Best Documentary Movies of 1966


The War Game

8.0/10 IMDB

A docudrama depicting a hypothetical nuclear attack on Britain. After backing the film's development, the BBC refused to air it, publicly stating "the effect of the film has been judged by the BBC to be too horrifying for the medium of broadcasting." It debuted in theaters in 1966 and went on to great acclaim, but remained unseen on British television until 1985.

Starring: Michael Aspel, Kathy Staff, Peter Watkins, Peter Graham ..
Directed by: Peter Watkins
Release date: 1966-04-13

The Endless Summer

7.6/10 IMDB

Bruce Brown's The Endless Summer is one of the first and most influential surf movies of all time. The film documents American surfers Mike Hynson and Robert August as they travel the world during California’s winter (which, back in 1965 was off-season for surfing) in search of the perfect wave and ultimately, an endless summer.

Starring: Michael Hynson, Robert August, Lord James Blears, Bruce Brown, Chip Fitzwater, Chuck Gardner, Wayne Miyata ..
Directed by: Bruce Brown
Release date: 1966-06-15
Best Documentary Movies of 1966 : Frank Sinatra: A Man and His Music Part II

Frank Sinatra: A Man and His Music Part II

8.2/10 IMDB

The second annual TV special thrills from start to finish, with unforgettable performances of signature songs "Fly Me To The Moon," "Luck Be A Lady" and "That's Life." Frank is joined by daughter Nancy in a playful duet in this delightful hour of music.

Starring: Frank Sinatra, Nancy Sinatra ..
Directed by: Dwight Hemion
Release date: 1966-12-07
Best Documentary Movies of 1966 : Goal!


7.4/10 IMDB

This entertaining documentary of the World Cup Soccer tournament of 1966 follows the 15 countries competing for the sport's most coveted prize. Nigel Patrick narrates, with commentary provided by Brian Glanville. The executive producer spent $336,000 on the production and used 117 cameras to record nearly 48 hours worth of action. Four editors were employed to created the final 108-minute feature.

Starring: Nigel Patrick, Tofik Bakhramov, Alan Ball, Gordon Banks, Franz Beckenbauer, Ignacio Calderón, Bobby Charlton, Jack Charlton, Igor Chislenko, George Cohen ..
Directed by: Abidin Dino, Ross Devenish
Release date: 1966-10-31
Best Documentary Movies of 1966 : Paddle to the Sea

Paddle to the Sea

7.8/10 IMDB

A boy's carved boat travels through the Canadian wilderness until it reaches the ocean.

Starring: Stanley Jackson ..
Directed by: Bill Mason
Release date: 1966-02-01

Screen Test: Lou Reed (Coke)

6.5/10 IMDB

Andy directs Lou Reed drinking a Coke.

Starring: Lou Reed ..
Directed by: Andy Warhol
Release date: 1966-01-01
Best Documentary Movies of 1966 : Down Friday Street

Down Friday Street

6.6/10 IMDB

Experimental documentary by Tobe Hooper and collaborators.

Directed by: Tobe Hooper
Release date: 1966-01-01

Meet Marlon Brando

7.5/10 IMDB

Journalists from all over America meet Marlon Brando in a New York hotel room to interview him about his new film, Morituri. Seeing this as an opportunity to let the legendary actor promote the film, they find Brando unwilling to talk about it, instead he is more interested in larking about and turning on the charm when being interviewed by a former winner of the Miss USA competition.

Starring: Marlon Brando, Rex Morgan, Mary Frann, Lee Murray, Stan Kann, Bill Gordon, Donna Axum ..
Directed by: Albert Maysles, David Maysles
Release date: 1966-09-16
Best Documentary Movies of 1966 : Isadora Duncan, the Biggest Dancer in the World

Isadora Duncan, the Biggest Dancer in the World

7.2/10 IMDB

The outrageous life of the American dancer of the 1920s, Isadora Duncan, whom Ken Russell described as "part genius and part charlatan".

Starring: Vivian Pickles, Peter Bowles, Alexei Jawdokimov, Murray Melvin, Jeanne Le Bars, Alita Naughton, Sandor Elès ..
Directed by: Ken Russell
Release date: 1966-01-02
Best Documentary Movies of 1966 : Rotterdam-Europoort


6.8/10 IMDB

Instructional film about the (former) biggest harbour in the world, with a hybrid format. Well known Ivens themes are revisited, like The Flying Dutchman in the fiction part of the film, who returns to the modern day Rotterdam, that has recovered very well after the devastating bombardments in the second world war.

Starring: Willeke van Ammelrooy, Karel Kneulman, Gerrit Kouwenaar, Yves Montand ..
Directed by: Joris Ivens
Release date: 1966-04-29
Best Documentary Movies of 1966 : '2001: A Space Odyssey' – A Look Behind the Future

'2001: A Space Odyssey' – A Look Behind the Future

6.7/10 IMDB

A short documentary about the making of Stanley Kubrick's 2001: A Space Odyssey and its impact on the '60s view of the future.

Starring: Vernon Myers, Arthur C. Clarke, Anthony Masters, Keir Dullea, Stanley Kubrick ..
Release date: 1966-01-01
Best Documentary Movies of 1966 : Cinerama's Russian Adventure

Cinerama's Russian Adventure

7.1/10 IMDB

Following an introduction by Bing Crosby, the Cinerama screen widens for scenes of landscapes, cities, peoples, and entertainments of the Soviet Union. Highlights include the historic buildings and churches of Moscow, as the Kremlin; its subway and streets, a spring carnival, the seaside resorts on the Black Sea, a trip down the Voga River, skiers, a troika racing along a snow-covered road, a helicopter view of the North Pole, an Antarctic whale hunt, the capture of a wild boar in the Moyun-Kum of Central Asia, a race by reindeer-drawn sleds, divers in the Sea of Okhotsk, battling an octopus, the capture of antelopes, rafting logs down the Tisza River, and the development of new towns in Siberia. Other scenes include a visit to the Moscow Circus, where the renowned clown Oleg Popov performs, the dancing of the Moiseyev and Piatnitsky companies, and excerpts from the repertoire of the Bolshoi Theater Ballet.

Starring: Bing Crosby ..
Directed by: Roman Karmen, Vasily Katanyan, Boris Dolin, Solomon Kogan, Leonid Kristi, Oleg Lebedev
Release date: 1966-03-03
Best Documentary Movies of 1966 : With Love from Truman

With Love from Truman

7.4/10 IMDB

At his Long Island beach house, and on the occasion of the publication of his masterful nonfiction novel In Cold Blood, reporter Karen Dennison interviews celebrated writer Truman Capote, who displays his exuberant personality, makes witty jokes, shares his thoughts on writing, reflects on various aspects of the book and, in a sweet and endearing voice, reads and explains some of its highlights.

Starring: Truman Capote, Karen Dennison, Alvin Adams Dewey, Marie Bellocq ..
Directed by: Albert Maysles, Charlotte Zwerin, David Maysles
Release date: 1966-01-01

Helicopter Canada

6.8/10 IMDB

A view from a helicopter of the ten Canadian provinces in 1966. The result is a big, beautiful and engrossing bird's-eye portrait of the country. Nothing here is quite the same as seen before, even Niagara Falls. Canadians will be thrilled by this panoramic view of familiar territory. Made for international distribution for the Canadian centennial.

Starring: Stanley Jackson ..
Directed by: Eugene Boyko
Release date: 1966-01-01
Best Documentary Movies of 1966 : Disneyland Around the Seasons

Disneyland Around the Seasons

7.4/10 IMDB

Walt takes viewers on yet another tour of Disneyland to point out some of the newest additions to the park, including New Orleans Square, It's a Small World, and Great Moments With Mr. Lincoln.

Starring: Walt Disney, Chet Huntley, Dick Van Dyke ..
Directed by: Hamilton Luske
Release date: 1966-12-18
Best Documentary Movies of 1966 : The Legend of Marilyn Monroe

The Legend of Marilyn Monroe

7.1/10 IMDB

The Legend of Marilyn Monroe is a 1966 American documentary film chronicling the life and career of actress Marilyn Monroe. Directed by Terry Sanders, and narrated by John Huston.

Starring: Jerry Giesler, John Huston ..
Directed by: Terry Sanders
Release date: 1966-11-30

Jesse Owens Returns to Berlin

8.2/10 IMDB

The rise of National Socialism in Germany and Hitler’s anti-semitic policies and advocation of the superiority of the Aryan race resulted in several calls for a boycott of the games. Against this political backdrop, Jesse Owens’ haul of four gold medals is all the more significant. For a black athlete to demonstrate clearly his superior athleticism and so convincingly outperform his white counterparts was a massive slap in the face for Hitler and made a mockery of his racist theories during his Nazi showpiece games. Standing in the box at the Olympiastadion where Hitler sat to watch the games, Jesse Owens tells with pride that the flag of the US team was the only one not to be dipped as the athletes passed the Führer. (

Starring: Jesse Owens, Kai Long ..
Directed by: Bud Greenspan
Release date: 1966-01-01
Best Documentary Movies of 1966 : The Velvet Underground and Nico: A Symphony of Sound

The Velvet Underground and Nico: A Symphony of Sound

6.6/10 IMDB

The film depicts a rehearsal of The Velvet Underground including Nico, and is essentially one long loose improvisation.

Starring: Lou Reed, Nico, John Cale, Andy Warhol, Gerard Malanga, Mary Woronov, Ari Boulogne, Sterling Morrison, Stephen Shore, Maureen Tucker ..
Directed by: Andy Warhol, Paul Morrissey
Release date: 1966-02-08
Best Documentary Movies of 1966 : Report from Millbrook

Report from Millbrook

7.2/10 IMDB

An oblique documentary about the LSD group experiments of Timothy Leary, with off screen commentary of a participant and shots of Leary's house and the surroundings.

Directed by: Jonas Mekas
Release date: 1966-09-06

The Magic Sun

6.6/10 IMDB

Multi-faceted artist Phil Niblock captures a brief moment of an interstellar communication by the Arkestra in their prime. Black turns white in a so-called negative post-process, while Niblock's camera focuses on microscopic details of hands, bodies and instruments. A brilliant tribute to the Sun King by another brilliant supra-planetary sovereign. (Eye of Sound)

Starring: Sun Ra, Marshall Allen ..
Directed by: Phill Niblock
Release date: 1966-01-01
Best Documentary Movies of 1966 : Big Sur

Big Sur

6.7/10 IMDB

Fast-moving impressions of the Big Sur, the water, the ocean, and the Ladies, as part of the landscape, swimming, or running nude, against the sun or part of the sun.

Directed by: Lawrence Jordan
Release date: 1966-01-01
Best Documentary Movies of 1966 : Kirk Douglas

Kirk Douglas

7.0/10 IMDB

The 1966 visit of Hollywood movie star Kirk Douglas at the legendary Polish State Film School in Lódz.

Starring: Kirk Douglas, Jerzy Bossak, Barbara Brylska, Marek Piwowski ..
Directed by: Marek Piwowski, Feridun Erol
Release date: 1966-12-31
Best Documentary Movies of 1966 : Travelling for a Living

Travelling for a Living

8.1/10 IMDB

Follows the life of Hull folk group The Watersons, which is made up of brothers and sisters Michael Waterson, Norma Waterson, Elaine Waterson (more commonly known as Lal Waterson), and their cousin John Harrison, as they spend a large amount of their time on the road in their van travelling between one folk club and the next.

Starring: Norma Waterson, Michael Waterson, Elaine Waterson, John Harrison ..
Directed by: Derrick Knight
Release date: 1966-01-01
Best Documentary Movies of 1966 : Cassis


5.7/10 IMDB

"I was visiting Jerome Hill. Jerome loved France, especially Provence. He spent all his summers in Cassis. My window overlooked the sea. I sat in my little room, reading or writing, and looked at the sea. I decided to place my Bolex exactly at the angle of light as what Signac saw from his studio which was just behind where I was staying, and film the view from morning till after sunset, frame by frame. One day of the Cassis port filmed in one shot." -JM

Directed by: Jonas Mekas
Release date: 1966-01-01

The Urban Crisis and the New Militants: Module 7 - Cicero March

6.2/10 IMDB

For a generation of young activists, the reality of war, imperialism, racism and the growing fragility of democratic liberalism was too much to handle. Force became a means to wrestle with this tension. As the discourse of a “country torn” finds its way into mainstream political analyses (for many the deep divisions in this country are not a new political reality), we should reflect on the writings of political dissidents and radicals. We should recognize the diversity of political analysis that is very much alive. The histories of armed struggle, if taken seriously, provide us with a means to think more critically about the center, and complicate its claims of moral and political right.

Directed by: Mike Gray, Bill Cottle
Release date: 1966-01-01

Orson Welles in Spain

6.9/10 IMDB

Orson Welles pitches to potential investors his vision of a largely improvised bullfighter movie about an existential, James Dean type troubadour who sets himself apart from other matadors. In front of an audience of wealthy arts patrons, Welles pontificates on the state of cinema, the filmmaking process, and the art of bullfighting.

Starring: Orson Welles ..
Directed by: Albert Maysles, David Maysles
Release date: 1966-06-01

Mondo Topless

4.8/10 IMDB

Mondo Topless is a 1966 pseudo documentary directed by Russ Meyer, featuring Babette Bardot and Lorna Maitland among others.

Starring: Babette Bardot, Pat Barrington, Sin Lenee, Darlene Grey, Diane Young, Darla Paris, Donna X, Veronique Gabriel, Greta Thorwald, Denice Duval ..
Directed by: Russ Meyer
Release date: 1966-11-17
Best Documentary Movies of 1966 : A Year Towards Tomorrow

A Year Towards Tomorrow

5.5/10 IMDB

Documentary about the VISTA (Volunteers in Service to America) program.

Starring: Paul Newman ..
Directed by: Edmond Levy
Release date: 1966-01-01
Best Documentary Movies of 1966 : All Eyes on Sharon Tate

All Eyes on Sharon Tate

6.2/10 IMDB

Promotional short film on an aspiring young actress Sharon Tate and her first film Eye of the Devil (1966).

Starring: Sharon Tate, Martin Ransohoff, J. Lee Thompson, John Calley, David Hemmings, David Niven ..
Release date: 1966-09-06
Best Documentary Movies of 1966 : Mondo Bizarro

Mondo Bizarro

4.4/10 IMDB

A faux travelogue that mixes documentary and mockumentary footage. The camera looks through a one-way glass into the women's dressing room at a lingerie shop, visits a Kyoto massage parlor, goes inside the mailroom at Frederick's of Hollywood, watches an Australian who sticks nails through his skin and eats glass, checks out the art and peace scene in Los Angeles, takes in Easter week with vacationing college students on Balboa Island, observes a German audience enjoying a play about Nazi sadism, and, with the help of powerful military lenses, spies on a Lebanese white-slavery auction.

Starring: Claude Emmand, Bob Cresse, Lee Frost, Dick Osmun, Vito Paulekas, Karen Wyatt ..
Directed by: Lee Frost
Release date: 1966-08-25
Best Documentary Movies of 1966 : 1:42.08


5.3/10 IMDB

George Lucas's senior project at the University of Southern California in 1966. It was named for the lap time of the Lotus 23 race car that was the subject of the film. It is a nonstory visual tone poem depicting the imagery of a car going at full speed, and featuring the car's engine as the primary sound element. Shot on 16mm color film with a 14 man student crew, it was filmed at Willow Springs Raceway, north of Los Angeles, CA. The Lotus 23 was driven by Pete Brock.

Starring: Peter Brock ..
Directed by: George Lucas
Release date: 1966-01-01
Best Documentary Movies of 1966 : The Four Elements

The Four Elements

5.6/10 IMDB

An educational film about power sources that’s rendered as a lyrical meditation on heat and vapor, The Four Elements is a poetic and avant-garde documentary Curtis Harrington made for the United States Information Agency.

Directed by: Curtis Harrington
Release date: 1966-01-01
Best Documentary Movies of 1966 : Good Times, Wonderful Times

Good Times, Wonderful Times

7.0/10 IMDB

Lionel Rogosin's plea for humanity and against war and fascism. For two years, Rogosin traveled to twelve countries to collect footage of war atrocities from their archives. He interspersed these harrowing images with scenes of a London cocktail party's mundane chatter. Good Times, Wonderful Times was released in 1964 at the height of the Vietnam War, and became one of the great anti-war films of the era.

Directed by: Lionel Rogosin
Release date: 1966-07-18
Best Documentary Movies of 1966 : Look at Life: Eating High

Look at Life: Eating High

10.0/10 IMDB

An examination of the 60's trend of top-of-skyscraper revolving restaurants. First an overview of Europe's best then it's a detailed look at the problems involved in running the restaurant at the top of London's Post Office Tower.

Starring: Tim Turner ..
Release date: 1966-01-01

Old Antelope Lake

4.7/10 IMDB

A Navajo short film which documents a boy drawing and using water from Old Antelope Lake.

Directed by: Mike Anderson
Release date: 1966-12-31
Best Documentary Movies of 1966 : Every Girl's Dream

Every Girl's Dream

5.1/10 IMDB

Nancy Bernard, the 1966 Maid of Cotton, is shown walking through various sets and sound stages at the MGM Studios. Her various cotton outfits are described by the narrator. She also attends the "screen test" of the costumes designed by Ray Aghayan for The Glass Bottom Boat (1966). The clothing is modeled by the film's stars, Doris Day and Rod Taylor.

Starring: Nancy Bernard, Ray Aghayan, Doris Day, Rod Taylor ..
Release date: 1966-01-01
Best Documentary Movies of 1966 : Ages of Man

Ages of Man

9.1/10 IMDB

Performance of extracts from The Ages of Man is a one-man show performed by John Gielgud featuring a collection of speeches in Shakespeare's plays. When the genius of Shakespeare is wedded to the unsurpassed skills of one of the finest actors of this, or any other, age, something extraordinary happens.

Starring: John Gielgud ..
Directed by: Paul Bogart
Release date: 1966-01-23

Storm Signal

9.0/10 IMDB

A documentary record of the day-to-day existence of a pair of young married heroin addicts.

Directed by: Robert Drew, James Lipscomb
Release date: 1966-09-05

The World of Jacques-Yves Cousteau

8.8/10 IMDB

This unusual film, narrated by Orson Welles, records the day-by-day events in the lives of six oceanauts who, in an unique experiment, spent 27 days 328 feet below the surface of the Mediterranean. The experiment originated with the French scientist and explorer, Jacques-Yves Cousteau, on whose work the idea of oceanic exploration is based. The film shows the preparation and training needed for the expedition and the working conditions both inside and outside Conshelf Three, a specially made steel bubble which served as home and laboratory.

Starring: Jacques-Yves Cousteau ..
Release date: 1966-03-24

Mondo Freudo

4.1/10 IMDB

A “hidden camera” takes the viewer on a worldwide tour of sexual practices and rituals, including Tijuana strippers, Asian sex shows, British prostitutes, New York devil worshipers and a Mexican slave market.

Starring: Judy Adler, Carol Baughman, Baby Bubbles, Bob Cresse, James E. McLarty, Coleen O'Brien, Margo Lynn Sweet, Charlotte ..
Directed by: Lee Frost
Release date: 1966-04-26
Best Documentary Movies of 1966 : Galaxie


8.2/10 IMDB

In March and April of 1966, Markopoulos created this filmic portrait of writers and artists from his New York circle, including Parker Tyler, W. H. Auden, Jasper Johns, Susan Sontag, Storm De Hirsch, Jonas Mekas, Allen Ginsberg, and George and Mike Kuchar, most observed in their homes or studios. Filmed in vibrant color, Galaxie pulses with life. It is a masterpiece of in-camera composition and editing, and stands as a vibrant response to Andy Warhol's contemporary Screen Tests.

Starring: Parker Tyler, Storm De Hirsch, Amy Taubin, George Kuchar, Mike Kuchar, Charles Boultenhouse, Jonas Mekas, Jasper Johns, W.H. Auden, Jerome Hill ..
Directed by: Gregory J. Markopoulos
Release date: 1966-09-03
Best Documentary Movies of 1966 : The Universal Mind of Bill Evans

The Universal Mind of Bill Evans

8.2/10 IMDB

Jazz Pianist on the Creative Process & Self-Teaching. Here is the late, brilliantly original jazz pianist in intense conversation with his composer brother, Harry, on the nature of creativity in jazz. Occasionally, they stroll to the piano for a musical illustration (Evans play splendidly).

Starring: Bill Evans, Harry Evans, Steve Allen ..
Directed by: Louis Cavrell
Release date: 1966-01-01

The Story of Making the Film They're a Weird Mob

7.9/10 IMDB

A documentary about the making of the film "They're a Weird Mob", a movie about an Italian adjusting to life in Australia.

Directed by: Dennis Hill
Release date: 1966-01-01
Best Documentary Movies of 1966 : The Big T.N.T. Show

The Big T.N.T. Show

7.6/10 IMDB

Live performances by some of the top rock-and-roll acts of the mid 60s. Includes Ray Charles, The Byrds, Joan Baez, Ike and Tina Turner, Donovan, The Lovin' Spoonful, and several more.

Starring: Joan Baez, Gene Clark, Ray Charles, Petula Clark, Bo Diddley, Donovan, David McCallum, Tina Turner, Ike Turner, Estelle Bennett ..
Directed by: Larry Peerce
Release date: 1966-01-07
Best Documentary Movies of 1966 : The Really Big Family

The Really Big Family

7.8/10 IMDB

The Really Big Family is a 1966 American documentary film directed by Alexander Grasshoff about the Dukes family of Seattle, who had 18 children. It was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature.

Starring: Bill Dukes, Louise Dukes, Henry Fonda ..
Directed by: Alexander Grasshoff
Release date: 1966-01-01
Best Documentary Movies of 1966 : Stravinsky


7.9/10 IMDB

This documentary is an informal portrait of the great modern composer Igor Stravinsky. Proudly American, though still very much an Old World figure with a long and alert memory for people and events in music, literature and art, Stravinsky is depicted here conducting the CBC Symphony Orchestra in a recording of his Symphony of Psalms.

Starring: Igor Stravinsky, Julian Bream ..
Directed by: Roman Kroitor, Wolf Koenig
Release date: 1966-01-01
Best Documentary Movies of 1966 : The Velvet Underground Tarot Cards

The Velvet Underground Tarot Cards

7.6/10 IMDB

Documents each member of The Velvet Underground having their cards read at a big apartment party. The tarot reader is continually interrupted in her readings by the chaos created by the characters around her.

Starring: John Cale, Nico, Lou Reed, Sterling Morrison, Maureen Tucker, Eric Emerson, Ingrid Superstar, International Velvet, John Wilcock, Mary Woronov ..
Directed by: Andy Warhol
Release date: 1966-08-01

Body and Soul

7.6/10 IMDB

Short film, shot in twenty hours, about a bodybuilder who is stunned to discover he no longer has his body under control. He wonders whether all the attention he has paid to his physical appearance was worth it.

Starring: Rein Bloem, Gerard Oosterman ..
Directed by: René Daalder
Release date: 1966-01-26
Best Documentary Movies of 1966 : The Forbidden

The Forbidden

4.5/10 IMDB

This documentary explores assorted "forbidden" topics from all over the world. Among the subjects depicted herein are a racy TV commercial for a female martial arts school, rowdy teenagers protesting a strict curfew on the Sunset Strip, an underground lesbian club in Geneva, a portable topless bar, and various strip acts from different parts of the globe.

Starring: Baby Bubbles, Pat Hall ..
Directed by: Lee Frost, Benjamin Andrews
Release date: 1966-11-07


4.8/10 IMDB

Collected as part of the Fluxfilm Anthology (a multi-reel compendium of 37 short films assembled by Fluxus founder and central operator George Maciunas), One captures the lifespan of a single match recorded at 2,000 frames per second using a 16mm high-speed camera. The frame rate is then decelerated to the standard 24fps for presentation. The film emphasizes each gesture, sway and flare of flame as the small pinewood carrier ignites across the landscape of the filmstrip and screen, signalling the drama and poetics of this ”minor” event before the fire is extinguished. One also stands as an unassuming beacon, immortalizing on film the essence of some of Ono’s early concerns as an artist. At the slightest touch of fire, they burst into flame. Strike everywhere. Strike often.

Directed by: Y?ko Ono
Release date: 1966-03-10

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