Frederick Wiseman

Frederick Wiseman

Highest Rated: 100% La Dernière Lettre (2003)

Lowest Rated: 83% The Cool World (1964)

Birthday: Jan 1, 1930

Birthplace: Boston, Massachusetts

Documentarian Frederick Wiseman has been noted for his ability to capture the nuances of life in American institutions such as prisons, hospitals, welfare offices, and high schools. He started out in 1963 by producing a fictional feature film, The Cool World, an examination of the lives of Harlem teenagers. In the beginning, Wiseman was a staunch social reformist, and his films were calls for change. Titicut Follies, his first documentary, is an exposé of life in a prison for the criminally insane in Bridgewater, MA. It was controversial and left Wiseman with the reputation of being a muckraker. His four subsequent documentaries were all exposés of other tax-supported institutions designed to show the ineffectiveness of the bureaucracy that not only threatens to destroy them, but also dehumanizes the people they were meant to serve. Wiseman toned down his message and began focusing more on American culture to point out the symbolism of daily activities in his film Primate (1974). In the '80s, he began examining institutions as they relate to ideology. Unlike other documentaries, Wiseman's work does not progress chronologically; rather, the segments are arranged thematically, like an essay, and are linked via rhetorical devices such as comparison and contrast to create a patterned structure. His films are never narrated, thereby forcing viewers to make connections between the sequences themselves. Wiseman has occasionally returned to fictional films, albeit in a non-fiction performance style, as with Seraphita's Diary (1982) and La Derniere Lettre (2002). He won an Honorary Academy Award in 2016.

Highest Rated Movies



85% Monrovia, Indiana Director 2018
97% Ex Libris: New York Public Library Director $42.5K 2017
96% In Jackson Heights Producer Director 2015
95% National Gallery Director Producer 2014
No Score Yet La Comédie-Française ou L'amour joué Director 2014
87% At Berkeley Director Producer $5.6K 2013
85% Crazy Horse Director Producer $0.2M 2012
No Score Yet Desir Director 2011
No Score Yet Frederick Wiseman's Boxing Gym Director 2011
95% Boxing Gym Producer Director $35K 2010
87% La Danse -- Le Ballet de l'Opera de Paris Producer Director $0.6M 2009
No Score Yet State Legislature Director Producer 2007
No Score Yet The Garden Director 2005
100% La Dernière Lettre Director 2003
91% Domestic Violence Director Producer 2001
No Score Yet Belfast, Maine Director Producer 1999
No Score Yet Cinema Verite: Defining the Moment Actor 1999
No Score Yet Public Housing Producer Director 1997
No Score Yet Ballet Director Producer 1996
No Score Yet High School II Producer Director 1994
No Score Yet Zoo Director 1993
No Score Yet Aspen Director 1991
No Score Yet Central Park Director 1991
No Score Yet Near Death Director Producer 1989
No Score Yet Missile Director Screenwriter Producer 1987
No Score Yet Multi-handicapped Director Producer 1986
No Score Yet Adjustment and Work Producer Director 1986
No Score Yet Deaf Director Producer 1986
No Score Yet Blind Producer Director 1986
No Score Yet Racetrack Director 1985
No Score Yet The Store Producer Director 1983
No Score Yet Manoeuvre Producer Director 1979
No Score Yet Sinai Field Mission Director 1978
No Score Yet Canal Zone Director Screenwriter Producer 1977
No Score Yet Model Director Producer 1977
No Score Yet Meat Director 1976
No Score Yet Welfare Director Producer 1975
No Score Yet Primate Director 1974
No Score Yet Essene Director 1972
No Score Yet Basic Training Producer Director 1971
No Score Yet Law and Order Director 1969
No Score Yet High School Producer Director 1968
100% Titicut Follies Director Producer 1967
83% The Cool World Producer 1964
No Score Yet Domestic Violence 2 Director


No Score Yet Tavis Smiley
Guest 2016
No Score Yet Independent Lens
Director Producer 2014
No Score Yet Great Performances
Director Producer 2010
No Score Yet POV
Director 2001


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