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Old 07-11-2011, 03:43 PM
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I'm on a bit of a documentary kick, and I'm looking for some good documentaries on 20th century history. Can be about any 20th century topic, my only criteria is that the documentary must be a great one - it can't be too dry or boring.

Any suggestions?
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Old 07-11-2011, 09:38 PM
Location: Massachusetts
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Well, a couple of 21st century documentaries that are really good are An Inconvenient Truth, Gasland, and An Unreasonable Man. The former discuss global warming, the latter is political.

Some others (20th century) that I have really enjoyed:

When You're Strange
Paris The Luminous Years: Toward the Making of the Modern
Buena Vista Social Club
The United States vs. John Lennon
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Old 07-11-2011, 10:14 PM
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:: Download Free Political Documentaries And Watch Many Interesting, Controversial Free Documentary Films On That You Wont Find On The TV! ::
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Old 07-11-2011, 10:16 PM
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Night and Fog
General Idi Amin

Both documentaries with raw footage of history in action.
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Old 07-12-2011, 12:17 AM
Location: Baker City, Oregon
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The First World War: The Complete Series

It's 4 DVDs so it's long, but it was an incredibly complicated war so the length is necessary:

The First World War (TV mini-series 2003) - IMDb

You can rent it from Netflix:

Netflix - Unlimited TV Shows & Movies Online
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Old 07-12-2011, 01:12 PM
Location: Victoria TX
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I am very suspicious of documentaries that are released as Motion Pictures. I can't imagine anyone spending that kind of money, in order to enlighten the audience with an objective, well-balanced viewpoint of history. Instead, documentaries come into existence because someone with financial backing wishes to have an historical event portrayed from a certain perspective.
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Old 07-12-2011, 01:30 PM
Location: Philaburbia
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The World at War, a British TV documentary series from the early 70s, is extremely well done. My high school American History teacher showed it during class, and I don't think I fell asleep once. Well ... maybe once.

The Fog of War
, about Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara under Kennedy and Johnson, is very good.

If you never want to eat again, may I suggest Food Inc.?

Thomas Edison: The Invention of the Movies is fascinating.
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Old 07-12-2011, 09:34 PM
Location: Atlanta
668 posts, read 762,227 times
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The Decline of Western Civilization, Parts 1 & 2.

Expanding past the 20th Century, check out The King of Kong and Anvil! The Story of Anvil.
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Old 07-12-2011, 10:29 PM
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Thanks for all the suggestions so far! I've already added a couple to my Netflix queue.

I've already seen The Fog of War, and I second the recommendation of that film to anyone else who might be interested. McNamara is an engaging and thoughtful speaker, and many of his lessons can be easily applied to everyday life.

If anyone knows of any more great films, keep them coming.
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Old 07-13-2011, 09:49 AM
Location: Somewhere in northern Alabama
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jtur88 is abso-friggin-loutely correct. NEVER trust a full movie treatment documentary. The biases can be palpable once you know the motivations and people involved. That said:

Frank Capra did stuff on WWII that is classic.
Janis (great cameo insight into Texas culture and the split she needed to do to escape it)

The Magic Box (about another movie inventor [Edison was NOT the inventor he claimed to be])
Grapes of Wrath (HIGHLY stylized and biased)

Thinking about this a bit more, I'm even MORE in agreement with jtur. Home movies are better documentaries than what Hollywood puts out.
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