During the chaotic final weeks of the Vietnam War, the North Vietnamese Army closes in on Saigon as the panicked South Vietnamese people desperately attempt to escape. On the ground, American soldiers and diplomats confront the same moral quandary: whether to obey White House orders to evacuate U.S. citizens only–or to risk treason and save the lives of as many South Vietnamese citizens as they can. . . .
First her father ends up in one of Stalin’s prison camps, then young Svetlana herself experiences the German invasion. Read more at IMDB or support this site by buying it at Amazon.
Michele Ohayon’s documentary is a touching tale of true love between Jack and Ina Polak, who celebrated 60 years of marriage in 2006. In the film, they talk about how they met in Amsterdam during the Nazi occupation, fell in love, survived the concentration camps and married. Their sustaining strength, indomitable spirit and dedication to each other is absolutely inspiring. The film is a Valentine for any day of the year. Read more at IMDB or support this site by buying it at Amazon.
Documentary about Fred Leuchter, an engineer who became an expert on execution devices and was later hired by revisionist historian Ernst Zundel to “prove” that there were no gas chambers at Auschwitz. Leuchter published a controversial report confirming Zundel’s position, which ultimately ruined his own career. Most of the footage is of Leuchter, puttering around execution facilities or chipping away at the walls of Auschwitz, but Morris also interviews various historians, associates, and neighbors. Read more at IMDB or support this site by buying it at Amazon.
In 1966, Dieter Dengler was shot down over Laos, captured, and, down to 85 pounds, escaped. Barefoot, surviving monsoons, leeches, and machete-wielding villagers, he was rescued. Now, near 60, living on Mt. Tamalpais, Dengler tells his story a German lad surviving Allied bombings in World War II, postwar poverty, apprenticed to a smith, beaten regularly. At 18, he emigrates and peels potatoes in the U.S. Air Force.
A documentary presenting mankind’s most ambitious effort at perfecting the means to its own annihilation. Featuring newly unclassified atomic test footage. Read more at IMDB or support this site by buying it at Amazon.
Using previously unreleased archival material in addition to contemporary interviews, this academy award-winning documentary tells the story of the Frank family and presents the first fully-rounded portrait of their brash and free-spirited daughter Anne, perhaps the world’s most famous victim of the Holocaust. Read more at IMDB or support this site by buying it at Amazon.
Claude Lanzmann directed this 9 1/2 hour documentary of the Holocaust without using a single frame of archive footage. He interviews survivors, witnesses, and ex-Nazis (whom he had to film secretly since though only agreed to be interviewed by audio). His style of interviewing by asking for the most minute details is effective at adding up these details to give a horrifying portrait of the events of Nazi genocide. He also shows, or rather lets some of his subjects themselves show, that the anti-Semitism that caused 6 million Jews to die in the Holocaust is still alive in well in many people that still live in Germany, Poland, and elsewhere. Read more at IMDB or support this site by buying it at Amazon.
Atomic Cafe is a review of the atomic age and the beliefs held by Americans at the time. Many things such as Burt the Turtle who was the figurehead the “Duck and Cover” campaign are featured. Along with these film clips are portions of Army training films and demonstration films concerning atomic testing. All of these clips are combined to show how little the experts knew about atomics at the time. And even more to the heart, the point is to show the extent propaganda was used to mollify the fears of the American public, and her soldiers.
From 1940 to 1944, France’s Vichy government collaborated with Nazi Germany. Marcel Ophüls mixes archival footage with 1969 interviews of a German officer and of collaborators and resistance fighters from Clermont-Ferrand. They comment on the nature, details and reasons for the collaboration, from anti-Semitism, xenophobia, and fear of Bolsheviks, to simple caution. Part one, “The Collapse,” includes an extended interview with Pierre Mendès-France, jailed for anti-Vichy action and later France’s Prime Minister. At the heart of part two, “The Choice,” is an interview with Christian de la Mazière, one of 7,000 French youth to fight on the eastern front wearing German uniforms.
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An Israeli film director interviews fellow veterans of the 1982 invasion of Lebanon to reconstruct his own memories of his term of service in that conflict. Read more at IMDB or support this site by buying it at Amazon.
Steven Okazaki met more than 500 survivors and interviewed more than 100 before choosing the 14 people in the film. He says, “Their stories are amazing, shocking, and inspiring.” Read more at IMDB or support this site by buying it at Amazon.
Documentary about Robert McNamara, Secretary of Defense in the Kennedy and Johnson Administrations, who subsequently became president of the World Bank. The documentary will combine an interview with Mr. McNamara discussing some of the tragedies and glories of the 20th Century, archival footage, documents, and an original score by Philip Glass. Read more at IMDB or support this site by buying it at Amazon.
Documentary about war photographer James Nachtwey, considered by many the greatest war photographer ever. Read more at IMDB or support this site by buying it at Amazon.
The 1972 Munich Olympics were interrupted by Palestinian terrorists taking Israeli athletes hostage. Besides footage taken at the time, we see interviews with the surviving terrorist, Jamal Al Gashey, and various officials detailing exactly how the police, lacking an anti-terrorist squad and turning down help from the Israelis, botched the operation. Read more at IMDB or support this site by buying it at Amazon.
In this film made over ten years, filmmaker Barbara Sonneborn goes on a pilgrimage to the Vietnamese countryside where her husband was killed. She and translator (and fellow war widow) Xuan Ngoc Nguyen explore the meaning of war and loss on a human level. The film weaves interviews with Vietnamese and American widows into a vivid testament to the legacy of war. Read more at IMDB or support this site by buying it at Amazon.
This highly acclaimed mini series traces the course of the U.S. Civil War from the abolitionist movement through all the major battles to the death of President Lincoln and the beginnings of Reconstruction. The story is mostly told in the words of the participants themselves, through their diaries, letters, and Visuals are usually still photographs and illustrations of the time, and the soundtrack is likewise made up of war-era tunes played on period instruments. Several modern-day historians offer periodic comment and insight on the war’s causes and events. Read more at IMDB or support this site by buying it at Amazon.
This film recounts the history and attitudes of the opposing sides of the Vietnam War using archival news footage as well as their own film and interviews. A key theme is how attitudes of American racism and self-righteousness militarism helped create and prolong this bloody conflict. The film also endeaveors to give voice to the Vietnamese people themselves as to how the war has affected them and their reasons why they fight the United States and other western powers while showing the basic humanity of the people that US propaganda tried to dismiss. Read more at IMDB or support this site by buying it at Amazon.
The War Game is a fictional, worst-case-scenario docu-drama about nuclear war and its aftermath in and around a typical English city. Although it won an Oscar for Best Documentary, it is fiction. It was intended as an hour-long program to air on BBC 1, but it was deemed too intense and violent to broadcast. It went to theatrical distribution as a feature film instead. Low-budget and shot on location, it strives for and achieves convincing and unflinching realism.