Nanook of the North
Nanook of the North (1922)

Nanook of the North is regarded as the first significant nonfiction feature, made in the days before the term "documentary" had even been coined. Filmmaker Robert Flaherty had lived among the Eskimos in Canada for many years as a… More

Rated: Unrated
Running Time:
Release Date: June 11, 1922
DVD Release Date: January 26, 1999
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Critic Score: 100% Rotten Tomatoes™ Critic Reviews
Dave Kehr
Chicago Reader

Flaherty wasn't much of an ethnologist -- he routinely staged scenes for his camera and insisted that his subjects return to traditions they'd abandoned generations before -- yet he was a master dramatist.

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Roger Ebert
Chicago Sun-Times

Nanook is one of the most vital and unforgettable human beings ever recorded on film.

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Jay Antani
Cinema Writer

absolutely brilliant

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Variety Staff

Despite the comparatively primitive technique and the natural difficulties of shooting a film in the frozen Hudson Bay wastelands, every minute of Nanook lives up to its reputation.

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Fernando F. Croce

Flaherty's great achievement is not documentary objectivity but something else, a sort of reconstructed rawness that illuminates the human struggles and explorations on both sides of the lenses

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Stan Hall

That it wasn't exactly accurate does not obscure its importance as a cinematic milestone and a depiction of a vanishing way of life.

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Time Out

These characters are plainly 'playing' themselves, and scenes such as the igloo-building manifest a sage grace and skill.

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Brian Costello
Common Sense Media

Excellent early documentary has some hunting violence.

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TV Guide

By virtue of its timeless setting and straightforward approach to its subject, this portrait of the daily lives of an Eskimo man and his family is probably the least dated of any silent film extant.

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More reviews for Nanook of the North

Flixster Audience Score: 80% Flixster User Reviews
Chris Weber
This is widely regarded as the first significant nonfiction feature film, and this was made during the days before the term documentary came into existence.… More
Conner Rainwater
I think it's a very interesting look into the life of an Eskimo, however, it has no purpose at all. For it's time i'm sure it was captivating and… More
KJ Proulx
As far as documentaries go, "Nanook of the North" is a great one! It tells the true story of an inuit family who scavenges to find food and shelter.… More
Daniel Hetteix
Yes, it was highly staged. But for the time period, this was perhaps the closest one could get to Cinema Verite. The clunky camera necessitated the staged… More
Cindy I
A ground-breaking documentary on the life of a family of "Eskimos" as they try to survive in the cold of a Hudson Bay winter. Robert Flaherty gave the… More
Joseph Boomhower
Robert Flaherty was just fooling around with a camera taking images of the Eskimos that lived around the Hudson Bay in Arctic Canada, he didn't know much… More