Best Documentary Movies of 1968


Monterey Pop

8.0/10 IMDB

Featuring performances by popular artists of the 1960s, this concert film highlights the music of the 1967 California festival. Although not all musicians who performed at the Monterey Pop Festival are on film, some of the notable acts include the Mamas and the Papas, Simon & Garfunkel, Jefferson Airplane, the Who, Otis Redding, and the Jimi Hendrix Experience. Hendrix's post-performance antics -- lighting a guitar on fire, breaking it and tossing a part into the audience -- are captured.

Starring: Scott McKenzie, Denny Doherty, John Phillips, Frank Cook, Bob Hite, Henry Vestine, Alan Wilson, Paul Simon, Art Garfunkel, Hugh Masekela ..
Directed by: D. A. Pennebaker
Release date: 1968-12-26

High School

7.6/10 IMDB

Documentary filmmaker Frederick Wiseman takes us inside Northeast High School as a fly on the wall to observe the teachers and how they interact with the students.

Directed by: Frederick Wiseman
Release date: 1968-05-01

Symbiopsychotaxiplasm: Take One

7.2/10 IMDB

In Manhattan's Central Park, a film crew directed by William Greaves is shooting a screen test with various pairs of actors. It's a confrontation between a couple: he demands to know what's wrong, she challenges his sexual orientation. Cameras shoot the exchange, and another camera records Greaves and his crew. Sometimes we watch the crew discussing this scene, its language, and the process of making a movie. Is there such a thing as natural language? Are all things related to sex? The camera records distractions - a woman rides horseback past them; a garrulous homeless vet who sleeps in the park chats them up. What's the nature of making a movie?

Starring: Patricia Ree Gilbert, Don Fellows, Robert L. Rosen, William Greaves, Susan Anspach, Audrey Heningham, Jonathan Gordon, Bob Rosen, Stevan Larner, Terence Macartney-Filgate ..
Directed by: William Greaves
Release date: 1968-10-28

The Queen

7.3/10 IMDB

In 1967, New York City is host to the Miss All-American Camp Beauty Pageant. This documentary takes a look behind the scenes, transporting the viewer into rehearsals and dressing rooms as the drag queen subculture prepares for this big national beauty contest. Jack/Sabrina is the mistress of ceremonies, and their protégé, Miss Harlow, is in the competition. But, as the pageant approaches, the glamorous contestants veer from camaraderie to tension.

Starring: Jim Dine, Jack Doroshow, Bruce Jay Friedman, Bernard Giquel, Rachel Harlow, Jill Krementz, Jerry Leiber, Mary Ellen Mark, Mario Montez, George Plimpton ..
Directed by: Frank Simon
Release date: 1968-06-17

Chromo sud

7.5/10 IMDB

One of the very few films made by Etienne O'Leary, all of which emerged from the French underground circa 1968 and can be very loosely designated 'diary films.' Like the contemporaneous films by O'Leary's more famous friend Pierre Clementi, they trippily document the drug-drenched hedonism of that era's dandies. O'Leary worked with an intoxicating style that foregrounded rapid and even subliminal cutting, dense layering of superimposed images and a spontaneous notebook type shooting style. Yet even if much of O'Leary's material was initially 'diaristic,' depicting the friends, lovers, and places that he encountered in his private life, the metamorphoses it underwent during editing transformed it into a series of ambiguously fictionalized, sometimes darkly sexual fantasias. - Experimental Film Club

Starring: Anne-Marie, Michel Auder, Jean-Pierre Bouyxou, Margareth Clémenti, Pierre Clémenti, Janine Delannoy, Jean-Bernard Désobeau, Michèle Giraud, Jean-Jacques Lebel, Raphaël Marongiu ..
Directed by: Étienne O'Leary
Release date: 1968-01-01
Best Documentary Movies of 1968 : The Rise and Fall of the Great Lakes

The Rise and Fall of the Great Lakes

8.0/10 IMDB

A lesson in geography, which concludes that although the Great Lakes have had their ups and downs, nothing has been harder to take than what humans have done to them lately. In the film, a lone canoeist lives through the changes of geological history, through Ice Age and flood, only to find himself in the end trapped in a sea of scum.

Starring: Blake James ..
Directed by: Bill Mason
Release date: 1968-01-01
Best Documentary Movies of 1968 : Sympathy for the Devil

Sympathy for the Devil

6.2/10 IMDB

An exhilarating, provocative motion picture. The Rolling Stones rehearse their latest song, "Sympathy For the Devil," in a London studio. Beginning as a ballad, the track gradually acquires a pulsating groove, which gets Jagger into a rousing vocal display of soulful emotion that Godard captures on film.

Starring: Sean Lynch, Mick Jagger, Brian Jones, Keith Richards, Charlie Watts, Bill Wyman, Anne Wiazemsky, Iain Quarrier, Frankie Dymon, Marianne Faithfull ..
Directed by: Jean-Luc Godard
Release date: 1968-11-30
Best Documentary Movies of 1968 : The Blues Accordin' to Lightnin' Hopkins

The Blues Accordin' to Lightnin' Hopkins

7.6/10 IMDB

Les Blank's portrait of the great Texas bluesman, 'Lightnin' Hopkins. The film includes interviews and a performance by Hopkins.

Starring: Lightnin' Hopkins, Billy Bizor, Mance Lipscomb, Ruth Ames ..
Directed by: Les Blank, Skip Gerson
Release date: 1968-12-20
Best Documentary Movies of 1968 : Rivers of Fire and Ice

Rivers of Fire and Ice

6.9/10 IMDB

A Wildlife Safari through Africa.

Starring: Michael Rye ..
Directed by: Ronald E. Shanin
Release date: 1968-11-27
Best Documentary Movies of 1968 : Mingus: Charlie Mingus 1968

Mingus: Charlie Mingus 1968

7.5/10 IMDB

A close-up of bass player and composer Charlie Mingus as he and his five-year-old daughter await eviction by the City of New York.

Starring: Charles Mingus, Charles McPherson, Walter Bishop, Dannie Richmond, Carolyn Mingus ..
Directed by: Thomas Reichman
Release date: 1968-04-02
Best Documentary Movies of 1968 : Moment


6.6/10 IMDB

A static camera records, in one single continuous shot, a woman's face before, during and after orgasm. The act of looking and the limits of the film frame are highlighted in this intimate sexual episode with Tina Fraser. Artist Stephen Dwoskin presents a powerful, personal moment while maintaining a distance and resisting the viewer being subsumed into the action on screen.

Starring: Tina Fraser ..
Directed by: Stephen Dwoskin
Release date: 1968-01-01
Best Documentary Movies of 1968 : 'Bullitt': Steve McQueen's Commitment to Reality

'Bullitt': Steve McQueen's Commitment to Reality

6.4/10 IMDB

A behind the scenes look at the making of the movie Bullitt with a strong focus on the attention to details taken. It features some of the preparations made before shooting began, but is mostly focused on the onsite filming locations which brings a strong amount of reality to the film as the title suggests.

Starring: Steve McQueen, Bill Hickman, Harry Kleiner, Peter Yates, Robert Vaughn, Jacqueline Bisset ..
Directed by: Ronald Saland
Release date: 1968-10-17

Rocky Road to Dublin

7.5/10 IMDB

Rocky Road to Dublin is a 1968 documentary film by Irish-born journalist Peter Lennon and French cinematographer Raoul Coutard, examining the contemporary state of the Republic of Ireland, posing the question, “what do you do with your revolution once you’ve got it?” It argues that Ireland was dominated by cultural isolationism, Gaelic and clerical traditionalism at the time of its making.

Starring: John Huston, Peter Lennon, Sean O’Faoláin, Conor Cruise O’Brien, Douglas Gageby, Jim Fitzgerald, Liam O’Briain, Phyllis Hamilton ..
Directed by: Peter Lennon
Release date: 1968-05-24
Best Documentary Movies of 1968 : Oratorio for Prague

Oratorio for Prague

7.5/10 IMDB

Filmmaker Jan Nemec and his crew risked their lives to create this historic documentary account of the 1968 Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia. The award-winning work is the only filmed record of the invasion. Oratorio for Prague began as a study of the liberalization of Czechoslovakia and then continued when the Russian forces moved in. The gripping footage was broadcast by television, providing the first report of the event. In addition to the news footage, the film features never-before-viewed scenes taken prior to the invasion that crushed Prague's anti-Communist movement.

Starring: Gene Moskowitz, Alexander Dub?ek, Ludvík Svoboda, Josef Smrkovský, Old?ich ?erník, ?estmír Císa?, Zden?k Mlyná?, Nicolae Ceau?escu, Alexei Kosygin, Jan N?mec ..
Directed by: Jan N?mec
Release date: 1968-09-29
Best Documentary Movies of 1968 : Baldwin's Nigger

Baldwin's Nigger

7.7/10 IMDB

Documentary featuring James Baldwin and Dick Gregory, discussing the Civil Rights Movement in 1960s Great Britain.

Starring: James Baldwin, Dick Gregory ..
Directed by: Horace Ové
Release date: 1968-07-12
Best Documentary Movies of 1968 : Like It Is

Like It Is

6.3/10 IMDB

This documentary on the "youth movement" of the late 1960s focuses on the hippie pot smoking/free love culture in the San Francisco Bay area.

Starring: Candee Earle, Adele Rein, Michelle Angelo, Janice Kelly, James Brand ..
Directed by: William Rotsler
Release date: 1968-07-20
Best Documentary Movies of 1968 : Chiefs


6.4/10 IMDB

Filmed at the October 1968 meeting in Hawaii of several hundred police chiefs of the International Association of Chiefs of Police as they watch demonstrations of gruesome anti-riot weapons, sing patriotic songs, and defend their policies in front of the camera. Although filmed with the permission of the chiefs, the view is unsympathetic, sometimes funny, and more often frightening.

Directed by: Richard Leacock, Noel E. Parmentel
Release date: 1968-12-26
Best Documentary Movies of 1968 : Why Man Creates

Why Man Creates

7.3/10 IMDB

A 1968 animation/documentary that criticises the industrial system.

Directed by: Saul Bass
Release date: 1968-09-24
Best Documentary Movies of 1968 : A Few Notes on Our Food Problem

A Few Notes on Our Food Problem

6.2/10 IMDB

Made for the United States Information Agency (USIA). Shot all over the globe.

Directed by: James Blue
Release date: 1968-01-01
Best Documentary Movies of 1968 : The Ballad of Crowfoot

The Ballad of Crowfoot

7.6/10 IMDB

Released in 1968 and often referred to as Canada’s first music video, The Ballad of Crowfoot was directed by Willie Dunn, a Mi’kmaq/Scottish folk singer and activist who was part of the historic Indian Film Crew, the first all-Indigenous production unit at the NFB. The film is a powerful look at colonial betrayals, told through a striking montage of archival images and a ballad composed by Dunn himself about the legendary 19th-century Siksika (Blackfoot) chief who negotiated Treaty 7 on behalf of the Blackfoot Confederacy. The IFC’s inaugural release, Crowfoot was the first Indigenous-directed film to be made at the NFB.

Directed by: Willie Dunn
Release date: 1968-01-01
Best Documentary Movies of 1968 : No Vietnamese Ever Called Me Nigger

No Vietnamese Ever Called Me Nigger

7.8/10 IMDB

In defending his refusal to be conscripted into the Vietnam War, champion boxer Muhammed Ali defiantly declared: ‘No Vietcong ever called me a nigger, my enemies are white people, not the Vietcong.’ His rebuttal suggested the title of this documentary, which depicts an anti-Vietnam-War rally in New York in 1967.

Directed by: David Loeb Weiss
Release date: 1968-09-01
Best Documentary Movies of 1968 : Journey Into Self

Journey Into Self

6.4/10 IMDB

Journey into Self is a 1968 documentary film introduced by Stanley Kramer, and produced and directed by Bill McGaw. The film portrays a 16-hour group-therapy session for eight well-adjusted people who had never met before. The session was led by psychologists Carl Rogers and Richard Farson. The participants included a cashier, a theology student, a teacher, a principal, a housewife, and three businessmen. It won the Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature in 1968.

Starring: Carl Rogers ..
Directed by: Tom Skinner
Release date: 1968-12-31
Best Documentary Movies of 1968 : The Doors Are Open

The Doors Are Open

7.6/10 IMDB

Sex, death, reptiles, charisma and a unique variant of the electric blues gave the Doors an aura of profundity that has survived the band's demise. In September, 1968, The Doors gave a history making performance at The Roundhouse in London's Chalk Farm. They gave powerful renditions of their best songs. Part of the Pioneer Artist Concert Film Series.

Starring: Jim Morrison, Robby Krieger, John Densmore, Ray Manzarek ..
Directed by: John Sheppard
Release date: 1968-10-04


7.2/10 IMDB

“’Psych-Burn’ was what musicians call a ‘contract-breaker’. ABC had given us some coin to make a few short films for a TV Pilot. “Love-In Tonite” was to be a psychedelic rock variety show with live performances, skits, and whatnot to cash in on the emerging hippie demographic. Even pre-Disney, the network was riddled with a bunch of out-of-touch, pencil-pushing buffoons, so I quickly realized the show would be a disaster. Imagine if “Midnight Special” was produced by Aaron Spelling. Then cast Charles Nelson Reilly as emcee. That would have been a far more lively show than “Love-In Tonite”. So I decided to deliver the suits a farewell kick-in-the-butt called ‘Psych-Burn’. The best part was that they presented my film sight unseen at a board meeting about the new Fall Season. I heard some heads rolled over that one.” —JXW

Directed by: J.X. Williams
Release date: 1968-01-01
Best Documentary Movies of 1968 : An Indian Day

An Indian Day

7.3/10 IMDB

Director S. Sukhdev traveled the length of India to gather footage for his impressionistic portrait of the country in the year 1967. The film produces the same effect on the viewers as a month-long visit to India, a sense of having seen everything and a sense of having seen nothing, both at the same time.

Directed by: S. Sukhdev
Release date: 1968-04-01
Best Documentary Movies of 1968 : A Space to Grow

A Space to Grow

6.4/10 IMDB

A Space to Grow is a 1968 American short documentary film produced by Thomas P. Kelly Jr.. It was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Documentary Short. Upward Bound programs from Chicago are featured. Henry Fonda is the narrator.

Starring: Henry Fonda ..
Directed by: Robert O'Donnel
Release date: 1968-01-01
Best Documentary Movies of 1968 : The Golden Vision

The Golden Vision

8.3/10 IMDB

The obsessive supporters of Everton FC forsake wives, families and God to follow their beloved team. Meanwhile, the club and its players try to live up to their expectations.

Starring: Bill Dean, Neville Smith, Ken Jones, Joey Kaye, Johnny Gee, Flora Manger, Angela Small, Vera Gillan, Patricia Bush, Ken Rose ..
Directed by: Ken Loach
Release date: 1968-04-17
Best Documentary Movies of 1968 : Filmmaker


6.5/10 IMDB

A behind-the-scenes documentary by George Lucas about 29-year-old Francis Ford Coppola and his crew creating the 1969 film "The Rain People."

Starring: Francis Ford Coppola, Shirley Knight, James Caan, George Lucas, Robert Duvall, Barry Malkin ..
Directed by: George Lucas
Release date: 1968-12-01

Cosmic Zoom

7.2/10 IMDB

This short animation transports us from the farthest conceivable point of the universe to the tiniest particle of existence, an atom of a living human cell. The art of animation and animation camera achieve this exhilarating journey with a freshness and clarity. Without words.

Directed by: Eva Szasz, Robert Verrall
Release date: 1968-02-02

Love's Presentation

6.6/10 IMDB

'Love's Presentation' may be a time capsule of a rising art-world star, but it also pokes fun at the perspective of a celebrity profile. In its opening sequence, an antsy-looking Hockney squirms as a narrator reads aloud critic Jasia Reichardt’s introduction to his star persona. Scott’s portrait of Hockney is more expansive, spurning the growing popular image of the artist in favor of following him at work; He’s described the film as a “how-to” documentary. Filmed in April '66 in Hockney’s ground-floor apartment and studio, Hockney himself improvised the narration while watching the film. We watch the artist carve delicate lines into the plates, submerge them in an acid bath outside his window, then wipe his hands on the window curtains... A rare, relaxed close-up on Hockney’s creative process.

Starring: David Hockney ..
Directed by: James Scott
Release date: 1968-01-01

Pat Neal Is Back

5.8/10 IMDB

This short focuses on Patricia Neal's return to motion pictures three years after she suffered a near-fatal stroke. We see her and the cast and crew at work in New York City on the feature film The Subject Was Roses (1968).

Starring: Patricia Neal, Jack Albertson, Martin Sheen, Ulu Grosbard, Jack Priestley, Anna Hill Johnstone ..
Directed by: Edward Beyer
Release date: 1968-04-07
Best Documentary Movies of 1968 : Permutations


6.5/10 IMDB

An experimental short film by John Whitney Sr. which combines animated shapes and colors; Computer graphics as dynamic, swirling art.

Directed by: John Whitney Sr.
Release date: 1968-01-01
Best Documentary Movies of 1968 : Two American Audiences: La Chinoise - A Film in the Making

Two American Audiences: La Chinoise - A Film in the Making

6.6/10 IMDB

Jean-Luc Godard visits the NYU in order to discuss his latest feature "La chinoise" with graduate students on filmmaking and politics.

Starring: Jean-Luc Godard ..
Directed by: D. A. Pennebaker, Richard Leacock
Release date: 1968-01-01
Best Documentary Movies of 1968 : All My Loving

All My Loving

6.4/10 IMDB

Originally a BBC documentary, this film by Tony Palmer about the 1960's music scene was later released as a standalone DVD by the BFI

Starring: Anthony Burgess, Ginger Baker, Eric Burdon, Donovan, George Harrison, Jimi Hendrix, Eric Clapton, Patrick Allen, Frank Zappa ..
Directed by: Tony Palmer
Release date: 1968-11-03
Best Documentary Movies of 1968 : The Man Who Makes the Difference

The Man Who Makes the Difference

6.4/10 IMDB

Promotional documentary for the MGM film "Ice Station Zebra" focusing on the career and cinematographic innovations of cameraman John Stephens.

Starring: David Ford, John M. Stephens ..
Release date: 1968-01-01
Best Documentary Movies of 1968 : Les enfants de Néant

Les enfants de Néant

6.9/10 IMDB

Morbihan is one of the poorest regions in Brittany. Joseph, a 33-year-old farmer, can no longer live off the land. He is hired at the fancy new plant that has just opened where he enters a world of rote work. Fortunately he can go home to his farm every evening, far from the large urban centers where workers must usually live.

Starring: Joseph Le Borgne, Jean Négroni ..
Directed by: Michel Brault
Release date: 1968-04-11
Best Documentary Movies of 1968 : Revolution


6.8/10 IMDB

The San Francisco scene in 1967-68. Documentary about hippies shot during the height of the movement . Viewpoints from many kinds of people. Music by Steve Miller Band, Mother Earth, Quicksilver Messenger Service and others.

Starring: Herb Caen, Louis Gottlieb, Kurt Hirschhorn, Dan Hicks, Steve Miller, Tracy Nelson, Country Joe McDonald, Today Malone, Ronnie Davis, Ellis D. Sox ..
Directed by: Jack O'Connell
Release date: 1968-07-01
Best Documentary Movies of 1968 : The House That Ananda Built

The House That Ananda Built

6.2/10 IMDB

In India, a typical Oriya family of Nadpur Village in Mayurbhanj District go about their lives at their different vocations. The film follows Ananda, a successful businessman in Nagpur. It looks at his life, his children and his beliefs over a very long life from prior to independence until 20 years after. The House That Ananda Built is a 1968 Indian short documentary film directed by Fali Bilimoria. It was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Documentary Short.

Starring: Ananda Karan, Pratap Sharm ..
Directed by: Fali Bilimoria
Release date: 1968-01-01
Best Documentary Movies of 1968 : A Way Out of the Wilderness

A Way Out of the Wilderness

5.6/10 IMDB

A Way Out of the Wilderness is a 1968 American short documentary film produced by Dan E. Weisburd. It describes and illustrates steps being taken by the Plymouth State Home and Training School, Northville, Michigan, to bring mentally impaired children out of the wilderness into the mainstream of life. It was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Documentary Short.

Starring: Lorne Greene ..
Directed by: Dan E. Weisburd
Release date: 1968-01-01

Claw: A Fable

7.1/10 IMDB

A poetic blend of documentary and experimental filmmaking, depicting the changes brought on by urban planning as seen in New York City and the large mechanical claw that demolishes the architecture seen in the film.

Directed by: Manfred Kirchheimer
Release date: 1968-11-27

Christopher's Movie Matinee

7.1/10 IMDB

When a camera crew are sent to document hippie protests in Yorkville, Canada's counter-culture capital, they are charmed by a group of misunderstood kids with their own ideas about what kind of movie to make.

Starring: Graham Bourns, Jan Casson, Malcolm Dean, Roger Dowker, Tom Evans, Mort Ransen, Martin Duckworth, Martin Duckworth ..
Directed by: Mort Ransen
Release date: 1968-05-05
Best Documentary Movies of 1968 : Vienna


5.7/10 IMDB

Orson Welles talks fantasy and magic in this short Vienna travelogue.

Starring: Orson Welles, Mickey Rooney, Senta Berger, Arte Johnson ..
Directed by: Orson Welles
Release date: 1968-01-01
Best Documentary Movies of 1968 : Everybody's an Actor, Shakespeare Said

Everybody's an Actor, Shakespeare Said

5.5/10 IMDB

An east London youth drama group improvises scenes based upon their everyday life under the tutelage of Joan Littlewood.

Starring: Dougie Quant, Roy Haywood, Sam Shepherd, John Carr, Del Walker, Dave Foulger, Dennis Newley, Joan Littlewood ..
Directed by: Barney Platts-Mills
Release date: 1968-01-01
Best Documentary Movies of 1968 : God Respects Us When We Work, But Loves Us When We Dance

God Respects Us When We Work, But Loves Us When We Dance

6.4/10 IMDB

Les Blank's poetic documentation of 1967's Los Angeles Easter Sunday Love-In.

Directed by: Les Blank
Release date: 1968-10-01
Best Documentary Movies of 1968 : On Location: Where Eagles Dare

On Location: Where Eagles Dare

6.5/10 IMDB

A behind-the-scenes look at the difficulties of shooting a movie on location in the Austrian Alps.

Starring: Clint Eastwood, Richard Burton, Ingrid Pitt, Mary Ure, Brian G. Hutton, Elizabeth Taylor ..
Release date: 1968-11-01
Best Documentary Movies of 1968 : Jimi Hendrix: Experience

Jimi Hendrix: Experience

7.6/10 IMDB

Jimi Hendrix: Experience

Starring: Jimi Hendrix, James Hong, Mitch Mitchell, Noel Redding, Fawn Reed ..
Directed by: Peter Neal
Release date: 1968-01-01
Best Documentary Movies of 1968 : The Great Stone Face

The Great Stone Face

5.5/10 IMDB

A documentary about the work of Buster Keaton.

Starring: Henry Morgan ..
Directed by: Vernon P. Becker
Release date: 1968-01-01
Best Documentary Movies of 1968 : Marijuana


4.3/10 IMDB

Sonny Bono appears onscreen to tell kids that marijuana is a "bummer" that turns you into a "weedhead" and will make you "trip out" (the fact that, based upon his performance, Sonny appears to have ingested unknown substances before the cameras started rolling tends to limit the film's crediblity somewhat).

Starring: Sonny Bono ..
Directed by: Max Miller
Release date: 1968-12-31
Best Documentary Movies of 1968 : A Face of War

A Face of War

8.5/10 IMDB

A Face of War is a 1968 documentary about the Vietnam War, by Eugene S. Jones. The New York Times called it "one of the great Vietnam documentaries." Roger Ebert called it a "heart-wrenching masterpiece".

Directed by: Eugene S. Jones
Release date: 1968-05-10

Mahatma: Life of Gandhi, 1869-1948

8.5/10 IMDB

Mahatma: Life of Gandhi, 1869–1948 is a 1968 documentary biography film, detailing the life of Mahatma Gandhi. The film was made to seek to tell the life story Gandhi, and his incessant search for Truth. The film contains animation, live photography and old prints to provide an integrated image of his life. The story itself is narrated using mostly Gandhi's own words. There are several versions of the film. There is the 5 hour version in English, a shorter version which runs for 2 hours and 16 minutes, and an even shorter version which runs for an hour. A Hindi version exists, running for 2 hours and 20 minutes, and a German version at 1 hour and 44 minutes.

Starring: Mahatma Gandhi ..
Directed by: Vithalbhai Jhaveri
Release date: 1968-01-01

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