Movie list
for designers

Below is a list of films to compulsory viewing for designers, illustrators and creative people.
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A breathtaking new documentary from the incomparable Werner Herzog follows an exclusive expedition into the nearly inaccessible Chauvet Cave in France, home to the most ancient visual art known to have been created by man.
Diana Vreeland: The Eye Has To Travel is an intimate portrait and a vibrant celebration of one of the most influential women of the 20th century, an enduring icon whose influence changed the face of fashion, beauty, art, publishing and culture forever.
Manufactured Landscapes is the striking new documentary on the world and work of renowned artist Edward Burtynsky. Internationally acclaimed for his large-scale photographs of "manufactured landscapes"—quarries, recycling yards, factories, mines and dams—Burtynsky creates stunningly beautiful art from civilization’s materials and debris.
In this documentary Roy Lichtenstein is interviewed and discusses his life and art work, what influenced him, where his ideas came from, how his art adapted and how and why it changed over time.
For many, Milton Glaser is the personification of American graphic design. Best known for co-founding New York Magazine and creating the enduring I love NY campaign, the full breadth of Glaser's remarkable artistic output is revealed in this documentary portrait
What is design thinking? How is it applied in business models? How are people changing the worldwith their own creative minds? It is a call to the conventional minds to change and collaborate.
In this documentary Roy Lichtenstein is interviewed and discusses his life and art work, what influenced him, where his ideas came from, how his art adapted and how and why it changed over time.
Drew: The Man Behind the Poster highlights the career of poster artist Drew Struzan, whose most popular works include the Indiana Jones, Back to the Future and Star Wars movie posters.
An intimate and provoking portrait of Lord Paul Smith, quirky designer and formidable businessman, through exclusive access to a poet of British fashion.
Celebrate the 120th anniversary of 'Vogue' with this profile of fashion's most influential magazine. Told through the eyes of its most iconic editors, the film explores the cultural impact of 'Vogue' over a century of changing trends in fashion, photography and feminism.
The tale of Jodorowsky and his Dune is a fascinating trip through creativity and imagination, a story about the relentless pursuit of a dream, and the necessity of art.
INDIE GAME: THE MOVIE looks at the underdogs of the video game industry, indie game developers, who sacrifice money, health and sanity to realize their lifelong dreams of sharing their creative visions with the world.
Starring the legendary American painter, graffiti artist, poet and musician Jean-Michel Basquiat (1960-1988), Downtown 81 is both a post-modernist fairytale and a vivid depiction of the downtown New York art and music scene in the early 1980s.
In 1965, Edie Sedgwick, the beautiful and wealthy young party girl drops out of Harvard and heads to New York to become Holly Golightly. When she meets a hungry young artist named Andy Warhol, he promises to make her the star she always wanted to be.
A look at the life and work of Japanese photographer Nobuyoshi Araki and his impact on Japanese culture.
McCullin
Celebrated photographer Don McCullin worked for The Sunday Times from 1966 to 1983, at a time when the newspaper was widely recognised as being at the cutting edge of international investigative photo-journalism.
Basquiat
Director Julian Schnabel illustrates the portrait of his friend, the first Afro-American Pop Art artist Jean Michel Basquiat who unfortunately died at a young age and just as he was beginning to make a name for himself in the art world.
fur
From the window of her immaculate New York apartment, lonely housewife Diane Arbus (Kidman) locks eyes with a masked figure on the street, a mysterious new neighbor (Downey Jr.) whose penetrating gaze strips the veneer off her tidy reality.
The Graffiti Artist
Adrift in a lush, nocturnal urban landscape, Nick is a postmodern urban hero asserting his anarchistic agenda on the endless maze of virgin exterior walls that comprise downtown Seattle and Portland.
The Genius of Design
This five-part series, made by the team behind the award-winning series The Genius of Photography, tells the story of design from the Industrial Revolution through 20s modernism, the swinging 60s, the designer 80s and up to the present day.
Food Design
Movie shows how form, color, smell, consistency, the sounds made during eating, manufacturing technique, history and stories are all aspects of food and eating that both influence food design, and are created by it.
Helmut Newton: Frames from the Edge
A camera crew follows Helmut Newton, the fashion and ad photographer whose images of tall, blond, big-breasted women are part of the iconography of twentieth-century erotic fantasy.
Marina Abramović: The Artist is Present
The film follows the artist as she prepares for what may be the most important moment of her life: a major retrospective of her work at The Museum of Modern Art in New York.
Finding Vivian Maier
The purchase of a storage locker leads a man to uncover mysterious photographs, resulting in the astounding discovery of one of the 20th century's greatest artists.
Design the New Business
A camera crew follows Helmut Newton, the fashion and ad photographer whose images of tall, blond, big-breasted women are part of the iconography of twentieth-century erotic fantasy.
Coast Modern
Travelling along the Pacific North West coastline from LA to Vancouver, the film showcases the pioneers of West Coast Modernist Architecture, and the homes that have become their legacies.
Print the Legend
3D printing is changing the world – from printing guns and human organs, to dismantling the world’s industrial infrastructure by enabling home manufacturing. It’s “the next Industrial Revolution.”
PressPausePlay
The digital revolution of the last decade has unleashed creativity and talent of people in an unprecedented way, unleashing unlimited creative opportunities.
Clean Lines, Open Spaces
"Clean Lines, Open Spaces" looks at mid-century modern architecture in Arkansas and how the post war building boom brought modern design to the state. Talking to home owners, architects and others this documentary looks at the best examples of these buildings throughout Arkansas.
Inge Druckrey: Teaching to See
This film is about patient and dedicated teaching, about learning to look and visualize in order to design, about the importance of drawing.
Future by Design
Future by Design shares the life and far-reaching vision of Jacque Fresco, considered by many to be a modern day Da Vinci.
Beauty Is Embarrassing
BEAUTY IS EMBARRASSING is a funny, irreverent, joyful and inspiring documentary featuring the life and current times of one of America’s most important artists, Wayne White.
The Modern Russian Design
The film is about the last 20 years the development of the design industry in Russia on the examples of selected projects graphic, industrial, fashion design and multi-media design.
Everybody Street
Everybody Street illuminates the lives and work of New York’s iconic street photographers and the incomparable city that has inspired them for decades.
Blow Up
Bomb It is a wild ride into the heart of the global graffiti culture where the love of art and ego clashes explosively with law and order. On top of a fresh soundtrack of punk, hip-hop and funk, this high-octane film explores the many manifestations of “bombing.”
Bomb It
Bomb It is a wild ride into the heart of the global graffiti culture where the love of art and ego clashes explosively with law and order.
Handmade Nation
Handmade Nation documents the new wave of art, craft and design that is capturing the attention of the nation. It is the feature film debut of director, author, artist & curator Faythe Levine.
Nightwatching
The film is about the last 20 years the development of the design industry in Russia on the examples of selected projects graphic, industrial, fashion design and multi-media design.
!Women Art Revolution
For over forty years, director Lynn Hershman Leeson has collected hundreds of hours of interviews with visionary artists, historians, curators and critics who shaped the beliefs and values of the Feminist Art Movement and reveal previously undocumented strategies used to politicize female artists and integrate women into art structures.
The Art of the Steal
This art-world whodunit investigates what happened to the Barnes collection of Post-Impressionist paintings—valued in the billions—that fell prey to a power struggle after the death of owner Albert Barnes.
Design is One: Lella & Massimo Vignelli
Two of the world’s most influential designers, Lella and Massimo Vignelli’s work covers such a broad spectrum that one could say they are known by everyone, even by those who don’t know their names.
Eames: The Architect and the Painter
Design history was born in a cavernous warehouse on a gritty street in Venice Beach, California, where Charles and Ray Eames set up their Renaissance-style studio in the optimistic flush of American victory during World War II.
Visual Acoustics: The Modernism of Julius Shulman
Narrated by Dustin Hoffman, VISUAL ACOUSTICS celebrates the life and career of Julius Shulman, the world's greatest architectural photographer, whose images brought modern architecture to the American mainstream.
Ken Burns: American Lives
Ken Burns' American Lives is a collection of outstanding biographies and stories of some of America's most celebrated pioneers and historical figures.
American Look
This film 1958 pays tribute to those who are engaged in design in America. It offers a glimpse into the architecture, interiors, furniture, products and technologies that have become iconic in the 50s.
Herb & Dorothy
Herb worked in a post office. Dorothy was a librarian. In the early 1960s, when very little attention was paid to Minimalist and Conceptual Art, Herb and Dorothy Vogel quietly began purchasing the works of unknown artists. Living only on Dorothy's modest income, the Vogels devoted all of Herb's salary to purchasing art.
Helvetica
Helvetica is a feature-length independent film about typography, graphic design and global visual culture. It looks at the proliferation of one typeface (which will celebrate its 50th birthday in 2007) as part of a larger conversation about the way type affects our lives.
Bill Cunningham New York
A delicate, funny and often poignant documentary portrait of bicycle-riding octogenarian Bill Cunningham, the beloved New York Times style photographer who is world famous for his weekly "On the Street" column.
Milton Glaser: To Inform & Delight
For many, Milton Glaser is the personification of American graphic design. Best known for co-founding New York Magazine and creating the enduring I love NY campaign, the full breadth of Glaser's remarkable artistic output is revealed in this documentary portrait, MILTON GLASER: TO INFORM AND DELIGHT.
Vidal Sassoon: The Movie
Vidal Sassoon is more than just a hairdresser - he's a rock star, an artist, a craftsman who "changed the world with a pair of scissors."
A Model for Matisse
A warm and richly painted portrait of the little known and tender relationship between one of the twentieth century's greatest artists, Henri Matisse, and the woman who inspired him to create masterpieces.
Objectified
Objectified is a feature-length documentary about our complex relationship with manufactured objects and, by extension, the people who design them. Director Gary Hustwit (Helvetica) looks at the creativity at work behind everything from toothbrushes to tech gadgets, profiling the designers who re-examine, re-evaluate and re-invent our manufactured environment on a daily basis.
Typeface
From the company that brought you "Hoop Dreams," comes a documentary about a rural Midwestern print shop where international artists meet retired craftsmen, and together they navigate the convergence of modern design and traditional technique.
Cutie and the Boxer
The critically acclaimed love story about a former rising star in the New York art scene and his equally talented muse, as they navigate success, chaos, artistic passion and true love over 4 decades of marriage. Featuring original drawings by Noriko Shinohara and original paintings by Ushio Shinohara.
Everything Must Change - Piet Zwart
A fascinating documentary about Piet Zwart (1885-1977), an idiosyncratic and stubborn designer, who lived for innovation and prepared the way for the international success that is now known as Dutch Design.
Urbanized
Gary Hustwit (Helvetica, Objectified) returns with the final documentary in his design film trilogy. Urbanized focuses on the design of cities, and features some of the world's foremost architects, planners, policymakers, and thinkers, including extraordinary citizens who have changed their cities.
Jean-Michel Basquiat: The Radiant Child
In his short career, Jean-Michel Basquiat was a phenomenon. He became notorious for his graffiti art under the moniker Samo in the late 1970s on the Lower East Side scene, sold his first painting to Deborah Harry for $200 and became best friends with Andy Warhol.
Exit Through the Gift Shop
The story of how an eccentric French shop keeper and amateur film maker attempted to locate and befriend Banksy, only to have the artist turn the camera back on its owner with spectacular results.
Linotype: The Film
Linotype: The Film is a feature-length documentary centered around the Linotype type casting machine. Called the "Eighth Wonder of the World" by Thomas Edison, it revolutionized printing and society.
Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry
In his short career, Jean-Michel Basquiat was a phenomenon. He became notorious for his graffiti art under the moniker Samo in the late 1970s on the Lower East Side scene, sold his first painting to Deborah Harry for $200 and became best friends with Andy Warhol.
Between the Folds
Think origami is just paper planes and cranes? Meet a determined group of theoretical scientists and fine artists who have abandoned careers and scoffed at graduate degrees to forge new lives as modern-day paper folders.
Just Like Being There
In the gig poster community, artists such as Daniel Danger and Jay Ryan prove that creating this artwork is more than just a career, it is a way of life. These artists are at the forefront of the expansion of the gig poster genre.
Art & Copy
Art & Copy is a powerful film about advertising and inspiration. It reveals the work and wisdom of some of the most influential advertising creatives of our time, people who've profoundly impacted our culture.
Sign Painters
We see them almost every day without a second thought. Weathered by time, distinct characteristics shining through, hand-painted signs are a product of a fascinating 150 year-old American history.
Style Wars
Some call it tagging, some call it writing, still others call it bombing--it's all graffiti. Whether it's art or not is another matter, but it's undeniably illegal.
The Visual Language of Herbert Matter
Herbert Matter was a man who seemingly fit many lives into one by excelling in the creative disciplines of design, photography and film. The documentary The Visual Language of Herbert Matter by director Reto Caduff profiles his extraordinary life and seminal work.
Gerhard Richter Painting
'Gerhard Richter Painting' offers unprecedented insight into the life and work of one of the greatest artists of our time. In quiet, highly concentrated images, this beautifully shot and endlessly revealing film provides a fly-on-the-wall perspective of the very personal, tension-filled process of artistic creation.
Sketches of Frank Gehry
Sydney Pollack's first feature-length documentary focuses on acclaimed architect Frank O. Gehry. Beginning with the architect's own original sketches for each major project, the film explores Gehry's process of turning these abstract drawings first into three-dimensional models, often made simply of cardboard and tape, then into finished buildings of titanium and glass, concrete and steel, wood and stone.
Beautiful Losers
Beautiful Losers celebrates the spirit behind one of the most influential cultural moments of a generation. In the early 1990s a loose-knit group of like-minded outsiders found common ground at a little NYC storefront gallery.
How Much Does Your Building Weigh, Mr. Foster?
'Gerhard Richter Painting' offers unprecedented insight into the life and work of one of the greatest artists of our time. In quiet, highly concentrated images, this beautifully shot and endlessly revealing film provides a fly-on-the-wall perspective of the very personal, tension-filled process of artistic creation.
The Cool School
The Cool School is an object lesson in how to build an art scene from scratch and what to avoid in the process.
The Many Lives of William Klein
William Klein has lived many lives. One of the world's most influential photographers, he pioneered the art of street photography and created some of the most iconic fashion images of the 20th century. He also made over twenty films, including the first ever documentary about Muhammad Ali and a brilliant satire of the fashion world, Who Are You Polly Magoo?