Best Documentary Movies of 1981

1.

Richard Feynman: The Pleasure of Finding Things Out

4.0
8.8/10 IMDB

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.

Starring: Richard Feynman ..
Release date: 1981-11-23
2.

The Decline of Western Civilization

3.9
7.6/10 IMDB

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.

Starring: Alice Bag, Claude Bessy, Black Flag, Don Bolles, Dinah Cancer, Exene Cervenka, Circle Jerks, Philo Cramer, Darby Crash, John Doe ..
Directed by: Penelope Spheeris
Release date: 1981-07-01
Best Documentary Movies of 1981 : The Killing of America
3.

The Killing of America

3.9
7.6/10 IMDB

A documentary of the decline of America. Featuring footage (most exclusive to this film) from race riots to serial killers and much-much more.

Starring: Chuck Riley, Ed Dorris, Thomas Noguchi, Sirhan Sirhan, Wayne Henley, Ed Kemper, Ted Bundy, Susan Atkins, David Berkowitz, Charles Manson ..
Directed by: Sheldon Renan, Leonard Schrader
Release date: 1981-09-05
4.

This Is Elvis

3.9
7.5/10 IMDB

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.

Starring: Elvis Presley, David Scott, Paul Boensch III, Johnny Harra, Linda Thompson ..
Directed by: Malcolm Leo, Andrew Solt
Release date: 1981-04-04
Best Documentary Movies of 1981 : Kiss Me, Petruchio
5.

Kiss Me, Petruchio

3.8
8.0/10 IMDB

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.

Starring: Meryl Streep, Raúl Juliá, John Bottoms, Joel Brooks, Max Gulak, Joseph Papp, Larry Pine, Deborah Rush ..
Directed by: Christopher Dixon
Release date: 1981-01-07
Best Documentary Movies of 1981 : The man who could not see far enough
6.

The man who could not see far enough

3.7
7.7/10 IMDB

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.

Directed by: Peter Rose
Release date: 1981-09-17
Best Documentary Movies of 1981 : A Dream Called Walt Disney World
7.

A Dream Called Walt Disney World

3.7
7.7/10 IMDB

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!

Starring: Royal Dano, Walt Disney, Byron Kane ..
Release date: 1981-01-01
Best Documentary Movies of 1981 : Stations of the Elevated
8.

Stations of the Elevated

3.3
7.3/10 IMDB

Stations of the Elevated exposes viewers to an underground art scene- that is, one found exclusively on the sides of subways and train cars. A moving portrait of late-70's NYC, the film boasts a soundtrack by jazz legends Charles Mingus & Aretha Franklin.

Directed by: Manfred Kirchheimer
Release date: 1981-10-01
9.

The Cramps: Live at Napa State Mental Hospital

3.2
8.2/10 IMDB

The concert was recorded with a black-and-white video camera and a single microphone on June 13, 1978.

Starring: Lux Interior, Poison Ivy ..
Directed by: Joe Rees
Release date: 1981-01-01
10.

On Any Sunday II

3.2
7.0/10 IMDB

Featuring Speedway World Champion Bruce Penhall, Brad Lackey, Bob Hannah, Kenny Roberts. World Champion Bruce Penhall is only one of the racing luminaries profiled in this motorcyclist’s cinematic bible. Thrill to the pulsating sound of high powered cycles in the desert, on the road, and tracks around the world. On Any Sunday II features interview and championship races with Brad Lackey, Bob Hannah, Kenny Roberts, and, of course, Penhall.

Starring: Bruce Penhall, Brad Lackey, Kenny Roberts ..
Release date: 1981-07-01

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