Best Documentary Movies of 1963
Zapruder Film of the Kennedy Assassination
The Zapruder film is a silent 8mm color motion picture shot by Abraham Zapruder with a Bell & Howell home-movie camera, as United States President John F. Kennedy's motorcade passed through Dealey Plaza in Dallas, Texas, on November 22, 1963- Capturing on film the assassination of the president. In 1994, the Zapruder film footage was deemed "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant" by the United States Library of Congress and was selected for permanent preservation in the National Film Registry.
Zapruder Film of Kennedy Assassination
President John F. Kennedy is shown riding in an open-top car with his wife and several others, waving at crowds on the sidewalk. He is hit by a bullet and clutches his throat as the others react with surprise. Another shot hits Kennedy in the head and he collapses. A Secret Service agent runs up to the car, and Mrs. Kennedy climbs onto the trunk to pull him aboard as the car speeds away.
Zapruder Film of the Kennedy Assassinaton
The Zapruder Film is a silent 8mm color motion picture sequence shot by Abraham Zapruder with a Bell & Howell camera, as United States President John F. Kennedy's motorcade passed through Dealey Plaza in Dallas, Texas, on November 22, 1963. Unexpectedly, Zapruder's camera ended up capturing the President's assassination. In 1994, the Zapruder film was deemed "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant" by the United States Library of Congress and was selected for permanent preservation in the National Film Registry.
Dog Star Man: Part II
A man, accompanied by a dog, struggles through snow on a mountain side. We see film stock blister; drawn square shapes appear. Then, we see an infant's face. The images of struggling climber, baby, blurred film stock, large snow flakes, and what may be microscopic details of matter are superimposed on each other, one dominating the frame briefly to be replaced by another. As the man falls in the snow and tries to regain his feet, the baby continues to appear, first with eyes closed. Alternately, images rush by - montages of paper cutouts and life under a microscope.
Crisis: Behind a Presidential Commitment
During a two-day period before and after the University of Alabama integration crisis, the film uses five camera crews to follow President John F. Kennedy, attorney general Robert F. Kennedy, Alabama governor George Wallace, deputy attorney general Nicholas Katzenbach and the students Vivian Malone and James Hood. As Wallace has promised to personally block the two black students from enrolling in the university, the JFK administration discusses the best way to react to it, without rousing the crowd or making Wallace a martyr for the segregationist cause.
A Boy Named Charlie Brown
This documentary goes behind-the-scenes with Peanuts creator Charles M. Schulz. This film paved the way for the future success of the Peanuts animated television specials, bringing together for the first time Schulz, animator Bill Melendez, producer Lee Mendelson, and composer Vince Guaraldi.
A documentary highlighting some of the oddest, strangest and more grotesque examples of human behavior. Included are a tour of the Grand Guignol theater in Paris, a man who sticks long needles through his body, reindeer being castrated, and footage of lesbians and strippers.
Hollywood Without Make-Up
A collection of behind the scenes and home movies from the golden age of Hollywood.
The Five Cities of June
The Five Cities of June is a 1963 American short documentary film directed by Bruce Herschensohn. This United States Information Agency-sponsored film details the events of June 1963 in five different cities. In the Vatican, the election and coronation of Pope Paul VI; in the Soviet Union, the launch of a Soviet rocket as part of the Space Race with the United States; in South Vietnam, fighting between Communists and South Vietnamese soldiers; in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, United States, the racial integration of the University of Alabama opposed by Governor George Wallace; and in Berlin, President John F. Kennedy's visit to Germany and Rudolph Wilde Platz. It was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Documentary Short.
The Small Tent
Documentary filmed during the shooting of “À Valparaiso” which shows the children’s reactions to the performance of a circus show. “It is the tender gaze of a poet on the smallest circus in the world and his audience of children”.
Robert Frost: A Lover's Quarrel with the World
The acclaimed poet is examined in this film completed just prior to his death at age 88, with his speaking engagements at Amherst and Sarah Lawrence Colleges intercut with studies of his work, as well as with scenes of his life in rural Vermont and personal reminiscences about his career. He is also seen receiving an award from President Kennedy and touring an aircraft carrier.
Follows a crusading lawyer as he embarks on a campaign to save an African-American man, Paul Crump, from the electric chair.
Comprising train and track footage quickly shot just before a heavy winter's snowfall was melting, the multi-award-winning classic that emerged from the cutting-room compresses British Rail's dedication to blizzard-battling into a thrilling eight-minute montage cut to music. Tough-as-boots workers struggling to keep the line clear are counterpointed with passengers' buffet-car comforts. (BFI)
The film's title is borrowed from a Dani fable that Gardner recounts in voice-over. The Dani people, whom Gardner identifies mysteriously as "a mountain people," believe that there was once a great race between a bird and a snake, which was to determine the lives of human beings. Should men shed their skins and live forever like snakes, or die like birds? The bird won the race, dictating that man must die. The film's plot revolves around two characters, Weyak and Pua. Weyak is a warrior who guards the frontier between the land of his tribe and that of the neighboring tribe. Pua is a young boy whom Gardner depicts as weak and inept.
Thirty Million Letters
Thirty Million Letters is a 1963 short documentary film directed by James Ritchie and made by British Transport Films. It was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Documentary Short.
The Christine Keeler Story
A teenage prostitute in England gets involved with high-level politicians and becomes enmeshed in a sex-and-spy scandal.
Ron Rice's Chumlum is one of those films in which the conditions of its construction are integral to the experience of watching it. It is a record of a cadre of creative people having fun on camera, playing dress-up, dancing, flirting, lazing around.
The High Lonesome Sound
John Cohen, founding member of the ‘50s folk troupe the New Lost City Ramblers, started making films in order to bring together the two disciplines he was heavily active in: music and photography. His first film, The High Lonesome Sound, is a love letter to Appalachia and features the amazing banjo picker Roscoe Holcomb as the anchor for this gem of cultural anthropology.
Albert and David Maysles (Gimme Shelter) directed this 53-minute documentary about movie tycoon Joseph E. Levine (1963).
Hollywood's World of Flesh
One Got Fat
This bicycle-safety film shows children what can happen when bicycles are driven carelessly and recklessly.
Documentary about the emergence of rock and roll bands and fans in France
A Happy Mother's Day
In 1963 the first known surviving set of American quintuplets were born to Mary Ann and Andrew Fischer, this film looks at some of the changes their arrival caused to their family.
Polish educational cartoon about dinosaurs
Zapruder Film of the Kennedy Assassination
The Zapruder film is a silent 8mm color motion picture sequence shot by Abraham Zapruder with a Bell & Howell home-movie camera, as United States President John F. Kennedy's motorcade passed through Dealey Plaza in Dallas, Texas, on November 22, 1963. Unexpectedly, it ended up capturing the President's assassination.
An hour-long paean to the art of the kiss featuring fourteen couples, from passionate participants to lethargic lovers, engaging in the intimate act.
Christmas on Earth
For all intents and purposes, "Christmas on Earth" is a performance art film about genital worshipping. At 29 minutes, Barbara Rubin has created the ultimate study on the celebratory and erotic nature of free-love. The film is tinted in various colors, hence the title, and finds various individuals engaging in sexual activity. Men with women, men with men, women with women, and several orgies throughout.
Taking a look at the connection that glamour models have to photography, a group of film makers follow a number of glamour magazine photographers around, to discover the skill involved in getting "magic" to appear on the photos.
Europe in the Raw
Russ Meyer's documentary about the underground vice world of Europe.
The Mersey Sound
This 1963 film packed with raw, archive footage and interviews is the story of the Mersey Sound. Fuelled by Beatlemania, this musical explosion changed the face of pop music forever. The Beatles, The Undertakers and Group One are filmed in a number of venues including The Iron Door and Southport’s Little Theatre.
Intrepid reporter Daniel Farson makes the journey from London to Liverpool to discover why this “hard-drinking, hard-fighting” northern enclave has become the epicentre of the 1960s music scene. His whistle-stop tour takes in all the Merseybeat landmarks, most notably the celebrated Cavern club where youngsters twist and swoon to the likes of Gerry and the Pacemakers and Rory Storm and the Hurricanes. Close-up shots of the musicians and revellers together with evocative street scenes, courtesy of cameramen Ron Osborn and Peter Povey, capture the vitality of this defining moment in Liverpool’s cultural history.
This 1963 documentary, released less than a year after Marilyn Monroe's death, showcases the star in memorable scenes from her 20th Century Fox films, including wardrobe tests and clips from her last, uncompleted project, "Something's Got To Give". Hosted and narrated by Rock Hudson.
Biography of a Rookie: The Willie Davis Story
Film portrait of young Willie Davis as he successfully attempts to break into the Major Leagues.
Directed by David Perlov.
Another nudist "documentary" from Doris Wishman. A print of this film has yet to surface.
A Time to Heal
A look at some of the 3000 men who go through miners' rehabilitation centres each year, of whom 19 out of every 20 go back to mining.
Ten Seconds that Shook the World
This film is a factual and chronological account of the events preceding the atomic bombing of Hiroshima during World War II and the significant effect of the atomic bomb on peacetime projects and events of the atomic age.
Elizabeth Taylor in London
TV-documentary about the actress.
Funny Side of Life
A compilation of clips selected by Harold Lloyd that highlight his career.
Mrs. Winchester's House
Documentary about the life and legend of Sarah L. Winchester, heiress to the Winchester Repeating Arms Company who, after the death of her husband and only child moved to San Jose, California and constructed non-stop what came to be known as the Winchester Mystery House during the last 38 years of her life. The film traces Mrs. Winchester's life from her marriage into the wealthy Winchester family, whose family business supplied many of the repeating rifles sold to the United States Army during and after the Civil War and follows her eccentric life in California where, according to legend, she was advised by a mystic to provide shelter for spirits of the victims of her husband's rifles or follow him to an early grave. It provides point-of-view shots of the interior and exterior of the rambling Victorian mansion.
People, Productivity and Change
A description of the various activities of Gala Day held annually at Durham when the miners and their families come to town.
Taboos of the World
Documentary feature, re-edited for English-speaking countries, that gratuitously examines customs around the globe, focusing on repulsive sights and strange bits of knowledge about human customs
Wheels of Tragedy
The Ohio State Highway Patrol explain the need for safe driving, and the tragic consequences of accidents.
The Spirit of America
The Spirit of America is a 1963 American short documentary film produced by Algernon G. Walker about the Spirit of America, the trademarked name used by Craig Breedlove for his land speed record-setting vehicles.. It was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Documentary Short.
Reshaping British Railways
The film version of Dr. Richard Beeching's plan for the re-shaping of British Railways, showing some of the problems involved, the research necessary, and the answers that were produced.
30 Minutes, Mister Plummer
This film profiles Canadian actor Christopher Plummer of the Shakespearean Theatre, Stratford, Ontario. As the minutes tick by, cameras register the transformation as he dons his make-up for the title role in Cyrano de Bergerac. We also see Toronto actress Kate Reid as well as actors Len Birman and Martha Henry.
The Moving Finger
A rare beatnik artifact of the early 1960s, one of only a few such films made before the hippies took over Hollywood. Low budget and in b&w, it's set in Greenwich Village, with what seems like a mostly improvised script. It begins as a late film noir crime tale involving a bank robbery where only one of a group of thieves escapes with his life, as well as $90,000 in loot. Injured and on the run, he hides in a local tour bus and is soon taken in by a group of bohemians who shoot him full of morphine to ease his pain and let him sleep it off on a mattress. Mason is the head beatnik. There's also the owner of both an upstairs coffeehouse and garret, where these beatniks hang out. They, in turn, bring the tourist trade in. Although the robbery is supposed to be the main focus of the plot, it quickly turns into more of a character study featuring these rebellious bon vivants and their odd lifestyle...
Hollywood: The Great Stars
Host Henry Fonda follows the creation of the star system with Mary Pickford in the Silent Era through its demise in the early Sixties.
The White Search
American ski film pioneer Dick Barrymore pursues the white stuff in the mountains of Colorado, France, and Lebanon. Goofy events, nail-biting bloopers, and gorgeous powder skiing ensue. Starring Jean-Claude Killy, Beth Annabel, John Burnett, and Bob Burns.