Wallace, who died in 2012 at the great age of 93, was a disruptive legend of broadcast journalism, someone who famously pushed back against the Ayatollah Khomeini and Vladimir Putin.
A veteran of more than 40 years as a correspondent on CBS' "60 Minutes," Wallace was often considered the most feared interviewer on television, an interrogator whose manner was unrelenting and questions probing, to the point that both Sid Caesar and Jack Benny did skits satirizing their ferocity.
Because Wallace's career covered so many big stories - from Vietnam to Watergate to the Iran hostage drama - it's almost inevitable that a documentary on him would hold our attention. But Israeli director Avi Belkin, doing his first English language feature, exceeds expectations and turns this into a compelling film on the nature and practice of TV journalism.
For one thing, Belkin and his team have done their homework and gotten hold of exceptional footage, including unlimited access to thousands of hours of CBS News' own archives, a first for an outside filmmaker.
Working with veteran documentary editor Billy McMillin ("Iraq in Fragments," "West of Memphis"), Belkin made the wise choice of constructing the film entirely in the words of Wallace and those who talk to him, eschewing present-day narration and allowing the man and his subjects to speak for themselves.
"Mike Wallace Is Here" opens with one of its more provocative colloquies, an interchange between the subject and controversial host Bill O'Reilly. When Wallace gives O'Reilly a hard time for his hectoring style, the then-Fox anchor shot back that Wallace was his inspiration, "the driving force of my career. If you don't like me, you go to Wallace."