Best Documentary Movies of 1982



8.2/10 IMDB

Takes us to locations all around the US and shows us the heavy toll that modern technology is having on humans and the earth. The visual tone poem contains neither dialogue nor a vocalized narration: its tone is set by the juxtaposition of images and the exceptional music by Philip Glass.

Starring: Lou Dobbs, Ted Koppel, Marilyn Chambers, Lou Dobbs, Ted Koppel ..
Directed by: Godfrey Reggio
Release date: 1982-10-04

Burden of Dreams

7.9/10 IMDB

The Amazon rain forest, 1979. The crew of Fitzcarraldo (1982), a film directed by German director Werner Herzog, soon finds itself with problems related to casting, tribal struggles and accidents, among many other setbacks; but nothing compared to dragging a huge steamboat up a mountain, while Herzog embraces the path of a certain madness to make his vision come true.

Starring: Werner Herzog, Klaus Kinski, Claudia Cardinale, Jason Robards, Mick Jagger, José Lewgoy, Candace Laughlin, Alfredo de Río Tambo, Ángela Reina, Carmen Correa ..
Directed by: Les Blank
Release date: 1982-10-01
Best Documentary Movies of 1982 : The Compleat Beatles

The Compleat Beatles

8.2/10 IMDB

Now, for the first time, you can re-live the Beatles legends with this stunning 2-hour musical “Rockumentary”. It’s all there from the wild exuberance of the early Cavern Club days through eight incredible years, to the grim finality of “Let It Be”. See John, Paul, George and Ringo in performance, on tour, in films, recording with George Martin and in rare footage never before seen. Narrated by Malcom McDowell.

Starring: Malcolm McDowell, John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison, Ringo Starr, George Martin, Allan Williams, Gerry Marsden, Marianne Faithfull, Billy Preston ..
Directed by: Patrick Montgomery
Release date: 1982-10-01

The Atomic Cafe

7.6/10 IMDB

A disturbing collection of 1940s and 1950s United States government-issued propaganda films designed to reassure Americans that the atomic bomb was not a threat to their safety.

Starring: Paul W. Tibbets Jr., W.H.P. Blandy, Albert Einstein, Harry S. Truman ..
Directed by: Jayne Loader, Kevin Rafferty, Pierce Rafferty
Release date: 1982-03-17
Best Documentary Movies of 1982 : Jean-Michel Jarre: The Concerts In China

Jean-Michel Jarre: The Concerts In China

8.9/10 IMDB

The Concerts in China was a concert tour by Jean Michel Jarre, notable for marking the opening of post-Mao Zedong China to live Western music, in 1981. Five concerts were held in the two biggest cities, for an estimated audience of 120,000 spectators, on October 21 and 22 in Beijing, and on October 26 through 28 in Shanghai.

Starring: Jean-Michel Jarre ..
Directed by: Andrew Piddington
Release date: 1982-01-01

We Will Rock You

8.6/10 IMDB

Freddie and co perform a blistering set of hits, including We Will Rock You and Bohemian Rhapsody, in front of an 18,000 strong crowd at Montreal's Forum, in this stunning concert film.

Starring: Freddie Mercury, Roger Taylor, John Deacon, Brian May ..
Directed by: Saul Swimmer
Release date: 1982-05-03
Best Documentary Movies of 1982 : Bobby Thompson: The Little Waster

Bobby Thompson: The Little Waster

9.1/10 IMDB

A series of anecdotes and monologues by County Durham comedian Bobby Thompson. Well known throughout the North East of England his 'Little Waster' character tells tales of debt, dole and wife trouble, while 'The Old Soldier' gives a hilarious account of his Second World War relationships with King George and Field Marshall Montgomery, providing a wry look at the class divide. Also included is a documentary film shot during his final years.

Starring: Bobby Thompson, Tom Coyne ..
Directed by: Malcolm Dickinson, James Goldby
Release date: 1982-12-18
Best Documentary Movies of 1982 : The Slog Movie

The Slog Movie

8.0/10 IMDB

A raw and unparalleled DIY documentary about the West Coast Punk scene made by a group of young fans/filmmakers about the bands they loved.

Starring: Henry Rollins, Lee Ving ..
Directed by: David Markey
Release date: 1982-09-01
Best Documentary Movies of 1982 : Frank Sinatra - Concert for the Americas

Frank Sinatra - Concert for the Americas

8.7/10 IMDB

Concert For The Americas This 1st-ever U.S. release of this spectacular 1982 concert proves that even at age 66, Francis Albert Sinatra was still the undisputed Chairman Of The Board. This 90-minute performance features a memorable rendition of "Send In The Clowns" with guitarist Tony Mottola.

Starring: Frank Sinatra, Buddy Rich ..
Directed by: Walter C. Miller
Release date: 1982-08-20
Best Documentary Movies of 1982 : The Making of Poltergeist

The Making of Poltergeist

6.0/10 IMDB

A behind-the-scenes look at how some of the visual effects were accomplished in the feature film Poltergeist (1982).

Starring: Steven Spielberg, Tobe Hooper, Frank Marshall, Craig T. Nelson ..
Directed by: Frank Marshall
Release date: 1982-10-01
Best Documentary Movies of 1982 : Room 666

Room 666

6.6/10 IMDB

During the 1982 Cannes Film Festival, Wenders asks a number of global film directors to, one at a time, go into a hotel room, turn on the camera and answer a simple question: "What is the future of cinema?"

Starring: Jean-Luc Godard, Paul Morrissey, Mike de Leon, Monte Hellman, Romain Goupil, Susan Seidelman, Noël Simsolo, Rainer Werner Fassbinder, Werner Herzog, Robert Kramer ..
Directed by: Wim Wenders
Release date: 1982-06-01
Best Documentary Movies of 1982 : Clotheslines


7.4/10 IMDB

A film that takes laundry seriously as a form of folk art, a fraught social signifier and lens for women to reflect on the joys, pains and ambivalences of household chores.

Starring: Roberta Cantow ..
Directed by: Roberta Cantow
Release date: 1982-02-04

The Making of Agatha Christie's 'Evil Under the Sun'

7.5/10 IMDB

Director Guy Hamilton and several of the stars of Agatha Christie's "Evil Under The Sun" walk you through the making of the film.

Starring: Peter Ustinov, Maggie Smith, Diana Rigg, Nicholas Clay, James Mason, Roddy McDowall, Jane Birkin, Sylvia Miles, Denis Quilley, Colin Blakely ..
Release date: 1982-01-01
Best Documentary Movies of 1982 : Vincent Price's Dracula

Vincent Price's Dracula

6.9/10 IMDB

Vincent Price hosts this documentary exploring the historical myths surrounding vampires.

Starring: Vincent Price ..
Directed by: John Muller, Jerry Fijalkowski
Release date: 1982-01-01

The Weavers: Wasn't That a Time

8.3/10 IMDB

Documentary about the blacklisted folk group, "The Weavers," and the events leading up to their triumphant return to Carnegie Hall.

Starring: Ronnie Gilbert, Arlo Guthrie, Lee Hays, Fred Hellerman, Pete Seeger ..
Directed by: Jim Brown
Release date: 1982-03-07
Best Documentary Movies of 1982 : Rough Cut and Ready Dubbed

Rough Cut and Ready Dubbed

7.7/10 IMDB

Documents the post-punk period between 1978 and 1981, featuring the looks, the poses, the rucks, the riots and the slaggings of bands and their fans. Includes footage of the Wasted Festival and some of the original bands 25 years on. Also has performances from exponents of Punk, Mod, Oi and Ska - all filmed in the same DIY ethic that spawned punk itself.

Release date: 1982-11-08

The God Makers

5.3/10 IMDB

Two former Mormons seek to file a class-action lawsuit against The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, detailing for skeptical attorneys the history, doctrines and secret rituals of the Mormon religion.

Starring: J. Edward Decker, Richard Baer, Harold Goodman, Brian Grant, Floyd C. McElveen ..
Release date: 1982-12-31
Best Documentary Movies of 1982 : Who Shall Live and Who Shall Die?

Who Shall Live and Who Shall Die?

8.0/10 IMDB

A documentary about America's knowledge of the Holocaust during the Second World War dares to ask, ""Could the Jews of Europe have been saved?"

Starring: Emanuel Celler, Nahum Goldman, Hillel Kook, John Pehle ..
Directed by: Laurence Jarvik
Release date: 1982-04-19
Best Documentary Movies of 1982 : Clint Eastwood: Director

Clint Eastwood: Director

7.8/10 IMDB

Starring: Clint Eastwood, Craig Thomas, Warren Clarke, John Dykstra, Iain Johnstone, Ursula Herrick, Sondra Locke, Caspar Weinberger ..
Release date: 1982-01-01
Best Documentary Movies of 1982 : Gods of Metal

Gods of Metal

7.8/10 IMDB

Gods of Metal is a 1982 American short documentary film produced by Robert Richter for the Maryknoll Fathers and Brothers on nuclear disarmament. It was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Documentary Short.

Directed by: Robert Richter
Release date: 1982-01-01
Best Documentary Movies of 1982 : Illuminated Texts

Illuminated Texts

7.6/10 IMDB

"Breathtaking in its techniques, rhapsodic in its passion, and encyclopedic in its scope, the film traces the long fall from paradise into modern barbarism." - Art Gallery of Ontario

Starring: R. Bruce Elder, Anna Pafomow, Henry Jesionka, James D. Smith ..
Directed by: R. Bruce Elder
Release date: 1982-01-27
Best Documentary Movies of 1982 : The Police: Around The World

The Police: Around The World

8.6/10 IMDB

During 1977-1981 The Police went on a truly global tour which took them through more than a dozen countries, including many that most Rock bands of the period would fail to reach. This film features highlights of the tour which include stops in Japan, Hong Kong, India, Egypt, Australia and Latin America. Recorded live during the tour are 16 songs featured in this film, However this is more than a video rock concert - including many humourous off-stage shots that show the band sampling some of the sights, customs and culture of the lands their fans call home

Starring: Sting, Andy Summers, Stewart Copeland ..
Directed by: Derek Burbidge
Release date: 1982-01-01
Best Documentary Movies of 1982 : Genocide


7.3/10 IMDB

The mass murder of Jewish people by the Nazi regime is chronicled, with a warning that anti-Semitism is on the rise and the events of the Holocaust could happen again. The history of European Jewish culture and events before and during the Holocaust are seen in newsreels, photographs, and animated segments. The words of the victims of the era are read, and footage from the liberation os a concentration camp is shown.

Starring: Elizabeth Taylor, Orson Welles, Simon Wiesenthal, Neville Chamberlain, Winston Churchill, Dwight D. Eisenhower, Joseph Goebbels, Hermann Göring, Rudolf Heß, Adolf Hitler ..
Directed by: Arnold Schwartzman
Release date: 1982-03-14
Best Documentary Movies of 1982 : The Making of 'One from the Heart'

The Making of 'One from the Heart'

6.3/10 IMDB

A short documentary on the Francis Ford Coppola musical One From the Heart.

Starring: Francis Ford Coppola, Raúl Juliá, Nastassja Kinski, Vittorio Storaro, Tom Waits ..
Directed by: Tony St. John
Release date: 1982-08-14
Best Documentary Movies of 1982 : Portrait of a '60% Perfect Man': Billy Wilder

Portrait of a '60% Perfect Man': Billy Wilder

7.5/10 IMDB

French film critic Michel Ciment interviews Billy Wilder about his life and filmmaking.

Starring: Michel Ciment, Billy Wilder, Walter Matthau, Jack Lemmon, I. A. L. Diamond ..
Directed by: Annie Tresgot, Michel Ciment
Release date: 1982-05-21
Best Documentary Movies of 1982 : The Making of 'The Thing'

The Making of 'The Thing'

6.5/10 IMDB

Starring: John Carpenter, Jeff Gelb, John J. Loyd, Kurt Russell ..
Directed by: Mick Garris
Release date: 1982-06-09
Best Documentary Movies of 1982 : Hail Columbia!

Hail Columbia!

7.1/10 IMDB

The maiden voyage of Columbia, the first space shuttle, is recounted with footage shot on the ground and in space.

Starring: James Whitmore ..
Directed by: Graeme Ferguson
Release date: 1982-06-15
Best Documentary Movies of 1982 : Dark Circle

Dark Circle

7.4/10 IMDB

Documentary about the nuclear industry.

Starring: Judy Irving ..
Directed by: Chris Beaver, Judy Irving
Release date: 1982-10-08
Best Documentary Movies of 1982 : First Contact

First Contact

7.7/10 IMDB

First Contact is a 1983 documentary by Bob Connolly and Robin Anderson which recounts the discovery of a flourishing native population in the interior highlands of New Guinea in 1930 in what had been thought to be an uninhabited area. It is based on the book of the same name by the same authors. Inhabitants of the region and surviving members of the Leahy brothers' gold prospecting party recount their astonishment at this unforeseen meeting. The film includes still photographs taken by a member of the expedition and contemporary footage of the island's terrain. It was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature.

Starring: Michael Leahy, Daniel Leahy, James Leahy ..
Directed by: Robin Anderson, Bob Connolly
Release date: 1982-10-01
Best Documentary Movies of 1982 : If You Love This Planet

If You Love This Planet

7.3/10 IMDB

Australian pediatrician Helen Caldicott delivers a lecture on the potential medical and societal consequences of a nuclear war, and advocates for nuclear disarmament. The film includes newsreel records of the beginnings of the arms race and the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, as well as film records showing the Japanese who were severely scarred and burned in the bombings.

Starring: Helen Caldicott ..
Directed by: Terre Nash
Release date: 1982-10-01
Best Documentary Movies of 1982 : Aleph


6.8/10 IMDB

Omniscient perspectives shoot vibratory gleams through human projectors statically displaced across the screen. Superimpositions at fever pitch falling apart and compressing into new molecular lattices. Peripheral fantasies imagine forth collusioned destinies. A yin/yang interchange makes light's transparency into density, while the darkness metamorphoses into thin lucidity. Hands in peristaltic motion grasp and release, conjuring interstitial embroideries. Landscapes yield their own maps in topographical patterns.

Directed by: Robert Fulton
Release date: 1982-01-01

Arcade Attack

7.3/10 IMDB

Heroes of the Pinball Arcade race to stop the invasion of the Video Game terrors

Starring: Geoff Harvey, Tommy Hogan, Tommy Hogan, Stephen Highfield ..
Directed by: Mike Wallington
Release date: 1982-01-01

Let's Spend the Night Together

6.5/10 IMDB

The Rolling Stones' record-breaking 1981 North American arena tour documented by director Hal Ashby. Featuring the biggest Rolling Stones songs from the first 20 years - in the words of Mick Jagger, "a feel of what it's like to be there", as 20 cameras take you onstage with the band in this groundbreaking, dynamic tour.

Starring: Mick Jagger, Charlie Watts, Bill Wyman, Keith Richards, Ronnie Wood ..
Directed by: Hal Ashby
Release date: 1982-10-29
Best Documentary Movies of 1982 : To Live or Let Die

To Live or Let Die

6.9/10 IMDB

To Live or Let Die is a 1982 American short documentary film directed by Terry Sanders, about the neonatal I.C.U. of the Children's Hospital in Los Angeles, where life and death decisions must be made while ethical dilemmas are also posed by new technologies.. It was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Documentary Short.

Directed by: Terry Sanders
Release date: 1982-01-01
Best Documentary Movies of 1982 : Egypt: Quest for Eternity

Egypt: Quest for Eternity

7.3/10 IMDB

Documentary about ancient Egypt, its temples, paintings and art, and how these old treasures are being endangered by modern civilization. Also shown are the Nile river, the Luxor and Karnak temples, the Sphynx, the Great Pyramids of Giza, the river path to the Land of the Dead, the pharaohs and queens' tombs, as well as egyptologysts' interpretation of Ancient Egypt mysteries.

Starring: Richard Basehart ..
Directed by: Norris Brock
Release date: 1982-03-06

Art Pepper: Notes from a Jazz Survivor

7.1/10 IMDB

Saxophonist Art Pepper (1925-1982) lived the kind of jazz life only found in Hollywood movies. His prodigious talent led him to top gigs as a teenager, but drugs and attendant criminal activity knocked him out of commission for virtually all of the 1960s and early 1970s. This documentary, shot shortly after his searing memoir, {-Straight Life}, was published in 1979, shows Pepper in the full flower of a remarkable comeback. His third wife, Laurie, is featured prominently; they met in the drug treatment facility Synanon in 1969 and were married in 1974. She took over his business affairs and helped him write {-Straight Life}. Pepper tells his own story here, but the emphasis is on an evening's performance at a club in Malibu, with the musician in fine form, backed by a terrific trio. (Tom Wiener, Rovi)

Starring: Art Pepper, Laurie Pepper ..
Directed by: Don McGlynn
Release date: 1982-12-31
Best Documentary Movies of 1982 : Diaries


8.0/10 IMDB

A documentary on the life of Ed Pincus and his immediate family from 1971 to 1976.

Starring: Ed Pincus ..
Directed by: Ed Pincus
Release date: 1982-11-17
Best Documentary Movies of 1982 : Elia Kazan: An Outsider

Elia Kazan: An Outsider

7.2/10 IMDB

Hour long documentary on the legendary director.

Starring: Elia Kazan, Michel Ciment, Tommy Bull, Robert De Niro, Mike Kazan, Eileen Shanahan ..
Directed by: Annie Tresgot
Release date: 1982-09-15

The Klan: A Legacy of Hate in America

6.7/10 IMDB

Oscar nominated documentary short about the Ku Klux Klan.

Starring: James Whitmore ..
Directed by: Werner Schumann
Release date: 1982-10-01
Best Documentary Movies of 1982 : Psychic TV: First Transmission

Psychic TV: First Transmission

5.9/10 IMDB

For over 30 years, the so-called First Transmission video from Psychic TV, has been the stuff of, well, “snuff film” legend. First advertised in the back pages of Thee Grey Book , The First Transmission was an ultra weird touchstone of the underground VHS tape trading scene of the 1980s.

Starring: David Tibet, Genesis P-Orridge, Cosey Fanni Tutti, Peter Christopherson, Jim Jones, Brion Gysin ..
Release date: 1982-01-01
Best Documentary Movies of 1982 : Suzanne, Suzanne

Suzanne, Suzanne

7.2/10 IMDB

This poignant documentary profiles a young black woman's struggle to confront the legacy of a physically abusive father and her headlong flight into drug abuse. Suzanne, after years of physical and psychological abuse, is compelled to understand her father's violence and her mother's passive complicity, who suffered at her husband's hands as well, as the keys to her own self-destruction. After years of silence, Suzanne and her mother are finally able to share their painful experiences with each other in an intensely moving moment of truth.

Directed by: Camille Billops, James Hatch
Release date: 1982-01-01
Best Documentary Movies of 1982 : Sewing Woman

Sewing Woman

7.1/10 IMDB

Sewing Woman chronicles the bittersweet journey of one woman's determination to survive: from an arranged marriage in old China to working class comforts in modern America.

Starring: Lisa Lu, Zem Ping Dong ..
Directed by: Arthur Dong
Release date: 1982-10-01
Best Documentary Movies of 1982 : Land of Look Behind

Land of Look Behind

7.8/10 IMDB

There has never been a documentary like "Land of Look Behind". Relatively unknown due to poor distribution and New York Film Festival skullduggery, this breathtaking film presents a unique epic vision with quasi-dramatic elements and cinematographic wizardry. The non-reggae original soundtrack is outstanding, as is the reggae music of Bob Marley and Gregory Isaacs. The great documentary filmmaker Werner Herzog has called "Look Behind" the non-fiction film that has influenced him most over the last fifteen years. Indeed, this film's peers are the best of Herzog, Bunuel's "Land Without Bread", Flaherty's "Nanook" and Leacock-Pennebaker's "Louisiana Story". With thoughtful viewing, one will see this moving documentary actually end with a lovely little dream sequence. No American has come close to making a film this ingenious in the last thirty years.

Starring: Gregory Isaacs, Louis Lepke, Mutabaruka, Bob Marley, Bob Marley ..
Directed by: Alan Greenberg
Release date: 1982-01-01
Best Documentary Movies of 1982 : Coming Soon

Coming Soon

5.8/10 IMDB

Director John Landis has combed the vaults of Universal Studios, Hollywood's preeminent producer of horror films and edited them into this retrospective documentary featuring clips from preview trailers dating from Lon Chaney's 1923 "The Hunchback of Notre Dame to the present day. Scream queen Jamie Lee Curtis hosts and narrates this tribute featuring Frankenstein, the Wolfman, the Creature from the Black Lagoon, Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, Godzilla, Tarantula,, the Phantom of the Opera, Dracula and their infamous progeny.

Starring: Jamie Lee Curtis ..
Directed by: John Landis
Release date: 1982-01-01
Best Documentary Movies of 1982 : It Came from Hollywood

It Came from Hollywood

5.8/10 IMDB

Dan Aykroyd, John Candy, Gilda Radner and Cheech and Chong present this compilation of classic bad films from the 50's, 60's and 70's. Special features on gorilla pictures, anti-marijuana films and a special tribute to the worst film maker of all-time, Ed Wood.

Starring: Dan Aykroyd, John Candy, Cheech Marin, Tommy Chong, Gilda Radner ..
Directed by: Andrew Solt, Malcolm Leo
Release date: 1982-12-10
Best Documentary Movies of 1982 : Return of the Ewok

Return of the Ewok

6.1/10 IMDB

A mockumentary starring Warwick Davis, the actor who played the Ewok, Wicket W. Warrick in Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi and the Ewok spin-off films. Davis and David Tomblin, Return of the Jedi's first assistant director, created it, with Tomblin directing. Lucasfilm planned to use the movie as a promotional film for Return of the Jedi, but post-production on the film was never completed.

Starring: Warwick Davis, Jeremy Bulloch, Anthony Daniels, Ashley Davis, Carrie Fisher, Patricia Carr, Mark Hamill, Roy Kinnear, Peter Mayhew, Frank Oz ..
Directed by: David Tomblin
Release date: 1982-01-01
Best Documentary Movies of 1982 : Traveling Hopefully

Traveling Hopefully

6.2/10 IMDB

A documentary about Roger Baldwin, the founder of the ACLU.

Directed by: John G. Avildsen
Release date: 1982-01-06

Mein Papi

5.8/10 IMDB

A short documentary about Jörg Buttgereit's father.

Starring: Erich Buttgereit, Jörg Buttgereit ..
Directed by: Jörg Buttgereit
Release date: 1982-01-01

Shocking Africa

5.2/10 IMDB

A Mondo documentary following the customs and rites of passage of various tribes in Africa.

Directed by: Alfredo Castiglioni, Angelo Castiglioni
Release date: 1982-11-24
Best Documentary Movies of 1982 : The Jupiter Menace

The Jupiter Menace

5.9/10 IMDB

George Kennedy narrates this documentary that examines the theory that the world is doomed due to the influence the planet Jupiter has on the Earth.

Starring: George Kennedy, C. Lindsay Workman, Greg Michaels, Gary Maxwell, Ken Hill, Maurice Chatelain ..
Directed by: Lee Auerbach, Peter Matulavich
Release date: 1982-11-19

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