Best Documentary Movies of 1963

1.

Zapruder Film of the Kennedy Assassination

4.3
7.8/10 IMDB

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.

Starring: John F. Kennedy, Jacqueline Kennedy, John Connally, Lee Harvey Oswald ..
Directed by: Abraham Zapruder
Release date: 1963-11-22
Best Documentary Movies of 1963 : Zapruder Film of Kennedy Assassination
2.

Zapruder Film of Kennedy Assassination

4.0
7.8/10 IMDB

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.

Starring: Jacqueline Kennedy, John F. Kennedy ..
Directed by: Abraham Zapruder
Release date: 1963-11-22
Best Documentary Movies of 1963 : Zapruder Film of the Kennedy Assassinaton
3.

Zapruder Film of the Kennedy Assassinaton

3.9
7.8/10 IMDB

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.

Starring: John F. Kennedy, Jacqueline Kennedy, John Connally, Clint Hill ..
Directed by: Abraham Zapruder
Release date: 1963-11-23
Best Documentary Movies of 1963 : Dog Star Man: Part II
4.

Dog Star Man: Part II

3.5
6.4/10 IMDB

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.

Starring: Stan Brakhage ..
Directed by: Stan Brakhage
Release date: 1963-01-09
5.

Crisis: Behind a Presidential Commitment

3.1
7.8/10 IMDB

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.

Starring: John F. Kennedy, Robert F. Kennedy, Vivian Malone, James Hood, James Lipscomb, George Wallace ..
Directed by: Robert Drew
Release date: 1963-10-21
Best Documentary Movies of 1963 : Hollywood Without Make-Up
6.

Hollywood Without Make-Up

2.9
7.2/10 IMDB

A collection of behind the scenes and home movies from the golden age of Hollywood.

Starring: Ken Murray, Eddie Albert, June Allyson, George K. Arthur, Mary Astor, Lew Ayres, Max Baer, Lucille Ball, Richard Barthelmess, Rex Bell ..
Directed by: Rudy Behlmer, Loring d'Usseau
Release date: 1963-07-01
Best Documentary Movies of 1963 : A Boy Named Charlie Brown
7.

A Boy Named Charlie Brown

2.9
7.6/10 IMDB

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.

Starring: Charles M. Schulz, Peter Robbins, Christopher Shea, Don Sherwood, Karen Mendelson, Tracy Stratford, Chris Doran, Sally Dryer, Ann Altieri, Geoffrey Ornstein ..
Directed by: Lee Mendelson
Release date: 1963-12-31
Best Documentary Movies of 1963 : Ecco
8.

Ecco

2.9
5.5/10 IMDB

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.

Starring: George Sanders, Rita Renoir, Laura Betti, Michel Simon, Reg Lewis, Klaus-Rüdiger Landowsky, Yvon Yva, Marcella Ruffini ..
Directed by: Gianni Proia
Release date: 1963-11-15
Best Documentary Movies of 1963 : The Five Cities of June
9.

The Five Cities of June

2.9
6.8/10 IMDB

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.

Starring: Charlton Heston ..
Directed by: Bruce Herschensohn
Release date: 1963-01-01
Best Documentary Movies of 1963 : The Small Tent
10.

The Small Tent

2.8
7.2/10 IMDB

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”.

Starring: Jacques Prévert ..
Directed by: Joris Ivens
Release date: 1963-01-01
Best Documentary Movies of 1963 : Robert Frost: A Lover's Quarrel with the World
11.

Robert Frost: A Lover's Quarrel with the World

2.8
6.5/10 IMDB

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.

Starring: Robert Frost ..
Directed by: Shirley Clarke
Release date: 1963-01-01
Best Documentary Movies of 1963 : The Chair
12.

The Chair

2.8
7.3/10 IMDB

Follows a crusading lawyer as he embarks on a campaign to save an African-American man, Paul Crump, from the electric chair.

Directed by: Robert Drew
Release date: 1963-01-01
Best Documentary Movies of 1963 : Snow
13.

Snow

2.8
7.0/10 IMDB

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.

Directed by: Geoffrey Jones
Release date: 1963-01-01
Best Documentary Movies of 1963 : Dead Birds
14.

Dead Birds

2.8
7.1/10 IMDB

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.

Starring: Robert Gardner ..
Directed by: Robert Gardner
Release date: 1963-10-01
Best Documentary Movies of 1963 : Thirty Million Letters
15.

Thirty Million Letters

2.7
7.0/10 IMDB

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.

Directed by: James Ritchie
Release date: 1963-01-01
Best Documentary Movies of 1963 : The Christine Keeler Story
16.

The Christine Keeler Story

2.7
6.4/10 IMDB

A teenage prostitute in England gets involved with high-level politicians and becomes enmeshed in a sex-and-spy scandal.

Starring: Christine Keeler, Yvonne Buckingham, John Drew Barrymore, Alicia Brandet, Mel Welles, Mimi Heinrich, Mandy Rice-Davies, Peter Prowse ..
Directed by: Robert Spafford
Release date: 1963-11-09
Best Documentary Movies of 1963 : Chumlum
17.

Chumlum

2.7
6.3/10 IMDB

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.

Starring: Beverly Grant, Francis Francine, Mario Montez, Joel Markman, Guy Henson, Barbara Rubin, Frances Stillman, Gerard Malanga, Zelda Nelson, Barry Titus ..
Directed by: Ron Rice
Release date: 1963-12-29
Best Documentary Movies of 1963 : The High Lonesome Sound
18.

The High Lonesome Sound

2.7
7.6/10 IMDB

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.

Directed by: John Cohen
Release date: 1963-01-01
Best Documentary Movies of 1963 : Showman
19.

Showman

2.7
6.5/10 IMDB

Albert and David Maysles (Gimme Shelter) directed this 53-minute documentary about movie tycoon Joseph E. Levine (1963).

Starring: Joseph E. Levine, Sophia Loren ..
Directed by: Albert Maysles, David Maysles
Release date: 1963-01-02
Best Documentary Movies of 1963 : Hollywood's World of Flesh
20.

Hollywood's World of Flesh

2.6
6.1/10 IMDB

Starring: Baby Bubbles, Robin James, Gaby Martone, Joanne Stuart ..
Directed by: Lee Frost
Release date: 1963-11-08
Best Documentary Movies of 1963 : One Got Fat
21.

One Got Fat

2.6
6.1/10 IMDB

This bicycle-safety film shows children what can happen when bicycles are driven carelessly and recklessly.

Starring: Edward Everett Horton ..
Directed by: Dale Jennings, William Dale Jennings
Release date: 1963-12-01
22.

Les idoles

2.5
6.3/10 IMDB

Documentary about the emergence of rock and roll bands and fans in France

Directed by: Marin Karmitz
Release date: 1963-01-01
Best Documentary Movies of 1963 : A Happy Mother's Day
23.

A Happy Mother's Day

2.5
5.8/10 IMDB

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.

Directed by: Joyce Chopra, Richard Leacock
Release date: 1963-12-31
Best Documentary Movies of 1963 : Dinozaury
24.

Dinozaury

2.5
5.4/10 IMDB

Polish educational cartoon about dinosaurs

Directed by: Witold Giersz
Release date: 1963-02-28
Best Documentary Movies of 1963 : Zapruder Film of the Kennedy Assassination
25.

Zapruder Film of the Kennedy Assassination

2.5
7.8/10 IMDB

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.

Starring: John F. Kennedy, Jacqueline Kennedy ..
Directed by: Abraham Zapruder
Release date: 1963-11-22
Best Documentary Movies of 1963 : Kiss
26.

Kiss

2.2
5.0/10 IMDB

An hour-long paean to the art of the kiss featuring fourteen couples, from passionate participants to lethargic lovers, engaging in the intimate act.

Starring: Rufus Collins, Johnny Dodd, Freddy Herko, Mark Lancaster, Naomi Levine, Gerard Malanga, Ed Sanders, Mark Lancaster, Robert Indiana, Rufus Collins ..
Directed by: Andy Warhol
Release date: 1963-12-31
Best Documentary Movies of 1963 : Christmas on Earth
27.

Christmas on Earth

2.1
5.7/10 IMDB

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.

Directed by: Barbara Rubin
Release date: 1963-12-25
Best Documentary Movies of 1963 : Heavenly Bodies!
28.

Heavenly Bodies!

2.1
5.4/10 IMDB

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.

Starring: Ken Parker, Gaby Martone, Don Cochran, Werner Kirsch, Fred Owens, Billy A. Newhouse, Orville Hallberg, Althea Currier, Monica Liljistrand, Yvonne Cortell ..
Directed by: Russ Meyer
Release date: 1963-06-28
Best Documentary Movies of 1963 : Europe in the Raw
29.

Europe in the Raw

1.9
4.7/10 IMDB

Russ Meyer's documentary about the underground vice world of Europe.

Starring: Denise Du Vall, Heide Richter, Yvette Le Grand, Greta Thorwald, Abundavita, Gigi La Touche, Veronique Gabriel, Fred Owens, Lynn Held, Vic Perrin ..
Directed by: Russ Meyer
Release date: 1963-03-28
Best Documentary Movies of 1963 : An Evening With The Royal Ballet
30.

An Evening With The Royal Ballet

1.8
8.2/10 IMDB

Documentary about the Royal Ballet. Includes selections from "Les Sylphides" and "The Sleeping Beauty" with Rudolf Nureyev and Dame Margot Fonteyn

Starring: Margot Fonteyn, Rudolf Nureyev, Antoinette Sibley, Merle Park ..
Directed by: Anthony Havelock-Allan, Anthony Asquith
Release date: 1963-12-01
Best Documentary Movies of 1963 : The Mersey Sound
31.

The Mersey Sound

1.8
8.1/10 IMDB

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.

Starring: Michael Barton, Brian Epstein, George Harrison, John Lennon, Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr, Jackie Lomax ..
Directed by: Don Haworth
Release date: 1963-09-10
Best Documentary Movies of 1963 : Beat City
32.

Beat City

1.8
8.0/10 IMDB

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.

Starring: Daniel Farson ..
Directed by: Charles Squires
Release date: 1963-12-24
Best Documentary Movies of 1963 : Marilyn
33.

Marilyn

1.8
8.0/10 IMDB

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.

Starring: Rock Hudson, Marilyn Monroe, Lauren Bacall, Anne Baxter, Cyd Charisse, Charles Coburn, Wally Cox, Dan Dailey, Tom Ewell, Betty Field ..
Directed by: Harold Medford, Henry Koster
Release date: 1963-04-18
Best Documentary Movies of 1963 : Biography of a Rookie: The Willie Davis Story
34.

Biography of a Rookie: The Willie Davis Story

1.8
9.6/10 IMDB

Film portrait of young Willie Davis as he successfully attempts to break into the Major Leagues.

Release date: 1963-11-19
Best Documentary Movies of 1963 : In Jerusalem
35.

In Jerusalem

1.7
7.7/10 IMDB

Directed by David Perlov.

Directed by: David Perlov
Release date: 1963-01-02
Best Documentary Movies of 1963 : Playgirls International
36.

Playgirls International

1.7
5.4/10 IMDB

Another nudist "documentary" from Doris Wishman. A print of this film has yet to surface.

Starring: Betty Andrews, Christy Foushee, Maria Stinger, Sam Butera, Louis Prima, Harry W. Stinger, Leslie Daniels, Lee Sinclair ..
Directed by: Doris Wishman
Release date: 1963-10-29
37.

A Time to Heal

1.6
7.5/10 IMDB

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.

Directed by: Derrick Knight
Release date: 1963-01-02
Best Documentary Movies of 1963 : Ten Seconds that Shook the World
38.

Ten Seconds that Shook the World

1.6
8.0/10 IMDB

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.

Directed by: Marshall Flaum
Release date: 1963-12-12
Best Documentary Movies of 1963 : Elizabeth Taylor in London
39.

Elizabeth Taylor in London

1.6
7.3/10 IMDB

TV-documentary about the actress.

Starring: Elizabeth Taylor ..
Release date: 1963-10-06
Best Documentary Movies of 1963 : Funny Side of Life
40.

Funny Side of Life

1.6
6.8/10 IMDB

A compilation of clips selected by Harold Lloyd that highlight his career.

Starring: Harold Lloyd ..
Directed by: Harry Kerwin
Release date: 1963-08-01
Best Documentary Movies of 1963 : Mrs. Winchester's House
41.

Mrs. Winchester's House

1.5
7.2/10 IMDB

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.

Starring: Lillian Gish ..
Directed by: Dick Williams
Release date: 1963-10-31
42.

People, Productivity and Change

1.5
7.0/10 IMDB

Directed by: Peter Bradford
Release date: 1963-01-02
Best Documentary Movies of 1963 : Gala Day
43.

Gala Day

1.5
6.5/10 IMDB

A description of the various activities of Gala Day held annually at Durham when the miners and their families come to town.

Directed by: John Irvin
Release date: 1963-12-11
Best Documentary Movies of 1963 : Taboos of the World
44.

Taboos of the World

1.5
6.4/10 IMDB

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

Starring: Vincent Price, Laila Novak, Stefano Sibaldi ..
Directed by: Romolo Marcellini
Release date: 1963-12-05
Best Documentary Movies of 1963 : Wheels of Tragedy
45.

Wheels of Tragedy

1.4
6.5/10 IMDB

The Ohio State Highway Patrol explain the need for safe driving, and the tragic consequences of accidents.

Directed by: Richard Wayman
Release date: 1963-01-01
Best Documentary Movies of 1963 : The Spirit of America
46.

The Spirit of America

1.4
5.8/10 IMDB

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.

Directed by: Algernon G. Walker
Release date: 1963-01-01
47.

Reshaping British Railways

1.4
5.8/10 IMDB

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.

Starring: John Stockbridge, Richard Beeching ..
Directed by: Edgar Anstey
Release date: 1963-01-02
Best Documentary Movies of 1963 : 30 Minutes, Mister Plummer
48.

30 Minutes, Mister Plummer

1.3
5.8/10 IMDB

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.

Starring: Christopher Plummer, Kate Reid, Len Birman, Martha Henry, Michael Langham, Anne Claire Poirier ..
Directed by: Anne Claire Poirier
Release date: 1963-01-01
Best Documentary Movies of 1963 : The Moving Finger
49.

The Moving Finger

1.1
4.7/10 IMDB

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...

Starring: Lionel Stander, Barry Newman, Shel Silverstein, Moondog, Zelda R. Suplee, Otto Mjaanes, Art Smith, Alan Ansara ..
Directed by: Larry Moyer
Release date: 1963-12-01
Best Documentary Movies of 1963 : Hollywood: The Great Stars
50.

Hollywood: The Great Stars

1.1
4.8/10 IMDB

Host Henry Fonda follows the creation of the star system with Mary Pickford in the Silent Era through its demise in the early Sixties.

Starring: Henry Fonda ..
Release date: 1963-02-20

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