Best Documentary Movies of 1999


Buena Vista Social Club


In this fascinating Oscar-nominated documentary, American guitarist Ry Cooder brings together a group of legendary Cuban folk musicians (some in their 90s) to record a Grammy-winning CD in their native city of Havana. The result is a spectacular compilation of concert footage from the group's gigs in Amsterdam and New York City's famed Carnegie Hall, with director Wim Wenders capturing not only the music -- but also the musicians' life stories.

Starring: Compay Segundo, Eliades Ochoa, Ry Cooder, Joachim Cooder, Ibrahim Ferrer
Directed by: Wim Wenders
Release date: 1999-02-17

American Movie


American Movie is the story of filmmaker Mark Borchardt, his mission, and his dream. Spanning over two years of intense struggle with his film, his family, financial decline, and spiritual crisis, American Movie is a portrayal of ambition, obsession, excess, and one man's quest for the American Dream.

Starring: Mark Borchardt, Mike Schank, Tom Schimmels, Monica Borchardt, Alex Borchardt
Directed by: Chris Smith
Release date: 1999-11-05

Beyond the Mat


Beyond the Mat is a 1999 professional wrestling documentary, directed by Barry W. Blaustein. The movie focuses on the lives of professional wrestlers outside of the ring, especially Mick Foley, Terry Funk, and Jake Roberts. The film heavily focuses on the World Wrestling Federation (WWF), often criticizing it and its chairman Vince McMahon. It also follows Extreme Championship Wrestling, it's rise in popularity, and many other independent wrestlers and organisations.

Starring: Mick Foley, Terry Funk, Vince McMahon, Jake Roberts, Jesse Ventura
Directed by: Barry W. Blaustein
Release date: 1999-10-22

Mr. Death: The Rise and Fall of Fred A. Leuchter, Jr.


Mr. Death: The Rise and Fall of Fred A. Leuchter, Jr. is a 1999 documentary film by Errol Morris about execution technician Fred A. Leuchter.

Starring: Fred A. Leuchter Jr., Robert Jan Van Pelt, David Irving, Caroline Leuchter
Directed by: Errol Morris
Release date: 1999-12-29

Eric Clapton & Friends in Concert: A Benefit for the Crossroads Centre at Antigua


In Concert: A Benefit for the Crossroads Centre at Antigua is a live concert film featuring performances by the British rock musician Eric Clapton and invited friends, such as David Sanborn, Sheryl Crow, Mary J. Blige and Bob Dylan.[citation needed] The DVD and VHS releases hit the market on 26 October 1999 under license of Warner Bros. Records. The concert tickets revenue was donated to the Crossroads Centre Foundation. It was the first Crossroads Guitar Festival, although titled differently at the time.[1] The release reached various national charts and sold more than 225,000 copies worldwide.

Starring: Eric Clapton, Bob Dylan, Sheryl Crow, David Sanborn, Mary J. Blige
Directed by: Joel Gallen
Release date: 1999-10-26



Marijuana is the most controversial drug of the 20th Century. Smoked by generations to little discernible ill effect, it continues to be reviled by many governments on Earth. In this Genie Award-winning documentary veteran Canadian director Ron Mann and narrator Woody Harrelson mix humour and historical footage together to recount how the United States has demonized a relatively harmless drug.

Starring: Woody Harrelson, Chevy Chase
Directed by: Ron Mann
Release date: 1999-09-15

Classic Albums: The Who - Who's Next

In this 1999 documentary, Pete Townshend, Roger Daltrey and John Entwistle discuss the making of what many consider the Who's greatest testament to Townshend's songwriting talent: their classic album "Who's Next." Others close to the group weigh in with insights about the late Keith Moon's importance to the band. The retrospective also features unseen performances of tunes from the platter, including "Won't Get Fooled Again" and "Baba O'Riley."
Starring: Pete Townshend, Roger Daltrey, John Entwistle, Keith Moon
Directed by: Bob Smeaton
Release date: 1999-10-21

Instrument: Ten Years with the Band Fugazi

Shot from 1987 through 1998 on super 8, 16mm and video, Instrument is composed mainly of footage of concerts, interviews with the band members, practices, tours and time spent in the studio recording their 1995 album, Red Medicine. The film also includes portraits of fans as well as interviews with them at various Fugazi shows around the United States throughout the years.
Starring: Ian MacKaye, Brendan Canty, Joe Lally, Guy Picciotto
Directed by: Jem Cohen
Release date: 1999-03-01

Jackie Chan: My Stunts

Jackie Chan : My Stunts shows some of the tricks of the trade that Jackie and his stunt team utilize to perform their stunts. This is not an endless gag reel of stunts gone wrong, but an in depth look at how timing and camera placement can make or break a shot. Jackie will show you what is done to enhance fights and protect the stuntmen from getting injured. Of course, if the character you are portraying is wearing shorts and a tank top, you just have to get hurt!
Starring: Jackie Chan, Yuen Biao, Ken Lo, Mars, Nicky Li Chung-Chi
Directed by: Jackie Chan
Release date: 1999-03-30

A Fleeting Passage to the Orient

Images of Egypt: prolonged tracking shots through the streets of Cairo, cafes, bazars, hotels and gardens, footage of the desert and the sea. Ruth Beckermann is on the trail of Empress Elisabeth of Austria ("Sissi"), who travelled the world restlessly and was in Egypt incognito one hundred years earlier. Since Elisabeth refused to be photographed after the age of 31, she inspires projections and fantasies.
Directed by: Ruth Beckermann
Release date: 1999-10-10

IMAX: Galapagos 3D

Retrace the groundbreaking footsteps of Charles Darwin with a young scientist as she explores the biological diversity and unique geologic history of the Galapagos archipelago. Using the magic of IMAX® and IMAX® 3D technology, plunge 3,000 feet into underground lava tubes, soar over the peaks of 5,000 foot volcanoes and encounter an abundance of marine life.
Starring: Kenneth Branagh, Carole Baldwin, John E. McCosker, David Pawson, Mathias Espinosa
Directed by: David Clark, Al Giddings
Release date: 1999-10-27

The Road to Dracula

A documentary from Universal about the movie Dracula (1931) starring Bela Lugosi.
Starring: Carla Laemmle, Clive Barker, Bob Madison, David J. Skal, Ivan Butler
Directed by: David J. Skal
Release date: 1999-12-21

She's Alive! Creating the Bride of Frankenstein

Documentary about the making of 1935's "Bride of Frankenstein."
Starring: Joe Dante, Rick Baker, Clive Barker, Christopher Bram, Bill Condon
Directed by: David J. Skal
Release date: 1999-01-01

Monster by Moonlight! The Immortal Saga of The Wolf Man

Starting with The Wolf Man (in 1941), Universal Studios made five movies featuring The Wolf Man, a character portrayed by Lon Chaney, Jr. Monster by Moonlight! explores these movies. Rick Baker explains how the make-up was done on Chaney's character. Screenwriter Curtis Siodmak took very little from earlier werewolf legends, providing his own story for some of the films. This documentary displays clips from several other movies, including Abbott & Costello Meet Frankenstein (1948) and House of Dracula (1945).
Starring: Rick Baker, John Landis, Curt Siodmak
Directed by: David J. Skal
Release date: 1999-01-01

Classic Albums: Phil Collins - Face Value

A rare and welcome insight into Phil Collins' prodigious musical talent and the fascinating story of his first solo record. Collins first enjoyed international success as the drummer of Genesis and then as lead singer after Peter Gabriel left the band. In 1981, however, Face Value launched him as a solo artist and remains, in many ways, his most exciting and unusual music offering. Face Value was immediately a worldwide hit, entering the British charts at Number 1, spending almost six years in the Top 75, and selling in excess of 12 million copies. The album went on to make the U.S. Top 10, earning a gold record. This documentary includes several previously unseen performances, as well as rare home movies, unique photographs and documents from Phil's own private archives, and insights into the music from an eclectic range of musicians who worked on the album.
Starring: Tony Banks, Phil Collins, Mike Rutherford, Ahmet Ertegun, Arif Mardin
Directed by: Jeremy Marre
Release date: 1999-10-21

Black Sabbath: The Last Supper

Filmed live during Black Sabbath's 1999 "Reunion" tour, this historic concert features the original lineup of the legendary metal band
Release date: 1999-01-01

Hitchcock, Selznick and the End of Hollywood

Paying homage to two of Hollywood's central icons, the film creates an unparalleled portrait of two very different personalities amidst the demise of the studio system.
Starring: David O. Selznick, Alfred Hitchcock, Gene Hackman, Peter Bogdanovich, Ingrid Bergman
Directed by: Michael Epstein
Release date: 1999-01-23

The Frankenstein Files: How Hollywood Made a Monster

The history of Frankenstein's journey from novel to stage to screen to icon
Starring: Rick Baker, Rudy Behlmer, Ivan Butler, Bill Condon, Dwight David Frye
Directed by: David J. Skal
Release date: 1999-01-01

The James Bond Story

Bond... James Bond! Perhaps the greatest fictional cinema icon ever. He first appeared on the big screen in 1962 in Dr. No and has remained the most powerful action hero ever since. The secret to his success is his adaptability. No matter what tight spots he finds himself in, he always appears to be suave, sophisticated and cool. This is the full story -- from the creation of the character, the men who played him, all the toys, and all the women. Everything you wanted to know about James Bond... and more.
Starring: Sean Connery, Roger Moore, Pierce Brosnan
Release date: 1999-10-09

The Alien Legacy

A behind the scenes look at the making of 'Alien'
Starring: Sigourney Weaver, Ridley Scott, H.R. Giger, Ron Cobb
Directed by: Michael Matessino
Release date: 1999-01-01

Also check Best documentary movies of 1998.

Check out our top containing the Best Documentary Movies of 1999. This top was obtained with our unique algorithm ordered by our unique ranking system.