Documentary Films of the 1960s

1960 - Primary, by Robert Drew, Richard Leacock, Donn A. Pennebaker, Al Maysles, Terry Filgate, and the film unit formed at Time, Inc. in 1958 to experiment with portable cameras and recorders, pioneered "direct cinema" and "cinema verite." The film was broadcast on ABC as part of the Close-Up series sponsored by Bell & Howell that also produced Yanki No! in 1960. The documentary "renascence" that began in 1960 was the result of the quiz show scancal, of the U-2 spy crisis, the momentum JFK's Inauguration and New Frontier. CBS Reports broadcast "Harvest of Shame" Nov. 25, narrated by Edward R. Murrow before he left CBS to head the USIA.

1961 - In March, NBC broadcast "The Real West," and CBS Reports on Nov. 30 broadcast "Biography of a Bookie Joint" made by Jay McMullen using a concealed 8mm camera in Boston. Robert Young produced "Sit-In," about segregation in Nashville, and "Angola: Journey to a War" for NBC White Paper. 1962 - The Wall, by Walter de Hoog for the USIA, about the first year of the Berlin Wall. NBC on Dec. 10 broadcast The Tunnel, about the escape of 26 people from East Berlin Sept. 14.

1963 - Robert Drew filmed JFK's June confrontation with George Wallace in Alabama for Crisis: Behind a Presidential Commitment. broadcast Oct. 21 on ABC-TV. James Blue filmed The March for the USIA about the Aug. 28 March on Washington led by Martin Luther King.

1964 - Years of Lightning, Day of Drums, for the USIA, about the administration and funeral of JFK

1965 - Why Vietnam? by the Department of Defense, was the first documentary to focus on the Vietnam War.

1966 - Don't Look Back, by Donn A. Pennebaker about Bob Dylan's 1965 England tour.

1969 - Hospital, by Frederick Wiseman, who made High School in 1967


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revised 11/4/05 by Steven Schoenherr at the University of San Diego | Filmnotes