Movie Article

The Big Pictures

Strong statements on film -- Ten documentaries that made a difference

1. Triumph of the Will
(1935)
Scandalous because it's so dazzlingly made, Leni Riefenstahl's Nazi propaganda film revealed the dark side of cinema's power.

2. Let There Be Light
(1946)
John Huston's movie about World War II veterans helped to put shell shock (and psychotherapy) on the map.

3. Night and Fog
(1955)
Alain Resnais' disturbing landmark showed the world the Holocaust.

4. Titicut Follies
(1967)
Frederick Wiseman's film about the treatment of patients at a Mass. mental hospital was banned for decades -- a testament to its bitter truth.

5. Gimme Shelter
(1970)
The death of the '60s, mythologized by the Maysles brothers as a Rolling Stones concert ends in murder.

6. Hearts & Minds
(1974)
An Oscar-winning Vietnam doc that made the war's contradictions indelible, and caught Gen. Westmoreland speaking his mind.

7. The Thin Blue Line
(1988)
Errol Morris' true-crime doc ended up exonerating death-row inmate Randall Adams. As a result, he was freed.

8. The Civil War
(1990)
Ken Burns brought a pivotal era to life. A nation, suddenly hungry for history, tuned in.

9. The War Room
(1993)
It used James Carville to catch the age of spin, defining the new world of media politics.

10. Fahrenheit 9/11
(2004)
Made Moore an icon in the culture wars.

Originally posted May 25, 2007 Published in issue #936 Jun 01, 2007 Order article reprints