According to IMDb: 30 Worst Oscar Documentary Winners

by booklover1 | created - 22 Sep 2014 | updated - 24 Sep 2014 | Public
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1. Daybreak in Udi (1949)

Approved | 47 min | Documentary

This 47-minute documentary, financed by HRH's government, won an Oscar in the special category, and most of it was later edited into a 1953 two-segment documentary called "Savage World" by ... See full summary »

Director: Terry Bishop | Stars: E.R. Chadwick, Harford Anerobi, Fanny Elumeze, Joseph Amalu

Votes: 31


2. Design for Death (1947)

Approved | 48 min | Documentary

An Academy Award winner for best documentary, the film opens with a notice that..."Exhibition of confiscated Japanese film material authorized by permission of the Alien Property Custodian ... See full summary »

Stars: Kent Smith, Hans Conried

Votes: 25

3. White Wilderness (1958)

Approved | 72 min | Documentary, Family

The wildlife of the arctic is explored in this true-life adventure.

Director: James Algar | Stars: Winston Hibler, Volmer Sørensen

Votes: 337

4. Kokoda Front Line! (1942)

9 min | Documentary, Short, War

Cameraman Damien Parer has just returned from the front in New Guinea, where he's documented Australian troops in action. He explains this to us in a prolog. We then see air drops of ... See full summary »

Stars: Peter Bathurst, Damien Parer

Votes: 168


5. Robert Frost: A Lover's Quarrel with the World (1963)

41 min | Documentary, Short, Biography

Acclaimed poet Robert Frost reminisces on his career. He is also seen giving lectures at Amherst and Sarah Lawrence Colleges, in daily life at his rural Vermont home, and receiving the Congressional Gold Medal from President Kennedy.

Director: Shirley Clarke | Stars: Robert Frost, John F. Kennedy, Lyndon Baines Johnson

Votes: 126

6. He Makes Me Feel Like Dancin' (1983)

51 min | Documentary, Family

Jacques d'Amboise, a noted former American ballet star who had dancing roles in such films as Seven Brides for Seven Brothers (1954) and Carousel (1956), and who later became a New York dancing instructor.

Director: Emile Ardolino | Stars: Jacques d'Amboise, Judy Collins, Kevin Kline, Tom McCaffrey

Votes: 76

7. Albert Schweitzer (1957)

Approved | 85 min | Documentary, Biography, History

This biographical drama/part-time documentary, narrative written by Dr. Albert Schweitzer and spoken by Fredric March, traces the life of Dr. Schweitzer (with actors playing the characters)... See full summary »

Director: Jerome Hill | Stars: Burgess Meredith, Fredric March, Albert Schweitzer, Helene Schweitzer

Votes: 76


8. In the Shadow of the Stars (1991)

Not Rated | 93 min | Documentary

Winner of the Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature, this film is a hilarious and affectionate look at the path to stardom inside the competitive world of opera.

Directors: Allie Light, Irving Saraf | Star: William S. Jones

Votes: 131

9. The Eleanor Roosevelt Story (1965)

Not Rated | 90 min | Documentary, Biography, History

Richard Kaplan documents the life of one of America's most influential first ladies. Orphaned at age 10, Anna Eleanor Roosevelt marries her fifth cousin, Franklin D. Roosevelt, in 1905. His... See full summary »

Director: Richard Kaplan | Stars: Archibald Macleish, Eric Sevareid, Corinne Alsop Cole, Hillary Clinton

Votes: 143

10. The Battle of Midway (1942)

TV-G | 18 min | Documentary, Short, War

The Japanese attack on Midway in June 1942, filmed as it happened.

Director: John Ford | Stars: Henry Fonda, Jane Darwell, Logan Ramsey, James Roosevelt

Votes: 1,461


11. The Sea Around Us (1953)

Approved | 62 min | Documentary

Oscar-winning documentary based on Rachel L. Carson's pioneering study of ocean life chronicled in her award-winning and best-selling 1951 book of the same name.

Director: Irwin Allen | Stars: Don Forbes, Theodore von Eltz

Votes: 206

12. Broken Rainbow (1985)

70 min | Documentary, History

Documentary chronicling the government relocation of 10,000 Navajo Indians in Arizona.

Director: Victoria Mudd | Stars: Martin Sheen, Buffy Sainte-Marie, Burgess Meredith, Laura Nyro

Votes: 185

13. Down and Out in America (1986)

Unrated | 57 min | Documentary

A recession in the mid-1980s affects Minnesota farm workers, unemployed urban workers and the newly homeless in Los Angeles and New York.

Director: Lee Grant | Stars: Lee Grant, Jeff Farmer, Bob Hanson, Robert Hayes

Votes: 72

14. Black Fox: The True Story of Adolf Hitler (1962)

89 min | Documentary, Biography, War

The rise and fall of Nazi Germany in part through the use of classical allegory.

Director: Louis Clyde Stoumen | Star: Marlene Dietrich

Votes: 135

15. Desert Victory (1943)

62 min | Documentary, War

The Allied campaign to drive Germany and Italy from North Africa is analysed, with the major portion of the film examining the battles at El Alamein, including a re-enactment.

Directors: Roy Boulting, David MacDonald | Stars: Harold Alexander, Winston Churchill, Adolf Hitler, Bernard L. Montgomery

Votes: 223


16. Genocide (1982)

PG | 90 min | Documentary, Drama, History

A chilling, heartbreaking testament to the strength and suffering of the Jewish people and the courage and heroism of those who came to their aid. With beautiful narration by Orson Welles ... See full summary »

Director: Arnold Schwartzman | Stars: Elizabeth Taylor, Orson Welles, Simon Wiesenthal, Neville Chamberlain

Votes: 397

17. Moscow Strikes Back (1942)

55 min | Documentary, War

A number of frontline cameramen shot the footage used in this documentary of the Battle of Moscow, between October 1941 and January 1942,in which a people's war against the German invaders,... See full summary »

Directors: Ilya Kopalin, Leonid Varlamov | Stars: N. Dubravin, Edward G. Robinson, Joseph Stalin

Votes: 152


18. Who Are the DeBolts? and Where Did They Get Nineteen Kids? (1977)

Not Rated | 72 min | Documentary, Biography

Dorothy and Bob DeBolt's tale of the struggles and joys involved in their 19 adopted children, many of who are physically disabled war orphans.

Director: John Korty | Stars: Kim Atwood, Marty Atwood, Mike Atwood, Mimi Atwood

Votes: 166

19. The Anderson Platoon (1967)

Not Rated | 65 min | Documentary, War

The director, a French veteran of the Indochina war (La 317e Section), returned to follow a platoon of American soldiers for six weeks at the height of fighting in Vietnam in 1966. The ... See full summary »

Director: Pierre Schoendoerffer | Stars: Joseph B. Anderson, Stuart Whitman

Votes: 272

20. Journey Into Self (1969)

47 min | Documentary

The film portrays a 16-hour group-therapy session for eight well-adjusted people who had never met before.

Director: Bill McGaw | Stars: Richard Farson, Stanley Kramer, Carl Rogers

Votes: 47

21. The Titan: Story of Michelangelo (1950)

Not Rated | 70 min | Documentary

The life and works of the great artist Michelangelo Buonarroti are shown against the historical background of his time. It begins with his earliest artworks, and follows his life and career... See full summary »

Directors: Robert J. Flaherty, Richard Lyford, Curt Oertel | Star: Fredric March

Votes: 52

22. Le ciel et la boue (1961)

92 min | Documentary

In September, 1959, six Europeans leave Cook's Bay on the southern coast of Dutch New Guinea, now West Papua or Irian Jaya, to trek north to the far side of the island. The journey (450 ... See full summary »

Director: Pierre-Dominique Gaisseau | Stars: Gerard Delloye, Tony Saulnier, Herve de Maigret, William Dexter

Votes: 195

23. The Fighting Lady (1944)

Approved | 61 min | Documentary, History, War

The film follows the WWII exploits of the Essex-class aircraft carrier USS Yorktown (CV-10) (unidentified in the film), in its first major operations following its commissioning in 1943. ... See full summary »

Directors: Edward Steichen, William Wyler | Stars: Robert Taylor, Charles Boyer, Joseph J. Clark, Dixie Kiefer

Votes: 346

24. The True Glory (1945)

Not Rated | 87 min | Documentary, War

A documentary account of the allied invasion of Europe during World War II compiled from the footage shot by nearly one thousand four hundred cameramen. It opens as the assembled Allied ... See full summary »

Directors: Garson Kanin, Carol Reed | Stars: Leslie Banks, Dwight D. Eisenhower, Richard Fallon, Joseph Goebbels

Votes: 381

25. Prelude to War (1942)

Not Rated | 52 min | Documentary, War

The official World War II US Government film statement defining the various enemies of the Allies and why they must be fought.

Directors: Frank Capra, Anatole Litvak | Stars: Walter Huston, Victor Bulwer-Lytton, Kai-Shek Chiang, Walter Darré

Votes: 1,662

26. Love of Life (1969)

91 min | Documentary, Biography, Music

An Oscar winning look at the life of Albert Rubinstein shortly after he turned 70. It contains some home movies of him and his family, but is primarily him talking and demonstrating his great skill as a pianist.

Directors: Gérard Patris, François Reichenbach | Stars: Artur Rubinstein, Eliahu Inbal, Paul Kletzki

Votes: 76

27. The Unconquered (1954)

Approved | 55 min | Documentary

This documentary chronicles the life of Helen Keller, who was struck by an illness as a young child that left her both blind and deaf. Aided by her devoted teacher, Anne Sullivan, Keller is... See full summary »

Director: Nancy Hamilton | Stars: Katharine Cornell, Helen Keller, Polly Thompson, Dwight D. Eisenhower

Votes: 54

28. I Am a Promise: The Children of Stanton Elementary School (1993)

89 min | Documentary

Filmmakers Alan Raymond and Susan Raymond document Philadelphia teachers facing challenges at an inner-city school.

Director: Susan Raymond | Stars: Susan Raymond, Deanna Burney, Clary Jansson

Votes: 165

29. Maya Lin: A Strong Clear Vision (1994)

105 min | Documentary, Biography

A film about the work of the artist most famous for her monuments such as the Vietnam Memorial Wall and the Civil Rights Fountain Memorial.

Director: Freida Lee Mock | Star: Maya Lin

Votes: 400 | Gross: $0.06M

30. The Hellstrom Chronicle (1971)

G | 90 min | Documentary, Drama

A scientist explains how the savagery and efficiency of the insect world could result in their taking over the world.

Directors: Walon Green, Ed Spiegel | Stars: Lawrence Pressman, Conlan Carter, Ian McShane, Suzanne Pleshette

Votes: 666

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