Best Documentary Movies of 1977
Pumping Iron is a 1977 documentary film about the run-up to the 1975 Mr. Olympia bodybuilding competition. The film focuses on Arnold Schwarzenegger and his competitors, Lou Ferrigno and Franco Columbu. The documentary was co-directed by Robert Fiore and George Butler. It was based on the book of the same name by Charles Gaines and George Butler (Simon and Schuster, 1974).
Harlan County U.S.A.
This film documents the coal miners' strike against the Brookside Mine of the Eastover Mining Company in Harlan County, Kentucky in June, 1973. Eastovers refusal to sign a contract (when the miners joined with the United Mine Workers of America) led to the strike, which lasted more than a year and included violent battles between gun-toting company thugs/scabs and the picketing miners and their supportive women-folk. Director Barbara Kopple puts the strike into perspective by giving us some background on the historical plight of the miners and some history of the UMWA.
Powers of Ten
A scientific film essay, narrated by Phil Morrison. A set of pictures of two picnickers in a park, with the area of each frame one-tenth the size of the one before. Starting from a view of the entire known universe, the camera gradually zooms in until we are viewing the subatomic particles on a man's hand.
Werner Herzog takes a film crew to the island of Guadeloupe when he hears that the volcano on the island is going to erupt. Everyone has left, except for one old man who refuses to leave.
Dressing for Pleasure
Documentary about London's notorious fetish/punk store SEX.
The Real Jesus of Nazareth
Actor Robert Powell, star of the TV miniseries "Jesus of Nazareth," is on a journey across the Holy Land to discover the real story of the role he played decades ago. Guided by the Gospels and the latest archaeological and historical research, Powell will travel to Israel, Lebanon, Syria, and Egypt. With the help of scholars and theologians, he will examine Jesus's lost adolescent years, the start and growth of his ministry, and his death and believed resurrection, which would spark the birth of one of the largest religions on the planet.
ABBA: The Movie
A radio DJ in pursuit of an exclusive interview follows ABBA during their mega-successful tour of Australia.
Frost/Nixon: The Original Watergate Interviews
This program, culled from the over 28 hours of interview footage between Sir David Frost and U.S. President Richard M. Nixon, was originally broadcast in May of 1977. Never before, nor since, has a U.S. President been so candid on camera. Even more intriguing is the fact that Nixon agreed to appear on camera with no pre-interview preparation or screening of questions.
The Grateful Dead Movie
Released in 1977 and directed by Jerry Garcia, is a film that captures performances from the Grateful Dead's October 1974 five-night stand at the Winterland Ballroom in San Francisco. This end-of-tour run marked the beginning of an extended hiatus for the band, with no shows planned for 1975. The movie also faithfully portrays the burgeoning Deadhead scene. The film features the "Wall of Sound" concert sound system that the Dead used for all of 1974.
Charleen or How Long Has This Been Going On?
In Charleen, documentarian Ross McElwee looks at the life of a North Carolina poet and teacher who acts as a muse to a motley crew of artists and musicians.