3 Movies Like Aladdin and the King of Thieves (1996)

Staff & contributors

Chasing the feel of watching Aladdin and the King of Thieves ? Here are the movies we recommend you watch right after.

“They called me uppity. Uppity n*****. And I loved it”. That’s how this excellent documentary, about the first professional black racing driver Willy T. Ribbs, starts. It summarizes the strong personality of a champion who excelled in tracks that were filled with confederate flags.

The documentary explains the details of the difficulties that Ribbs went through in the 70s and 80s, but also the people who supported him and recognized his talent. It’s by no way a sad movie, on the contrary, even when Ribbs is talking about people spitting wherever he walks or about the death threats escalating, his unharmed determination is at the center of the story.

This is an inspiring documentary about a character who never got his worth in the history books. I was full of shivers by the first half-hour mark.

Genre: Documentary

Actor: Adam Carolla, Al Unser Jr., Bernie Ecclestone, Bobby Unser, Chase Austin, David Hobbs, Doug Boles, Geraldine Ribbs, Ian Brown, Nate Adams, Paul Newman, Phillip Ribbs, Willy T. Ribbs

Director: Adam Carolla, Nate Adams

Rating: Not Rated

It's impossible not to be moved by this passionate love letter to the medium of film and its singular abilities to witness, commemorate, connect, educate, and, yes, entertain. The Living Record is more than that, though: it’s also an urgent clarion call for better support of the infrastructure and people who preserve and restore the celluloid reels that contain so much of our history.

In two hours, it packs in a lot — perhaps even too much, because there is so much fascinating material here that it’s almost overwhelming to take it in all at once. The doc draws on a sweeping line-up of contributors who collectively illuminate every facet of the need for preservation and restoration, from archivists to filmmakers like Jonas Mekas, Ken Loach, and Costa-Gavras. Its scope is just as commendably exhaustive, featuring nuanced discussions of the dangers politics poses to preservation efforts, as well as the particular need for archives in formerly colonized countries to prevent “cultural amnesia.” Despite all the challenges it highlights, its tone isn’t hopeless, as the film draws strength from the tireless efforts of archivists and cinematic saviors like Martin Scorsese. It’s impossible to watch this and not come away affirmed or converted into similarly passionate champions of preservation.

Genre: Documentary, Drama, History

Actor: Ben Mankiewicz, Costa-Gavras, Fernando Trueba, Jonas Mekas, Ken Loach, Laure Adler, Margaret Bodde, Martin Scorsese, Patricio Guzman, Ridley Scott, Serge Bromberg, Vittorio Storaro, Wim Wenders

Director: Inés Toharia Terán

While most people were aware about the devastating atomic bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, less people knew about the continued nuclear testing during the Cold War that occurred on American soil. Downwind shines a light on this in the usual documentary fashion, but it’s an important discussion to have, as the state government deemed nuclear testing in a cheaper place more urgent than the lives of the native Americans living near the plantation, and as the death of one of Hollywood’s leading men unable to even change this. While it was interesting to hear from Hollywood stars, Downwind works best in discussion with the Shoshone Nation, who bore the brunt of the consequences of nuclear fallout.

Genre: Documentary

Actor: Lewis Black, Mark Dickson Deans, Martin Sheen, Michael Douglas, Patrick Wayne

Director: Douglas Brian Miller, Mark Shapiro