Nanook of the North — 1922 — Pioneering feature-length documentary drama by Robert J. Flaherty. The camera follows Nanook and his Inuit family living in the Arctic regions of Canada.
Man with a Movie Camera — 1929 — Portraits of Russian people and cities in a style that was then experimental, without plot or theatrical context. Voted the top documentary film.
Alfred Hitchcock and the Holocaust — When Nazi death camps were liberated in 1945, famed British director Alfred Hitchcock and other cinematographers documented the atrocities. Military camera crews from US assembled similar documentary footage under the “Factual Survey” order of 1945. PBS put this into context in “Memory of the Camps.”
Undersea World of Jacques of Cousteau – 1968 – 1975 – An oceanographer, inventor, environmentalist and explorer, Cousteau dramatized the search for undersea life and artifacts through his voyages on the Calypso.
Shoah — 1985 French documentary film by Claude Lanzmann about the Holocaust.
Battle Over Citizen Kane – 1996 – Newspaper empires, experimental radio, innovative cinema come together in the story of the clash between William Randolph Hearst and Orson Welles.
Triumph of the Nerds – The Robert X. Cringely masterpiece about the birth of the personal computer and (in Triumph 2.0) the birth of the internet. Has interviews with most major personalities in the personal computer business, including Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, Bob Metcalf, Gordon Moore and more.