Best Documentary Movies of 2000


The Ballad of Big Al

A BBC documentary sequel to the acclaimed miniseries Walking with Dinosaurs, The Ballad of Big Al chronicles the life of one Allosaurus fragilis named Big Al.
Starring: Kenneth Branagh, Avery Brooks
Directed by: Kate Bartlett
Release date: 2000-12-27

The Endurance: Shackleton's Legendary Antarctic Expedition


Documentary on the Shackleton Antartic expedition. A retelling of Sir Ernest Shackleton's ill-fated expedition to Antarctica in and the crew of his vessel 'The Endurance', which was trapped in the ice floes and frigid open ocean of the Antarctic in 1914. Shackleton decided, with many of his crew injured and weak from exposure and starvation, to take a team of his fittest men and attempt to find help. Setting out in appalling conditions with hopelessly inadequate equipment, they endured all weather and terrain and finally reached safety. Persuading a local team of his confidence that the abandoned team would still be alive, he set out again to find them. After almost 2 years trapped on the ice, all members of the crew were finally rescued.

Starring: Liam Neeson, David Cale, Brian d'Arcy James, Julian Ayer
Directed by: George Butler
Release date: 2000-09-02

The American Nightmare

An examination into the nature of 1960's-70's horror films, the involved artists, and how they reflected contemporary society.
Starring: George A. Romero, John Carpenter, Tom Savini, David Cronenberg, Wes Craven
Directed by: Adam Simon
Release date: 2000-09-11

Lions: Spy in the Den

A nature documentary narrated by David Attenborough and published by BBC broadcasted as part of BBC Wildlife Specials in 2000. A motorised camera with state-of-the-art microphones disguised as a rock covered in leaves. It was invented specifically for this project of infiltrating a pride of lions to record their lives over a period of a couple of years.
Starring: David Attenborough
Release date: 2000-12-03

On the Edge of 'Blade Runner'


This is the rare UK Channel 4 documentary about Blade Runner, giving insights into it's history with interviews of Ridley Scott, the writers and nearly all the cast. Interviews with production staff, including Ridley, give details into the creative process and turmoil during preproduction. Stories from Paul M. Sammon and Fancher provide insight into Philip K. Dick and the origins of Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? Interweaved are cast interviews with the notable exceptions of Harrison Ford and Sean Young. Through these interviews we get a sense of how difficult and frustrating the film was to make as a result of an exacting director without allies and hot, wet, smoggy conditions; which added to the high pressure atmosphere everyone increasingly felt as the film went over budget. There is also a tour of some locations, most notably the Bradbury Building and the Warner Brothers backlot that was the LA 2019 streets, which look very different from Ridley's dark version.

Starring: Rutger Hauer, Philip K. Dick, Ridley Scott, Syd Mead, Joanna Cassidy
Directed by: Andrew Abbott
Release date: 2000-01-01

The Trouble with Marnie

This hour long documentary on the making of Alfred Hitchcock's "Marnie" incorporates the usual melange of contemporary interviews with surviving participants and liberal helpings of film clips and production shots. It also presents a nice selection of script pages and memos as well. In the former category we find cast members 'Tippi' Hedren, Diane Baker, and Louise Latham, rejected screenwriters Joseph Stefano and Evan Hunter, final screenwriter Jay Presson Allen, daughter Pat Hitchcock O'Connell, production designer Robert Boyle, makeup artist Howard Smit, unit manager Hilton Green, Hitchcock historian Robin Wood, composer Bernard Herrmann biographer Steven C. Smith, and Hitchcock fan/filmmaker Peter Bogdanovich. An entertaining account of the film's production, the participants offer loads of valuable information and anecdotes. Highly enjoyable for Hitchcock fans and the film's growing number of admirers.
Starring: Tippi Hedren, Diane Baker, Alfred Hitchcock, Sean Connery, Patricia Hitchcock
Directed by: Laurent Bouzereau
Release date: 2000-05-30

As I Was Moving Ahead Occasionally I Saw Brief Glimpses of Beauty


Director Jonas Mekas provides an intimate glimpse of his personal life by constructing a feature length narrative from over 30 years of private home movie footage.

Starring: Jane Brakhage, Stan Brakhage, Robert Breer, Hollis Frampton, Allen Ginsberg
Directed by: Jonas Mekas
Release date: 2000-07-19

Gimme Some Truth: The Making of John Lennon's 'Imagine' Album

An instant classic when released in September 1971, John Lennon's Imagine was the ex-Beatle's solo masterpiece, and its musical legacy is matched here by priceless footage of Lennon's creative process, independently edited from original 16-millimeter footage by producer-director Andrew Solt with the hands-off approval of Lennon's widow, Yoko Ono. Incorporating footage from John and Yoko's original film Imagine (clips of which were previously included in the 1988 documentary Imagine: John Lennon), Gimme Some Truth presents Lennon, Ono, coproducer Phil Spector, and a host of gifted musicians in a fluid context of conflict, community, and craftsmanship. Bearing witness to every stage of the recording process, this 63-minute documentary succeeds as a visual diary, a study of familiar music in its infancy, and a revealing portrait of the then-30-year-old Lennon--from witty clown to confrontational perfectionist--at the peak of his post-Fab Four inspiration.
Starring: John Lennon, Yoko Ono, George Harrison, Phil Spector
Directed by: Andrew Solt
Release date: 2000-04-11

That Moment: Magnolia Diary

A very in-depth documentary that follows the very over-worked director Paul Thomas Anderson through a gruelling 80+ days of shooting for the film Magnolia (1999), containing behind-the-scenes footage and interviews.
Starring: Paul Thomas Anderson, Philip Seymour Hoffman, William H. Macy, Julianne Moore, Fiona Apple
Directed by: Mark Rance
Release date: 2000-01-01

'Rear Window' Ethics: Remembering and Restoring a Hitchcock Classic

A documentary about Alfred Hitchcock's 'Rear Window'.
Starring: Patricia Hitchcock, Peter Bogdanovich, Herbert Coleman, Curtis Hanson, John W. Waxman
Directed by: Laurent Bouzereau
Release date: 2000-01-01

Freddie Mercury: The Untold Story

Freddie Mercury (1946-1991) was not just a man with one of the most pure and amazing voices this world has heard, but he was also the lead singer for Queen, the most enthusiastic rock band in history.
Starring: Freddie Mercury, Brian May, Roger Taylor, John Deacon, Montserrat Caballé
Directed by: Rudi Dolezal, Hannes Rossacher
Release date: 2000-12-08

The Mark of Cain

The Mark of Cain documents the fading art form and “language” of Russian criminal tattoos, formerly a forbidden topic in Russia. The now vanishing practice is seen as reflecting the transition of the broader Russian society. Filmed in some of Russia’s most notorious prisons, including the fabled White Swan, the interviews with prisoners, guards, and criminologists reveal the secret language of “The Zone” and “The Code of Thieves” (Vor v zakone).
Directed by: Alix Lambert
Release date: 2000-01-01

The Story Behind 'Toy Story'

The documentary short of Toy Story of why and how the feature length blockbuster sleeper movie became a success and helps to boost Pixar's popularity of making one of the few animation movie production companies in the world today, especially in North America.
Starring: Corey Burton, Tom Hanks, John Lasseter, Tim Allen, Pete Docter
Release date: 2000-11-14

Peter Jennings Reporting The Search for Jesus

A serious news documentary examining the authenticity of the events in the life of Jesus
Starring: Peter Jennings
Release date: 2000-12-31

Destination Hitchcock: The Making of 'North by Northwest'

A documentary directed by Peter Fitzgerald.
Starring: Eva Marie Saint, Patricia Hitchcock, Ernest Lehman, Robert F. Boyle, Martin Landau
Directed by: Peter Fitzgerald
Release date: 2000-01-01

A Constant Forge

One of the great mavericks of cinema, John Cassavetes has earned a reputation as the godfather of American independent movies. The actor-turned-filmmaker invented a realist style of unadorned narrative films heavily influenced by documentaries. This in-depth analysis of Cassavetes' life and work features interviews with key collaborators and ensemble regulars, and explores the making of classics like "The Killing of a Chinese Bookie," "Opening Night" and "A Woman Under the Influence."
Starring: Seymour Cassel, Carol Kane, Jon Voight, Ben Gazzara, Peter Falk
Directed by: Charles Kiselyak
Release date: 2000-01-01

Blossoms of Fire

Blossoms of Fire is a dazzling, whirling dance of a film that celebrates the extraordinary lives of the Isthmus Zapotecs of southern Oaxaca, Mexico, whose strong work ethic and fierce independent streak rooted in their culture, have resulted not only in powerful women but also in the region's progressive politics and their unusual tolerance of alternative gender roles. Written by Maureen Gosling
Directed by: Ellen Osborne, Maureen Gosling
Release date: 2000-04-25

The Making of 'The Man Who Knew Too Much'

The making of Alfred Hitchcock's 1956 film 'The Man Who Knew Too Much'.
Starring: Alfred Hitchcock, James Stewart, Doris Day
Directed by: Laurent Bouzereau
Release date: 2000-04-01

The Alcohol Years

Carol Morley returns to Manchester, where in the early 1980s, five years of her life were lost in an alcoholic blur. The Alcohol Years is a poetic retrieval of that time, in which rediscovered friends and acquaintances recount tales of her drunken and promiscuous behavior. In Morley’s search for her lost self, conflicting memories and viewpoints weave in and out, revealing a portrait of the city, its pop culture, and the people who lived it.
Starring: Carol Morley, Tony Wilson, Bruce Mitchell, Vini Reilly, Dave Haslam
Directed by: Carol Morley
Release date: 2000-01-01

Naked States

Naked States is a humorous and provocative examination of one artist's dynamic work and its relevance within the cultural biography of America, documenting one man's journey as he traveled each of the 50 states to ask Americans of all races, shapes and body sizes to take off their clothes and pose in public, before his camera all for the sake of art. Artist Spencer Tunick's subjects are not paid models, but ordinary citizens. The film exposes America's current attitudes towards nudity, sexuality, body image, and all the other baggage that comes up when we take off our clothes.
Starring: Spencer Tunick, Ron Kuby, Trey Anastasio
Release date: 2000-10-25

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