Best Documentary Movies of 1976
Edie Bouvier Beale and her mother, Edith, two aging, eccentric relatives of Jackie Kennedy Onassis, are the sole inhabitants of a Long Island estate. The women reveal themselves to be misfits with outsized, engaging personalities. Much of the conversation is centered on their pasts, as mother and daughter now rarely leave home.
The Song Remains the Same
The best of Led Zeppelin's legendary 1973 appearances at Madison Square Garden. Interspersed throughout the concert footage are behind-the-scenes moments with the band. The Song Remains the Same is Led Zeppelin at Madison Square Garden in NYC concert footage colorfully enhanced by sequences which are supposed to reflect each band member's individual fantasies and hallucinations. Includes blistering live renditions of "Black Dog," "Dazed and Confused," "Stairway to Heaven," "Whole Lotta Love," "The Song Remains the Same," and "Rain Song" among others.
That's Entertainment, Part II
Gene Kelly and Fred Astaire present more golden moments from the MGM film library, this time including comedy and drama as well as classic musical numbers.
The Memory of Justice
This exceptional, disturbing and thought-provoking documentary compares the atrocities committed by the Nazis as revealed during the Nuremberg trials to those committed by the French in Algeria and those done by the Americans in Vietnam. The four hour epic questions the right of any country to pass self-righteous moral judgements upon the actions of another country.
Chelsea Girls with Andy Warhol
In 1969 Michel Auder began a series of video diaries that chronicled the art scene in downtown New York. In Chelsea Girls with Andy Warhol, Auder captures revealing moments in Warhol's public and private life: the opening of the 1970 Whitney Museum retrospective, a party held at John Lennon and Yoko Ono's home, a heated telephone conversation between Warhol, Viva and Brigid Berlin, and an illuminating interview conducted with Larry Rivers, the grandfather of Pop Art, following the publication of The Philosophy of Andy Warhol in 1975. The issue of money is a consistent topic of conversation with Viva, who after departing the Factory in 1969 sent Warhol a series of threatening letters demanding money.
Number Our Days
Based on the book by anthropologist Barbara Myerhoff, this Academy Award-winning short documentary offers a tender portrait of a community of elderly yet resilient Jews living, loving, and at times struggling, in Venice, California. From everyday trials to traditional celebrations, this compassionate portrayal of Eastern European survivors cuts straight to the heart of every viewer and reminds us of the joys and realities of long life.
The music speaks for itself in this performance documentary that highlights some of the biggest names within the country-folk scene in Texas and Tennessee during the last weeks of 1975 and the first weeks of 1976, eschewing narration and staged interviews.
The First Vision
Seeking the true Church of Jesus Christ, 14-year-old Joseph Smith prayed in a grove of trees near his home in Palmyra, New York. In answer to his humble prayer, Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ visited him and told him that he must not join any of the churches on the earth at that time.
Billy Connolly: Big Banana Feet
Billy Connolly was, in the 1970s, a sort of Scottish Lenny Bruce, who, with devastating humour, sliced through the hypocrisies he perceived. This 1976 documentary follows the singer-comic during his 1975 Irish tour. Made in a cinema verité fashion, the performer appears to be completely unaware of the presence of the camera in his off-stage and backstage moments.
The Making of an Epic: Mohammad, Messenger of God
Documentary on the making of "Mohammad, Messenger of God" (1976).
Il profeta del gol
The documentary narrates the successes of the Dutch champion Johan Cruyff (three times winner of the Ballon d'Or), which in the seventies was a symbol of the great Dutch national soccer team, and representative of the so-called total soccer, expressed during the two World Finals in Monaco 1974 and Argentina 1978
Early IMAX documentary about the development of human flight.
MEAT traces the process through which cattle and sheep become consumer goods. It depicts the processing and transportation of meat products by a highly automated packing plant, illustrating important points and problems in the area of production, transportation, logistics, equipment design, time-motion study, and labor management.
Lost, Lost, Lost
Jonas Mekas adjusts to a life in exile in New York in his autobiographical film, shot between 1949 and 1963.
Humane recruitment film made for the prison services, following three new recruits on a tour of a facility.
'F for Fake' Trailer
An unreleased 9 minute trailer for F for Fake directed by Orson Welles as promotional reel for the film's American release.
Volcano: An Inquiry into the Life and Death of Malcolm Lowry
This feature-length Oscar®-nominated documentary focuses on Malcolm Lowry, author of one of the major novels of the 20th century, Under the Volcano. But while Lowry fought a winning battle with words, he lost his battle with alcohol. Shot on location in four countries, the film combines photographs, readings by Richard Burton from the novel and interviews with the people who loved and hated Lowry, to create a vivid portrait of the man.
Nightlife is a 1976 nature documentary directed by Robin Lehman. It was filmed underwater in the Irish Sea. The film was nominated for an Oscar for Best Live Action Short Film.
Juvenile Liaison is about the day-to-day assignments of the juvenile liaison section of the Blackburn, Lancashire police force. The documentary provides a captivating snapshot of how juvenile offenders were dealt with in the '70s.
Chesty: A Tribute to a Legend
A tribute documentary on the most decorated U.S. Marine, General Lewis B. 'Chesty' Puller.
A complex, insightful look at the Chicano experience as mirrored in the lives and music of the most acclaimed Norteño musicians of the Texas-Mexican border, including Flaco Jimenez and Lydia Mendoza. Video includes bonus feature, Del Mero Corazon.
Born for Hard Luck: Peg Leg Sam Jackson
A portrait of Arthur "Peg Leg Sam" Jackson --black harmonica player, singer, and comedian who made his living "busking" on the street and performing in patent-medicine shows touring southern towns. Footage includes excerpts from one of his last medicine shows, videotaped at a county fair in 1972, and material filmed near his home in South Carolina in 1975. The performance includes harmonica solos, songs, a parody of a chanted sermon, folktales and reminiscences, and three buck dances.
People of the Wind
1976 American documentary film about the Bakhtiari people.
Oscar nominated documentary short from 1976
A collection of film clips profiling animal actors.
Take the 5:10 to Dreamland
Its slow somnambulic rhythm, its animalistic jungle sounds as well as the eerily mixed images create a dream mood that comes closest to my actual dreaming-feeling. The long black phases between the sequences are as important as the images themselves because they leave empty space where the "echo" of the last image can seep through without interfering with the following image. But our logical mind still somehow feels compelled to construe some kind of sense, parallel, or some erratic story out of it.
Underground is a 1976 documentary film about the Weathermen, founded as a militant faction of the Students for a Democratic Society (SDS), who fought to overthrow the U.S. government during the 1960s and 1970s. The film consists of interviews with members of the group after they went underground and footage of the anti-war and civil rights protests of the time. It was directed by Emile de Antonio, Haskell Wexler and Mary Lampson, later subpoenaed by the Federal Bureau of Investigation in an attempt to confiscate the film footage in order to gain information that would help them arrest the Weathermen. (Wikipedia)
Hollywood on Trial
A detailed look at the events leading up to the blacklisting of Hollywood writers and artists. In October 1947 nineteen Hollywood personalities were subpoenaed by the House Committee on Un-American Activities to testify about their knowledge or possible involvement in the American Communist Party. The first ten to be called refused to cooperate, claiming their first amendment rights, were cited for contempt of Congress and sent to prison. They became known as the "Hollywood Ten" and this is their story.
Kristina Talking Pictures
Kristina, a self-named Hungarian female lion tamer, arrives in New York to become a dance choreographer. Kristina, now a middle-class NYC artist concerned about the environment, has a sailor lover named Raoul. The film, a collage work, an essay film, a fictional narrative and a documentary all rolled into one, is one of the most important independent American feminists films made during the 1970's.
The Mysterious Monsters
One of the many notorious 70's "unknown" documentaries, The Mysterious Monsters covers topics such as Bigfoot and the Loch Ness Monster. Pictures, sounds, and videos of these two monsters are examined by Peter Graves, the host. Psychics, hypnotism, and the history of Bigfoot in many ancient cultures is also scrutinized.
The Blank Generation
The cream of the New York new wave/punk crop, filmed live at CBGB when the scene was just beginning. Includes performances by Patti Smith, Blondie, Television, the Ramones, Talking Heads, the Heartbreakers, the Shirts, Wayne County, the Marbles, the Dolls, Miamis, Harry Toledo, and the Tuff Darts (w/Robert Gordon).
High Grass Circus
This feature-length documentary offers an inside look into the workings of a travelling circus. Filmed in 1976, directors Tony Ianzelo and Torben Schioler followed the Royal Brothers' Circus as they set up their tents and put on their show. Fascinating to watch, the film captures the 24-hour-a-day brand of magic that the circus evokes while revealing the nature of the people who run it.
Superdyke Meets Madame X
From the first kiss to breakup, Almy and Hammer record their relationship on a reel-to-reel ¾” tape recorder and microphone. Winner of the Louise Riskin Prize at the 1976 San Francisco Art Festival.
The End of the Road
The End of the Road (also known as Alaska: The End of the Road) is a 1976 British short documentary film directed by John Armstrong. The film is about British Petroleum's Alaska operations, including the construction of the Trans-Alaska Pipeline System. It was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Documentary Short.
Off the Edge
Documentary featuring backcountry skiing, extreme skiing and hang gliding in the Southern Alps.
This short film studies the works of one of Canada's greatest contemporary etchers - Newfoundland-born David Blackwood. The artist himself guides viewers through a step-by-step explanation of the etching process. Scenes of his hometown, examples of his own work and vivid tales of an old mariner recall the tragic seal hunts and a way of life that has now vanished.
In Search of Bigfoot
A documentary about the search for the legendary Bigfoot, a large humanoid creature (also known as Sasquatch) who is rumored to inhabit the forests of the U.S. Pacific Northwest.
This is a documentary on the 70's French porn industry. There are generally two kinds of porn documentaries--those that actually take an insightful look behind the scenes, and those that are just an excuse to show a lot of nudity and XXX porn footage. This is actually somewhere in between. It's generously seasoned with porn footage, but there are also a lot of (fully-clothed) interviews, and they even talk to the owners of porn theaters, some typical porn customers (including some pre-adolescent boys who are walking by the the theater--I wonder what their parents thought of that?), as well as a guy who makes promotional billboards for porn movies although he claims never to have seen one!
Miss Nude America
A "Felliniesque" journey into the heart of the insatiable American dream; A slice of quintessential Americana, depicted with candor, pathos and humor.
The Super Weapon
A 1970s documentary that highlights various martial arts fighting styles and features African American martial arts master Ron Van Clief aka "Black Dragon."
The Story of David
The "David and Goliath" legend is presented as credibly as possible, while David's later disastrous romance with Bathsheba is handled with taste and decorum. Also in the cast are Anthony Quayle as King Saul, and Terence Hardiman as Bathsheba's unfortunate warrior husband Uriah.
The Artist and the Computer
Produced by Larry Keating for AT&T. “THE ARTIST AND THE COMPUTER is an excellent introductory informational film that dispels some of the “mystery” of computer-art technology, as it clarifies the necessary human input of integrity, artistic sensibilities, and aesthetics… Ms. Schwartz’s voice over narration explains what she hoped to accomplish in the excerpts from a number of her films and gives insight into the artist’s problems and decisions… I would recommend THE ARTIST AND THE COMPUTER for all grade levels, in classes on filmmaking, art appreciation, and human values.
A Labor of Love
In 1975, Chicago filmmakers Flaxman and Goldman got carte blanche to film the shooting of a local film called THE LAST AFFAIR. Neither AFFAIR's director (who envisioned the film as "a combination of Fellini and Bergman") nor its cast (which included then-unknowns Betty Thomas and Ron Dean) had ever worked in the industry before. Made in the classic cinema-verité style of Drew and Leacock, A LABOR OF LOVE is a revealing and often hilarious exposé of the hidden side of adult film: onscreen partners despise each other offscreen, male performers can't "get wood," an actress has her period, Ivory Liquid is substituted for semen, and the director declares, "I really dislike every minute of this!" (Gene Siskel Film Center)
Protect and Survive
Protect and Survive was a public information series on civil defence produced by the British government during the late 1970s and early 1980s. It was intended to inform British citizens on how to protect themselves during a nuclear attack, and consisted of a mixture of pamphlets, radio broadcasts, and public information films. The series had originally been intended for distribution only in the event of dire national emergency, but provoked such intense public interest that the pamphlets were authorised for general release.
Short documentary about allotment-holders in East London.
Sasquatch, the Legend of Bigfoot
Scientists mount an expedition to find a Bigfoot-type creature.
AFI Life Achievement Award: A Tribute to William Wyler
In 1976, William Wyler became the fourth recipient of the American Film Institute's Lifetime Achievement Award, following John Ford, James Cagney and Orson Welles.
A behind-the-scenes documentary about the events and personalities surrounding Superbowl X in Miami between the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Dallas Cowboys. Features intimate portraits of the players and the CBS personnel who broadcast the events of Superbowl week. Produced with multiple lightweight video cameras in TVTV style, it is both informative and revealing of the extremes surrounding football culture and hype. With color commentary provided by Bill Murray and Christopher Guest.
Memories of Berlin: The Twilight of Weimar Culture
The film tells the cultural story of Berlin during the Weimar Republic through interviews with a number of persons who were involved in literature, film, art, and music during the period. It includes interviews with Christopher Isherwood, Louise Brooks, Lotte Eisner, Elisabeth Bergner, Francis Lederer, Carl Zuckmayer, Gregor Piatigorsky, Claudio Arrau, Rudolf Kolisch, Mischa Spoliansky, Herbert Bayer, Mrs. Walter Gropius, and Arthur Koestler.
L’Olivier responds to a concern French public support for the Palestinian cause is diminishing in the wake of the 1972 Munich operation. Structured to chronicle the Palestinian story and to explain the current chapter in the struggle, the film calls for global militant solidarities and, particularly, for European political engagements.