The Fantastic Mr. Feynman


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“The first principle is that you must not fool yourself and you are the easiest person to fool.”
- Richard P. Feynman

This is my favorite documentary of one of my favorite people, Richard Feynman.

His lectures and books — such as Surely You’re Joking, Mr. Feynman! (Adventures of a Curious Character) — have greatly inspired many of my best decisions in life. He also inspired me to teach.

I hope you enjoy the film as much as I did. Whether you like bongo drums, safe cracking, go-go dancers, or physics, there’s something for everyone.


Question of the day: If you had to pick your favorite documentary, which would it be and why? Let me know in the comments!

Posted on: June 30, 2013.

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Comment Rules: Remember what Fonzie was like? Cool. That’s how we’re gonna be — cool. Critical is fine, but if you’re rude, we’ll delete your stuff. Please do not put your URL in the comment text and please use your PERSONAL name or initials and not your business name, as the latter comes off like spam. Have fun and thanks for adding to the conversation! (Thanks to Brian Oberkirch for the inspiration)

184 comments on “The Fantastic Mr. Feynman

  1. I adore everything Feynman…even have his Apple “Think Different” poster framed on the wall. Thank you for this!

    Some favorites:

    Saving the Bay –
    Tim, KQED is rebroadcasting all episodes in August, since you’re local – set your DVR!

    The World According to Monsanto

    I am (by Tom Shadyac)

    The Call of the Wild (Ron Lamothe’s documentary story of Chris McCandless; PBS)

    Inside Job & Too Big to Fail

    In the Shadow of The Moon

    (Also HBO’s From The Earth to The Moon series, though not sure it’s considered an actual documentary)

    Speaking of Feynman…I love this Symphony of Science – ‘We Are All Connected’ (ft. Sagan, Feynman, deGrasse Tyson & Bill Nye)


  2. Pretty much anything by Werner Herzog airs on brilliance but I was most deeply affected by Grizzly Man. There is one scene in particular…i have never been so absorbed.

    Recently I was moved by teh Marina Abramovic doc The Artist is Present.


  3. *A Man Named Pearl*
    I stumbled upon this inspiring documentary and loved it so much I immediately watched it again. Commit to your vision.


  4. my favourite documentary is supersize me
    it forced a company who up to that point sued whoever said anything bad about it to change the way they did things


  5. Tim, I just stumbled upon this post from my Feedly reader and it appears that YouTube is claiming that the uploader has closed their account. Do you have another link?


  6. The documentary that has made the biggest impression on me was
    The Iraq War [Full BBC Documentary]. It told the story of how Iraq went from hope to disaster as the situation spiraled out of control.


  7. Great suggestion list. I would add to learn some language basics ( Please, Thank You. how to count to 10) and be prepared to take chances and trust people where you visit. I have found more people anxious to practice their English with me and not want to listen to my stammering Spanish, Portuguese or French. I have gotten some great tours by agreeing to go somewhere with locals I have just met.


  8. My dad gave me Feynman’s book & I absolutely love it! In terms of documentaries, if you’re up for something a bit sad I’d recommend “Dear Zachary: A Letter to a Son About His Father” – if you haven’t seen it or heard about it, don’t do any research. Just watch it.