Best Documentary Movies of 1996
When We Were Kings
It's 1974. Muhammad Ali is 32 and thought by many to be past his prime. George Foreman is ten years younger and the heavyweight champion of the world. Promoter Don King wants to make a name for himself and offers both fighters five million dollars apiece to fight one another, and when they accept, King has only to come up with the money. He finds a willing backer in Mobutu Sese Suko, the dictator of Zaire, and the "Rumble in the Jungle" is set, including a musical festival featuring some of America's top black performers, like James Brown and B.B. King.
Paradise Lost: The Child Murders at Robin Hood Hills
A horrific triple child murder leads to an indictment and trial of three nonconformist boys based on questionable evidence.
George Carlin: Back in Town
Back in Town is George Carlin's ninth HBO special. It was also released on CD on September 17, 1996. This was also his first of many performances at the Beacon Theater in New York City. He rants about Abortion, The death penalty, prison farms, fart jokes, free floating hostility and words.
Triumph of the Nerds: The Rise of Accidental Empires
It happened more or less by accident; the people who made it happen were amateurs; and for the most part they still are. From his own Silicon Valley garage, author Bob Cringley puts PC bigshots and nerds on the spot, and tells their incredible true stories. Like the industry itself, the series is informative, funny and brash.
The Celluloid Closet
This documentary highlights the historical contexts that gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender individuals have occupied in cinema history, and shows the evolution of the entertainment industry's role in shaping perceptions of LGBT figures. The issues addressed include secrecy – which initially defined homosexuality – as well as the demonization of the homosexual community with the advent of AIDS, and finally the shift toward acceptance and positivity in the modern era.
Oingo Boingo: Farewell (Live from the Universal Amphitheatre)
Oingo Boingo's Farewell Concert at the Universal Amphitheatre
This documentary examines the Seattle scene as it became the focus of a merging of punk rock, heavy metal, and innovation. Building from the grass roots, self-promoted and self-recorded until break-out success of bands like Nirvana brought the record industry to the Pacific Northwest, a phenomenon was born.
The Many Faces of Christopher Lee
Christopher Lee talks about his film career, while showing clips from some of his best films.
Alice In Chains: MTV Unplugged
Alice in Chains returned to the popular music eye with this live, acoustic performance in New York on 10th April, 1996. After an absence from the stage of three years the band performed a 13-song set, including 'Heaven Beside You', 'Rooster' and 'Would?'.
Riverdance: The New Show
Riverdance Show is a cultural phenomenon that defies criticism for the enthusiastic and leaves everyone else scratching their heads. The wonderfully talented cast, headed by the Riverdance Irish Dance Company, bewitchingly spins (and stomps) its Celtic folk choreography featuring numerous breathless solos by Michael Flatley (since departed) and Jean Butler. The mellifluous Riverdance Orchestra boasts Davy Spillane, who coaxes plaintive lamentations out of a peculiar instrument that resembles a bagpipe in a metal leg brace. For Enya fans, there is the sound-alike choral group Anuna, who casts a similarly New Age-style vocal spell. Also thrown into the mix are such disparate folk traditions as American gospel and Spanish flamenco. Though it's only 70 minutes long, Riverdance is repetitive by half. But judging from the ecstatic audience ovations and the continued foot-stomping during and after the curtain calls, too much is still not enough.