Best Documentary Movies of 1969

1.

Salesman

4.0
7.7/10 IMDB

This documentary from Albert and David Maysles follows the bitter rivalry of four door-to-door salesmen working for the Mid-American Bible Company: Paul "The Badger" Brennan, Charles "The Gipper" McDevitt, James "The Rabbit" Baker and Raymond "The Bull" Martos. Times are tough for this hard-living quartet, who spend their days traveling through small-town America, trying their best to peddle gold-leaf Bibles to an apathetic crowd of lower-middle-class housewives and elderly couples.

Starring: Paul Brennan, Charles McDevitt, James Baker, Raymond Martos, Melbourne I. Feltman, Margaret McCarron, Kennie Turner ..
Directed by: David Maysles, Charlotte Zwerin, Albert Maysles
Release date: 1969-04-17
Best Documentary Movies of 1969 : In the Year of the Pig
2.

In the Year of the Pig

3.8
7.4/10 IMDB

Both sober and sobering, producer-director Emile de Antonio’s In the Year of the Pig is a powerful and, no doubt for many, controversial documentary about the Vietnam War.

Starring: David Halberstam, Harry S. Ashmore, Daniel Berrigan ..
Directed by: Emile de Antonio
Release date: 1969-02-26
Best Documentary Movies of 1969 : Johnny Cash at San Quentin
3.

Johnny Cash at San Quentin

3.7
8.2/10 IMDB

Johnny Cash at San Quentin was recorded live at San Quentin State Prison on February 24, 1969 and released as an album onJune 16 of that same year. The concert was filmed by Granada Television. Songs performed include Wreck of the Old 97 , I Walk the Line, San Quentin and A Boy Named Sue.

Starring: Johnny Cash, June Carter Cash, Marshall Grant, WS Holland, Carl Perkins, The Statler Brothers, Les frères Statler, Bob Wooton, Bob Wooton, Bob Wooton ..
Directed by: Michael Darlow
Release date: 1969-09-06
Best Documentary Movies of 1969 : Family Star (The Mutt & Jeff Icecream Sundae + Mothman)
4.

Family Star (The Mutt & Jeff Icecream Sundae + Mothman)

3.6
6.9/10 IMDB

Various different holiday locations ar joined together through the pleasures of ice cream in The Mutt & Jeff Icecream Sundae, while in Mothman the strange title character crawls through roof-top windows and we see footage of a funfair. These two films have many similarities with the other Keen diary movies but have always been shown in this pairing, and under this title.

Directed by: Jeff Keen
Release date: 1969-01-02
5.

Tops

3.6
7.8/10 IMDB

Various kinds of tops are shown spinning.

Directed by: Charles Eames, Ray Eames
Release date: 1969-01-01
Best Documentary Movies of 1969 : American Revolution 2
6.

American Revolution 2

3.5
6.6/10 IMDB

American Revolution 2 begins with footage of the political demonstrations at the 1968 Democratic Convention and the forceful reaction of the Chicago Police Department and the National Guard. Investigating the lack of an African American presence at the protests, the filmmakers follow members of the Chicago chapter of the Black Panther Party as they search for common ground with a variety of white activist groups. In one scene, Panther Bobby Lee and members of the Young Patriots, a community of white Appalachian activists living in the Uptown neighborhood of Chicago, organize to protest police brutality. The seemingly disparate groups find shared social and political objectives that overcome racial differences – police violence, poverty, lack of employment, and poor living conditions. This potential for a cross-racial and interethnic political movement is the movie’s beautiful but unrealized dream.

Starring: Richard J. Daley, Charles Geary, Dick Gregory, Bobby Rush, Pierre Salinger ..
Directed by: Howard Alk, Mike Gray
Release date: 1969-01-01
7.

The Eagle Has Landed: The Flight of Apollo 11

3.5
8.1/10 IMDB

A 1969 documentary on the Apollo 11 mission to the Moon made by NASA, telling the story of the historic first landing of men on the Moon in July, 1969. It depicts the principal highlight events of the mission from launching through post-recovery activities of Astronauts Neil Armstrong, Edwin "Buzz" Aldrin, and Michael Collins. Through television, motion picture and still photography, the film provides an "eye-witness" perspective of the Apollo 11 mission.

Starring: Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin, Michael Collins ..
Release date: 1969-07-31
Best Documentary Movies of 1969 : Johnny Cash: The Man, His World, His Music
8.

Johnny Cash: The Man, His World, His Music

3.2
7.0/10 IMDB

In this classic 1969 documentary, the Man in Black is captured at his peak, the first of many in a looming roller-coaster career. Fresh on the heels of his Folsom Prison album, Cash reveals the dark intensity and raw talent that made him a country music star and cultural icon. Director Robert Elfstrom got closer than any other filmmaker to Cash, who is seen performing with his new bride June Carter Cash, in a rare duet with Bob Dylan, and behind the scenes with friends, family and aspiring young musicians.

Starring: Johnny Cash, June Carter Cash ..
Release date: 1969-03-01
Best Documentary Movies of 1969 : Mr. Charlie, Your Rollin’ Mill Is Burnin’ Down
9.

Mr. Charlie, Your Rollin’ Mill Is Burnin’ Down

3.2
7.0/10 IMDB

This short film by Les Blank with Skip Gerson features the charismatic legendary blues icon Lightnin' Hopkins sing a beautiful song about a stuttering boy who learns that he can communicate through singing. Also features Billy Bizor on harmonica.

Starring: Lightnin' Hopkins ..
Directed by: Les Blank, Skip Gerson
Release date: 1969-01-01
Best Documentary Movies of 1969 : Royal Family
10.

Royal Family

3.2
7.6/10 IMDB

Intimate portrait of the daily life of the British Royal Family drawn from 18 months of filming within Buckingham Palace, Windsor Castle and Balmoral.

Starring: Michael Flanders, Richard Nixon, Prince Andrew, Prince Charles of Edinburgh, Prince Edward, Prince Philip, Princess Anne, Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom ..
Directed by: Richard Cawston
Release date: 1969-06-21
11.

Civilisation

3.1
8.7/10 IMDB

Kenneth Clarke's eloquent and deeply personal documentary mini-series explores the cultural heritage of the western world, from the collapse of the Roman Empire until the birth of modernism.

Starring: Kenneth Clark ..
Directed by: Michael Gill, Peter Montagnon, Ann Turner
Release date: 1969-02-23
Best Documentary Movies of 1969 : Leo Beuerman
12.

Leo Beuerman

3.1
7.8/10 IMDB

Leo Beuerman is a 1969 American short documentary film directed by Gene Boomer. It tells the story of Leo Beuerman (1902–1974), a diminutive, disabled man who sold pencils and became a fixture on the downtown sidewalks of Lawrence, Kansas in the 1950s and 1960s thanks to his determination. It was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Documentary Short.

Starring: Leo Beuerman ..
Directed by: Gene Boomer
Release date: 1969-10-01
Best Documentary Movies of 1969 : Canada the Land
13.

Canada the Land

3.0
8.0/10 IMDB

Filmed for the most part from a low-flying aircraft, this documentary short presents a breathtaking view of Canada from coast to coast. Showing the varied terrain, from craggy coast to towering glacier, the film illustrates Canada’s pristine wilderness as well as today's industrial and urban realities. Canada the Land was specially commissioned for the Canada Pavilion at the Osaka World Fair in 1970.

Directed by: Jean-Claude Labrecque, Rex Tasker
Release date: 1969-01-01
Best Documentary Movies of 1969 : The Beatles on the Rooftop
14.

The Beatles on the Rooftop

3.0
7.2/10 IMDB

The Beatles, along with guest keyboardist Billy Preston, gave their last live performance on January 30th, 1969, on the roof of the Apple building, at 3 Savile Row. It would become the climax of their documentary film “Let It Be” (1970). The show was recorded onto two eight-track machines in the basement of Apple, by producer George Martin, engineer Glyn Johns and sound recordist Alan Parsons.

Starring: John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison, Ringo Starr, Billy Preston ..
Directed by: Michael Lindsay-Hogg
Release date: 1969-01-30
Best Documentary Movies of 1969 : Institutional Quality
15.

Institutional Quality

3.0
5.6/10 IMDB

Constructed around a found soundtrack in which a strict female voice delivers a test of perception and comprehension, Institutional Quality’s sound and image relationship become detached as the filmmakerloses interest in his subject.

Starring: Meredith Monk ..
Directed by: Owen Land
Release date: 1969-01-01
16.

The Epic That Never Was

3.0
7.7/10 IMDB

The story of the aborted 1937 filming of "I, Claudius", starring Charles Laughton, with all of its surviving footage.

Starring: Dirk Bogarde, Robert Graves, Josef von Sternberg, Merle Oberon, Flora Robson, Emlyn Williams, John Abbott, Charles Laughton, Robert Newton ..
Directed by: Bill Duncalf
Release date: 1969-09-19
17.

Marinetti

3.0
7.2/10 IMDB

Albie Thoms' Marinetti was the culmination of the synthetic environments that the UBU group had pioneered in Australia; festive public 'happenings' that combined the energy and volume of creative rock and jazz with the mesmeric effect of multi-dimensional lightshows. Another kind of culmination: Marinetti records most of the principal collaborators in the UBU film group, like Aggy Read and the Perrys. Uniquely valuable as a document of Australia's late 1960s counter-culture, the soundtrack provides the best indication of the unrestrained liberty that bands like Tully and the John Sangster Underground band some of whose members perform on this recording were famously achieving in their improvisations of the period.

Directed by: Albie Thoms
Release date: 1969-06-19
Best Documentary Movies of 1969 : A Married Couple
18.

A Married Couple

3.0
7.5/10 IMDB

In this classic exploration of marriage in conflict, Billy and Antoinette Edwards—as well as their son Bogart and dog Merton—live out their daily lives. Hoping to discover the heart of the trouble in their marriage, Billy and Antoniette offer up their day to day lives to documentary filmmaker Allan King, as laughter, tears, wit, tenderness, anger, patience, pain, and sorrow ensue.

Starring: Billy Edwards, Antoinette Edwards, Bogart Edwards, Merton ..
Directed by: Allan King
Release date: 1969-01-01
Best Documentary Movies of 1969 : Law and Order
19.

Law and Order

3.0
7.7/10 IMDB

LAW & ORDER surveys the wide range of work the police are asked to perform: enforcing the law, maintaining order, and providing general social services. The incidents shown illustrate how training, community expectations, socio-economic status of the subject, the threat of violence, and discretion affect police behavior.

Starring: Richard Nixon ..
Directed by: Frederick Wiseman
Release date: 1969-03-02
Best Documentary Movies of 1969 : The Sun's Gonna Shine
20.

The Sun's Gonna Shine

2.9
7.0/10 IMDB

A lyrical recreation of Lightnin’ Hopkins’ decision at age eight to stop chopping cotton and start singing for a living.

Starring: Lightnin' Hopkins ..
Directed by: Les Blank
Release date: 1969-01-02
Best Documentary Movies of 1969 : The Racing Scene
21.

The Racing Scene

2.9
7.6/10 IMDB

The story of James Garner's year with his racing team, from the time he bought the car, and assembled his team through Mexico, England, Florida and Canada.

Starring: James Garner, Mario Andretti, Bob Bondurant, Mark Donahue, Parnelli Jones, Dick Smothers, David Hobbs ..
Directed by: Andy Sidaris
Release date: 1969-01-01
Best Documentary Movies of 1969 : A Test of Violence
22.

A Test of Violence

2.9
6.8/10 IMDB

Stuart Cooper's short about the work of Spanish artist Juan Genovés is an inspired introduction to the works of this extraordinary artist, exploring its minimalist aesthetic and storytelling qualities through a variety of cinematic techniques, including rostrum, animation, news footage and live action recreations.

Directed by: Stuart Cooper
Release date: 1969-01-01
Best Documentary Movies of 1969 : The Stones in the Park
23.

The Stones in the Park

2.9
7.0/10 IMDB

The legendary 1969 Rolling Stones concert from Hyde Park, their first following the death of founding member Brian Jones.

Starring: Mick Jagger, Charlie Watts, Bill Wyman, Keith Richards, Mick Taylor ..
Directed by: Leslie Woodhead, Jo Durden-Smith
Release date: 1969-09-02
Best Documentary Movies of 1969 : A Day in the Death of Donny B.
24.

A Day in the Death of Donny B.

2.9
6.9/10 IMDB

A portrait of a strung-out heroin addict scrambling through New York City to score some cash for his next fix.

Directed by: Carl Fick
Release date: 1969-06-10
25.

Muhammad Ali: The Greatest

2.9
7.6/10 IMDB

Universally accepted as a true icon of the 20th century, Muhammad Ali’s phenomenal achievements spanned sport, politics and religion. One man – photographer William Klein had comprehensive access to the events that shaped Ali’s legend. In 1964, the young gregarious Cassius Clay successfully defeated the seemingly invincible Heavyweight Champion of the World Sonny Liston – the manner of Clay’s victory and his amazing persona made him an instant superstar. Through this incredible period, and Clay’s subsequent rematches with Liston, William Klein enjoyed unrivalled access top Clay’s camp – witnessing at first hand Cassius Clay becoming Muhammad Ali and angering the American people with his allegiance to Islam. Forward to Zaire 1974, and the return of Muhammad Ali to the world stage to face another invincible champion George Foreman. As Ali reclaimed the crown for a second time, Klein was ever present, capturing the full story at close quarter.

Starring: Muhammad Ali, Sonny Liston, George Foreman, Malcolm X, John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison, Ringo Starr, Mobutu Sese Seko ..
Directed by: William Klein
Release date: 1969-11-21
Best Documentary Movies of 1969 : The Fall
26.

The Fall

2.9
7.0/10 IMDB

"The Fall" depicts certain scenes in New York City between October 1967 and March 1968, shot by the independent filmmaker, Peter Whitehead. It is a very personal documentary, and Whitehead appears in a large number of scenes, and we hear his lengthy ruminations on the state of the United States and the war in Vietnam.

Starring: Peter Whitehead, Alberta Tiburzi, Paul Auster, H. Rap Brown, Stokely Carmichael, Ossie Davis, Allen Ginsberg, Tom Hayden, Robert Lowell, Angelo Mannsraven ..
Directed by: Peter Whitehead
Release date: 1969-01-15
Best Documentary Movies of 1969 : The Magic Machines
27.

The Magic Machines

2.8
6.3/10 IMDB

The Magic Machines is a 1969 American short documentary film directed by Bob Curtis about kinetic artist Robert Gilbert, a young hippie sculptor who makes bright-colored, motor-driven machines from metal trash and spare parts. It won an Oscar at the 42nd Academy Awards in 1970 for Academy Award for Best Live Action Short Film and was nominated for Academy Award for Best Documentary Short Subject.

Starring: Robert Gilbert ..
Directed by: Bob Curtis
Release date: 1969-01-01
Best Documentary Movies of 1969 : Arthur Rubinstein: The Love of Life
28.

Arthur Rubinstein: The Love of Life

2.8
7.4/10 IMDB

Documentary about Polish-American pianist, Arthur Rubinstein.

Starring: Arthur Rubinstein ..
Directed by: Gérard Patris, François Reichenbach
Release date: 1969-06-17
Best Documentary Movies of 1969 : Rodeo
29.

Rodeo

2.8
6.9/10 IMDB

Shot in four days during the 1968 National Rodeo Finals in Oklahoma City, this lyrical documentary takes you inside the arena atop a 2800 lb bull. Watch Freckles Brown, a legendary cowboy, conferring with a young Larry Mahan, the previous year's champion and see crowd favorite Myrtis Dightman trying to hold his own in a dramatic ride. "Rodeo" shows the classic struggle of man against beast, a matter of life and death. Dick Rosmini's hypnotizing folk-fusion soundtrack and an intricate sound mix add to the climatic result.

Starring: Larry Mahan, Freckles Brown ..
Directed by: Carroll Ballard
Release date: 1969-07-10
Best Documentary Movies of 1969 : Czechoslovakia 1968
30.

Czechoslovakia 1968

2.7
6.8/10 IMDB

Short documentary about 50 years of history of Czechoslovakia, with archive images.

Starring: Leonid Brezhnev, Neville Chamberlain, Alexander Dub?ek, Adolf Hitler, Ludvík Svoboda ..
Directed by: Robert M. Fresco, Denis Sanders
Release date: 1969-12-31
Best Documentary Movies of 1969 : My Name Is Oona
31.

My Name Is Oona

2.7
6.3/10 IMDB

Experimental film with Gunvor Nelson's daughter Oona.

Starring: Oona Nelson ..
Directed by: Gunvor Nelson
Release date: 1969-01-01
Best Documentary Movies of 1969 : Above It All
32.

Above It All

2.7
6.5/10 IMDB

A short documentary about the groundbreaking aerial photography filming of On Her Majesty's Secret Service (1969) and the pioneer work of the late great cameraman John Jordan.

Starring: John M. Jordan, Albert R. Broccoli, Harry Saltzman, George Lazenby, John Crewdson ..
Directed by: Alan Seeger
Release date: 1969-01-01
Best Documentary Movies of 1969 : Tattooed Steiger
33.

Tattooed Steiger

2.7
6.6/10 IMDB

A behind-the-scenes look on the making of the movie "The Illustrated Man" featuring scenes from the movie and the design and application process of tattooing lead actor Rod Steiger by make-up artists.

Starring: Rod Steiger, Claire Bloom, Robert Drivas, Jack Smight, Howard B. Kreitsek ..
Release date: 1969-01-01
Best Documentary Movies of 1969 : Jenny is a Good Thing
34.

Jenny is a Good Thing

2.7
6.2/10 IMDB

Jenny is a Good Thing is a 1969 American short documentary film about children and poverty, directed by Joan Horvath. Produced by Project Head Start, it shows the importance of good nutrition for underprivileged nursery school children. The film was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Documentary Short.

Starring: Burt Lancaster ..
Directed by: Joan Horvath
Release date: 1969-01-01
Best Documentary Movies of 1969 : Blake
35.

Blake

2.7
6.3/10 IMDB

An eccentric history buff lives in a cabin in the woods but spends most of his time flying his biplane.

Starring: Blake James ..
Directed by: Bill Mason
Release date: 1969-01-01
36.

King, Murray

2.7
6.6/10 IMDB

Characterized as a "fictionalized documentary" by the producer, this bizarre experimental drama is the story of three days in the life of a highly charged and successful Long Island insurance salesman who takes a filmmaker to Las Vegas. Though the protagonists really are a salesman and a director, the line between reality and fiction is hopelessly blurred as the story unfolds. . . The brash, loud and supremely confidant salesman shmoozes his clients in a way that is a game for him. He uses his powers of persuasion to acquire more and more sales. He and his cronies drink and feast over their success before embarking on the Las Vegas convention. The company even goes so far as to provide women for the married men, rewarding their career successes with amoral excesses in this film that concludes with a dream sequence on a beach.

Starring: Murray Ramsey King, Lora Kaye ..
Directed by: David Hoffman
Release date: 1969-04-11
Best Documentary Movies of 1969 : Intervals
37.

Intervals

2.6
5.8/10 IMDB

A short film which has its emphasis on back street walls with peeling posters and the constant pedestrian traffic in the foreground. It has a static camera positioned in front of the walls; experimental editing techniques, no dialogue-just background music, and quick edits of blackness throughout.

Directed by: Peter Greenaway
Release date: 1969-01-01
Best Documentary Movies of 1969 : I Am Joaquin
38.

I Am Joaquin

2.6
6.3/10 IMDB

Experimental film woven around a poem about Chicano culture in the U.S.

Directed by: Luis Valdez
Release date: 1969-01-01
39.

My Girlfriend's Wedding

2.5
6.3/10 IMDB

Director Jim McBride's "liberated" English girlfriend talks candidly about her life and her reasons for marrying another man. The awkward city hall ceremony and aftermath are also photographed.

Starring: Jim McBride, Clarissa Dalrymple, Dennis Dalrymple ..
Directed by: Jim McBride
Release date: 1969-01-01
Best Documentary Movies of 1969 : Voices
40.

Voices

2.5
6.1/10 IMDB

Documentary about Jean-Luc Godard filming Sympathy for the Devil with The Rolling Stones.

Starring: Jean-Luc Godard, Mike Kustow, John Stember, Wilfred Thomas ..
Directed by: Richard Mordaunt
Release date: 1969-01-01
Best Documentary Movies of 1969 : Reason Over Passion
41.

Reason Over Passion

2.5
5.9/10 IMDB

The film consists primarily of degraded footage of landscapes shot from vehicles moving across the country; meanwhile, 537 computer-generated permutations of the film’s title appear like subtitles—the letters are scrambled over and over again, undermining the meaning of Pierre Trudeau's infamous motto.

Starring: Pierre Elliott Trudeau ..
Directed by: Joyce Wieland
Release date: 1969-01-02
Best Documentary Movies of 1969 : The Perils of Priscilla
42.

The Perils of Priscilla

2.5
7.0/10 IMDB

The adventures of a cat who endures the indignation of a busy family and the dangers of being lost in a big city.

Directed by: Carroll Ballard
Release date: 1969-01-01
43.

I'm a Man

2.4
6.3/10 IMDB

Recreation of events in the life of a black militant leader, depicting relationships with police, lawyers, family, friends, and enemies.

Directed by: Peter Rosen
Release date: 1969-01-01
Best Documentary Movies of 1969 : Case Study: LSD
44.

Case Study: LSD

2.3
5.3/10 IMDB

A young girl relates what happened during her first LSD trip, when – among other things – her food began talking to her.

Starring: Sonny Bono ..
Release date: 1969-12-31
45.

Shot On Ice

2.2
6.2/10 IMDB

A short documentary produced by the Ford Motor Company about the stock car rally on ice sequence in On Her Majesty's Secret Service (1969).

Starring: George Lazenby, Diana Rigg, Peter R. Hunt, Erich Glavitza ..
Release date: 1969-01-01
Best Documentary Movies of 1969 : Language of Love
46.

Language of Love

2.1
5.1/10 IMDB

A panel of real-life doctors discuss sexual hangups, misconceptions, personal prejudices and the ignorance of individuals when it comes to matters sexual. Using on-screen recreations, topics such as petting, contraceptives and sexual anxiety are addressed.

Starring: Inge Hegeler, Sten Hegeler, Maj-Brith Bergström-Walan, Sture Cullhed, Kim Anderzon, Siw Mattson, Barbro Hiort af Ornäs, Julie Bernby, Berit Hindersson, Margaretha Henriksson ..
Directed by: Torgny Wickman
Release date: 1969-10-02
Best Documentary Movies of 1969 : Lemon
47.

Lemon

2.1
5.3/10 IMDB

Light begins to illuminate the small, nipple-like end of a lemon on the right edge of the frame and gradually spreads until the entire lemon is clearly visible. Then the light recedes across the frame.

Directed by: Hollis Frampton
Release date: 1969-12-31
48.

Man and Wife

2.1
6.7/10 IMDB

One of the first hardcore features to receive widespread distribution, Man and Wife was also the genre's first blockbuster. Hosted by some unnamed escapee from a twelve-step program, Man and Wife, moves from anatomy charts and Asian erotic art into actual footage of two couples demonstrating nearly fifty different sexual positions. Whew! Bucky grew hungry when he spied the wood panelled walls of their tiny bedroom, but gagged when the narrator insisted that the “woman on-top” position "help(s) quench her motherly instincts. “Man and Wife” was the first of several sex documentaries made by Matt Cimber (aka Matteo Ottaviano), Jayne Mansfield's final husband, who had previously directed his wife in Single Room Furnished ('68).

Starring: Andreas Kranich, Birgit Müller, Rosanna Romana ..
Directed by: Matt Cimber
Release date: 1969-08-07
Best Documentary Movies of 1969 : Case Study: Amphetamines
49.

Case Study: Amphetamines

2.1
4.7/10 IMDB

A man talks about his addiction to amphetamines and illustrates his struggle by his sudden inability to fix a radio.

Release date: 1969-12-31
Best Documentary Movies of 1969 : Bed Peace
50.

Bed Peace

1.9
8.6/10 IMDB

John and Yoko in the presidential suite at the Hilton Amsterdam, which they had decorated with hand-drawn signs above their bed reading "Bed Peace." They invited the global press into their room to discuss peace for 12 hours every day.

Starring: John Lennon, Yoko Ono ..
Directed by: John Lennon, Yoko Ono
Release date: 1969-03-24

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