When the Charlie Rose Show started putting the entirety of its archives on YouTube (3,860 videos and counting), it allowed us to revisit old interviews, and get insightful peeks into the brains of some of the most intelligent, powerful and creative people in American today. Among those are some of America’s greatest documentarians. Charlie Rose has been in conversations with the Spike Lee, Frederick Wiseman, Barbara Koppel and D.A. Pennebaker. Now, those conversations are just a click away.

In 1997, Rose talked to filmmaker Spike Lee and New York Times reporter Howell Raines about Lee’s seminal documentary, Four Little Girls.


Frederick Wiseman, whose extraordinary body of work over the last thirty years has informed and shaped so much of American documentary film, appeared on the Charlie Rose Show a great number of times. In 1993, Wiseman talked about his film Zoo (clip starts at 17:47), and a year later, Wiseman returned to discuss High School II (clips starts at 39:50). In 1995, Wiseman, alongside American Ballet Theater dancers Kathleen Moore and Susan Jaffe, joined Rose to talk about Wiseman’s Ballet (clip starts at 35:00), and in 1996, Wiseman was back to talk about his PBS documentary La Comedie Francaise (clips starts at 24:30).

Two Rose interviews with D.A. Pennebaker, who made the Bob Dylan documentary Don’t Look Back, are also available on YouTube. In the first interview, Pennebaker talks about The War Room (clip starts at 37:30), and in the other interview, he talks about his film Only the Strong Survive (clip starts at 41:13), a 2002 documentary about legendary R&B and soul musical artists featuring performances from Wilson Pickett, Jerry Butler, Mary Wilson and Ann Peebles, among others.

Finally, Barbara Koppel, who directed Harlan County, U.S.A., appeared on Charlie Rose in 1998 to talk about her documentary on Woody Allen, Wild Man Blues.

For updates to this list, check out our playlist on YouTube of our favorite Charlie Rose interviews with documentary filmmakers. (For start times, look in the comments for “povborders.”)