Best Documentaries

by sheisntfromhere | created - 30 Jan 2012 | updated - 04 Feb 2012 | Public
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1. Dear Zachary: A Letter to a Son About His Father (2008)

Not Rated | 95 min | Documentary, Biography, Crime

8.6
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.6/10 X  
82 Metascore

A filmmaker decides to memorialize a murdered friend when his friend's ex-girlfriend announces she is expecting his son.

Director: Kurt Kuenne | Stars: Kurt Kuenne, Andrew Bagby, David Bagby, Kathleen Bagby

Votes: 26,290

2. The Elephant in the Living Room (2010)

PG | 96 min | Documentary

7.4
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69 Metascore

The Elephant in the Living Room takes viewers on a journey deep inside the controversial American subculture of raising the most dangerous animals in the world, as common household pets. ... See full summary »

Director: Michael Webber | Stars: Tim Harrison, Terry Brumfield, Russ Clear, Casey Craig

Votes: 929

3. Religulous (2008)

R | 101 min | Documentary, Comedy, War

7.7
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  
56 Metascore

Bill Maher's take on the current state of world religion.

Director: Larry Charles | Stars: Bill Maher, Tal Bachman, Jonathan Boulden, Steve Burg

Votes: 54,802 | Gross: $13.00M

4. Bébé(s) (2010)

PG | 79 min | Documentary

7.1
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  
63 Metascore

A look at one year in the life of four babies from around the world, from Mongolia to Namibia to San Francisco to Tokyo.

Director: Thomas Balmès | Stars: Bayar, Hattie, Mari, Ponijao

Votes: 6,402 | Gross: $7.29M

5. Exit Through the Gift Shop (2010)

R | 87 min | Documentary, Comedy, Crime

8.0
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  
85 Metascore

The story of how an eccentric French shop-keeper and amateur film-maker attempted to locate and befriend Banksy, only to have the artist turn the camera back on its owner. The film contains... See full summary »

Director: Banksy | Stars: Banksy, Mr. Brainwash, Space Invader, Debora Guetta

Votes: 55,956 | Gross: $3.29M

6. March of the Penguins (2005)

G | 80 min | Documentary, Family

7.6
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  
79 Metascore

In the Antarctic, every March since the beginning of time, the quest begins to find the perfect mate and start a family.

Director: Luc Jacquet | Stars: Morgan Freeman, Charles Berling, Romane Bohringer, Jules Sitruk

Votes: 50,919 | Gross: $77.44M

7. Bowling for Columbine (2002)

R | 120 min | Documentary, Crime, Drama

8.0
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  
72 Metascore

Filmmaker Michael Moore explores the roots of America's predilection for gun violence.

Director: Michael Moore | Stars: Michael Moore, Charlton Heston, Marilyn Manson, Salvador Allende

Votes: 130,178 | Gross: $21.24M

8. 8: The Mormon Proposition (2010)

R | 80 min | Documentary

7.1
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55 Metascore

A scorching indictment of the Mormon Church's historic involvement in the promotion & passage of California's Proposition 8 and the Mormon religion's secretive, decades-long campaign against LGBT human rights.

Directors: Reed Cowan, Steven Greenstreet | Stars: Spencer Jones, Tyler Barrick, Dustin Lance Black, Linda Williams Stay

Votes: 1,173 | Gross: $0.10M

9. Super Size Me (2004)

PG | 100 min | Documentary, Comedy, Drama

7.2
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73 Metascore

While examining the influence of the fast food industry, Morgan Spurlock personally explores the consequences on his health of a diet of solely McDonald's food for one month.

Director: Morgan Spurlock | Stars: Morgan Spurlock, Daryl Isaacs, Chemeeka Walker, Dania Abu-Rmaileh

Votes: 91,879 | Gross: $11.53M

10. Joan Rivers: A Piece of Work (2010)

R | 84 min | Documentary, Biography, Comedy

7.4
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79 Metascore

A documentary on the life and career of Joan Rivers, made as the comedienne turns 75 years old.

Directors: Ricki Stern, Anne Sundberg | Stars: Joan Rivers, Melissa Rivers, Kathy Griffin, Jocelyn Pickett

Votes: 3,369 | Gross: $2.93M

11. Deliver Us from Evil (2006)

Not Rated | 101 min | Documentary, Crime

8.0
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86 Metascore

Documentary about Father Oliver O'Grady, a Catholic priest who was relocated to various parishes around the United States during the 1970s in an attempt by the Catholic Church to cover up his rape of dozens of children.

Director: Amy Berg | Stars: Oliver O'Grady, Thomas Doyle, Adam, Jeff Anderson

Votes: 8,966 | Gross: $30.58M

12. Jesus Camp (2006)

PG-13 | 87 min | Documentary

7.5
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62 Metascore

A documentary on kids who attend a summer camp hoping to become the next Billy Graham.

Directors: Heidi Ewing, Rachel Grady | Stars: Mike Papantonio, Lou Engle, Becky Fischer, Ted Haggard

Votes: 24,451 | Gross: $0.90M

13. Ballerina (2006 TV Movie)

80 min | Documentary, Music

7.4
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This documentary gives insight to the lives of five ballerinas, all at different points in their careers. Looking at the operations of the Vagonova Academy and the Mariinsky Theatre, the life of a ballerina is disclosed.

Director: Bertrand Normand | Stars: Taylor Ash, Altynai Asylmuratova, Diane Baker, Olga Chenchilova

Votes: 358 | Gross: $0.11M

14. Born Into Brothels: Calcutta's Red Light Kids (2004)

R | 85 min | Documentary

7.4
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78 Metascore

Two documentary filmmakers chronicle their time in Sonagchi, Calcutta and the relationships they developed with children of prostitutes who work the city's notorious red light district.

Directors: Zana Briski, Ross Kauffman | Stars: Kochi, Avijit Halder, Shanti Das, Manik

Votes: 13,659 | Gross: $3.41M

15. Nursery University (2008)

Not Rated | 90 min | Documentary

6.7
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Documentary about disparate NYC parents' efforts to get their children into "feeder preschools," private institutions that claim to set youngsters on the track to admission into Ivy league colleges.

Directors: Marc H. Simon, Matthew Makar

Votes: 247 | Gross: $0.02M

16. A Life Without Pain (2005)

Documentary

6.9
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Documentarian Melody Gilbert follows the daily lives of three girls -- a 3-year-old Minnesotan, a 7-year-old Norwegian and a 10-year-old German -- who share an extremely rare disease: ... See full summary »

Director: Melody Gilbert

Votes: 112

17. My Kid Could Paint That (2007)

PG-13 | 82 min | Documentary, Family, Mystery

7.2
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  
74 Metascore

A look at the work and surprising success of a four-year-old girl whose paintings have been compared to the likes of Picasso and has raked in hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Director: Amir Bar-Lev | Stars: Marla Olmstead, Laura Olmstead, Mark Olmstead, Amir Bar-Lev

Votes: 2,940 | Gross: $0.23M

18. Blood Into Wine (2010)

100 min | Documentary

7.2
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Take a look inside the life of one of Rock music's most mysterious and interesting figures. With winemaking in his blood, multiplatinum recording artist Maynard James Keenan sets out to bring notariety to Arizona's burgeoning wine regions.

Directors: Ryan Page, Christopher Pomerenke | Stars: Glenn Alexander, Tim Alexander, Fairuza Balk, Tom Beaujour

Votes: 981

19. This Film Is Not Yet Rated (2006)

Unrated | 98 min | Documentary

7.5
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  
75 Metascore

Kirby Dick's exposé about the American movie ratings board.

Director: Kirby Dick | Stars: Kirby Dick, Kimberly Peirce, Darren Aronofsky, Atom Egoyan

Votes: 26,219 | Gross: $0.30M

20. Fuck (2005)

Not Rated | 93 min | Documentary

7.1
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  
58 Metascore

A documentary on the expletive's origin, why it offends some people so deeply, and what can be gained from its use.

Director: Steve Anderson | Stars: Drew Carey, Billy Connolly, Bill Maher, Reinhold Aman

Votes: 4,104 | Gross: $0.02M

21. Dark Days (2000)

Not Rated | 82 min | Documentary

7.8
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75 Metascore

A cinematic portrait of the homeless population who live permanently in the underground tunnels of New York City.

Director: Marc Singer | Star: Marc Singer

Votes: 5,843 | Gross: $0.43M

22. God Grew Tired of Us (2006)

PG | 89 min | Documentary

8.0
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72 Metascore

Four boys from Sudan embark on a journey to America after years of wandering Sub-Saharan Africa in search of safety.

Directors: Christopher Dillon Quinn, Tommy Walker | Stars: Panther Bior, John Bul Dau, Nicole Kidman, Daniel Abol Pach

Votes: 2,596 | Gross: $0.28M

23. Forgiving Dr. Mengele (2006)

82 min | Documentary

7.1
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69 Metascore

Eva Mozes Kor, who survived Josef Mengele's cruel twin experiments in the Auschwitz concentration camp, shocks other Holocaust survivors when she decides to forgive the perpetrators as a way of self-healing.

Directors: Bob Hercules, Cheri Pugh | Stars: Eva Mozes Kor, Sami Adwan, Dan Bar-On, Michael Berenbaum

Votes: 505 | Gross: $0.01M

24. Spellbound (2002)

G | 97 min | Documentary, Comedy, Thriller

7.6
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80 Metascore

Spellbound follows eight teenagers on their quest to win the 1999 National Spelling Bee.

Director: Jeffrey Blitz | Stars: Angela Arenivar, Ubaldo Arenivar, Jorge Arenivar, Scott McGarraugh

Votes: 11,376 | Gross: $5.73M

25. Grizzly Man (2005)

R | 103 min | Documentary, Biography

7.8
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87 Metascore

A devastating and heartrending take on grizzly bear activists Timothy Treadwell and Amie Huguenard, who were killed in October of 2003 while living among grizzlies in Alaska.

Director: Werner Herzog | Stars: Timothy Treadwell, Amie Huguenard, Werner Herzog, Carol Dexter

Votes: 45,703 | Gross: $3.17M

26. Devil's Playground (2002)

77 min | Documentary

7.1
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Amish teenagers experience and embrace the modern world as a rite-of-passage before deciding which life they will choose.

Director: Lucy Walker | Stars: Velda Bontrager, Mark Bontrager, Dewayne Chupp, Dylan Cole

Votes: 2,367

27. Good Hair (2009)

PG-13 | 96 min | Documentary, Comedy

6.9
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72 Metascore

Chris Rock explores the wonders of African-American hairstyles.

Director: Jeff Stilson | Stars: Chris Rock, Maya Angelou, Al Sharpton, Tanya Crumel

Votes: 5,007 | Gross: $4.16M

28. Hell House (2001)

Not Rated | 85 min | Documentary

6.8
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64 Metascore

A look at the "Hell House" performed annually in October by the youth members of Trinity Church (Assemblies of God) in Cedar Hill, Texas (a Dallas suburb) - seen by over 10,000 visitors ... See full summary »

Director: George Ratliff | Stars: Aria Adloo, Ashley Adloo, Amy Allred, Gabriel Allred

Votes: 1,476

29. Sicko (2007)

PG-13 | 123 min | Documentary, Drama

8.0
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74 Metascore

A documentary comparing the highly profitable American health care industry to other nations, and HMO horror stories including shotgun deaths.

Director: Michael Moore | Stars: Michael Moore, Tucker Albrizzi, Tony Benn, George W. Bush

Votes: 69,837 | Gross: $24.54M

30. Marwencol (2010)

Not Rated | 83 min | Documentary, Biography, Fantasy

7.6
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83 Metascore

After a vicious attacks leaves him brain-damaged and broke, Mark Hogancamp seeks recovery in "Marwencol", a 1/6th scale World War II-era town he creates in his backyard.

Director: Jeff Malmberg | Stars: Mark Hogancamp, Emmanuel Nneji, Edda Hogancamp, Tom Neubauer

Votes: 2,643 | Gross: $0.11M

31. Capturing the Friedmans (2003)

Not Rated | 107 min | Documentary, Biography

7.8
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90 Metascore

Documentary on the Friedmans, a seemingly typical, upper-middle-class Jewish family whose world is instantly transformed when the father and his youngest son are arrested and charged with shocking and horrible crimes.

Director: Andrew Jarecki | Stars: Arnold Friedman, Jesse Friedman, David Friedman, Elaine Friedman

Votes: 21,060 | Gross: $3.12M

32. Waiting for 'Superman' (2010)

PG | 111 min | Documentary

7.5
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81 Metascore

An examination of the current state of education in America today.

Director: Davis Guggenheim | Stars: Charles Adam, Charles Adams, Jonathan Alter, Robert Balfanz

Votes: 10,061 | Gross: $6.41M

33. Crumb (1994)

R | 119 min | Documentary, Biography, Comedy

8.0
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93 Metascore

An intimate portrait of the controversial cartoonist and his traumatized family.

Director: Terry Zwigoff | Stars: Robert Crumb, Aline Kominsky, Charles Crumb, Maxon Crumb

Votes: 15,640 | Gross: $3.17M