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Your favorite documentaries TOP 3 !!!

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  • Your favorite documentaries TOP 3 !!!

    I don't know about you guys and gals, but I just have this love for documentaries. It's a much easier and relaxing way of gaining knowledge (kinda knowledge fast-food) than picking up a book and spending hours on reading about a person, event or a period in time -although books can be much more detailed...

    I like to switch between documentaries and books almost monthly...

    Now, what are your favorite documentaries...what would you recommend and why?

    Here's my personal TOP 3:

    1. "In the Footsteps of Alexander the Great" with Michael Wood




    2. "Civilisation with Kenneth Clark



    3. "Around the World in 80 Treasures" with Dan Cruickshank







    And ALL the travel documentaries of Michael Palin !!!!!













    Greets,
    Stratego
    Death is nothing, but to live defeated and inglorious is to die daily.- Napoleon

    It is better to fail in originality than to succeed in imitation.- Herman Melville

    Aut viam inveniam aut faciam

    BORG

  • #2
    My top 3 would be;

    War Walks by Richard Holmes



    Wellington: The Iron Duke again by Richard Holmes



    The BBC Timewatch series, which dealt with various aspects of History

    Never Fear the Event

    Admiral Lord Nelson

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by Post Captain View Post
      War Walks by Richard Holmes


      That seems like an interesting doc. Mike...
      However I do not believe it is for sale, for I've been unable to find it at Amazon.uk
      Death is nothing, but to live defeated and inglorious is to die daily.- Napoleon

      It is better to fail in originality than to succeed in imitation.- Herman Melville

      Aut viam inveniam aut faciam

      BORG

      Comment


      • #4
        Checked on YouTube and all i could find was the Mons episode. Posted the first 10 minutes.

        Never Fear the Event

        Admiral Lord Nelson

        Comment


        • #5
          1. "In the Footsteps of Alexander the Great" with Michael Wood




          2. Connections with James Burke





          3. The Silk Road




          Comment


          • #6
            Man there are so many to choose from.

            I got my first dose watching The War Years (a series that has material from WW1 through to 50s and 60s). And the World at War. I later added Victory at Sea.

            I have a lot of one disk documentaries, and a lot of short disk run series. One name that figures in a lot of them is Walter Cronkite. I have stuff he has done for WW2 in Europe, WW2 in the Pacific, as well as material from Vietnam. Not everyone hates his slant on what he saw.

            I have well known shows like The Ten Thousand Day War.

            I also have less well known series like Crusade in Europe, by Eisnhower, likely the very first documentary actually ever filmed.

            I also have series obtained from odd sources and shows on often overlooked events.
            Korea The Forgotten War is a series I think does a better job than others on that conflict.

            I have found, that most of the more current modern approach stuff relies too much on 'clever' CGI which while capable of being good, is often poorly emploed all the same. A lot of the current stuff is also often merely rehashed content. My above 3 had already done it all long before the new crop arrived with it's pretty looks.

            I tend to enjoy a lot of BBC stuff both military and non military. I suppose it not being American sourced it often takes a slant that is more international, and less Americanocentric. And regardless of how many Americans might disdain the BBC view point, the world actually isn't always the way the US says it is

            Cosmos is in a class all it's own for me. And that actually IS American, and of a reputation most rarely even come close to.

            I am currently a fan of a lot or material done by David Attentborough.
            I also have some rather nice stuff done by a variety of other well liked personalities. Dr Ian Stewart probably has one of the best series able to tackle Global Warming, and not sound like Al Gore's speech writer.

            There are alot of fine series like Planet Earth that allow you to just sit back and enjoy the splendour that is our world.

            I've watched An Inconvenient Truth, and I have watched the much less known rebutal documentary Global Warming or Global Governance. Both films will raise a few eyebrows when you watch them through unbiased and well educated eyes. There's a lot of material in both films that is saying a lot more than you might realize.

            The key to being WELL informed, is you must be prepared to watch more than just the popular accepted facts.
            The series Why We Fight for instance, is required to actually understand WHY the US was ok with bombing Japan with two nuclear weapons. Hindsight is not always able to tell you everything. Sometimes you need to hear it from the people of the time, from the time when they were there dealing with it.
            Last edited by LRB; 05 Jul 09, 09:41.
            Life is change. Built models for decades.
            Not sure anyone here actually knows the real me.
            I didn't for a long time either.

            Comment


            • #7
              1. The World at War http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_World_at_War

              It's showing it age but contains great footage and has an honest narrative by Laurence Olivier.

              2. The Civil War http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Civil_War_(TV_series)

              Ken Burns does a great job of bringing the war to life through personal stories of the soldiers involved.

              3. The Commanding Heights http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/commandinghe...ory/index.html

              A documentary about the globalization of the world economy and it's impact on national economics.
              If you can't set a good example, be a glaring warning.

              Comment


              • #8
                "Anyone's Son Will Do"

                Yes, Richard Holmes has made quite a few good documentaries. Like I may have wrote to you earlier (or was it someone else?), I like his one on the American War of Independence--from an English perspective.

                And Skoblin...great and illuminating picks as always!

                As for me, hmmm, one may pick only three?

                Well, here goes:

                !. War (1983) Gwynne Dyer
                2. Middle Kingdom China (1972) Michelangelo Antonioni
                3. The Sorrow & the Pity (1970) Marcel Ophuls

                Although, I am quite a docu-hound, there have been some I definitely am alergic to: Zeitgeist, some of the CBC Passionate Eye ones, Fifth Estate, even that British series The Power of Nightmares somethingorother was a dressed up tiresome Michael Moore, forget his name, people were raving about his docus.

                The Ascent of Money by Niall Fergusson (sp?) though, I have to say, wasn't bad, in fact quite good.



                Originally posted by Post Captain View Post
                Checked on YouTube and all i could find was the Mons episode. Posted the first 10 minutes.

                Originally posted by skoblin View Post
                1. "In the Footsteps of Alexander the Great" with Michael Wood




                2. Connections with James Burke





                3. The Silk Road


                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by olivenstein View Post
                  As for me, hmmm, one may pick only three?

                  Well, here goes:

                  !. War (1983) Gwynne Dyer
                  2. Middle Kingdom China (1972) Michelangelo Antonioni
                  3. The Sorrow & the Pity (1970) Marcel Ophuls

                  Although, I am quite a docu-hound, there have been some I definitely am alergic to: Zeitgeist, some of the CBC Passionate Eye ones, Fifth Estate, even that British series The Power of Nightmares somethingorother was a dressed up tiresome Michael Moore, forget his name, people were raving about his docus.

                  The Ascent of Money by Niall Fergusson (sp?) though, I have to say, wasn't bad, in fact quite good.
                  Hey Laurent,

                  The Sorrow and the Pity - what is that about?

                  I'll have to look for the Middle Kingdom series - ancient China is a remarkably interesting subject.

                  Gwynne Dyer always a good choice.

                  I agree about the Passionate Eye - kind of a crap shoot. Some are quite good, others are extremely biased I find. Same goes with the Fifth Estate.

                  Have you ever seen the series "Underground Cities"? Quite an interesting series exploring underground tunnels, caverns and lost structures. Although the host is kind of a knob.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Canadian Documentary Hosts

                    No, I'm not aware of this series; who did it? I checked video.google and couldn't find "Underground Cities"....

                    You're right Skoblin--having a host format can be a either good or bad. I believe Gwynne Dyer did it very well in his neutral, dry humour style. Or say, when Orson Welles did "F for Fake" or Jacques-Yves Cousteau started with a young Louis Malle with "Le Silence de la Mer" in the early 1950s.

                    But, and no offence to Post Captain from Portsmouth here, a nerdy host such as Holmes can detract from an otherwise excellent subject matter.

                    Yet on the topic of documentary hosts, the British have always towered over their American counterparts, with Canadians of Anglican ascendency origin a close second: Robert McNeil ("The Story of English" & "Do You Speak American"), Gwynne Dyer, feu Peter Jennings (his series on Saint Paul comes to mind), as well as the CBC's Halton pere et fils.

                    When the CBC and Grenada or the BBC (as well as the Australian ABC) join together as in the original "7 Up" series or "The Great War" both from 1964 you get outstanding results.

                    You're very right about the Passionate Eye, it has to be said that once in a while they're alright--there was one that was done about the disbanded Canadian Parachute Regiment after Somalia which was wasn't bad during the time of hostess Michaelle Jean now Govenor[ess] General[e] (the CBC and NFB seem to the "Voie royale" into the Liberal or NDP Parties and/or other important posts).

                    Still being a bit reactionary here, the War Amps ones that used to be late night on CTV were a little old fashioned, but packed with more information than sentiment, which I prefer. The host was an ole' time no-nonsence intimidating one-legged Manitoban veteran of the Scheldt his name escapes me now.

                    Fergusson in the Ascent of Money is a tad too enthusiastic and his glaswegian accent could be a hinderance for some North American viewers. I found him quite understandable, and often amusing as when describing Jean Law of Endinburgh as "a Scotsman on the make".

                    Here's an ancient trailer for the Sorrow & the Pity (Le Chagrin et la pitie--sorrow I still don't know how to encrypt--one of the handicaps that has discouraged me from taking part in forums!): http://www.youtube.com/watch_popup?v=xeO89EgDWrM

                    And in Italian, "Chung Kuo Cina" (no English subtitles but with Antonioni it's not so frustrating but it would be a plus--I have a mind to write to Criterion): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=btyzX...e=channel_page




                    Originally posted by skoblin View Post
                    Hey Laurent,

                    The Sorrow and the Pity - what is that about?

                    I'll have to look for the Middle Kingdom series - ancient China is a remarkably interesting subject.

                    Gwynne Dyer always a good choice.

                    I agree about the Passionate Eye - kind of a crap shoot. Some are quite good, others are extremely biased I find. Same goes with the Fifth Estate.

                    Have you ever seen the series "Underground Cities"? Quite an interesting series exploring underground tunnels, caverns and lost structures. Although the host is kind of a knob.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Two have already been listed..............

                      James Burkes' "Connections I & II"

                      and

                      Ken Burns' "The Civil War"

                      my third favorite would be ..............

                      "The Story Of English" by Robert McCrum, William Cran and Robert MacNeil...........which it looks like Olivestein just beat me posting.

                      http://www.amazon.com/Story-English-.../dp/6302892058
                      Lance W.

                      Peace through superior firepower.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Robert MacNeil

                        Sorry, Lance. I went a little too far in saying that British and Canadian documentarists/hosts were head and shoulders above their American counterparts.

                        Although Robert MacNeil worked with PBS, Peter Jennings was with ABC and Morley Safer with CBS/"Sixty Minutes", there have been American journalists working in Canada--the one that comes to mind is New Yorker Anne Medina first with the CBC (where she did an award for her balanced report on Dr. Mortgenthaller), and now back in the States with Turner Classic films. Even further back in time, Ernest Hemingway started with the "Toronto Star" before writing and narrating the pro-Loyalist documentary "Spanish Earth".

                        Also some British documentaries can end up being a lot of smoke in mirrors. After an information-packed start, Adam Curtis' documentaries are hollow, cumbersome, dreary, and only mildly better than Michael Moore or that laughable "Zeitgeist".

                        You're also right: Ken Burns has made some good documentaries on PBS. In fact, I would say that PBS has consistently been better than the CBC or even the NFB ("Frontline", etc.).

                        PBS also has a liberal establishment bent towards the left, but not as blatently as the CBC or NFB. Remember it was [Canadian] Robert MacNeil who put the kabosh on "Islam vs the Islamists" (which although I found a so-so report; I felt strongly against its censorship decided so imperiously.)





                        Originally posted by Lance Williams View Post
                        Two have already been listed..............

                        James Burkes' "Connections I & II"

                        and

                        Ken Burns' "The Civil War"

                        my third favorite would be ..............

                        "The Story Of English" by Robert McCrum, William Cran and Robert MacNeil...........which it looks like Olivestein just beat me posting.

                        http://www.amazon.com/Story-English-.../dp/6302892058

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Oh, I forgot to mention Robert Flaherty!

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            My three documentary favorites are:

                            1. Victory at Sea

                            2. The Unknown War

                            3. The World at War

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              1. Connections... James Burke is so cool!

                              2. Cosmos... Billions and billions of Saganisms.

                              3. The Universe... Just because of Al Filippenko's Hawai'ian shirts...

                              Watts Up With That? | The world's most viewed site on global warming and climate change.

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