Best Documentary Movies of 1955


Cinerama Holiday

7.3/10 IMDB

Two couples, one from St. Louis and one from Switzerland each go to the other's country and travel around.

Directed by: Philippe De Lacy, Robert Bendick
Release date: 1955-02-08
Best Documentary Movies of 1955 : Orson Welles' Sketch Book

Orson Welles' Sketch Book

7.9/10 IMDB

Orson Welles recounts various stories from his life while drawing sketches of the events.

Starring: Orson Welles, Orson Welles ..
Directed by: Orson Welles
Release date: 1955-04-24

The African Lion

7.2/10 IMDB

Part of Disney's True-Life Adventures series, this film focuses on the lives of lions in Africa.

Starring: Winston Hibler ..
Directed by: James Algar
Release date: 1955-09-14
Best Documentary Movies of 1955 : Man in Space

Man in Space

7.8/10 IMDB

With a combination of documentary footage and animation, the science and history of rockets, and the effects of space travel on man are illustrated.

Starring: Walt Disney ..
Directed by: Ward Kimball
Release date: 1955-03-09
Best Documentary Movies of 1955 : Game Warden

Game Warden

5.8/10 IMDB

A day in the life of a game warden.

Release date: 1955-09-02
Best Documentary Movies of 1955 : 3rd Ave. El

3rd Ave. El

7.0/10 IMDB

Impressionistic picture of the Third Avenue Elevated Railway in Manhattan, New York City, before it was demolished.

Starring: Robert Fleury, Joseph Tul, Osmond Beckwith, Dorothea Beckwith, Tom Carroll, Ann Kaufman ..
Directed by: Carson Davidson
Release date: 1955-01-01
Best Documentary Movies of 1955 : Rhythm and Blues Revue

Rhythm and Blues Revue

7.0/10 IMDB

Rhythm and Blues Revue is a plotless variety show, one of several compiled for theatrical exhibition from the made-for-television short films produced by Snader and Studio Telescriptions, with newly-filmed host segments by Willie Bryant. Originally 86 minutes, the "short" version available on public domain collections and websites is missing a reel

Starring: Lionel Hampton, Herb Jeffries, Count Basie, Florence Robinson, Amos Milburn, Sarah Vaughan, Big Joe Turner, Martha Davies, Little Buck, Nat King Cole ..
Directed by: Joseph Kohn
Release date: 1955-01-01
Best Documentary Movies of 1955 : Orchard Street

Orchard Street

6.4/10 IMDB

This short film documents the daily life of the goings-on on Orchard Street, a commercial street in the Lower East Side New York City.

Directed by: Ken Jacobs
Release date: 1955-12-31
Best Documentary Movies of 1955 : The Battle of Gettysburg

The Battle of Gettysburg

6.6/10 IMDB

This film was shot entirely at the Gettysburg National Military Park, where the decisive battle of the American Civil War was fought. Leslie Nielsen narrates the story while contemporary songs and the sounds of battle are heard in the background. The sites of the various engagements, the statues of the leaders of the Northern and Southern troops, and the battlefield cemetery are featured. President Abraham Lincoln's Gettysburg Address is read at the end.

Starring: Leslie Nielsen, Frank Ferguson ..
Directed by: Herman Hoffman
Release date: 1955-12-01
Best Documentary Movies of 1955 : Gadgets Galore

Gadgets Galore

6.3/10 IMDB

This Warner Bros. short reviews in an often humorous way the impact of the automobile on the United States. By 1900, the horseless carriage was beginning to have an impact. Early adopters were often the object of attention by large curious crowds. There were many car manufacturers and the quality of their product varied considerably. Traffic jams, pollution and automobile racing were only a few of the outcomes.

Starring: Ward Wilson, Barney Oldfield, Dwight Weist ..
Directed by: Robert Youngson
Release date: 1955-07-30
Best Documentary Movies of 1955 : Men Against the Arctic

Men Against the Arctic

6.0/10 IMDB

This Academy Award winning short subject documentary follows the United States Coast Guard icebreaker ships Eastwind and Westwind for four months as they work to clear navigational paths for ships traversing the arctic sea.

Starring: Winston Hibler ..
Directed by: Winston Hibler
Release date: 1955-12-21
Best Documentary Movies of 1955 : House: After Five Years of Living

House: After Five Years of Living

6.0/10 IMDB

The Eames House and Studio is explored via a series of slides.

Directed by: Charles Eames, Ray Eames
Release date: 1955-01-01

La Crise du logement

7.0/10 IMDB

One year after Abbé Pierre's famous call for help on 1-2-1954 exposing the appalling conditions in which millions of French people barely survived, nothing had changed much. In 1955, the housing crisis was rife and entire families were forced to live cramped in dilapidated buildings or in slums. Jean Dewever, outraged like Abbé Pierre by such an infamous situation, took his camera and made this militant short in the hope of alerting not only the average viewer but also the competent authorities.

Starring: Françoise Fechter, Roland Ménard ..
Directed by: Jean Dewever
Release date: 1955-01-01
Best Documentary Movies of 1955 : The Wonder Ring

The Wonder Ring

6.0/10 IMDB

An important early film by Stan Brakhage, which Joseph Cornell commissioned as a record of New York's Third Avenue before it was torn down. Curiously lacking in people, the film focuses on the rhythms of the ride and reflections in train windows, finding a real-world version of the superimpositions Brakhage would later create in the lab.

Directed by: Stan Brakhage, Joseph Cornell
Release date: 1955-12-04

Black Cats and Broomsticks

5.8/10 IMDB

Superstitions are examined in the context of mid-20th century America. Walking under ladders, spilt salt, stepping on cracks, haunted houses, voodoo dolls, and such are used to illustrate the widespread belief in the supernatural.

Starring: Peter Roberts ..
Directed by: Larry O'Reilly
Release date: 1955-10-14
Best Documentary Movies of 1955 : The Leaden Echo and the Golden Echo

The Leaden Echo and the Golden Echo

6.2/10 IMDB

A film interpretation of the poem 'The Leaden Echo and the Golden Echo' by Gerard Manley Hopkins. Margaret Tait speaks the poem throughout the film.

Starring: Margaret Tait ..
Directed by: Margaret Tait
Release date: 1955-01-01


4.8/10 IMDB

Burlesque film starring some of the greatest pin-up girls such as Bettie Page and Tempest Storm. There are some strippers, some stand-up comics of the take-my-wife-please variety and cult favorite Bettie Page who introduces the acts and frames the film by strutting her stuff.

Starring: Bettie Page, Tempest Storm, Cherrie Knight, Trudy Wayne, Chris LaChris, Twinnie Wallen, Dave Starr, Honey Baer, Vicki Lynn, Lolly Dorsen ..
Directed by: Irving Klaw
Release date: 1955-09-16
Best Documentary Movies of 1955 : Survival City

Survival City

5.4/10 IMDB

Survival City is a 1955 American short documentary film directed by Anthony Muto. It shows the effects of an atomic bomb on an American town. The film was nominated for an Oscar for Best Live Action Short Film.

Directed by: Anthony Muto
Release date: 1955-09-01
Best Documentary Movies of 1955 : Karamoja


6.2/10 IMDB

The filmed record of an expedition to the African interior, with scenes of animal life and native customs and practices.

Directed by: William B. Treutle
Release date: 1955-01-10
Best Documentary Movies of 1955 : Anaconda


5.5/10 IMDB

Documentary by Torgny Anderberg

Starring: Rolf Blomberg, Jorge Sanclemente, Villamizar, Lino, Munoz, Gunnar Sjöberg, Rolf Blomberg, Villamizar, Lino, Munoz ..
Directed by: Torgny Anderberg
Release date: 1955-09-04
Best Documentary Movies of 1955 : About Fallout

About Fallout

6.0/10 IMDB

The U.S. Office of Civil Defense illustrates facts about fallout from nuclear explosions.

Directed by: Jack Tilles
Release date: 1955-11-20
Best Documentary Movies of 1955 : Teenagers on Trial

Teenagers on Trial

4.9/10 IMDB

A look at the dangers and possible causes of gangs and teenage delinquency including over-crowded and under-funded schools with few after-school activities and over-worked parents who have little time to spend with their children.

Starring: Bob Hite ..
Release date: 1955-12-09
Best Documentary Movies of 1955 : When the Talkies Were Young

When the Talkies Were Young

7.7/10 IMDB

Warner Brothers looks back to the early days of talking pictures. Dwight Weist narrates film clips from five movies: "Sinner's Holiday," introducing James Cagney with a glimpse of Joan Blondell, "20,000 Years in Sing Sing," with a young Spencer Tracy and a younger Bette Davis, "Five Star Final," with Edward G. Robinson and a cameo from Boris Karloff, "Night Nurse," starring Barbara Stanwyck with a small role for Clark Gable, and "Svengali," with John Barrymore and Marian Marsh. Each movie is summarized and each star celebrated for work early in the history of sound cinema.

Directed by: Robert Youngson
Release date: 1955-04-29


7.3/10 IMDB

Oscar nominated short film from 1955

Directed by: Ben Sharpsteen
Release date: 1955-01-16
Best Documentary Movies of 1955 : The Story of the Animated Drawing

The Story of the Animated Drawing

7.5/10 IMDB

Walt Disney discusses the history of animation, beginning with J. Stuart Blackton and his Humorous Phases of Funny Faces in 1906, and including Gertie the Dinosaur.

Starring: Walt Disney, Leopold Stokowski, Oliver Wallace, Émile Reynaud ..
Directed by: Wilfred Jackson, William Beaudine
Release date: 1955-11-30
Best Documentary Movies of 1955 : Eisenstein’s Mexican Film: Episodes for Study

Eisenstein’s Mexican Film: Episodes for Study

7.5/10 IMDB

"Eisenstein journeyed to Mexico in late 1930 to begin shooting a film. With backing provided by Upton and Mary Craig Sinclair, the great Soviet auteur planned to make an epoch-spanning pageant of Mexico’s political history and cultural iconography, moving from the pre-Columbian era through colonization and, finally, revolution ... with the project running over budget the film was shut down. Sinclair eventually deposited the film materials at MoMA in 1953, at which point the scholar Jay Leyda assembled and annotated the shots, ordering them according to the filmmaker’s plans and presenting the images just as they had been shot, unedited ... here one is given the opportunity to attend to Eisenstein in an entirely different way, and aspects that might otherwise be overshadowed come to the fore: the way he works with nonprofessional actors, for example, or the striking mise-en-scène." - MoMA

Directed by: Sergei Eisenstein, Jay Leyda
Release date: 1955-01-01
Best Documentary Movies of 1955 : The Pre-Opening Report from Disneyland

The Pre-Opening Report from Disneyland

7.3/10 IMDB

With the grand opening of Disneyland just a matter of days away, Walt Disney brings us an update on the construction of the new magic kingdom. Winston Hibler narrates scenes depicting the construction on the attarctions and settings in the park as work speeds up to meet the deadline before opening day.

Starring: Walt Disney, Winston Hibler ..
Directed by: Wilfred Jackson
Release date: 1955-07-13

Foot and Mouth

7.1/10 IMDB

Two farming brothers take a chance on a sick cow and send cattle that have been in contact with it to market.

Starring: Lindsay Anderson ..
Directed by: Lindsay Anderson
Release date: 1955-01-02

Yorkshire Sands

6.7/10 IMDB

Light verse and gay music make their own comment on the holidaymakers of the Yorkshire coastline. Between Tees and Humber thousands each year enjoy the sea and the sands, the funfair and the ballroom: for a row or romance, there's something for each!

Directed by: Tony Thompson
Release date: 1955-01-02

'Giant' Stars Are Off to Texas

6.5/10 IMDB

Cast and crew members of "Giant" in a reunion about locations in Marfa, Texas. The narrator explains about the George Stevens' adaptation of Edna Ferber's novel.

Starring: James Dean, Elizabeth Taylor, George Stevens, Dennis Hopper, Mercedes McCambridge, Dimitri Tiomkin, Jack L. Warner, Rock Hudson ..
Release date: 1955-06-06

Animals in Action

6.6/10 IMDB

The profession of capturing animals in action on celluloid is both an art and science. Some of the most exciting footage can be obtained in different ways. Examples are: a large herd, such as of reindeer, moving as one; slow motion footage of fast moving animals, such as racing greyhounds, especially when they do something unexpected; mothers and their newborn offspring doing what comes naturally; animals placed among special props; animals placed in human situations; combining the exciting and dangerous, such as the running of the bulls in Pamplona and the bullfights to follow; placing animals that are not natural companions together; and placing animals in the situation of a challenge, such as a bunch of bananas just out of reach of a hungry monkey. Many of these elements are combined into the final sequence of a steeplechase race.

Starring: Pete Smith ..
Release date: 1955-05-21
Best Documentary Movies of 1955 : Discovering Britain With John Betjeman: Avebury, Wiltshire

Discovering Britain With John Betjeman: Avebury, Wiltshire

6.4/10 IMDB

In this Shell-sponsored short, the celebrated British poet narrates this travelogue about the Avebury stone circle and nearby burial grounds.

Starring: John Betjeman ..
Release date: 1955-12-09
Best Documentary Movies of 1955 : Tanbark and Turf

Tanbark and Turf

6.3/10 IMDB

This short film takes the viewer on a tour through the world of harness racing and show horses.

Starring: Peter Roberts ..
Release date: 1955-08-05
Best Documentary Movies of 1955 : Carnivorous Plants

Carnivorous Plants

4.1/10 IMDB

Photomicrography reveals the unusual structure and behavior of the Venus's flytrap, the trumpet plant, the cobra plant, the common pitcher plant, the sundew plant and the utricularia.

Starring: Irwin Moon ..
Release date: 1955-01-01
Best Documentary Movies of 1955 : Amalfi Way

Amalfi Way

6.1/10 IMDB

This short film takes a look at the sights, sounds, and customs along Italy's Amalfi Coast.

Starring: John P. Costello ..
Directed by: Richard Wright
Release date: 1955-01-01
Best Documentary Movies of 1955 : Bullfight


6.1/10 IMDB

Anna Sokolow’s choreographed reinterpretation of a bullfight. Sokolow plays the matador, an audience member, and the doomed animal.

Starring: Anna Sokolow ..
Directed by: Shirley Clarke
Release date: 1955-01-01
Best Documentary Movies of 1955 : Three Kisses

Three Kisses

5.7/10 IMDB

Three Kisses is a 1955 English language short film written and directed by Justin Herman. Shot in Ireland, it was promoted as a documentary about hurling, “fifteen wild men on a side racing around a cow pasture.” It is in fact a mostly fictional story narrated by the hero of the piece, Colm Gallagher, who is given the chance to play for his county. The film features Cork County’s All-Ireland winning team. The film was nominated for an Oscar for Best Short Subject, One-Reel.

Directed by: Justin Herman
Release date: 1955-01-01
Best Documentary Movies of 1955 : Canadian Carnival

Canadian Carnival

6.1/10 IMDB

Carnival time in Quebec, Canada, is also time for racing with sled-dogs, horse-drawn sleighs, hockey, curling the carving of ice-statues, obstacle races by youngsters, fireworks, and also the selection of a Carnival Queen.

Starring: Peter Roberts ..
Directed by: Douglas Sinclair
Release date: 1955-11-25

Capital Visit

6.0/10 IMDB

A school journey through the city of London as seen through the eyes of the children and their teacher.

Starring: Frank Duncan, William Simons, Christine Edmonds ..
Directed by: Syd Sharples
Release date: 1955-01-01
Best Documentary Movies of 1955 : Headpin Hints

Headpin Hints

6.3/10 IMDB

Professional bowlers Lee Jouglard and Sylvia Wene give instruction to young bowlers, then show their skill at making difficult spares.

Starring: Fred Wolf, Sylvia Wene, Lee Jouglard ..
Directed by: William Deeke
Release date: 1955-12-23

Gym College

5.5/10 IMDB

In this Sportscope series entry, members of the Florida State University gymnastics team demonstrate their athletic skills.

Starring: Peter Roberts, Dick Gutting, Dick Ireland, Hartley Price, Joe Taylor, Donald Holder, John Miles, Rafael Lecuona, Bob Murray, Jamile Ashmore ..
Directed by: Howard Winner
Release date: 1955-09-30

Bonefish and Barracuda

5.6/10 IMDB

Fishing tips from Lee Wulff. Filmed off the coast of Florida.

Starring: Peter Roberts, Lee Wulff, Ivan Johnson ..
Directed by: Howard Winner
Release date: 1955-10-28

Golden Glamour

5.4/10 IMDB

This short film looks at the history of gold, and how the less expensive gold filled process is used to bring glitter to the masses.

Starring: Dwight Weist ..
Directed by: Larry Williams
Release date: 1955-10-14
Best Documentary Movies of 1955 : Aquatic Wizards

Aquatic Wizards

2.6/10 IMDB

See the variety of water-skiing in beautiful Cypress Gardens, Florida!

Starring: Willa McGuire, Alfredo Mendoza ..
Release date: 1955-01-01
Best Documentary Movies of 1955 : The Perfect Crime

The Perfect Crime

4.7/10 IMDB

In this short National Safety Council film, the perfect crime is presented as excess speed. Accidents at high speed often results in deaths and are rarely investigated like the robbery of a corner grocery shown at the beginning of the film. The film ends with a plea to support the costs of new modern roads.

Starring: Leonard Belove, Owen Bush, Art Ellison ..
Directed by: Robert Altman
Release date: 1955-12-31
Best Documentary Movies of 1955 : The Days of Our Years

The Days of Our Years

2.4/10 IMDB

A minister reflects on the devastating traumas and injuries of railroad workers in his congregation.

Directed by: Allen H. Miner
Release date: 1955-01-01
Best Documentary Movies of 1955 : Mau-Mau


4.3/10 IMDB

Newsman Chet Huntley narrates this documentary showing the rise of the African resistance movement known as the "Mau-Mau" against British rule in East Africa in the early 1950s.

Starring: Chet Huntley ..
Directed by: Elwood Price
Release date: 1955-07-13
Best Documentary Movies of 1955 : When Should Grown-Ups Stop Fights?

When Should Grown-Ups Stop Fights?

2.2/10 IMDB

Vassar College's Department of Child Study produced this training film for nursery school staff, one of a series on "Preschool Incidents." Unstaged playground scenes of two to five-year-olds in conflict are shown, then repeated for further analysis and discussion. We learn how to "size-up situations," differentiating between "playful attacks" the kids can adequately handle themselves and truly aggressive behavior (as when "a child has gone on a rampage") that requires immediate adult intervention.

Starring: Lawrence Joseph Stone ..
Directed by: Mary Fisher Langmuir, Eveline Omwake, Lawrence Joseph Stone
Release date: 1955-01-01


5.9/10 IMDB

Short movie from Centron Corporation

Starring: Fred Hall, Herk Harvey ..
Directed by: Herk Harvey
Release date: 1955-12-31
Best Documentary Movies of 1955 : Big Trains Rolling

Big Trains Rolling

0.0/10 IMDB

A production of the association of American Railroads outlining the wonders of America's rail system.

Starring: Art Gilmore ..
Release date: 1955-01-01

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