15 notable and best photography movies every photographer should watch, in no particular order. These photography movies are the best movies that reference photography. They include those where photography is a main part of the story, to others where photography plays a small, yet important part.
- 1. City of God (2002)
- 2. Everlasting Moments (2008)
- 3. The Secret Life of Walter Mitty (2013)
- 4. A thousend times good night (2013)
- 5. Finding Vivian Maier (2013)
- 6. Blowup (1966)
- 7. Pecker (1998)
- 8. High Art (1998)
- 9. One hour photo (2002)
- 10. Rear Window (1954)
- 11. Proof (1991)
- 12. Under Fire (1983)
- 13. Gregory Crewdson: Brief Encounters (2012)
- 14. The Killing Fields (1984)
- 15. War Photographer (2001)
1. City of God (2002)
In the slums of Rio, two kids’ paths diverge as one struggles to become a photographer and the other a kingpin. Not only considered as the best film about photography, it is also one of the best films to come out in recent years.
2. Everlasting Moments (2008)
A Swedish film about a woman who wins a camera in a lottery. Time of social change and unrest, war and poverty. The lead character, played by Maria Heiskanen, develops a fascination with photography. Her decision to keep the camera ultimately changes her life.
3. The Secret Life of Walter Mitty (2013)
Walter Mitty, an employee at Life magazine, spends day after monotonous day developing photos for the publication.
4. A thousend times good night (2013)
A war-zone photojournalist’s dedication to her dangerous job places her at odds with her family.
5. Finding Vivian Maier (2013)
This documentary shuttles from New York to France to Chicago as it traces the life story of the Vivian Maier.
6. Blowup (1966)
A 60’s film with a cult following status, this film follows Thomas a fashion photographer, who discovers he accidentally captured a murder on film in the background of one of the images while he’s developing it in the darkroom.
7. Pecker (1998)
A great movie with amazing performance. Small town sandwich shop employee turned over night fine art photography sensation when he is discovered by a big city art dealer who leads him through the tongue-in-cheek world of fine art photography scene.
8. High Art (1998)
An independent art house film that is brooding, melancholy and beautifully shot. The film’s heroine, Radha Mitchell is a young intern at a small magazine that falls in love with a drug addicted lesbian photographer, Ally Sheedy. The two exploit each other to advance their careers.
9. One hour photo (2002)
A dark thriller featuring an inspired Robin Williams playing a Walmart one-hour photo clerk who ended up stalking a family whose pictures he regularly takes and develops.
10. Rear Window (1954)
Thriller about a wheelchair bound photographer who spies on his neighbors through the lens of his camera. In one of his voyeuristic episodes he is convinced he sees one of them commit a murder.
11. Proof (1991)
The life of a blind photographer Martin who takes photographs to have others describe what they see for comparison.
12. Under Fire (1983)
Three journalists in a romantic triangle are involved in political intrigue during the last days of the corrupt Somozoa regime in Nicaragua before it falls to a popular revolution in 1979. Under Fire is a technically sound cinematic characterization of a wartime photojournalist played by Nick Nolte.
13. Gregory Crewdson: Brief Encounters (2012)
Gregory Crewdson is a legend of our time. His works are powerful, captivating, and thought-provoking. This is a documentary-style film is about the photographer’s creative process, and how he brings to life the mesmerizing images based off of his dreams.
14. The Killing Fields (1984)
The Killing Fields is a British biographical drama film about the Khmer Rouge regime in Cambodia, which is based on the experiences of two journalists. The film received seven Oscar nominations and won three.
15. War Photographer (2001)
This amazing documentary follows James Nachtwey, one of the most notable war photographers of all time. He is an extremely passionate professional that is in the pursuit of covering global conflicts. He’s a shy, quiet individual, and yet, he repeatedly places himself in some of the most dangerous places on the planet.
This documentary spends two years following him to places like Kosovo and Indonesia and is particularly compelling, as it mounts cameras on Nachtwey’s cameras, giving you a look at both how he works in these extreme environments and an idea of just how real the danger he faces is. It’s also one of the best photography movies that highlight social issues.