Reel Life Stories: Documentary Film and Video Collections
in the UC Berkeley Library's Media Resources Center
Best Documentary Features
2002 - Bowling for Columbine
Directed by Michael Moore
Famed documentarian and left-wing political humorist Michael Moore tackles the issue of America's unique obsession with firearms. Taking off from the Columbine High School massacre in April 1999, Moore visits a Michigan bank that gives new customers a free gun, marshals statistics for gun deaths in the U.S. and interviews subjects as diverse as National Rifle Association spokesman Charlton Heston and shock rocker Marilyn Manson. MRC call number: On Order
2001 - Murder on a Sunday Morning
Directed by: Lestrade, Denis Poncet
2000 - Into the Arms of Strangers: Stories of the Kindertransport
Written and directed by Mark Jonathan Harris; produced by Deborah Oppenheimer.
A documentary on the Kindertransport rescue operation in which 10,000 Jewish children were saved from Hitler's grasp and placed with foster parents and hostels in Great Britain at the outbreak of World War II. Includes archival footage and decades-later remembrances of both the rescuers and the rescued.
MRC call number: DVD 1042
1999 - One Day in September
Directed by Kevin MacDonald; produced by Arthur Cohn, John Battsek.
Presents the shocking true story of the brutal massacre of 11 Israeli athletes by a team of extreme Palestinian terrorists during the 1972 Olympics in Munich, Germany. Chronicles events from terrorist training in Libya to the terrorists sneaking into the Olympic Village to the tension-filled negotiations to the shocking conclusion at a German airport. Told with actual video shot during the crisis and interviews with those who took part (including the only surviving member of the Black September group). MRC call number: DVD 1040
1998 - The Last Days
Directed and edited by James Moll June; producers: June Beallor, Ken Lipper.
Traces the compelling experiences of five Hungarian holocaust survivors. Including newly-discovered historical footage and a rare interview with a former Nazi doctor at Auschwitz, the film tells the remarkable story of a grandmother, a teacher, a businessman, an artist and a U.S. Congressman, as they return from the U.S. to their hometowns and to the ghettos and concentration camps in which they were imprisoned. MRC call number: VIDEO/C 6458
1997 - The Long Way Home
Written and directed by Mark Jonathan Harris; produced by Marvin Hier, Richard Trank.
Discusses the critical post World War II period between 1945 and 1948 and the plight of the tens of thousands of Jewish refugees who survived the Holocaust. The documentary looks at their attempts to get to the Jewish homeland (often illegally) and the formation of a Jewish state, Israel. Combining rare archival film and stills with new interviews, this film interweaves historical narrative with stories, anecdotes and recollections of Jewish refugees. MRC call number: VIDEO/C 4954
1996 - When We Were KingsDirected by Leon Gast; produced by Leon Gast, David David Sonenberg, Taylor Hackford.
In 1974, Muhammad Ali made what some thought would be his last title bid to regain the heavyweight boxing championship, stripped from him years before. Fight promoters offered him five million dollars to come to Zaire to fight George Foreman, a young and seemingly unbeatable opponent. Then, as the world watched, Ali took center ring, pulling off a stunning upset. MRC call number: VIDEO/C 6041
1995 - Anne Frank Remembered
Written, directed, and produced by Jon Blair.
This film includes interviews with Anne Frank's surviving family, friends and her heroic protector, Miep Gies and features vintage newsreels, photographs and even a rare home movie to look beyond the celebrated pages of Anne's diary. MRC call number: VIDEO/C 4554
1994 - Maya Lin: A Strong Clear Vision
Director, producer, writer, Freida Lee Mock.
Portrays the career of Maya Lin as an architect/artist as told by her and others, with special focus on the design and emotional impact of the Vietnam Veterans and Civil Rights Memorials. MRC call number: VIDEO/C 4359
1993 - I Am a Promise: The Children of Stanton Elementary School
Directed by Susan Raymond; produced by Alan Raymond, Susan Raymond.
A documentary about the 725 Headstart to 5th graders at the Stanton Elementary School in North Philadelphia. Stanton is a Chapter One school which receives federal funding because of the poverty in this area. Principal Deanna Bernie does her best to give these children the same quality education that more fortunate children have. Includes disciplinary methods, experimental classes, and information about the home lives of some of the children in this inner city environment. MRC call number: VIDEO/C 6998
1992 - The Panama Deception
Directed by Barbara Trent; produced by Barbara Trent, Joanne Doroshow, Nico Panigutti, David Kasper
Presents an alternative view of the invasion of Panama by the U.S. military that was not given by the American media. MRC call number: VIDEO/C 6998
1991 - In the Shadow of the Stars
Directed, edited, and produced by Allie Light and and Irving Saraf.
A behind-the-scenes look at the lesser known choristers of the San Francisco Opera Company, many of whom aspire to become soloists and stars. The film lovingly explores the blurred boundary between private lives and stage spectacles, and creates a rare and privileged look into the world of grand opera. MRC call number: VIDEO/C 8612
1990 - American Dream
Directed by Barbara Kopple; produced by Arthur Cohn, Barbara Kopple.
The true-life story of a workers' strike against Geo. A. Hormel & Company in Austin, Minnesota is documented from beginning to end. When Geo. A. Hormel & Company made $2 million in profits and then cut their worker's salaries by $2 an hour each, the workers had only one option: Go out on strike. MRC call number: VIDEO/C 2268
1989 - Common Threads: Stories From the Quilt
Directed by Robert Epstein, Jeffrey Friedman; produced by Bill Couturie, Robert Epstein.
The story of the AIDS Memorial Quilt established by the San Francisco NAMES Project Foundation in 1987 to commemorate the lives lost to AIDS. From the thousands memorialized in the quilt, profiles five individuals--including a recovered IV drug user, a former Olympic decathlon star and a boy with hemophilia--whose stories reflect the diversity and common tragedy of those who have died from AIDS. Celebrates their unique personalities and achievements, interweaving these personal histories with a chronology of the epidemic's development and the negligence of the government. MRC call number: VIDEO/C 1774
1988 - Hotel Terminus: The Life and Times of Klaus Barbie
Directed and produced Marcel Ophüls.
Klaus Barbie was a Nazi war criminal who escaped and remained hidden for 40 years. This film traces the 40-year hunt for Barbie which ended when he was brought to trial in 1987. MRC call number: VIDEO/C 1558
1987 - The Ten-Year Lunch: The Wit and Legend of the Algonquin Round Table
Directed and produced by Aviva Slesin.
From 1919 to 1929 in New York City's Algonquin Hotel, a group of poets, novelists, playwrites, critics, humorists and editors met each day to exchange opinions, gossip and the most cutting wit of the day. MRC call number: VIDEO/C 1827
1986 - Artie Shaw: Time Is All You've Got
Produced by Brigitte Berman
1986 - Down and Out In America
Directed by Lee Grant; produced by Joseph Feury, Milton Justice
We live in a country that prides itself on the opportunities available to all. This film takes a hard look at the farmers who can't hold on to their land, the homeless and the 20 million Americans who still don't have enough to eat, and asks how long can we ignore the nightmare of poverty. MRC call number: VIDEO/C 3128
1985 - Broken Rainbow
Directed by Victoria Mudd, Thom Tyson; produced by Maria Florio, Victoria Mudd.
A documentary about the relocation of ten thousand Navaho Indians from their hogans in northern Arizona to tract homes in towns some distance away because the land allegedly belongs to the Hopi. Looks at efforts to mediate the land dispute. MRC call number: VIDEO/C 2152
1984 - The Times of Harvey Milk
Directed by Robert Epstein; produced by Richard Schmiechen, Robert Epstein.
Documentary on the life of Harvey Milk, the gay San Francisco Supervisor who was killed with Mayor George Moscone on Nov. 27, 1978. MRC call number: VIDEO/C 1009
1983 - He Makes Me Feel Like Dancin'
Produced by Emile Ardolino.
Jacques d'Amboise, principal dancer of the New York City Ballet, teaches children dance during school hours in fourteen schools in the metropolitan area. Tells the story of the children's experiences, from auditions, through the teaching process, culminating in an event at Madison Square Garden in which 1,000 children participate and celebrities perform with them. MRC call number: VIDEO/C 751
1982 - Just Another Missing Kid
Produced by John Zaritsky
1981 - Genocide
Produced by Marvin Hier, Arnold Schwartzman
1980 - From Mao to Mozart: Isaac Stern in China
Directed and produced by: Murray Lerner.
Documentary film taken during the 1979 trip by Isaac Stern and his family to China, where he was invited by the government to perform and teach the techniques of Mozart to Chinese musicians. MRC call number: VIDEO/C 2146
1979 - Best Boy
Directed and produced by Ira Wohl.
Film about a fifty-two-year-old, mentally retarded Phillip Wohl and how filmmaker Ira Wohl, his cousin, helped him gain a degree of independence when his parents could no longer shelter him. MRC call number: VIDEO/C 773
1978 - Scared Straight!
Produced by Arnold Shapiro
1977 - Who are the DeBolts? And Where Did They Get Nineteen Kids?
Produced by John Korty, Warren Lockhart, Dan McCann.
An authentic and sensitive portrait of an extraordinary family. Most of the children are very special adopted kids: white, yellow, and black, and physically handicapped or victims of war and catastrophe. Dealing with the most fundamental issues of love, courage, finding one's identity, and becoming a whole person, the film gives us a magnificent demonstration of what human beings can accomplish. It helps us define our own relationships and see the human being behind those who are different from ourselves. Irresistibly uplifting, raucously happy, extremely funny. MRC call number: Video/C 9401
1976 - Harlan County, U. S. A.
Directed and produced by Barbara Kopple.
A docu-drama of the 1973 Kentucky coal miner's strike against the operators of the Brookside mine and the Duke Power Company which resulted from the company's refusal to honor the union's national contract with the United Mine Workers of America. MRC call number: VIDEO/C 999:509
1975 - The Man Who Skied Down Everest
Produced by F. Crawley, James Hager, Dale Hartleben
1974 - Hearts and Minds
Directed by Peter Davis; produced by Peter Davis, Bert Schneider.
Examines the American consciousness that led to involvement in Vietnam. Includes interviews with General William Westmoreland, Robert Kennedy, former Secretary of Defense Clark Clifford, Senator William Fulbright, Walt Rostow, and Daniel Ellsberg as well as American Vietnam veterans and Vietnamese leaders. Presidents Eisenhower, Truman, Kennedy, Johnson and Nixon are show in rare footage. MRC call number: DVD 1184
1993 - The Great American Cowboy Produced by Kieth Merrill
1972 - Marjoe
Produced by Sarah Kernochan, Howard Smith
1971 - The Hellstrom Chronicle
Produced by Walon Green
1970 - Woodstock
Directed by Michael Wadleigh; produced by Bob Maurice.
This documentary film captures the unique communal experience and many of the performances of the most famous of outdoor rock concerts performed during three days at Bethel, New York. MRC call number: DVD 452
1969 - Arthur Rubinstein - The Love of Life
Produced by Bernard Chevry
1968 - Journey into Self
Produced by Bill McGaw
1967 - The Anderson Platoon
Produced by Pierre Schoendoerffer.
Follows the "Anderson Platoon," a racially integrated combat unit, for six weeks during the Vietnam War, as the soldiers eat, sleep, fight, gamble, pray and die together. MRC call number: VIDEO/C 3507
1966 - The War Game
Directed, written, and produced by Peter Watkins.
A dramatization of the possible effects of nuclear warfare on Great Britain. Explores the physical damage effects, the psychological effects on the survivors, the societal logic for the existence of nuclear arms, and the attempts to understand how the balance of power keeps atomic weapons in check. MRC call number: VIDEO/C 3971
1965 - The Eleanor Roosevelt Story
Produced by Sidney Glazier
1964 - Jacques-Yves Cousteau's World Without Sun
Produced by Jacques-Yves Cousteau
1963 - >Robert Frost: A Lover's Quarrel With the World
Produced by Robert Hughes
1962 - Black Fox
Produced by Louis Stoumen
1961 = Le Ciel et la Boue
Produced by Arthur Cohn, René Lafuite
1960 - The Horse Flying Tail
>produced by Larry Lansburgh
1959 - Serengeti Shall Not Die
Produced by Bernhard Grzimek
1958 - White Wilderness
Produced by Ben Sharpsteen
1957 - Albert Schweitzer
1956 - The Silent World
Produced by Jacques-Yves Cousteau
1955 - Helen Keller in Her Story
Produced by Nancy Hamilton
1954 - Vanishing Prairie
Produced by Walt Disney
1953 - The Living Desert
produced by Walt Disney
1952 - The Sea Around Us
Produced by Irwin Allen
1951 - Kon-Tiki
Produced by Olle Nordemar
1950 - The Titan: Story of Michelangelo
Produced by Robert Snyder
1949 - Daybreak in Udi
Produced by Crown Film Unit
1948 - The Secret Land
Produced by O. Dull
1947 - Design for Death
Produced by Richard Fleischer, Theron Warth, Sid Rogell
1945 - The True Glory
Directed by Garson Kanin, Carol Reed
1944 - The Fighting Lady
Directed by Louis De Rochemont; produced by 20th Century Fox, U. S. Navy
1943 - Desert Victory
Directed by director, Roy Boulting; produced by British Ministry of Information.
Documents the World War II British campaign in North Africa with the final victory at El Alamein and the triumphant advance across the desert to Tripoli. MRC call number: VIDEO/C 5027
1942 - Battle of Midway
Directed by John Ford; produced by 20th Century Fox, U. S. Navy.
Documentary on the Battle of Midway including footage of naval and aerial operations. MRC call number: VIDEO/C 7627
1942 - Kokoda Front Line
Produced by Australian News and Information Bureau
1942 - Moscow Strikes Back
Directed by Artkino
1942 - Prelude To War
Directed and produced by Frank Capra for U. S. Army Special Services
Reviews events from 1933 to 1939, including the Japanese conquest of Manchuria, the Italian conquest of Ethiopia, and the rise of Hitler. Also discusses the Axis plan of World conquest.
MRC call number: DVD 37
1941 - Churchill's Island
Produced by Canadian Film Board, United Artists
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