : Britain Can Make It, No. 1

Britain Can Make It, No. 1

6.2/10 IMDB

A look at how science is keeping British industry as high-tech and innovative as anywhere else in the world.

Directed by: Francis Gysin
Release date: 1946-01-02
Best Documentary Movies of 1946 : Seeds of Destiny

Seeds of Destiny

6.2/10 IMDB

Oscar winning postwar propaganda film in support of the United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration. Strident but poignant, focusing on children. The film surveys the Nazi/Japanese atrocities, post-war devastation and the early relief efforts. This film was responsible for raising over $200,000,000, making it a top moneymaking film.

Starring: Ralph Bellamy ..
Directed by: David Miller
Release date: 1946-01-01
Best Documentary Movies of 1946 : The Private Life of a Cat

The Private Life of a Cat

7.3/10 IMDB

An intimate study of the life of a domestic cat, taking place over a period of months as she gives birth to a litter of kittens and cares for them as they grow.

Starring: Maya Deren ..
Directed by: Alexander Hammid, Maya Deren
Release date: 1946-12-22
Best Documentary Movies of 1946 : Reunion


7.1/10 IMDB

Live footage from concentration camps after the liberation, and the complex transport and lodging of masses of prisoners of war and other deported people back to their home countries, at the end of World War II.

Starring: Claude Roy ..
Directed by: Henri Cartier-Bresson, Richard Banks, G. Krimsky
Release date: 1946-01-02
Best Documentary Movies of 1946 : Traffic with the Devil

Traffic with the Devil

6.4/10 IMDB

This "Theater of Life" series short looks at traffic problems in Los Angeles, California, as described and experienced by Sgt. Charles Reineke, a traffic enforcement officer with the Los Angeles Police Department.

Starring: Charles Reineke, Ben Hall, Ralph Montgomery, Jason Robards Sr., Gil Perkins ..
Directed by: Gunther von Fritsch
Release date: 1946-08-31
Best Documentary Movies of 1946 : Theirs Is the Glory

Theirs Is the Glory

7.1/10 IMDB

Re-enactment of World War 2 Battle of Arnhem using the survivors from the battle.

Starring: Stanley Maxted, Geoff van Rijssel, Allan Wood, Thomas Scullion, Leo Genn ..
Directed by: Brian Desmond Hurst
Release date: 1946-10-13
Best Documentary Movies of 1946 : The Way We Live

The Way We Live

6.3/10 IMDB

Drama and documentary are combined in this stylish and ambitious film, in which 3000 local people took part. The film delves into the complexities of rebuilding a city, showing frustrations along the way as well as vivid scenes of family life in trying circumstances.

Starring: Peter Willes, Francis Lunt, Patsy Drake ..
Directed by: Jill Craigie
Release date: 1946-01-01
Best Documentary Movies of 1946 : Looking at London

Looking at London

6.4/10 IMDB

A colorful travelogue of London's most historic buildings and the residual damage still left from WWII.

Starring: James A. FitzPatrick ..
Release date: 1946-06-01

Visiting Vera Cruz

6.2/10 IMDB

This Traveltalk series short looks at the people, customs, and landmarks in Vera Cruz, the main port city of Mexico.

Starring: James A. FitzPatrick ..
Release date: 1946-03-16

Glimpses of California

6.0/10 IMDB

This Traveltalk series short looks at California, beginning with the diverse types of flowers found in the state. After a look at some popular Hollywood landmarks, we visit Glendale's Forest Lawn Memorial Park, a famous cemetery.

Starring: James A. FitzPatrick ..
Release date: 1946-10-26
Best Documentary Movies of 1946 : A Defeated People

A Defeated People

6.3/10 IMDB

A Defeated People is a 1946 British documentary short film made by the Crown Film Unit, directed by Humphrey Jennings and narrated by William Hartnell. The film depicts the shattered state of Germany, both physically and as a society, in the immediate aftermath of World War II. The narration explains what is being done – and what needs to be done – both by the occupying Allied forces and the German people themselves to build a better Germany from the ruins.

Directed by: Humphrey Jennings
Release date: 1946-01-01
Best Documentary Movies of 1946 : Facing Your Danger

Facing Your Danger

6.3/10 IMDB

This Warner Bros. The Sports Parade series short chronicles the attempt by a group of men to navigate the Colorado River through the Grand Canyon to Lake Mead. Led by Norman D. Nevills, nine men undertake a nineteen days trip in three specially built rowboats through the more than 200 rapids, some which run at 30 mph. Along the way, they see the remnants of previous expeditions. They also visit abandoned Pueblo Indian cave dwellings.

Starring: Knox Manning ..
Directed by: Edwin E. Olsen
Release date: 1946-05-11
Best Documentary Movies of 1946 : This Is China

This Is China

6.1/10 IMDB

A fascinating compilation of scenes showing diversity and disparity in 1940s China. The ancient Forbidden City and Great Wall are followed by Shanghai’s metropolitan skyline; primitive farming methods are juxtaposed with mechanised factories; children in rags are contrasted with models wearing the latest fashions; Nationalist commanders and Communist leaders vie for support.

Starring: Valentine Dyall ..
Release date: 1946-01-01
Best Documentary Movies of 1946 : Smart as a Fox

Smart as a Fox

5.8/10 IMDB

Smart as a Fox is a 1946 short documentary film supervised by Gordon Hollingshead. In this short film, a fox cub experiences life in the forest. It was nominated for an Oscar for Best Live Action Short, One-Reel.

Starring: Knox Manning ..
Directed by: Gordon Hollingshead
Release date: 1946-04-27
Best Documentary Movies of 1946 : Deadline for Action

Deadline for Action

5.6/10 IMDB

How left-wing labor unions engaged in political activism to combat corporate influence on the U.S. Congress in the years following World War II.

Directed by: Carl Marzani
Release date: 1946-01-01
Best Documentary Movies of 1946 : Health for the Americas: Planning for Good Eating

Health for the Americas: Planning for Good Eating

5.3/10 IMDB

An educational short from Disney on the importance of good nutrition.

Release date: 1946-04-02
Best Documentary Movies of 1946 : Land of Promise

Land of Promise

7.3/10 IMDB

Described as a 'film argument' about homes and houses, this film is in three parts showing houses as they were, houses as they are and houses as they might be.

Starring: Frederick Allen, Elizabeth Cowell, Henry Hallett, John Mills, Miles Malleson, Herbert Lomas, Marjorie Rhodes, Frederick Allen ..
Directed by: Paul Rotha
Release date: 1946-01-02

Cyprus Is an Island

7.1/10 IMDB

A short history of the island is followed by views of the countryside and people in town and village.

Starring: Valentine Dyall ..
Directed by: Ralph Keene
Release date: 1946-07-25
Best Documentary Movies of 1946 : Fenlands


6.5/10 IMDB

A look at life in the Fenlands (a coastal, marshy plain in eastern England) in 1940's.

Directed by: Ken Annakin
Release date: 1946-01-02
Best Documentary Movies of 1946 : Klee Wyck

Klee Wyck

6.3/10 IMDB

This short documentary from the Canadian Artists series presents the art of Emily Carr, the Canadian painter who found exciting subject matter on British Columbia's Pacific Coast, with its giant trees and its Indigenous villages, totems and carvings. When Carr visited the Ucluelet Indian Reserve on Vancouver Island in 1898, the Nuu-chah-nulth people gave her the name Klee Wyck, meaning “Laughing One.” Her canvases are shown here amidst the landscapes and places where they were painted.

Directed by: Grant Crabtree
Release date: 1946-01-02
Best Documentary Movies of 1946 : Along the Rainbow Trail

Along the Rainbow Trail

6.7/10 IMDB

This 1946 entry in the "Movietone Adventures" series of shorts was in Technicolor when originally released. Narrated by Lowell Thomas, it is a trip from Medicine Hat in southern Utah down the rapids of the San Juan River ending with a view of the Rainbow Bridge, hence the title and the use of Tehnicolor. It was nominated for an Oscar for Best Short Subject, One-Reel.

Starring: Lowell Thomas ..
Directed by: Edmund Reek
Release date: 1946-02-15
Best Documentary Movies of 1946 : Operation Crossroads

Operation Crossroads

5.8/10 IMDB

Footage of the Able Day and Baker Day nuclear tests at Bikini Atoll in 1946, accompanied by a narrator who explains the purpose and benefits of the testing.

Release date: 1946-09-01
Best Documentary Movies of 1946 : Glimpses of Guatemala

Glimpses of Guatemala

6.5/10 IMDB

We begin this short visit to Guatemala at the port town of Livingstone, then journey up the Rio Dulce. We stop to watch men tap the trees, harvest the sap, and load the product onto small planes. At a local market, we see indigenous life much as it's been for hundreds of years. Then it's back to the coast, to the prosperous Isla de Flores, a trading island.

Starring: James A. FitzPatrick ..
Directed by: James A. FitzPatrick
Release date: 1946-02-09

The Horse with the Human Mind

6.6/10 IMDB

This short film focuses on Bess, considered to be the smartest horse in the movies, as she works with her trainer.

Starring: Joe Adkinson, Frank Whitbeck ..
Directed by: Harry Loud
Release date: 1946-10-24

The Forest Commandos

6.4/10 IMDB

This short film focuses on Ontario's fire rangers, who keep watch over Canada's forests.

Starring: Knox Manning ..
Directed by: Van Campen Heilner
Release date: 1946-01-19

Battle for Survival

6.9/10 IMDB

This is a two-reel short appealing for financial support from Americans to assist in the feeding and resettlement in Palestine of 1.5 million European Jews who in 1946 were "incredibly, alive." Orson Welles' magnificent narration stirs one's soul.

Starring: Orson Welles ..
Release date: 1946-07-25
Best Documentary Movies of 1946 : We of the West Riding

We of the West Riding

6.2/10 IMDB

Exploring the daily life of a large family in Yorkshire, at work in the textile mills and at play.

Directed by: Ken Annakin
Release date: 1946-07-01
Best Documentary Movies of 1946 : It Might Be You

It Might Be You

6.2/10 IMDB

A doctor talks about the number of injuries and deaths resulting from automobile accidents.

Starring: Alfie Bass, Peter Cushing, Peter Madden, Johnnie Schofield ..
Directed by: Michael Gordon, Michael S. Gordon
Release date: 1946-07-25

The Mission Trail

6.5/10 IMDB

This Traveltalk series short follows the route laid out by the famous chain of 21 Spanish missions, begun in 1769 and extending northward for over 500 miles, from San Diego to Sonoma, California. We stop briefly at San Luis Rey and San Juan Capistrano (to watch the swallows) as well as San Juan Bautista and other missions.

Starring: James A. FitzPatrick ..
Directed by: James A. FitzPatrick
Release date: 1946-04-13
Best Documentary Movies of 1946 : Cotton Come Back

Cotton Come Back

6.0/10 IMDB

A short film trying to stop people in the North of England from worrying about losing their cotton industry jobs.

Directed by: Donald Alexander
Release date: 1946-01-02
Best Documentary Movies of 1946 : Okay for Sound

Okay for Sound

6.1/10 IMDB

This short was released in connection with the 20th anniversary of Warner Brothers' first exhibition of the Vitaphone sound-on-film process on 6 August 1926. The film highlights Thomas A. Edison and Alexander Graham Bell's efforts that contributed to sound movies and acknowledges the work of Lee De Forest. Brief excerpts from the August 1926 exhibition follow. Clips are then shown from a number of Warner Brothers features, four from the 1920s, the remainder from 1946/47.

Starring: John Barrymore, James Cagney, Anna Case, Thomas A. Edison, Mischa Elman, William H. Hays, Al Jolson, Giovanni Martinelli, Edward G. Robinson, Roy Smeck ..
Release date: 1946-09-07

Over the Seas to Belfast

6.1/10 IMDB

This Traveltalk series short begins aboard the RMS Scythia as it exits Halifax Harbor. The Scythia is a cruise ship that was converted to a troop transport during World War II; in 1940 it carried children from Liverpool to New York as part of an evacuation program set up by the Children's Overseas Reception Board. The present voyage is among the first to carry civilian passengers from North America to the British Isles following the end of the war. Among the passengers are 150 child evacuees, who have spent several years growing up in Canada or the USA.

Starring: James A. FitzPatrick, Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom, Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother, King George VI of the United Kingdom ..
Release date: 1946-08-31
Best Documentary Movies of 1946 : Treasures from Trash

Treasures from Trash

5.9/10 IMDB

This short film presents an unusual Beverly Hills store called the Patio Shop, where trash is turned into art.

Starring: Pete Smith, Dave O'Brien, Harry Lachman ..
Directed by: Dave O'Brien
Release date: 1946-06-08
Best Documentary Movies of 1946 : Problem Drinkers

Problem Drinkers

6.0/10 IMDB

This edition of the March of Time series (Volume 12, Number 11) deals with the growing problem of alcoholism ins the USA. It emphasizes that alcoholics are not bad people but have an addiction which is beyond their control. It shows the work going on at Yale University on alcoholism and addiction and tries to dispel many of the myths that surround the subject. It then turn to a relatively new organization that seems to be having great success in helping alcoholics beat their habit: Alcoholics Anonymous. Using their 12-step programs and having reformed alcoholics act as counselors for those in need of help has worked well.

Starring: Don Haggerty ..
Release date: 1946-06-14
Best Documentary Movies of 1946 : This Is My Railroad

This Is My Railroad

5.8/10 IMDB

A film about the Southern Pacific Railroad and the men and women who keep the trains running.

Release date: 1946-07-01

Bikini, the Atom Island

5.8/10 IMDB

This shows the natives of Bikini Island as they were being evacuated and relocated (o.k., dispossessed) from their island prior to the atom bomb tests.

Starring: Carey Wilson ..
Release date: 1946-06-15
Best Documentary Movies of 1946 : It's Your America

It's Your America

6.2/10 IMDB

This short--long rumored to have been directed by John Ford--was produced by the US government specifically for veterans returning home from World War II, showing them what their responsibilities as citizens were now that they were returning to civilian life.

Starring: Ernest Cossart, Preston Foster, Arthur Kennedy, J. Carrol Naish, Walter Sande, Robert Sully ..
Directed by: John Ford
Release date: 1946-07-25

Land of the Mayas

5.7/10 IMDB

This Traveltalk series short visits the village of Chichicastenango, Guatemala and emphasizes the influence of the Mayan culture on its people. It shows how the residents intermingle ancient religious practices with Catholic teachings. Narrator James FitzPatrick introduces, and greets on camera, Father Ildefonso Rossbach, a Catholic priest who ministers to the local population in the village and outlying areas.

Starring: James A. FitzPatrick, Ildefonso Rossback ..
Release date: 1946-01-26

The Last Parteitag in Nuremberg

5.6/10 IMDB

Report from the trial of Nazi criminals before the international tribunal in Nuremberg.

Directed by: Antoni Bohdziewicz
Release date: 1946-07-25
Best Documentary Movies of 1946 : Dive-Hi Champs

Dive-Hi Champs

5.0/10 IMDB

Dive-Hi Champs is a 1946 short documentary film, a Grantland Rice Sportlight segment from Paramount Studios and Jack Eaton featuring a cavalcade of diving highlights, from youngsters at the local swimming hole to athletes jumping from giant earth-moving equipment in the Panama Canal. It was nominated for an Oscar for Best Live Action Short Film, One-Reel.

Starring: Ted Husing ..
Directed by: Jack Eaton
Release date: 1946-11-01

Routine Job: A Story of Scotland Yard

5.6/10 IMDB

Methods used by Scotland Yard in tracking down and arresting car thieves.

Starring: John Walsh, Paddy Doyle, Owen Phillips ..
Directed by: Gilbert Gunn
Release date: 1946-07-25
Best Documentary Movies of 1946 : Atomic Power!

Atomic Power!

5.4/10 IMDB

Atomic Power! is an American short documentary film produced by The March of Time and released to theaters August 9, 1946, one year after the end of World War II. It is a recreation of the making of the atomic bomb leading up to the Trinity test. It was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Documentary Short.

Starring: Westbrook Van Voorhis ..
Directed by: Jack Glenn
Release date: 1946-08-09
Best Documentary Movies of 1946 : Here Comes the Circus

Here Comes the Circus

3.1/10 IMDB

Watch and enjoy the large variety of acts in an old-fashioned circus! The film was made available in sound and silent versions.

Starring: Emmett Kelly, Clyde Beatty, betty rich, dorothy herbert, jean allen, Dorothy Herbert, Jean Allen ..
Release date: 1946-01-01

Arranging the Tea Table

5.2/10 IMDB

Arranging the Tea Table

Directed by: Edward G. Simmel
Release date: 1946-06-15

You and Your Friends

3.8/10 IMDB

Teenagers are urged to use common sense in choosing the types of friends they have in this classroom training film. It shows the behavior of various teenagers at a party, and viewers are asked to choose which of the teens they think would make a good friend and which ones wouldn't.

Starring: Don Goddard ..
Directed by: George Blake
Release date: 1946-11-25

Personality Meet: Enid Blyton

4.2/10 IMDB

A brief feature on author Enid Blyton at home.

Starring: Gillian Baverstock, Enid Blyton, Imogen Smallwood, Kenneth Waters ..
Release date: 1946-06-24

Let's Give a Tea

3.6/10 IMDB

Etiquette guidance, here, displaying how to throw a tea party.

Directed by: Edward G. Simmel
Release date: 1946-07-25

Project Crossroads

0.0/10 IMDB

Two nuclear tests, Able and Baker, were the first tests conducted at the Pacific Proving Ground, near the Bikini Atoll in the Marshall Islands. This test series was called Project Crossroads. In the history, these were the fourth and fifth nuclear detonations, following the Trinity test in July 1945, and the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki that ended the World War II.

Release date: 1946-08-12

Trouble in Toytown

0.0/10 IMDB

Some puppets demonstrate road safety to school children. (A public information film)

Starring: Derek McCullough ..
Directed by: Dudley Shaw Ashton
Release date: 1946-01-01

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