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Filmography - Documentaries, 500 Essential: Mockumentaries

Titles available on DVD and streaming video as of November 2017

Filmography - 500 Essential Documentaries (and Mockumentaries) to Watch Before You Graduate

Titles available on DVD and streaming video as of November 2017.

See also: Films for Teaching School of Communication Topics

Most streaming videos listed are available exclusively to AU students, staff and faculty after an online authentication by AUID#.


This is a selective list of video holdings in the American University Library. Filmographies are created by doing multiple keyword searches in the library catalog to capture as many titles on a topic as possible.  All DVDs listed below are located in Media Services on the Lower Level of Bender Library. To search the library’s complete video holdings search the library catalog at:



Arrested development. 2003. Comedy series done in a mock documentary format.  HOME USE COLLECTION DVD 4871-4878

Best in show: a dogumentary. 2000, 1 videodisc (90 min.).  Follows the antics of dog owners participating in the fictionalized "Mayflower dog show.". HOME USE COLLECTION DVD 10199

The Blair Witch project. 1999.  1 videodisc (ca. 87 min.). Three student filmmakers set out into the forest to film a documentary on a legend known as The Blair Witch.  As they become lost in the woods, an unseen evil begins to stalk and harass them.  They soon realize that what they are filming is not a legend, but their own descent into a horrifying encounter with the supernatural.  HOME USE COLLECTION DVD 24

Bob Roberts. 1992.  1 videodisc (102 min.). A satirical comedy in which a British documentary crew follows a radical folksinger (and self-made millionaire) turned senatorial candidate as he blends singing, music videos and scandal on the campaign trail.  HOME USE COLLECTION DVD 8082

Borat: Cultural learnings of America for make benefit glorious nation of Kazakhstan. 2006, 1 videodisc (86 min.).  When Kazakh journalist Borat Sagdiyev travels to America to make a documentary, he not only generates strong reactions regarding his extreme prejudices, he also tries to meet and marry Pamela Anderson.  HOME USE COLLECTION DVD 2633

Brüno. 2009, 1 videodisc (82 min.).  As Bruno travels the world in search of fame, no one, whether they are celebrities, politicians or even terrorists, will be spared from his signature sense of style and his wickedly off-kilter manner. And, yes, they are all real situations. Prepare yourself for non-stop laughs and outright gasps when you experience the unforgettable antics of Bruno. Bonus material included. DVD 6594 

C.S.A The Confederate States of America. 2005, 1 videodisc (ca. 89 min.).  Satirically humorous, and sometimes frightening, look at the history of an America where the South won the Civil War. DVD 2417 

CB4, the movie. 1993, 1 videodisc (89 min.).  A comedic spoof of rap stars and life in the hip-hop fast lane. Includes performances by various rap singers. DVD 6717

Computer chess. 2013. 1 videodisc (92 min.).  Set over the course of a weekend tournament for chess software programmers thirty-some years ago, return to a nostalgic moment when the contest between technology and the human spirit seemed a little more up for grabs. Get to know the eccentric geniuses possessed of the vision to teach a metal box to defeat man, literally, at his own game, laying the groundwork for artificial intelligence now and in the future.  DVD 8487 and Streaming video.

Curb your enthusiasm. 2000. Mock documentary series about the life of Seinfeld co-creator Larry David.  HOME USE COLLECTION DVD 5211-5222

David Holzman's diary. 1967, 1 videodisc (73 min.).  In this 1967 faux-documentary, a man tries to put all of his life experiences on celluloid. His insistence upon poking his camera where it isn't wanted results only in irritation, alienation, and a few bloody noses. As Holzman's life (and his film) becomes harder to follow, the audience is liable to be as confused as David, especially if they make the mistake of taking this whole thing seriously.  Filmed like cinema verite, it's a well-disguised fiction about the deceptions of cinematic illusionism and the lies people tell themselves in order to live. HOME USE COLLECTION DVD 10284

Death of a president. 2006.  1 videodisc (90 min.). A raging crowd of protesters are waiting for President George W. Bush's procession. As the President gives a patriotic speech inside a hotel, the demonstrators' fury increases to the breaking point. The tension mounts until the horrible instant where the President is assassinated. Following the assassination, the FBI hunts for the assassin. All the suspects are interviewed and released except one, the Syrian man who is convicted and put on death row. There is circumstantial evidence against him, but is he really guilty of the crime? Or does his being Middle Eastern provide a convenient excuse to label the death of the President as an Act of Terror?  HOME USE COLLECTION DVD 3310

Husbands and wives. 1992.  1 videodisc (108 min.). Woody Allen and Mia Farrow star as a long-married couple whose own relationship starts to crumble when their best friends, announce they're separating. They immediately pair-up with younger, sexier paramours and enjoy again the pleasures of fresh passion. But smoldering resentments and unexpected jealousies soon rise to the surface, erupting in savage humor and hilariously unpredictable reunions.  HOME USE COLLECTION DVD 1300

Incident at Loch Ness. 2004.  1 videodisc (94 min.). When renowned director Werner Herzog and fellow filmmaker Zak Penn set off to explore the legend of Scotland's Loch Ness monster, they uncover much more than they bargained for. Unexplained sightings of the creature and chaos among the crew create an uneasy feeling that things aren't what they seem. But what really happened on the infamous lake remains a mystery. Poses the provocative question - where does myth end and reality begin?  HOME USE COLLECTION DVD 1223

The Iraq campaign 1991: a television history in color. 1992. 1 videodisc (19 min.) Filmmaker Phil Patiris condenses 750 hours of film into a pastiche of short clips, Desert Storm events, news reports, Superbowl clips, advertisements, the Rodney King beating, and war and science fiction movies to show how American commercialism and sports hype influenced the public attitude toward the Gulf War. The film closes with scenes of President Bush greeting returning men at the Capitol. The film is followed by a radio interview of Patiris while a still photograph is displayed on the screen. DVD 9450

Land without bread / Housing problems. 1932/1937, 1 videodisc (ca. 43 min.).  Land without bread (ca. 27 min.) : Tells the story of the Hurdanos who were unknown until a road was built through the Las Hurdes region of Spain in 1922. Housing problems (ca. 15 min.) : This film "explores the horrors and evils of the urban housing of the 30's through unrehearsed interviews with slum dwellers."--Container. HOME USE COLLECTION DVD 10181

Man bites dog. 1992.  Criterion collection: Criterion collection (DVD videodiscs).  1 videodisc (96 min.). "A camera crew follows a serial killer/thief around as he exercises his craft. He expounds on art, music, nature, society, and life as he offs mailmen, pensioners, and random people. Slowly he begins involving the camera crew in his activities, and they begin wondering if what they're doing is such a good idea, particularly when the killer kills a rival and the rival's brother sends a threatening letter"--Internet Movie Database.  HOME USE COLLECTION DVD 1526

A mighty wind. 2003, 1 videodisc (92 min.).  Three fictional folk groups from the 1960s reunite for a memorial concert after the death of their former manager. HOME USE COLLECTION DVD 10218

The office. 2001/2005. Both UK and US versions of this series are done in a mock documentary style.  UK:  HOME USE COLLECTION DVD 8581-8584;  US:  HOME USE COLLECTION DVD 4011-4038

Parks and recreation. 2009.  1 videodisc (157 min.). A mockumentary TV series that looks at the exciting world of local government. Examines the mundane but necessary ways that people interact with their government, and asks why it's frequently so complicated - standing in line at the DMV, applying for home construction permits, or trying to get the city to fix a pothole.  HOME USE COLLECTION DVD 9221

Production notes: Fast food for thought. 1986.  1 videodisc (28 min.). A collection of production notes for television commercials advertising fast foods.  DVD 6400

Punishment park. 1971.  1 videodisc (ca. 88 min.). In a desert zone in California, a civilian tribunal sentences groups of dissidents and gives them the option of participating in law enforcement exercises in the Bear Mountain National Punishment Park. Now these prisoners have to fight for their lives.  HOME USE COLLECTION DVD 1714

Real life. 1978.  Widescreen DVD collection.  1 videodisc (98 min.). An account of what happens to a typical American family when a film crew moves in with them to record "real life." Brooks heads up the crew that invades a Phoenix household with disastrous and hysterical results.  HOME USE COLLECTION DVD 6108

Reno 911! 2003. 14 videodiscs.  "Buckle up for a ride with the deputies of the Reno, Nevada Sherriff's Department. Under the supervison of short shorts-wearing Lt. Jim Dangle, the quirky, inept officers of Washoe County do their darnedest to apprehend criminals, intervene in domestic disputes, and keep the streets of Reno safe -- mainly from themselves. Ride shotgun with the brave and shameless officers of Reno 911!"--Container. HOME USE COLLECTION DVD 14301 - 14306

The Rutles. 2001, 1 videodisc (73 min.).  Rutland Weekend Television takes a look at the Pre-fab Four: Dirk, Barry, Stig and Nasty; better known as the Rutles. This documentary follows their career from their early days in Liverpool and Hamburg's infamous Rat-Keller, to their amazing worldwide success. A parody of Beatlemania and the many serious documentaries made about the Beatles. HOME USE COLLECTION DVD 10187

Take the money and run. 1969.  MGM DVD.  1 videodisc (85 min.). Pseudo-documentary that follows the activities of an unsuccessful bank robber.  HOME USE COLLECTION DVD 5371

Tanner '88. 1988.  The Criterion collection: Criterion collection (DVD videodiscs).  2 videodiscs (353 min.). During the 1988 presidential campaign, Democratic hopefuls spiritedly canvass the country, jostle for their party's nomination and the honor of opposing Republican Vice President George Bush. Then Senator Jack Tanner suddenly emerges from the shadows of a lengthy political hiatus to challenge candidates such as Al Gore, Jesse Jackson, Gary Hart, and Michael Dukakis. Tanner is a fictitious presidential candidate who goes out on the campaign trail to shed light on America's political process and landscape.  HOME USE COLLECTION DVD 1012

This is Spinal Tap. 1984.  1 videodisc (83 min.). Once upon a time, Spinal Tap had a big hit song. Now, nearly two decades later, Spinal Tap still clings to some glint of their lost glory as they embark on an accident-plagued tour across America.  HOME USE COLLECTION DVD 538

Trolljegeren = Trollhunter. 2010, 1 videodisc (ca. 103 min.).  A group of students investigates a series of mysterious bear killings, but learns that there are much more dangerous things going on. They start to follow a mysterious hunter, learning that he is actually a troll hunter. HOME USE COLLECTION DVD 11619

Waiting for Guffman.  1996, 1 videodisc (84 min.).  Corky St. Clair has created an ambitious musical celebrating his town's 150th anniversary, and dreams of making it big on Broadway. HOME USE COLLECTION DVD 10238

The war game  / Culloden. 1964, 1 videodisc (121 min.).  The cinema of Peter Watkins. Culloden: In 1746 Scots fighting for Bonnie Prince Charlie lose to English forces in Scotland at the brutal battle of Culloden. War game: A dramatization of the possible effects of nuclear warfare on Great Britain. Explores the physical damage effects, the psychological effects on the survivors, the societal logic for the existence of nuclear arms, and the attempts to understand how the balance of power keeps atomic weapons in check. HOME USE COLLECTION DVD 799

What we do in the shadows. 2014. 1 videodisc (85 min.).  Vladislav, Viago, and Deacon are vampires who live here, among us. They are real vampires; undead, immortal creatures who stalk the night and search for human blood, preferably virgins. Witness the many horrid, abominable aspects of vampire life, such as hunting and feeding, vampire rivalry and fighting with werewolves, as well as normal night to night aspects that make them not so different from us like keeping the flat clean, jobs, shopping, meeting people and trying to fit in. HOME USE COLLECTION DVD 12447

Zelig. 1983.  1 videodisc (79 min.). This spoof of documentary films stars Woody Allen as Leonard Zelig, the famous "Chameleon Man" of the 1920's, whose personality was so vague he would assume the characteristics of whomever he came into contact with. Filmed in black-and-white, the movie simulates the look of a newsreel, complete with stentorian narration.  HOME USE COLLECTION DVD 2082