Best Documentary Movies of 1981
Richard Feynman: The Pleasure of Finding Things Out
Richard Feynman was a scientific genius with - in his words - a "limited intelligence". This dichotomy is just one of the characteristics that made him a fascinating subject. The Pleasure of Finding Things Out exposes us to many more of these intriguing attributes by featuring an extensive conversation with the acclaimed Nobel Prize winner. During the course of the interview, which was conducted in 1981, Feynman uses the undeniable power of the personal to convey otherwise challenging scientific theories. His colorful and lucid stories make abstract concepts tangible, and his warm presence is sure to inspire interest and awe from even the most reluctant student of science. His insights are profound, but his delivery is anything but dry and ostentatious.
The Killing of America
A documentary of the decline of America. Featuring footage (most exclusive to this film) from race riots to serial killers and much-much more.
The Decline of Western Civilization
The Los Angeles punk music scene circa 1980 is the focus of this film. With Alice Bag Band, Black Flag, Catholic Discipline, Circle Jerks, Fear, Germs, and X.
This Is Elvis
Though several actors portray Elvis Presley at different stages of his life, this documentary is comprised mostly of actual performance footage and interviews with Elvis, his fans and those close to him. This biographical docu-drama features rare footage of Elvis and dramatically recreated scenes from Elvis' life.
Kiss Me, Petruchio
A documentary about the 1978 stage production of The Taming of the Shrew by the New York City Shakespeare company at the Delacorte Theatre in Central Park. Includes scenes from the production, interviews with Meryl Streep (Kate) and Raul Julia (Petruchio) as well as an introduction by producer Joseph Papp and audience commentary.
The man who could not see far enough
A film that uses literary, structural, autobiographical, and performance metaphors to construct a series of tableaux that evoke the act of vision, the limits of perception, and the rapture of space.
A Dream Called Walt Disney World
The perfect way to reminisce about your Walt Disney World vacation! It's all here, exquisitely photographed and fully narrated. From Liberty Square to Fantasyland, the file covers every part of the Magic Kingdom. There's much more, though... an entire resort playground with all the luxurious resort hotels and rustic campgrounds that make up the Vacation Kingdom. Here's a beautiful souvenir of the single most popular vacation destination in the world!
Early Errol Morris documentary intersplices random chatter he captured on film of the genuinely eccentric residents of Vernon, Florida. A few examples? The preacher giving a sermon on the definition of the word "Therefore," and the obsessive turkey hunter who speaks reverentially of the "gobblers" he likes to track down and kill.
The Man Who Saw Tomorrow
Hosted by Orson Welles, this documentary utilizes a grab bag of dramatized scenes, stock footage, TV news clips and interviews to ask: Did 16th century French astrologer and physician Nostradamus actually predict such events as the fall of King Louis XVI, the rise of Napoleon, the assassination of President John F. Kennedy? And are there prophecies that have yet to come true?
Genesis: Three Sides Live
Three Sides Live is a 1981 concert film of the Abacab tour by British rock band Genesis. It tied in with the double live album of the same name. The songs featured are mostly from the group's then most recent albums Duke and Abacab, plus a medley that comprises extracts from The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway ("In the Cage" and "The Colony of Slippermen") and Selling England by the Pound ("The Cinema Show"), leading into "Afterglow" from Wind & Wuthering.