The 5 Best Documentaries About Nat King Cole

Mar 1, 2024 | Best Of, Celebrities, Music

Nat King Cole is one of the most iconic figures in the history of jazz music. His career spanned five decades, from his first national hit “Straighten Up and Fly Right” in 1943 to his passing away in 1965. During that time, his remarkable talent and unforgettable voice enabled him to reach a level of musical excellence rarely seen before or since. He has been the subject of countless books, movies, and documentaries. In this article, we take a look at five of the best documentaries about Nat King Cole – each one showcasing his life in its own unique way. From intimate home videos to conversations with those who knew him best, these films offer an inspiring look into the life and legacy of Nat King Cole. Whether you’re a lifelong fan or just discovering his music, these documentaries will leave you with a greater appreciation for the man and his music. So sit back, relax, and appreciate the life of this jazz legend!


1. Nat King Cole – Documentary (1998)

This documentary is an exploration of the life and career of jazz musician Nat King Cole. Directed by Adam McKay, this feature length film looks at Cole’s early musical influences as well as the struggles he faced in his rise to fame. It explores his move towards integration of popular music with his innovative style and showcases some of his most beloved songs. Featuring interviews with many of his family members, musicians, and close friends, this documentary gives a comprehensive overview of Nat King Cole’s life. It also shows how he opened doors for other African American artists in the music industry and why his legacy still resonates today. This is an essential watch for any fan of the legendary singer-songwriter.


2. Nat King Cole Documentary (1991)

This documentary is one of the most comprehensive looks at Nat King Cole’s life and career. With interviews from family, friends, and colleagues, it recounts his rise to fame as a jazz musician during the 1940s and 1950s. It also sheds light on his struggles with racism in America, and how he ultimately overcame it. The documentary is filled with rare footage and recordings, making it a must-watch for any Nat King Cole fan. The Nat King Cole Story (2004) This documentary tells the story of Nat King Cole’s life from childhood to his untimely death in 1965. It features interviews with many of those closest to him, including his daughters Natalie and Timolin. There are also interviews with prominent musicians, such as Tony Bennett and Ray Charles. It’s a moving tribute to one of the most influential jazz artists of all time.


3. The Untold Truth Of Nat King Cole

Nat King Cole is one of the most iconic and beloved singers of all time. His smooth, crooning style laid the foundation for modern vocal jazz, inspiring generations of musicians that followed. But there’s so much more to his story than just his music. To learn about his life, struggles and triumphs, check out these must-see documentaries celebrating Nat King Cole’s legacy. Nat King Cole: Afraid of the Dark (2000) This documentary film follows Nat King Cole’s life from his early childhood in Montgomery, Alabama to his death in 1965. It examines how Cole became one of the most popular singers and pianists of the 20th century despite facing racism in an era when segregation was still rampant. It also features interviews with his children, who reflect on how their father’s legacy continues to influence modern music.


4. Nat King Cole, The World Of

Nat King Cole is a true icon whose voice has transcended time. His music speaks to the heart and soul of every generation, from his first hit “Straighten Up and Fly Right” in 1943 to his Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award posthumous honor in 2000. He was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame for his legacy of love songs, and his voice still resonates with people around the world. The documentary DVD “The World of Nat King Cole” is an exploration into this musical luminary’s life and artistry. It features interviews, plus a full-length performance by Omara Portuondo and Ibrahim Ferrer of the Buena Vista Social Club, as well as unforgettable tributes from Nat Cole’s friends and family. For those looking to take an intimate look into the life of this legendary singer, “The World of Nat King Cole” should not be missed. This film is a celebration of all that he has given the world: his music and his passion for life.


5. Nat King Cole // An Evening With Nat King Cole // 1963

This timeless and historic documentary, filmed in 1963, follows Nat King Cole’s journey through a tour of six European countries. The performances on the tour are brought to life with this intimate look into the great jazz pianist’s life. An Evening With Nat King Cole is an extraordinary glimpse into the work and personal life of one of music’s greatest icons. Nat King Cole – The Man and His Music // 1965 This documentary from the mid-1960s features rare archival footage, interviews with family and friends, and live performances of some of Nat King Cole’s most beloved songs. From his childhood in Chicago to his success on radio and television, this documentary captures the essence of a man whose influence continues to inspire generations of jazz lovers.

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David B