Best Documentary Movies of 1954


Helen Keller in Her Story

7.7/10 IMDB

Narrated by actress Katharine Cornell and filmed in black and white, it spends the first 24 minutes introducing viewers, through newsreels, interviews, and old photographs, to the story of the deaf and blind disabled-rights pioneer. News footage shows her international appearances and visits with heads of state, including President Eisenhower allowing her to feel his face. The second half takes a day-in-the-(exceptional)-life approach to Keller's existence circa 1955. Made just 13 years before her death, Keller's famed tutor-translator-friend Anne Sullivan had already died, leaving her live-in replacement, Polly Thomson, to share the film's focus. From the time Keller takes her morning walk along the 1,000-foot handrail around her yard through her workday to her nightly reading of her Braille Bible, her serene acceptance of her life will amaze and inspire.

Starring: Katharine Cornell, Helen Keller ..
Directed by: Nancy Hamilton
Release date: 1954-06-15
Best Documentary Movies of 1954 : It's Everybody's Business

It's Everybody's Business

6.1/10 IMDB

Animated propaganda advocating for the importance of unregulated capitalism to the American way of life.

Starring: Macdonald Carey ..
Release date: 1954-01-01
Best Documentary Movies of 1954 : Elizabethan Express

Elizabethan Express

7.6/10 IMDB

Elizabethan Express is a 1954 British Transport Film that follows The Elizabethan, a non-stop British Railways service from London to Edinburgh along the East Coast Main Line. Although originally intended as an advertising short, it now acts as a nostalgic record of the halcyon years of steam on British Railways and the ex-LNER Class A4.

Starring: Alan Wheatley, Howard Marion-Crawford ..
Directed by: Tony Thompson
Release date: 1954-01-01
Best Documentary Movies of 1954 : Thursday's Children

Thursday's Children

7.3/10 IMDB

Won the Academy Award for the Best Documentary Short of 1954. The subject deals with the children at The Royal School for the Deaf in Margate, Kent. The hearing-handicapped children are shown painstakingly learning what words are through exercises and games, practicing lip-reading and finally speech. Richard Burton's calm and sometimes-poetic narration adds to the heartwarming cheerfulness and courage of the children.

Starring: Richard Burton, The Royal School for the Deaf ..
Directed by: Lindsay Anderson, Guy Brenton
Release date: 1954-05-01
Best Documentary Movies of 1954 : In Paris Parks

In Paris Parks

6.6/10 IMDB

This short film displays the dynamic movement of people as they enter and exit parks in Paris.

Starring: Wendy Clarke ..
Directed by: Shirley Clarke
Release date: 1954-06-04

Glimpses of Western Germany

6.2/10 IMDB

This James A. FitzPatrick Traveltalks short visits the West German cities of Hamburg, Bremen, Munich, and Heidelberg. Included are scenes of World War II destruction that lingered at the time.

Starring: James A. FitzPatrick ..
Directed by: James A. FitzPatrick
Release date: 1954-02-13
Best Documentary Movies of 1954 : This Mechanical Age

This Mechanical Age

6.6/10 IMDB

This Mechanical Age is a 1954 American short documentary film about the early days of aviation, produced by Robert Youngson. In 1955, it won an Oscar for Best Short Subject [One-Reel] at the 27th Academy Awards

Directed by: Robert Youngson
Release date: 1954-08-28
Best Documentary Movies of 1954 : The Back of Beyond

The Back of Beyond

6.6/10 IMDB

This 1954 classic follows an outback mailman as he travels along the Birdsville Track.

Starring: Tom Kruse, William Henry Butler, Jack the Dogger, Old Joe the Rainmaker, The Oldfields Of Etadunna, Bejah ..
Directed by: John Heyer
Release date: 1954-05-05

The Stratford Adventure

6.6/10 IMDB

This short film depicts how a small Canadian city, bearing the name of Stratford and by a river Avon, created its own renowned Shakespearean theatre. The film tells how the idea grew, how a famous British director, international stars and Canadian talent were recruited, and how the Stratford Shakespearean Festival finally became a triumphant reality.

Starring: John Drainie, Alec Guinness, Tyrone Guthrie, Irene Worth, Cecil Clarke, Tanya Moiseiwitsch, Michael Bates, Lloyd Bochner, Douglas Campbell, Robert Christie ..
Directed by: Morten Parker
Release date: 1954-08-02
Best Documentary Movies of 1954 : Siam


5.7/10 IMDB

Oscar nominated short film from 1954

Directed by: Ralph Wright
Release date: 1954-12-24
Best Documentary Movies of 1954 : Jazz Dance

Jazz Dance

6.7/10 IMDB

Few films wield the awesome spiritual power of Jazz Dance, on which Leacock was one of two cameramen charting the slow, smoldering build of a Manhattan dance club from idle space to explosive, carnal bacchanal. Employing handheld cameras, limited light and sheer proximity, the film achieved an intimacy never before witnessed in a documentary.

Starring: Jimmy McPartland, Pee Wee Russell, Willie 'The Lion' Smith ..
Directed by: Roger Tilton
Release date: 1954-09-04
Best Documentary Movies of 1954 : The First Piano Quartette

The First Piano Quartette

6.0/10 IMDB

The First Piano Quartette is a 1954 short documentary film directed by Otto Lang. It shows the First Piano Quartette composed of Adan Garner, Edward Edson, Frank Mittler and Glauco D'Attilli as they play Lecuona's "Malaguena," Debussy's "Clair de Lune," and John Phillip Sousa's "The Stars and Stripes Forever." The film was nominated for an Oscar for Best Short Subject, One-Reel.

Directed by: Otto Lang
Release date: 1954-05-04
Best Documentary Movies of 1954 : Victory at Sea

Victory at Sea

8.6/10 IMDB

A feature-length, condensed version of the 1952 documentary TV series 'Victory at Sea'.

Starring: Alexander Scourby ..
Directed by: Isaac Kleinerman, Donald B. Hyatt
Release date: 1954-08-02
Best Documentary Movies of 1954 : Corral


7.3/10 IMDB

Corral is a 1954 National Film Board of Canada documentary by Colin Low, partly shot in the Cochrane Ranch in what is now Cochrane, Alberta. In the film, a cowboy rounds up wild horses, lassoing one of the high-spirited animals in the corral, then going on a ride across the Rocky Mountain Foothills of Alberta.

Starring: Wallace Jensen ..
Directed by: Colin Low
Release date: 1954-01-01
Best Documentary Movies of 1954 : Out of This World

Out of This World

6.7/10 IMDB

Filmed in 1949 when Lowell Thomas and Lowell Thomas Jr. took a journey to Tibet before the Chinese had moved in. It shows Tibet as it was then and, for that matter, as it had been for centuries.

Directed by: Lowell Thomas, Lowell Thomas Jr
Release date: 1954-05-04
Best Documentary Movies of 1954 : The Heart of England

The Heart of England

6.3/10 IMDB

The Cotswolds are the largest areas of Britain, stretching over a hundred miles from Chipping Camden to the city of Bath.

Starring: Stephen Murray ..
Directed by: Michael Clarke
Release date: 1954-01-01

Fish Tales

6.1/10 IMDB

In this short film, champion fisherman Ernie St. Claire tries to catch a large salmon in Oregon's Rogue River.

Starring: Pete Smith ..
Directed by: Carl Dudley
Release date: 1954-03-13
Best Documentary Movies of 1954 : Jet Carrier

Jet Carrier

5.3/10 IMDB

Jet Carrier is a 1954 American short documentary film produced by Otto Lang as a CinemaScope Special. It was nominated for two Academy Awards - one for Best Documentary Short, and the other for Best Two-Reel Short. It was filmed aboard the aircraft carrier USS Yorktown.

Directed by: Otto Lang
Release date: 1954-08-01
Best Documentary Movies of 1954 : Out of This World

Out of This World

2.3/10 IMDB

An angel and a devil try to persuade a borderline wholesale bakery salesman to their side.

Starring: Ralph Clanton ..
Release date: 1954-01-01
Best Documentary Movies of 1954 : The French Peep Show

The French Peep Show

4.5/10 IMDB

A filmed burlesque show, staged at the El Rey Theater in Oakland, CA.

Starring: Peter A. DeCenzie, Tempest Storm ..
Directed by: Russ Meyer
Release date: 1954-04-01

The Secret of Selling the Negro Market

4.5/10 IMDB

Film financed by Johnson Publishing Company to instruct advertisers on promoting and selling products in the African-American market.

Starring: Robert Trout ..
Directed by: Wayne A Langston
Release date: 1954-07-04

Circus on Ice

2.2/10 IMDB

Based on the 40th Annual Carnival of the Toronto Skating Club.

Starring: Ken Davey ..
Directed by: Gordon Sparling
Release date: 1954-09-18
Best Documentary Movies of 1954 : The Truck Farmer

The Truck Farmer

2.4/10 IMDB

An interesting little short about the exploitative system of the 1930's-50's that used cheap Mexican workers (that "cross the border on temporary work permits to *help* with the harvest").

Starring: James Brill ..
Release date: 1954-01-01
Best Documentary Movies of 1954 : The Selling Wizard

The Selling Wizard

2.1/10 IMDB

A commercial short film presented by Anheuser-Busch to showcase large modern freezers that make it easier for grocers to sell their goods and make higher profits. It is aimed at businesses that require display freezers for their products.

Release date: 1954-01-01
Best Documentary Movies of 1954 : The Case of Mr. Critic

The Case of Mr. Critic

0.0/10 IMDB

Our achievements since Independence are great enough to sustain our faith in our country's future. Some of these are the river valley projects, the irrigation schemes, the production locomotives and aircraft. But there are some people who decry every new idea and scheme. This film shows the damage caused by loose and irresponsible talk and highlights the need for active participation in the building up of our country.

Starring: Berkeley Hill ..
Directed by: Ravi Prakash
Release date: 1954-01-01
Best Documentary Movies of 1954 : On the track to the midnight sun

On the track to the midnight sun

0.0/10 IMDB

American tourists explore Sweden by train

Directed by: Håkan Cronsioe
Release date: 1954-03-01
Best Documentary Movies of 1954 : Good Manners

Good Manners

0.0/10 IMDB

A nation's culture is a measure of its maturity. Culture, however is a living reality and our daily lives reflect in how we behave towards one another. This film approaches this subject and emphasises the need for consideration of others, which is the best foundation for good manners.

Starring: Berkeley Hill ..
Directed by: A. Bhaskar Rao
Release date: 1954-01-01
Best Documentary Movies of 1954 : Expedition to Mi-nyag

Expedition to Mi-nyag

0.0/10 IMDB

Dr. Joseph F. Rock was one of the leading anthropological explorers of the early 20th century. Expedition to Mi-nyag is a journey into Sikang Province, China, and a first exploration of the Mi-nyag mountains. Originally produced in 1954, using footage filmed in 1928-1930.

Directed by: Joseph F. Rock
Release date: 1954-01-01
Best Documentary Movies of 1954 : The Freight Train

The Freight Train

0.0/10 IMDB

EB Films presents a documentary on the life of the freight train in America.

Release date: 1954-01-01


0.0/10 IMDB

This film shows how the Central Plateau of the North Island was transformed into fertile pastureland by the men of the Land Settlement Board and the Lands and Survey Department. Cobalt was imported from Canada and sulphur from Louisiana. Hillsides were burnt off and the soil ploughed, fertilised and sown with seed and phosphate.

Directed by: John Feeney
Release date: 1954-01-01

Exercise Wake

0.0/10 IMDB

A busy Saturday in Kidderminster: shoppers crowd the pavements, a policeman directs traffic. Suddenly the alert is sounded and the full force of the Cold War descends.

Release date: 1954-01-01
Best Documentary Movies of 1954 : Adelaide Advances

Adelaide Advances

0.0/10 IMDB

Made by The National Film Board 1954, this film captures the delightful city of Adelaide, capital of South Australia. The city set against a background of hills, owes a lot to its original plan by Colonel Light. The film displays the beauty of its wide streets and impressive public buildings and also features landscape painter Hans Heysen.

Starring: David Low ..
Directed by: Joan Long, Bern Gandy, Hugh Alexander
Release date: 1954-01-01

Let's Face It

0.0/10 IMDB

1954 civil defense short film describing the threat of an impending nuclear attack.

Release date: 1954-03-19

The Vanishing Prairie

7.3/10 IMDB

Story of the American Prairie as it was when vast herds of bison and elk grazed.

Starring: Winston Hibler ..
Directed by: James Algar
Release date: 1954-08-16

Dresden Story

0.0/10 IMDB

People are interviewed in Dresden, Ontario, to sample local attitudes towards racial discrimination against black people that brought this town into the news. After a round-up of the opinions of individual citizens, white and black, commentator Gordon Burwash joins two discussion panels, presenting opposite points of view. The rights and wrongs of the quarrel are left for the audience to decide.

Starring: Gordon Burwash ..
Directed by: Julian Biggs
Release date: 1954-01-01
Best Documentary Movies of 1954 : S-73 (Sofa Compact)

S-73 (Sofa Compact)

0.0/10 IMDB

This film traces the design development of the Eames Sofa Compact, which folds for easy flat-pack shipping. The film, one of the first Charles and Ray made for Herman Miller, starts in a rail yard, where we discover that volume is more expensive than weight. This fact led to the Eames’s firm resolve to flat pack their sofa. The film highlights the ease of unpacking and setting up the sofa, as well as the sofa’s comfort and practicality with regard to the life of service.

Directed by: Charles Eames, Ray Eames
Release date: 1954-01-01
Best Documentary Movies of 1954 : Salvador Dalí Home Movie

Salvador Dalí Home Movie

0.0/10 IMDB

In Salvador Dalí’s home movies, the 50-year-old Surrealist artist plays with a kitten, an animal skull, and a rake to entertain a friend filming him on the terrace of his villa in Port Lligat, Costa Brava, Spain.

Starring: Salvador Dalí ..
Directed by: Salvador Dalí
Release date: 1954-04-27

The Troubled Mind

0.0/10 IMDB

A dramatised documentary featuring Adrienne Corri, made to recruit women for training as nurses in ‘mental hospitals.’ It takes a deeply humane and stylistically vivid approach. Some of the treatments shown would be considered unsuitable today.

Directed by: Margaret Thomson
Release date: 1954-09-01
Best Documentary Movies of 1954 : The Disneyland Story

The Disneyland Story

0.0/10 IMDB

Walt Disney presents a preview for both his upcoming park called Disneyland and several episodes of the show to come. Then the show focuses primarily on the career of Mickey Mouse.

Starring: Jack Couffer, Walt Disney, Kirk Douglas, Norman Foster, Conrad L. Hall, Ward Kimball, Peter Lorre, Fess Parker, Olin Sewall Pettingill Jr., Ben Sharpsteen ..
Directed by: Wilfred Jackson, Robert Florey
Release date: 1954-10-27

The Atom Goes to Sea

0.0/10 IMDB

Explains how an atomic powered submarine operates. Includes scenes at the Knolls Atomic Power Laboratory in Schenectady and the submarine reactor test site at West Milton, New York.

Directed by: True Eames Boardman
Release date: 1954-01-01
Best Documentary Movies of 1954 : I Will Speak English

I Will Speak English

0.0/10 IMDB

'An instructional film made on behalf of the Department of Social Welfare, demonstrating a new technique to teach English to illiterate adult audiences in the Gold Coast. (..) This is a film with an almost entirely African cast, depicting an African teacher instructing a group of African students, produced by a predominantly African crew. Yet, the subject of the film – encouraging the widespread teaching of English – jars with this image of a modern Gold Coast. Just as the Gold Coast Film Unit was overseen by British figures – such as Sean Graham and, in this case, George Noble – this film also endorses the retention of British influence within a new national identity'. - Tom Rice, for

Release date: 1954-09-01
Best Documentary Movies of 1954 : Salute to A.P.

Salute to A.P.

0.0/10 IMDB

A BBC Television film recalling the part Alexandra Palace has played in British television between 1935 and 1954. It shows the erection of the first transmitter, the building of 'A' and 'B' studios, and introduces scenes and excerpts from early television productions and outside broadcasts.

Starring: Keith Rogers, Berkeley Smith ..
Release date: 1954-03-19
Best Documentary Movies of 1954 : Wheels of Steel

Wheels of Steel

0.0/10 IMDB

Documentary on the railroads that drive the nation written and produced by Jackson Pokress.

Release date: 1954-01-01
Best Documentary Movies of 1954 : Summer Paradise

Summer Paradise

0.0/10 IMDB

At Slagen, Hudøy and several other places, Oslo Municipality drove holiday colonies where children from the city could vacation in the summer. At Dal there was a separate holiday colony for tuberculosis-infested children. Some children were also sent for holiday stays on farms. More than 5,000 children received a stay at municipal or private holiday colonies every summer.

Directed by: Ulf Balle-Røyem
Release date: 1954-08-07

500,000 to One

0.0/10 IMDB

"500,000 to One" is a 1954 short documentary film about bugs.

Release date: 1954-01-01

The House in the Middle

5.5/10 IMDB

Short film that emphasizes the importance of keeping a tidy home when facing an atomic bomb.

Release date: 1954-12-31
Best Documentary Movies of 1954 : The Japanese Fishermen

The Japanese Fishermen

0.0/10 IMDB

A 1954 documentary about Japanese fishermen aboard the "Lucky Dragon" who were irradiated by the American Castle Bravo nuclear test in the Pacific.

Starring: Tom Driberg ..
Release date: 1954-01-01
Best Documentary Movies of 1954 : Mining Review 7th Year No. 12

Mining Review 7th Year No. 12

0.0/10 IMDB

The 84th issue of the long running industry cinemagazine. Includes the articles: 'At Home', 'Tamworth Gala', 'Cut & Carry' and 'Balletomines'.

Directed by: John Reid
Release date: 1954-08-01
Best Documentary Movies of 1954 : Mining Review 7th Year No. 8

Mining Review 7th Year No. 8

0.0/10 IMDB

The 80th issue of the long running industry cinemagazine. Includes the articles: 'Anthracite Field', 'Time Out', 'Bowhill On Top' and 'Ideas Man'.

Starring: John Slater ..
Directed by: John Reid
Release date: 1954-04-01

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