For film makers, getting a look into how their favorite movies were made is a dream come true. Going through the process and understanding the struggles the production team, especially the director, faced can be an educational experience. Many seek out such a documentary for every movie they watch and rightly so. They can be so interesting to watch. Here is a list of documentaries on some of the most popular movies. Be sure to check them out!
Final Cut: The Making and Unmaking of Heaven’s Gate
Documentarian Michael Epstein explores the history of how “Heaven’s Gate” was created inspired by the Jackson County War. It delves into Michael Cimino’s need to get the best shot each time which has ensured the movie aged well. It may not have managed to stir audiences at the time when it was first released, but today it is better regarded.
When it comes to movie, it’s not the ones with big budgets that make it big. If the director is good the movie will be reflective of that. This documentary revolves around the life of a blue-collar worker, Mark Borchardt, who attempts to fulfill his dream of making “Northwestern” with limited resources. You get to see the many obstacles Borchardt faces on his journey and his determination to overcome them all. If you’re a low-budget film maker finding it hard to find motivation in these trying times, make sure you give this film a watch.
Lost in La Mancha
No matter how talented or extraordinary a director may be, fighting with uncontrollable forces is an exercise in vain. After struggling through “Brazil” and “Adventures of Baron Munchhausen”, Terry Gillian may have thought that the next film could not be as difficult to create, however, with misguided locations, cost overruns along with unfavorable weather, “The Man Who Killed Don Quixote” seemed like a distant dream. It was finally completed but the entire process is a lesson in itself and aspiring filmmakers should make it a point to check it out.
Dangerous Days: Making Blade Runner
Anyone who has watched “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep” has loved it. But bringing it to the big screen was not easy. With Ridley Scott and the main lead Harrison Ford struggling to get along it took a lot of effort. This three hour long documentary is captivating to say the least with every moment serving a purpose. You get to see original production sketches and more showing you what Blade Runner could have been.
Burden of Dreams
Taking you to the making of “Fitzcarraldo”, this documentary follows Werner Herzog and his cast and crew to the South American jungle. The movie is about an Irishman whose dream is to set an opera house in Peru. Pretty ambitious, right? Well, that is exactly what makes following this story all the more worthwhile. To make it happen, Herzog made the local natives pull a 320 ton steamer up a hill. You can imagine the madness of it all. As you watch you’ll find yourself engrossed like never before.
Visions of Light
This documentary focuses on exploring what the art of cinematography is and the movies that mastered it. With big wigs like Vilmos Zsigmond, Conrad Hall, Gordon Willis and Vittorio Storaro sharing there expert analysis, you’ll find great learning in this this production.
A Personal Journey with Martin Scorsese Through American Movies
Produced by the British File Institute, this documentary is basically a film theory course by the Academy Award winner Martin Scorsese. Breaking the films in to three types: the Illusionist, the Storyteller and the Smuggler, Scorsese makes you see what each one entails. Treating too much to clips form much loved movies, you see them all in new light.
Best Worst Movie
Looking into Troll 2, an infamously bad movie, with a new perspective, gives one interesting insight. It explores its bizarre origins as a flop ended up with hordes of adoring fans. Directed by the movie’s lead actor who 20 years later visits this time in his career, it is an engaging story that you’re sure to find relatable to your life as a filmmaker.
Making: The Shining
This documentary follows Jack Nicholson. Starting from his ‘Here’s Johnny!’ scene, the film delves into the relationship the actor shared with Stanley Kubrick, the scripts and the scene itself. It focuses on the making of the horror film ‘The Shining’ a cult classic that has gained much acclaim. The great thing about this piece is that given the connection with filmmakers, we get an insightful view into the making of the movie.
These documentaries are sure to keep you entertained for long. Even after they end, you’ll be thinking about them and talking to fellow film makers of what you saw. These documentaries can make for some life changing experience so make sure you indulge in these educational pieces. They’re hard to come by, but if you have a good cable connection, they’re not that far away. Spectrum TV Select is your perfect partner in this endeavor as it boasts of a diverse lineup including channels like Discovery, National Geographic that have some of the best content for viewing. With access to their on demand content, you’ll be easily be able to find what you’re looking. So, go ahead and get watching.