Saturday, January 31, 2009

MASTER LIST #4: The 101 Greatest Documentaries

Based on quality and influence, the results are:

1) Salesman (Albert and David Maysles and Charlotte Zwerin, 1968)
2) Best Boy (Ira Wohl, 1979)
3) The “Up” series (Michael Apted, 63-2005)
4) Sherman’s March (Ross McElwee, 86)
5) Gimme Shelter (Albert and David Maysles and Charlotte Zwerin, 70)
6) Monterey Pop (D.A. Pennebaker, 68)
7) Titicut Follies (Frederick Wiseman, 67)
8) Man With A Movie Camera (Dziga Vertov, 29)
9) The Sorrow and the Pity (Marcel Ophuls, 72)
10) Primary (Robert Drew, 60)
11) Crumb (Terry Zwigoff, 94)
12) Stop Making Sense (Jonathan Demme and Talking Heads, 85)
13) Point of Order! (Emile De Antonio, 64)
14) Burden of Dreams (Les Blank, 82)
15) The Thin Blue Line (Errol Morris, 88)
16) Streetwise (Martin Bell, 84)
17) Capturing the Friedmans (Andrew Jarecki, 2003)
18) Grey Gardens (Albert and David Maysles, 75)
19) Roger and Me (Michael Moore, 89)
20) Woodstock (Michael Wadleigh, 70)
21) The Last Waltz (Martin Scorsese, 78)
22) Harlan County USA (Barbara Kopple, 76)
23) Time Indefinite (Ross McElwee, 93)
24) The Times of Harvey Milk (Robert Epstein, 85)
25) The Gods of Times Square (Richard Sandler, 99)
26) Don’t Look Back (D.A. Pennebaker, 67)
27) Silverlake Life: The View From Here (Peter Friedman and Tom Joslin, 93)
28) Waco: The Rules of Engagement (William Gazecki, 97)
29) Olympia (Leni Riefenstahl, 38)
30) American Dream (Barbara Kopple, 90)
31) On The Bowery (Lionel Regosin, 56)
32) Gates of Heaven (Errol Morris, 78)
33) Vernon, Florida (Errol Morris, 82)
34) Koyanniquatsi (Godfrey Reggio, 82)
35) American Movie (Chris Smith, 99)
36) And I Will Not Leave You Until I Die (Maciaj Ademek, 2000)
37) The War Game (Peter Watkin, 65)
38) Grizzly Man (Werner Herzog, 2005)
39) The Paradise Lost series (Joe Berlinger & Bruce Sinofsky, 1996-2011)
40) Inside Job (Charles Ferguson, 2010)
41) The “Why We Fight” series (Frank Capra, Anatole Litvak, John Huston, et al, 43-45)
42) Marjoe (Sarah Kernochan and Howard Smith, 72)
43) Crisis (Robert Drew, 63)
44) No End in Sight (Charles Ferguson, 2007)
45) The Endless Summer (Bruce Brown, 66)
46) Maxed Out: Hard Times, Easy Credit and the Era of Predatory Lenders (James D. Scurlock, 2006)
47) Sicko (Michael Moore, 2007)
48) Los Angeles Plays Itself (Thom Andersen, 2003)
49) For All Mankind (Al Reinart, 89)
50) Bowling for Columbine (Michael Moore, 2002)
51) Jazz on a Summer’s Day (Aram Avakian and Bert Stern, 60)
52) Heavy Metal Parking Lot (Jeff Krulik, 86)
53) Triumph of the Will (Leni Riefenstahl, 35)
54) Hotel Terminus: The Life and Times of Klaus Barbie (Marcel Ophuls, 84)
55) The Fog of War (Errol Morris, 2003)
56) Let’s Get Lost (Bruce Webber, 88)
57) Nanook of the North (Robert Flaherty, 22)
58) Visions of Light (Arnold Glassman, Todd McCarthy, Stuart Samuels, 92)
59) Broadway: The Golden Age (Rick McKay, 2002)
60) Unprecedented: The 2000 Presidential Election (Richard Ray Perez & Joan Sekler, 2002)
61) Hearts and Minds (Peter Davis, 74)
62) No Direction Home: Bob Dylan (Martin Scorsese, 2005)
63) Sound and Fury (Josh Aronson, 2000)
64) Manufacturing Consent: Noam Chomsky and the Media (Mark Achbar & Peter Wintonick, 93)
65) Hoop Dreams (Steve James, 94)
66) Murder on a Sunday Morning (Jean-Xavier de Lestrade, 2001)
67) Thelonious Monk: Straight, No Chaser (Charlotte Zwerin, 90)
68) Scared Straight (Arnold Shapiro, 78)
69) Christo: Islands (Albert and David Maysles and Charlotte Zwerin, 87)
70) Microcosmos (Claude Nuridsany & Marie Pérennou, 96)
71) King: A Filmed Record…Montgomery to Memphis (Sidney Lumet and Joseph L. Mankiewicz, 70)
72) Four Days in November (Mel Stuart, 64)
73) The Wonderful, Horrible Life of Leni Riefenstahl (Ray Muller, 93)
74) Frank Lloyd Wright (Ken Burns, 98)
75) The Decline of the Western Civilization (Penelope Spheeris, 81)
76) General Idi Amin Dada (Barbet Schroeder, 74)
77) Hearts of Darkness: A Filmmaker's Apocalypse (Fax Bahr, George Hickenlooper & Eleanor Coppola, 91)
78) Painters Painting (Emile De Antonio, 73)
79) When The Levees Broke: A Requiem in Four Acts (Spike Lee, 2006)
80) Interviews with My Lai Veterans (Joseph Strick, 1971)
81) High School (Frederick Wiseman, 68)
82) Encounters at the End of the World (Werner Herzog, 2007)
83) What's Happening! The Beatles in the U.S.A. (Albert & David Maysles, 64)
84) When We Were Kings (Leon Gast, 97)
85) Champion Blues (Althea Rogers, 2002)
86) One Day in September (Kevin MacDonald, 99)
87) In the Realm of the Unreal (Jessica Yu, 2004)
88) Mr. Death: The Rise and Fall of Fred A. Leuchter, Jr. (Errol Morris, 99)
89) Festival (Murray Lerner, 67)
90) The Corporation (Mark Achbar and Jennifer Abbott, 2003)
91) Man on Wire (James Marsh, 2008)
92) Brother’s Keeper (Joe Berlinger & Bruce Sinofsky, 92)
93) Spellbound (Jeffrey Blitz, 2002)
94) Little Dieter Needs To Fly (Werner Herzog, 97)
95) Night and Fog (Alain Renais, 55)
96) Winged Migration (Jacques Perrin, Jacques Cluzaud, Michel Debats, 2001)
97) The Celluloid Closet (Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman, 95)
98) Manson (Robert Hendrickson and Laurence Merrick, 73)
99) The War Room (Chris Hegedus and D.A. Pennebaker, 93)
100) George Stevens: A Filmmaker’s Journey (George Stevens Jr., 85)
101) Pina (Wim Wenders, 2011)


BREAKDOWN BY DIRECTOR:

WITH FIVE FILMS:
Albert and David Maysles:
Salesman (1), Gimme Shelter (5), Grey Gardens (18), Christo: Islands (69), What's Happening! The Beatles in the U.S.A. (83)
Errol Morris: The Thin Blue Line (15), Gates of Heaven (32), Vernon, Florida (33), The Fog of War (55), Mr. Death: The Rise and Fall of Fred A. Leuchter, Jr. (88)
WITH FOUR FILMS:
Charlotte Zwerin: Salesman (1), Gimme Shelter (5), Thelonious Monk: Straight, No Chaser (67), Christo: Islands (69)
Joe Berlinger & Bruce Sinofsky: Paradise Lost: The Child Murders of Robin Hood Hills/ Paradise Lost 2: Revelations/Paradise Lost 3: Purgatory (39), Brother's Keeper (92)
WITH THREE FILMS:
Michael Moore:
Roger and Me (19), Sicko (47), Bowling for Columbine (50)
D.A. Pennebaker: Monterey Pop (6), Don’t Look Back (26), The War Room (99)
Werner Herzog: Grizzly Man (38), Encounters at the End of the World (82), Little Dieter Needs to Fly (94)
WITH TWO FILMS:
Ross McElwee:
Sherman’s March (4), Time Indefinite (23)
Marcel Ophuls: The Sorrow and the Pity (9), Hotel Terminus: The Life and Times of Klaus Barbie (54)
Robert Drew: Primary (10), Crisis (43)
Frederick Wiseman: Titicut Follies (7), High School (81)
Martin Scorsese: The Last Waltz (21), No Direction Home: Bob Dylan (62)
Barbara Kopple: Harlan County USA (22), American Dream (30)
Robert Epstein: The Times of Harvey Milk (24), The Celluloid Closet (97)
Charles Ferguson: Inside Job (40), No End in Sight (44)
Leni Riefenstahl: Olympia (29), Triumph of the Will (53)


BREAKDOWN BY DECADE:
Pre-1960s (5): 1922:
57) Nanook of the North; 1929: Man With A Movie Camera (8); 1935: Triumph of the Will (53); 1938: Olympia (29); 1942-45: The “Why We Fight” series (41), Night and Fog (95), 1956: On The Bowery (31)

1960s (15): 1960: Primary (10), Jazz on a Summer’s Day (51); 1963: The “Up” series (7 Up) (3), Crisis (43); 1964: Point of Order! (13), Four Days in November (72), What's Happening! The Beatles in the U.S.A. (83); 1965: The War Game (37); 1966: The Endless Summer (45); 1967: Titicut Follies (7), Don’t Look Back (26), Festival (89); 1968: Salesman (1), Monterey Pop (6), High School (81)

1970s (18): 1970: The “Up” series (14 Up) (3); Gimme Shelter (5); Woodstock (20), King: A Filmed Record…Montgomery to Memphis (71); 1971: Interviews with My Lai Veterans (80); 1972: The Sorrow and the Pity (9), Marjoe (42); 1973: Manson (98); 1974: Hearts and Minds (61), General Idi Amin Dada (76); 1975: Grey Gardens (18); 1976: Harlan County USA (22); 1977: The “Up” series (21 Up) (3); 1978: The Last Waltz (21), Gates of Heaven (32), Painters Painting (78); Scared Straight (68); 1979: Best Boy (2)

1980s (19): 1981: The Decline of the Western Civilization (75), Soldier Girls (95); 1982: Burden of Dreams (14), Vernon, Florida (33), Koyanniquatsi (34), From Mao to Mozart: Isaac Stern in China (101); 1984: The “Up” series (28 Up) (3), Streetwise (16), Hotel Terminus: The Life and Times of Klaus Barbie (54); 1985: Stop Making Sense (12), The Times of Harvey Milk (24), George Stevens: A Filmmaker’s Journey (100); 1986: Sherman’s March (4), Heavy Metal Parking Lot (52); 1987: Christo: Islands (69); 1988: The Thin Blue Line (15), Let’s Get Lost (56); 1989: Roger and Me (19), For All Mankind (49)

1990s (24) (OFFICIALLY THE BEST DECADE FOR DOCUMENTARIES): 1990: American Dream (30), Thelonious Monk: Straight, No Chaser (57); 1991: The “Up” series (35 Up) (3), Hearts of Darkness: A Filmmaker's Apocalypse (77); 1992: Visions of Light (58); 1993 (OFFICIALLY THE BEST YEAR FOR DOCUMENTARIES): Time Indefinite (23), Silverlake Life: The View From Here (27), Manufacturing Consent: Noam Chomsky and the Media (64), The Wonderful, Horrible Life of Leni Riefenstahl (73); The War Room (99); 1994: Crumb (11), Hoop Dreams (65); 1995: The Celluloid Closet (97); 1996: Paradise Lost: The Child Murders at Robin Hood Hills (39), Microcosmos (70); 1997: Waco: The Rules of Engagement (28), When We Were Kings (84), Little Dieter Needs To Fly (94); 1998: Frank Lloyd Wright, The "Up" Series (42 Up) (3); (74); 1999: The Gods of Times Square (25), American Movie (35), One Day in September (86), Mr. Death: The Rise and Fall of Fred A. Leuchter, Jr. (88)

2000s (22): 2000: And I Will Not Leave You Until I Die (36), Paradise Lost 2: Revelations (40), Sound and Fury (63); 2001: Murder on a Sunday Morning (66), Winged Migration (96); 2002: Bowling for Columbine (50), Broadway: The Golden Age (59), Unprecedented: The 2000 Presidential Election (60), Spellbound (93); 2003: Capturing the Friedmans (17), Los Angeles Plays Itself (48), The Corporation (90); 2004: In the Realm of the Unreal (87)2005: The “Up” series (49 Up) (3); No Direction Home: Bob Dylan (62); 2006: Maxed Out: Hard Times, Easy Credit and the Era of Predatory Lenders (46), When The Levees Broke: A Requiem in Four Acts (79), Jesus Camp (82); 2007: No End in Sight (44), Sicko (47), Encounters at the End of the World (82); 2008: Man on Wire (91), 2010: Inside Job (40), 2011: Paradise Lost 3: Purgatory (39), Pina (101)

BREAKDOWN BY SUBJECT:

MUSIC (17):
Gimme Shelter, Monterey Pop, Stop Making Sense, Woodstock, Don’t Look Back, The Last Waltz, Jazz on a Summer’s Day, Heavy Metal Parking Lot, Let’s Get Lost, No Direction Home: Bob Dylan, Thelonious Monk: Straight, No Chaser, The Decline of the Western Civilization, What's Happening! The Beatles in the U.S.A., Champion Blues, Festival, From Mao to Mozart: Isaac Stern in China

POLITICS AND WAR (19): Primary, Point of Order!, The Times of Harvey Milk, Waco: The Rules of Engagement, The Sorrow and the Pity, No End in Sight, Triumph of the Will, Sicko, The Fog of War, Hotel Terminus: The Life and Times of Klaus Barbie, Unprecedented: The 2000 Presidential Election, Hearts and Minds, Manufacturing Consent: Noam Chomsky and the Media, Four Days in November, King: A Filmed Record…Montgomery to Memphis, Interviews with My Lai Veterans, One Day in September, The Corporation, The War Room

POTRAITS (23): Crumb, Burden of Dreams, Don’t Look Back, American Movie, And I Will Not Leave You Until I Die, Grizzly Man, Marjoe, The Fog of War, Let’s Get Lost, Nanook of the North, No Direction Home: Bob Dylan, Manufacturing Consent: Noam Chomsky and the Media, Thelonious Monk: Straight, No Chaser, Christo: Islands, The Wonderful, Horrible Life of Leni Riefenstahl, Frank Lloyd Wright, Stevie, What's Happening! The Beatles in the U.S.A., When We Were Kings, Mr. Death: The Rise and Fall of Fred A. Leuchter, Jr., Man on Wire, Little Dieter Needs To Fly, George Stevens: A Filmmaker’s Journey

THE ARTS (14): Man With A Movie Camera, Crumb, American Movie, Grizzly Man, Visions of Light, Broadway: The Golden Age, Christo: Islands, Frank Lloyd Wright, Hearts of Darkness: A Filmmaker's Apocalypse, Painters Painting, Man on Wire, Los Angeles Plays Itself, The Celluloid Closet, George Stevens: A Filmmaker’s Journey, Pina

CRIME (14): Titicut Follies, Point of Order!, The Thin Blue Line, Capturing the Friedmans, Waco: The Rules of Engagement, Paradise Lost: The Child Murders of Robin Hood Hills, Paradise Lost 2: Revelations, Bowling for Columbine, Inside Job, Murder on a Sunday Morning, Scared Straight, Four Days in November, Brother’s Keeper, Manson

WAYS OF LIFE (24): Salesman, The “Up” series, Titicutt Follies, Man With A Movie Camera, Streetwise, Roger and Me, Harlan County USA, The Gods of Times Square, Silverlake Life: The View From Here, American Dream, Gates of Heaven, Vernon Florida, Koyanniquatsi, Olympia, The Endless Summer, Maxed Out: Hard Times, Easy Credit and the Era of Predatory Lenders, Heavy Metal Parking Lot, Nanook of the North, On The Bowery, Sound and Fury, Hoop Dreams, When The Levees Broke: A Requiem in Four Acts, Spellbound, Wild Style

NATURE (6): Koyanniquatsi, Grizzly Man, The Endless Summer, For All Mankind, Microcosmos, Winged Migration, Encounters at the End of the World 

8 comments:

Kotto said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Kotto said...

hi dean, i think you may have meant to put style wars down instead of wild style.

great list...still would love to see lonely boy and city of gold on it. sent you some love for your tip on threads. thanks again for the nightmares.

Dean Treadway said...

Decided to put the forgotten NIGHT AND FOG in perhaps lower on the list than I would like. But I ain't goin' back and changing all my work. STYLE WARS is what I think I was thinking about! WILD STYLE does have some doc elements, but I suppose you're right--it's not a doc.

Joseph said...

(I think my last post was eaten by the Internets, so I'll do my best to repost)

Great to see the Maysles getting some good rankings (Loved Salesman and Gimme Shelter)

Looks like I've got a lot more to add to my ever-growing NetFlix queue. :)

I recently purchased Lake of Fire, Bridge, and Darkon. Have you seen them before?

Dean Treadway said...

That was my fault, Joseph. I haven't seen LAKE OF FIRE, though I want to badly. DARKON I'm just hearing about here. But I loved THE BRIDGE...a pretty stark, depressingly entertaining doc.

Stacia said...

I am woefully underexposed to documentaries, so I set out to change that a few weeks ago. Watched "Capturing the Friedmans" first, and I may never see another documentary again. Wonderful but frightening on so many levels.

Not sure I can handle reality as well as I can handle fiction.

Kotto said...

stacia: in that case, avoid all of adam curtis' films. for anyone else who likes a head full of reality...check em' out.

Yijun said...

Very informative.