Can a Narrative Film Be Remade as a Documentary?

In my latest Doc Talk column at, I ask the question, “Can a narrative film be remade as a documentary?” Inspired in part by Hal Ashby’s “The Landlord” and Martin Scorsese’s “Public Speaking,” as well as Scorsese’s confirmed future collaboration with Lars von Trier for a new “The Five Obstructions” project, the post also involves Werner Herzog, “American Teen,” “The Parking Lot Movie,” “Anvil! The Story of Anvil,” “The King of Kong” and “Page One: Inside the New York Times.” Also: minor thoughts about new releases “American: The Bill Hicks Story,” “The King Speaks” and “Rejoice and Shout.” Here’s a teasing snippet:

But here is a novel idea that might also work in a reciprocal way: remaking narrative features as documentaries. Actually, I should stress that it should be fiction films, since narrative features can include works based on true stories, which wouldn’t be too unlikely or difficult. For instance, Werner Herzog could have technically made the documentary Little Dieter Needs to Fly after making the dramatic version, Rescue Dawn, as opposed to vice versa.

Read the rest at and then share some possible fiction films that could have also worked as a documentary in the comments section.


About Christopher Campbell
I am a blogger for Documentary Channel and, where I write the Doc Talk column. I prefer real stories to fake ones. I tweet here: @thefilmcynic

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