The 12 Best Documentaries about Ernest Hemingway

Jul 14, 2023 | Best Of, Celebrities, History, People

Ernest Hemingway was a man of many talents, and it only makes sense that his life has been documented in various forms of media. From books to films to documentaries, these works tell the story of one of the most influential literary figures in history and provide insight into who he truly was. Here are 12 essential documentaries about Ernest Hemingway – from his early years to his later life – that capture the complexity and beauty of his world.


1. Hemingway

Ernest Hemingway was a complex man with many secrets. His ambition and charisma drew people in, even though they knew it might be dangerous. Ken Burns and Lynn Novick explore the life of this visionary writer in their three-part documentary film, Hemingway. The six-hour production delves into his iconic short stories, novels, and nonfiction to get an understanding behind the myth. It’s available on PBS website; watch the trailer to learn more about how he pushed himself further than anyone else would dare go!


2. Hemingway: Rivers to The Sea

Ernest Hemingway’s books have been read around the world and continue to leave an indelible mark on literature. In this documentary, we explore what makes his stories so unique – from his distinct style of writing to the themes that drive them. We also look at how his works are still influencing authors today through a series of interviews with contemporary writers who discuss their own story-telling skills in comparison to Hemingway’s. Finally, we hear from experts who explain why Hemingway remains one of the most widely read American authors more than 40 years after his death. Join us as we embark on an exploration into the life and work of Ernest Hemingway!


3. Ernest Hemingway: Wrestling with Life

This documentary takes a closer look at the life of Ernest Hemingway, one of America’s greatest 20th century authors. From his novel The Sun Also Rises to his short story “The Old Man and the Sea”, this film examines what made him such an iconic writer and why he chose to end his own life at 61 years old. Discover Hemingway’s legacy in this compelling exploration.


4. ERNEST HEMINGWAY EXPLAINED: A Guide To Alcoholism & Addiction

Ernest Hemingway was a great author and Nobel Prize winner, however his life was mired with addiction. In this documentary we explore the inner workings of his mind, how he dealt with alcoholism and addiction throughout his life, and the impact it had on him as an artist. Learn how to recognize the signs of addiction in yourself or someone you know, and get insight into what makes up an addict’s mindset.


5. Unraveling the Myth of Ernest Hemingway

Ernest Hemingway was a renowned author and celebrity, whose life has become the stuff of legend. But what is the truth behind this man? In this documentary we explore his many works of literature, from The Sun Also Rises to For Whom the Bell Tolls, as well as uncovering some of his self-mythologizing moments that have grown with his brand over time. Learn more about one of America’s most iconic authors and discover the Man behind the Myth!


6.  A New Look At Ernest Hemingway’s Complex Life

Explore the life of one of America’s most important authors, Ernest Hemingway, in this new documentary from Ken Burns and Lynn Novick. From his early days as a writer to his tragic death, this film delves into Hemingway’s complex personality and examines how his work has had an enduring impact on literature and culture. Uncover the secrets behind one of history’s greatest minds with this captivating documentary about Ernest Hemingway!


7.  The Writers Block Library

The Writers Block Library is a documentary series dedicated to exploring the lives and works of some of literature’s greatest authors. In this installment we take a look at the life and times of Ernest Hemingway, one of America’s most influential writers. We’ll explore his formative years, his struggles with writer’s block, and how he overcame it to become one of history’s most celebrated authors. Join us for an inspiring journey into the mind of Ernest Hemingway!


8. Hemingway House Virtual Tour

The Hemingway House in Ketchum, Idaho is a place of mystery and wonder for those who don’t have the opportunity to visit. But now you can experience this historic home like never before with an exclusive virtual tour from The Community Library. Join us as we explore this amazing house and discover why Ernest Hemingway chose it as his final resting place. Get ready to be inspired by one of the most iconic homes in American history!


9. Hemingway: Coming of Age in an Earlier Age

This virtual event will look into the life and works of Ernest Hemingway, particularly his Michigan-based Nick Adams short fiction. These stories have long been a model for coming-of-age tales, based on Hemingway’s own childhood experiences in Northern Michigan. We invite you to join us as we explore how these stories still speak to us today and what they can teach us about how characters – and all of us – come of age in America one hundred years later. Discover the timelessness of this writing that has influenced generations!


10. Ernest Hemingway Was the Worst KGB Spy Ever

The life of Ernest Hemingway has long been the subject of debate, with opinions ranging from his status as a great American novelist to accusations of misogyny in both his writing and behavior. But there is another interesting question about Hemingway – was he actually part of the KGB? Recent evidence suggests that this may be true and J. Edgar Hoover’s CIA were onto it too! In this documentary, we explore the connection between Hemingway and the Soviet spy network. We also discuss how these revelations have changed our perception of him as an author and public figure.


11. Spain Castles and Fiestas (1959) Ernest Hemingway

Take a journey back in time to 1959 with this English documentary about Spain. Explore the stunning castles and unique fiestas of this beautiful country through the eyes of Ernest Hemingway, one of the greatest authors who ever lived. Learn more about travel and tourism as it was experienced during the 1950s, an era that many still remember fondly today!



12. The Genius of Hemingway

This Spring, PBS will air a documentary exploring the genius of Ernest Hemingway and his controversial legacy. Co-producers Ken Burns and Lynn Novick join Robert W. Trogdon, editor of Library of America’s “Ernest Hemingway: The Sun Also Rises & Other Writings 1918-1926,” for an exclusive sneak preview into this film. Discover how Hemingway’s literary prowess has stood the test of time and why he remains one of America’s most iconic authors today!


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David B