Best Documentary Movies of 1983
Tony Silver and Henry Chalfant's PBS documentary tracks the rise and fall of subway graffiti in New York in the late 1970s and early 1980s.
Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders From Mars
Hammersmith Odeon, London, July 3, 1973. British singer David Bowie performs his alter ego Ziggy Stardust for the very last time. A decadent show, a hallucinogenic collage of kitsch, pop irony and flamboyant excess: a musical symbiosis of feminine passion and masculine dominance that defines Bowie's art and the glam rock genre.
Bad News Tour
A documentary crew films heavy metal band Bad News as they have trouble starting their van, pick up a schoolgirl groupie, and meet up with rock journalist Sally at a motorway service station where they argue about the cost of sausage and chips.
A Generation Apart
A one-hour documentary that explores the impact of the Holocaust on the families of survivors.
Though best known for his collage films, Lawrence Jordan here makes exquisite study of the different aspects of light lilting through the early morning fog of California winter. Painterly gradations of color and juxtapositions in scale are beautifully arranged to music by Antonio Vivaldi.
The Spanish Civil War
Documentary series which uses film and eyewitness accounts from both sides of the conflict that divided Spain in the years leading up to World War Two, also placing it in its international context.
Making Michael Jackson's Thriller
Featuring interviews with director John Landis, make-up artist Rick Baker, and the King of Pop himself, Making Michael Jackson's Thriller takes you on a behind-the-scenes journey from pre-production to shooting on the ghoulish graveyard set of Michael Jackson's legendary music video and short film.
The tropical rain forests of the world are home to nearly half the animal species on earth - an estimated five million different life forms. More than 100 inches of rainfall each year sustain this lush environment, where some of the most fascinating examples of natural adaptation can be found. Journey to the dense rain forests of Costa Rica and watch as leaf-cutting ants carry sections of leaves many times their weight to underground fungus gardens, a basilisk lizard walks on water, and howler monkeys bask in the sun. Fascinating and thought-provoking, this film is an eloquent warning of the natural wonders we stand to lose on a world scale if human encroachment of the world's rain forests continues.
Classic Creatures: Return of the Jedi
Go behind the scenes — and into the costumes — as production footage from Return of the Jedi is interspersed with vintage monster movie clips in this in-depth exploration of the painstaking techniques utilized by George Lucas to create the classic creatures and characters seen in the film.
Schindler: The Documentary
The true story of German-Czech businessman Oskar Schindler (1908-74) as told by some of the Jews —more than a thousand people— whose lives he saved from extermination during World War II.
Hieronymus Bosch: The Mysteries of Hieronymus Bosch
Nicholas Baum goes on a journey to Den Bosch, Hieronymus Bosch's town, and gives his explanation about what he thinks the painter's works originally meant.
Based on the famous Gustav Holst musical suite, this musical film takes watchers on a magnificent journey of the planets of the Solar System.
UK/DK: A Film About Punks and Skinheads
Featuring interviews, live concert footage, and a feature on how punk was transformed from a trend to a way of life, UK/DK is a comprehensive look at the skinhead/punk movement. Some of the most notorious bands on the scene are featured, including The Exploited, The Vice Squad, The Adicts and many more.
Visions Cinema: Film in the Philippines - A Report by Tony Rayns
Film critic Tony Rayns interviews Lino Brocka and other prominent Filipino filmmakers.
Children of Darkness
A significant number of American children and teenagers - from all social backgrounds - suffer from mental disorders, schizophrenia, autism and emotional problems, leading them to isolation from society while treating their issues in mental health facilities. But there's no end in sight for those young individuals when they face obstacles and mistreatment in inadequate places under the supervision of careless and inexperienced professionals. The documentary follows some of those public mental institutions and another private center dealing with troubled kids and reveals what's wrong with their procedures, and the irreparable harm they cause in those patients.
From 'Star Wars' to 'Jedi' : The Making of a Saga
From Star Wars to Jedi: The Making of a Saga is a 1983 television documentary special that originally aired on PBS. It is a behind-the-scenes look at the making of the original Star Wars trilogy, with particular emphasis on the final film, Return of the Jedi. Narrated by actor Mark Hamill, the documentary was written by Richard Schickel who had written the previous television documentaries The Making of Star Wars (1977) and SP FX: The Empire Strikes Back (1980).
Nicaragua: A Nation's Right to Survive
How can a country survive when its jungle borders hold 4000 hostile troops?
The Horror of It All
No overview found.
Hollywood Out-takes and Rare Footage
Out-takes (mostly from Warner Bros.), promotional shorts, movie premieres, public service pleas, wardrobe tests, documentary material, and archival footage make up this star-studded voyeuristic look at the Golden age of Hollywood during the 30s, 40, and 50.
Seeing Red: Stories of American Communists
Documentary about the US Communist Party and the people involved in it.
Leonard Nimoy: Star Trek Memories
A TV special hosted by Leonard Nimoy and featuring the actor discussing the making of "The Original Series" and the first two Star Trek movies, "Star Trek: The Motion Picture" and "Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan". Also included is a short preview of "Star Trek III: The Search for Spock".
The World of 'The Dark Crystal'
A documentary which explores the making of Jim Henson and Frank Oz's 1982 fantasy film 'The Dark Crystal', which originally aired on PBS in the United States on January 9, 1983. This one-hour documentary details the technological innovations in the field of animatronics, art design, film making, and Henson's own brand of magic. Requiring 5 years of production, including over two years of pre-production, The Dark Crystal was inspired by the imagination of artist Brian Froud and conceived by scores of talented designers, builders, technicians, and performers. The World of the Dark Crystal shows how Jim Henson's Creature Shop in London and the Muppet Workshop in New York brought Brian Froud's art and Jim Henson's vision to life.
In their final year at Muncie's Southside High School, a group of seniors hurtles toward maturity with a combination of joy, despair, and an aggravated sense of urgency. They are also learning a great deal about life, both in and out of school, and not what school officials think they are teaching.
Say Amen, Somebody
Documentary on modern black gospel music, focusing on the pioneering Rev. Thomas Dorsey and Mother Willie Mae Ford Smith
In 1981, the New Zealand government invited the South African rugby team to tour New Zealand. This effectively split the country in half. Patu! is the story of the protest movement, HART (halt all racist tours). This documentary shows footage of protester meetings, rugby games and various beatings meted out to protesters from police.
The Sea in Their Blood
A film made for the Central Office of Information concerning Britain's coastline, with music by Michael Nyman.
This is the official FIFA film of the 1982 World Cup Finals in Spain. Runs 98 minutes and includes commentary by Sean Connery with a special score composed by Rick Wakeman. Not your average footie film, this is a stunning record of the 1982 tournament finals which included England and Northern Ireland and culminated in Italy's thrilling victory against West Germany.
The Spectre of Marxism
The impact of Marx on the 20th century has been all-pervasive and world-wide. This program looks at the man, at the roots of his philosophy, at the causes and explanations of his philosophical development, and at its most direct outcome: the failed Soviet Union.
THE STORE is a film about the main Neiman-Marcus store and corporate headquarters in Dallas. The sequences in the film include the selection, presentation, marketing, pricing, advertising and selling of a vast array of consumer products including designer clothes and furs, jewelry, perfumes, shoes, electronic products, sportswear, china and porcelain and many other goods. The internal management and organizational aspects of a large corporation are shown, i.e., sales meetings, development of marketing and advertising strategies, training, personnel practices and sales techniques.
Documentary on the "Chicken Ranch," a legal Nevada brothel.
Anarchism in America
A colorful and provocative survey of anarchism in America, the film attempts to dispel popular misconceptions and trace the historical development of the movement. The film explores the movement both as a native American philosophy stemming from 19th century American traditions of individualism, and as a foreign ideology brought to America by immigrants. The film features rare archival footage and interviews with significant personalities in anarchist history including Murray Boochkin and Karl Hess, and also live performance footage of the Dead Kennedys.
When Women Kill
When Women Kill is a poignant documentary exploring the shocking violence that seven women fell victim to at the hands of men. The program profiles the battered women who speak frankly about the cruel abuse, threats, and fears, and the overassertive men who led them down a one-way path to death and destruction. The film features in-prison footage, including a segment depicting a confession by a follower of the notorious Charles Manson, Leslie Van Houten, who was convicted of two killing sprees and committed to life in prison.
Flamenco at 5:15
In this Oscar Winning documentary short film, students in their final year at the National Ballet School of Canada are seen learning the flamenco from Susana and Antonio Robledo, who come to the school every winter to conduct classes which are held after the day's regular schedule has ended.
A series of shots depicting "America" are laid over a classic Gregorian Chant recreated through the distortion of a woman's screams.
Electric Blue 11
Framing the erotic vignettes in this entry is "Taking Off With Kitten Natividad," which is set aboard Electric Airways flight #11, a new airline hoping to cut out the competition with unique in-flight entertainment of a sexual nature. Stewardesses Kim (Michelle Bauer) and Sandy (Lois Ayres) help Kitten give the passengers a flight to remember. First issued in the UK as Electric Blue 11, this was titled Electric Blue 5 for the later U.S. release.
Sprout Wings and Fly
Set in the North Carolina Appalachians, Sprout Wings and Fly honors the fiddle playing of 82-year-old Tommy Jarrell of Toast, NC. Tommy was quirky, gregarious and generous, and this film shows him at his best, in fine fiddling form.
A documentary incorporating footage of Montgomery Clift’s most memorable films; interviews with family and friends, and rare archival material stretching back to his childhood. What develops is the story of an intense young boy who yearned for stardom, achieved notable success in such classic films as From Here to Eternity and I Confess, only to be ruined by alcohol addiction and his inability to face his own fears and homosexual desires. Montgomery Clift, as this film portrays him, may not have been a happy man but he never compromised his acting talents for Hollywood.
Frida Kahlo & Tina Modotti
An unconventional portrait of painter Frida Kahlo and photographer Tina Modotti. Simple in style but complex in its analysis, it explores the divergent themes and styles of two contemporary and radical women artists working in the upheaval of the aftermath of the Mexican Revolution.
He Makes Me Feel Like Dancin'
Why do over 1,000 New York City schoolchildren audition for a modern dance program that requires them to sacrifice free time and involvement in sports and music? For a chance to study with the charismatic Jacques d'Amboise at the National Dance Institute. His philosophy--that creativity exists within everyone and that trying one's best ensures success--forms the foundation of a unique dance program. This documentary chronicles one school-year-long program including initial auditions, rehearsals, and the creation of an exclusive "SWAT" team, and culminates in an amazing, year-end performance at New York's Felt Forum. D'Amboise's enthusiasm is infectious--children, parents, teachers, professional dancers and musicians, and even local law enforcement officers find themselves involved in his productions. This Academy Award-winning documentary details the inspiring story of how one talented dancer's vision flourished into a coveted New York City dance program.
A documentary about a gay nightclub performer with an especially lurid "Spider-man" act. Oliver is a female impersonator who supports his family by performing in Manila's gay bars.
Reverend Huie Rogers is a preacher at the Bible Way Church of Our Lord Jesus Christ in Brooklyn. He is the topic of this short film, during which launches into an epic call-and-response denunciation of human hubris, greed, corruption and failure. The use of lengthy shots present it less like a sermon and more a performance, and induce an almost trance-like state.
James Bond in India
The making of the James Bond movie Octopussy (1983) in Udaipur, India during 1982.
The Courtesans of Bombay
In the Mumbai, India, tenement community of Pavanpul, young female courtesans sing, dance and perform sexual favors for male clientele. Directors James Ivory and Ismail Merchant blend documentary footage and dramatic reenactments in their exploration of this seamy underworld, the flip side of the Bollywood film industry, where aspiring actors and dancers -- some even sold into prostitution by their own families -- end up, with their innocence lost and their hopes for movie stardom shattered.
A compilation of the best gore bits in films released in the 70's and early 80's.
Nice - À propos de Jean Vigo
Part of a series in which foreign filmmakers portray a region or town in France. Manoel de Oliveira looks at Nice.
Through the experiences of two women in Paris and London, Ghost Dance offers an analysis of the complexity of our conceptions of ghosts, memory and the past. The film focuses on the French philosopher Jacques Derrida, who observes, 'I think cinema, when it's not boring, is the art of letting ghosts come back.' He also says that 'memory is the past that has never had the form of the present.'
The Dream Machine
A short non-narrative film made to commemorate the visit of Burroughs and Gysin to the UK. The film consists of multiple short vignettes: Witches Song (1979), Broken English (1979), Ballad Of Lucy Jordan (1979), Pirate Tape (Derek Jarman, 1983) and T.G.: Psychic Rally In Heaven (Derek Jarman, 1981).
Short film on the dance phenomenon of "Electric Boogie", and about 4 boys, 2 black and 2 Puerto Rican, who dance it together in the streets of the South Bronx.
Bette Davis: A Basically Benevolent Volcano
A documentary about and an interview with Hollywood actress Bette Davis about her life and career from the late 1920s to the 1980s on stage and mostly before the camera.
People of the Sun
El Pueblo Del Sol captures not only the visual delights of Mexico today, but also grasps the day-to-day life of a people in a land filled with future promise. One is mesmerized by rich images of such natural beauties as the Isla Contoy in the Caribbean, Copper Canyon in the Chihuahua Sierra, the Paricutin Volcano, and Ensenada's Bay. Short IMAX documentary.