Best Documentary Movies of 1986
Queen: Live at Wembley Stadium
One of the world's biggest bands returns to the scene of their Live Aid triumph (one year earlier in 1985) to play all their greatest hits in front of a packed Wembley Stadium.
Robin Williams: An Evening at the Met
In this hilarious stand up comedy, Robin Williams is energetic, witty and again hilarious. It's the number one stand up comedy of all time.
George Carlin: Playin' with Your Head
George Carlin is in top form with these stand-up recorded at the Beverly Theater in Los Angeles in 1986. Routines included are "Losing Things," "Charities," "Sports," "Hello and Goodbye," "Battered Plants," "Earrings," and "A Moment of Silence." Also included is a short film entitled "The Envelope" co-starring Vic Tayback.
Hard to Handle: Bob Dylan in Concert
Admired as one of the best lyricists of pop rock, Bob Dylan has his name recorded in music history. During his four decades career, he has been through many facets: from acoustic to electric guitar; from politicized to religious lyrics; from minimalist to very highly sophisticated arrangements. And his characteristic voice, for some, hoarse and full of style, for others a little out of tune, still influences many musicians. In this presentation filmed at the Sydney Entertainment Centre in Australia over February 24-25 1986, Dylan is accompanied by Tom Petty and the band The Heartbreakers, as well as a very fine selection of new compositions. To close the spectacle, Bob Dylan and Tom Petty perform a vocal duet in "Knockin' on heaven's door", one of the most famous songs of this compositor.
Heavy Metal Parking Lot
Heavy Metal Parking Lot documents heavy metal music fans tailgating in the parking lot outside the Capital Centre (since demolished) in Landover, Maryland, on May 31, 1986, before a Judas Priest concert (with opening act Dokken).
Wham! in China: Foreign Skies
Best known for their radio staples "Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go" and "Careless Whisper," the seminal 80s pop group Wham! (George Michael and Andrew Ridgeley) shot Wham! In China: Foreign Skies circa 1985. In the resulting film, the group performs 12 numbers, including the aforementioned hits, "Ray Of Sunshine," "Blue," and "Young Guns (Go for It!)".
The Cure : Staring At The Sea - The Images
A collection of music videos spanning the first eight years of The Cure's career. 1. Killing An Arab 2. 10:15 Saturday Nigth 3. Boy's Don't Cry 4. Jumping Someone Else's Train 5. A Forest 6. Play For Today 7. Primary 8. Other Voices 9. Charlotte Sometimes 10. The Hanging Garden 11. Lets Go To Bed 12. The Walk 13. The Lovecats 14. The Caterpillar 15. In Between Days 16. Close To Me 17. A Night Like This.
Scream Greats, Vol.1: Tom Savini, Master of Horror Effects
A documentary detailing the career of makeup artist Tom Savini, including clips from the various movies he's worked on.
The Spencer Tracy Legacy: A Tribute by Katharine Hepburn
In this tribute to her frequent co-star and longtime love, Katharine Hepburn hosts a behind-the-scenes look at Spencer Tracy's personal and professional life that features intimate personal accounts, interviews and clips from his most acclaimed work on the silver screen.
Barbra Streisand: One Voice
Originally broadcast as an exclusive special on HBO, Barbra Streisand launched her September 6, 1986 concert One Voice, in part, as a protest against Reagan-era nuclear arms proliferation in the late Cold War; the event marked the diva's first official live performance since 1972.
1986 Mets: A Year to Remember
The exclusive, official New York Mets video highlights of an incredible season
In Remembrance of Martin
Personal comments from family, friends, and advisors fill this remarkable documentary honoring Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Coretta Scott King joins the Reverend Ralph Abernathy, Julian Bond, Jimmy Carter, the Reverend Jesse Jackson, Senator Edward Kennedy, John Lewis, Bishop Desmond Tutu, and Andrew Young, who recall Dr. King's career and trace his leadership in the civil rights movement. Includes portions of his "I Have a Dream" speech.
The School for the Deaf at the Alabama Institute is organized around a theory of total communication i.e. the use of signs and finger spelling in conjunction with speech, hearing aids, lip reading, gestures and the written word. The film shows sequences dealing with various aspects of this comprehensive training such as teaching students and parents to sign; speech therapy; psychological counseling; regular academic courses; vocational training; disciplinary problems; parents visits; sports and recreational activity; training in living and working independently; and developing skills in home and money management.
444 Days to Freedom: What Really Happened in Iran
This documentary, winner of three Canadian Gemini Awards, offers an in-depth portrait of the events encompassed by the Iranian hostage crisis of 1979 to 1981, when 52 Americans were held by fundamentalist Iranian students deeply disturbed by the course of American policy in their native land. Attention is given to the American reaction to the crisis, both inside and outside of the country. The focus here is on the conduct of the hostages themselves and how they managed to survive within such a volatile situation.
He Stands in a Desert Counting the Seconds of His Life
A film collage tracing the story of the lives, loves, and deaths within the artistic community surrounding Jonas Mekas.
Home of the Brave
Home of the Brave is a 1986 American concert film directed by and featuring the music of Laurie Anderson. The film's full on-screen title is Home of the Brave: A Film by Laurie Anderson. The performances were filmed at the Park Theater in Union City, NJ, during the summer of 1985. The film included appearances by guitarist Adrian Belew, author William S. Burroughs (who famously briefly dances a slow tango with Anderson during one song), keyboardist Joy Askew, and percussionist David Van Tieghem. Also, Barry Sonnenfeld, who was early in his movie-making career, receives an early film credit for operating second projection camera on this film.
Inside the Labyrinth
A behind-the-scenes look at Jim Henson's 1986 fantasy film, 'Labyrinth', featuring David Bowie and Jennifer Connelly.
Fangoria's Weekend of Horrors
Actors, directors and special effects technicians are interviewed at a horror-film convention.
The Last Moguls
Israeli Go-Go Boys Golan and Globus at the height of their careers - everybody is working for Cannon!
Half Life: A Parable for the Nuclear Age
The film features interviews with residents of the nearby Rongelap and Utirik Atolls who were affected by nuclear fallout from the tests. Unlike in previous nuclear tests and despite the considerably more powerful nuclear explosion involved, these residents were not relocated to a safer location. Declassified American military footage is included in the production
This documentary traces the deep-rooted stereotypes which have fueled anti-black prejudice.
Filmmaker Sandra Luckow follows a 15 year old, then unknown, Tonya Harding to her first National Figure Skating competition in 1986.
Hero: The Official Film of the 1986 FIFA World Cup
1986 FIFA World Cup Official Film. Mexico had just recovered from a devastating earthquake, but the nation put on a great tournament and Argentina, inspired by Maradona, justified "favourite" status. Eighty-six minutes of football magic from numerous world stars, including Diego Maradona, Gary Lineker, Michel Platini, Socrates, Rummenigge, Sanchez, Laudrup and many others. Michael Caine narrates this, the official FIFA coverage.
In Bed with an Elephant
This feature documentary provides a gripping retrospective of United States-Canada relationships through a study of successive presidents and prime ministers. Using archival film footage, it demonstrates that Canadian prime ministers, from John A. Macdonald down, all began their tenures by making overtures to their American counterparts. Attitudes and outcomes have varied widely. The almost comic antipathy between Kennedy and Diefenbaker, for instance, is as palpable here as is the folksy camaraderie of Reagan and Mulroney.
16 Days of Glory
The definitive photographic record of the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics, told "from the inside" through the lives of the participants, the words of David Perry, and the singing voice of Placido Domingo. From the opening to closing ceremonies, this unique style of storytelling shows a side of the Olympic Games not seen by television audiences.
A cross-cut of nearly 100 years of American movies. We see the most precious film sequences that we all remember: From Citizen Kane to Star Wars, from Some Like It Hot to E.T. The incredible short cuts of roughly a second each push the audience into a kind of trance and take them on a journey into their individual memories of great films of the 20th century. The film won an Oscar for Best Live Action Short Film.
X: The Unheard Music
A documentary about the band X. Includes live and studio performances and interviews with the band members.
Budapest Portrait (Memories of a City)
Peter Hutton’s essay on the naturalization of the urban landscape. Voluptuously gray, worn and lived in, the city is like a stage set for an invisible drama.
The Liberation of Auschwitz
This chilling, vitally important documentary was produced to mark the 40th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz Concentration Camp. The film contains unedited, previously unavailable film footage of Auschwitz shot by the Soviet military forces between January 27 and February 28, 1945 and includes an interview with Alexander Voronsov, the cameraman who shot the footage. The horrifying images include: survivors; camp visit by Soviet investigation commission; criminal experiments; forced laborers; evacuation of ill and weak prisoners with the aid of Russian and Polish volunteers; aerial photos of the IG Farben Works in Monowitz; and pictures of local people cleaning up the camp under Soviet supervision. - Written by National Center for Jewish Film
Bugs Bunny/Looney Tunes All-Star 50th Anniversary
Celebrities are interviewed about the social and working lives of Bugs, Daffy, Porky and the rest of the Looney Tunes.
...And the Pursuit of Happiness
In 1986, Louis Malle (himself a transplant to the United States) set out to investigate the ever-widening range of immigrant experience in America. Interviewing a variety of newcomers — from teachers to astronauts to doctors — in communities from coast to coast, Malle paints a humane portrait of their individual struggles in an increasingly polyglot nation.
Horowitz in Moscow
A recording of Horowitz's historic 1986 recital in Moscow, the program also includes highlights of his return to his native Soviet Union--his first visit in 61 years.
Secrets of the Titanic
Dr. Robert Ballard of Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute and his research team become the first undersea explorers to locate, photograph, and explore the wreckage of the ill-fated HMS Titanic, which sank on its maiden voyage 2 1/2 mile deep in the icy waters of the Atlantic in 1912, taking 1500 passengers and crew with it to a watery grave. Utilizing dazzling state-of-the art equipment and cutting edge expertise they record the decaying remains of the ocean liner once thought "unsinkable."
Down and Out in America
Three sectors of American society hit by recession in the mid-1980s: heartland farms, factory workers out of a job, and the new homeless. In Minnesota, 250 family farms are being repossesed each week; men and women talk about their farms, the nature of their bank loans, the onslaught of corporate farming, and their sorrow and despair. In cities where 3,500 jobs per day go overseas, unemployed workers contemplate their options. The newly homeless talk about the jobs they've lost, "Justice Ville" in Los Angeles (bulldozed by court order), and squatting in New York's abandoned buildings. A family living in a welfare hotel tells their story.
The Masters of Disaster
Documentary about an unlikely youth chess team from Indianapolis who went on surprise the chess world with their success. The team, made up of young African Americans with no previous experience and led by their devoted teacher, went on to win the United States elementary school chess championship.
The Making of Back to the Future
The Making of 'Back to the Future'
Ornette: Made in America
Shirley Clarke's frenetic documentary about multi-talented musician Ornette Coleman.
1986 FIA Formula One World Championship Season Review
A brilliant and determined Briton, Nigel Mansell, has a season-long battle, not only against the hard-charging Brazilian Ayrton Senna in the JPS Lotus but also Keke 'Ten-tenths' Rosberg and the reigning World Champion Alain Prost in the Marlboro McLarens as well as his Williams Judd Honda team-mate Nelson Piquet. Features all 16 races accompanied by the sharp wit and informed narrative of TV personality Clive James.
Scream Greats, Vol.2: Satanism and Witchcraft
Documentary tracks the rise of devil cults, witches and other elements of the "black arts."
Adjustment & Work
Wiseman enumerates the sights and sounds of Talladega, Alabama – the railroad tracks, quiet streets and homes, a few shops downtown – almost as if to list those things most of us might take for granted. Of the four films in this series, Adjustment & Work is the only one that focuses entirely on adults—specifically adults who have recently lost their sight (and hence are adjusting to this change) and those without sight or hearing who are learning skills in order to enter the workforce.
John Lennon: Live In New York City
August 30, 1972, John Lennon and Yoko Ono backed by The Plastic Ono Elephant's Memory Band, played a benefit concert to raise money for mentally handicapped children. It was their last concert together.
BLIND shows the educational programs and daily life of students in kindergarten through the 12th grade at the Alabama School for the Blind. The School is organized around the effort to educate blind and visually impaired students to be in charge of their own lives. Sequences in the film include mobility training, braille instruction and orientation as well as traditional classroom subjects such as English, history, science and music. Other sequences show psychological counseling sessions; vocational training; staff dealing with student disciplinary problems; and the wide variety of recreational and athletic programs.
Jean-Pierre Gorin interacts with a club of model railroad train enthusiasts and his mentor, artist/writer Manny Farber.
LSD: The Beyond Within
This refreshingly frank and impartial study of the discovery and development of the notorious hallucinogenic drug is notably free of moral judgmental, and features contributions from such legendary heroes of psychedelia as Albert Hoffman - the Swiss scientist who discovered the drug - Aldous Huxley - author of 'The Doors of Perception' - Ken Kesey - author of 'One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest.
Big Fun in the Big Town
New York, 1986: a city of big dreams and equally big problems. Like New York itself, hip-hop music encompassed both of these human conditions. But hip-hop and its cultural birthplace shared other important characteristics, too: the desire to always be original, a hustle-to-survive ambition, and — if the stars aligned — the ability to come out on top, no matter what the odds. Big Fun in the Big Town is about hip-hop when artistry in the game was still at its center. When skills, not hype, got you your first record deal. When Run-DMC took the reins from Doug E Fresh and Grandmaster Flash, paving the way for hundreds of other hitmakers to follow. When a chart-topping LL Cool J still lived with his Grandmother. When the Latin Quarter was the club to be at on any weekend night. And when artists from all backgrounds could taste their own pop chart dreams, just beyond their reach but still seemingly attainable.
Made In Ealing: The Story of Ealing Studios
Documentary about the British film studio. First appeared on the BBC television programme Omnibus.
Revolutionary French New Wave director Jean-Luc Godard conducts a twenty-five minute interview with influential and acclaimed American director Woody Allen on the cultural radiation, the ubiquity and significance of Television, and how Television compares with cinema as a medium and form of expression.
Debonair Dancers is a 1986 short American documentary film produced and directed by Alison Nigh-Strelich, and narrated by Jack Lemmon. It is about The Debonaire Special Dancers of Bakersfield, CA, a group started decades ago by John Soiu and continues today under the direction of Sheri Fortino. The group fosters social and life skills while stimulating creativity and confidence in the special needs students it serves. It was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Documentary Short.
Stephen King's World of Horror
A documentary about the works of novelist Stephen King and his influence on popular culture and his impact on horror film and novels. Includes celebrity guests John Carpenter, Clive Barker and Frank Darabont, plus a section on outrageous horror film promotions. Portions of this 45-minute TV special (released as is on VHS by Front Row Entertainment in 1988) were later used as bookmarking material for the This is Horror releases in 1989-90.
Chile: Hasta Cuando?
A portrait of a brutal Pinochet military dictatorship made during a three month visit to Chile in 1985 by David Bradbury. The footage reveals a country torn with civil strife and political unrest; military intimidation of the population; indiscriminate arrests: murder torture and disappearances were facts of Chilean life.