My Favorite Documentaries

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1.
Aileen Wuornos: The Selling of a Serial Killer (1992 Documentary)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.0/10 X  
1992, Florida, USA. Aileen Wuornos is claimed to be the world's first female serial killer. (87 mins.)
Director: Nick Broomfield
 
2.
American Movie (1999 Documentary)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  
Documentary about an aspiring filmmaker's attempts to finance his dream project by finally completing the low-budget horror film he abandoned years before. (107 mins.)
Director: Chris Smith
 
3.
Anvil: The Story of Anvil (2008 Documentary)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.0/10 X  
Since 1978, Anvil has become one of heavy metal's most influential yet commercially unsuccessful acts. In 2006, after a fledging European tour Anvil sets out to record their thirteenth album and continue to follow their dreams. (80 mins.)
Director: Sacha Gervasi
 
4.
The Atomic Cafe (1982 Documentary)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  
Disturbing collection of 1940s and 1950s United States government issued propaganda films designed to reassure Americans that the atomic bomb was not a threat to their safety. (86 mins.)
 
5.
Baraka (1992 Documentary)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.6/10 X  
A collection of expertly photographed scenes of human life and religion. (96 mins.)
Director: Ron Fricke
 
6.
Born Into Brothels: Calcutta's Red Light Kids (2004 Documentary)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  
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. (85 mins.)
 
7.
Burden of Dreams (1982 Documentary)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.0/10 X  
A documentary on the chaotic production of Werner Herzog's epic Fitzcarraldo, showing how the film... (95 mins.)
Director: Les Blank
 
8.
Capturing the Friedmans (2003 Documentary)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  
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. (107 mins.)
Director: Andrew Jarecki
 
9.
Catching Hell (2011 Documentary)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  
After the Chicago Cubs blow an opportunity to reach the World Series in 2003, Cubs fans blame the team's misfortune on fellow fan Steve Bartman, who interfered with a foul ball and prevented Moises Alou from making a catch. (102 mins.)
Director: Alex Gibney
 
10.
Control Room (2004 Documentary)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  
A documentary on perception of the United States's war with Iraq, with an emphasis on Al Jazeera's coverage. (84 mins.)
Director: Jehane Noujaim
 
11.
Crumb (1994 Documentary)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.0/10 X  
An intimate portrait of the controversial cartoonist and his traumatized family. (119 mins.)
Director: Terry Zwigoff
 
12.
Dear Zachary: A Letter to a Son About His Father (2008 Documentary)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.6/10 X  
A filmmaker decides to memorialize a murdered friend when his friend's ex-girlfriend announces she is expecting his son. (95 mins.)
Director: Kurt Kuenne
 
13.
Empire of Dreams: The Story of the 'Star Wars' Trilogy (2004 Documentary)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.4/10 X  
An in-depth making of documentary about the original Star Wars trilogy, covering the productions of the three films and their impact on popular culture. (151 mins.)
 
14.
Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room (2005 Documentary)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  
A documentary about the Enron corporation, its faulty and corrupt business practices, and how they led to its fall. (110 mins.)
Director: Alex Gibney
 
15.
The Fall of Fujimori (2005 Documentary)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  
President Alberto Fujimori risked everything to win Peru's war on terror, but in doing so became an international fugitive, wanted for corruption, kidnapping and murder. (83 mins.)
Director: Ellen Perry
 
16.
The Filth and the Fury (2000 Documentary)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  
A film about the career of the notorious punk rock band, the Sex Pistols. (108 mins.)
Director: Julien Temple
 
17.
The Fog of War: Eleven Lessons from the Life of Robert S. McNamara (2003 Documentary)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 X  
The story of America as seen through the eyes of the former Secretary of Defense under President John F. Kennedy and President Lyndon Johnson, Robert McNamara. (107 mins.)
Director: Errol Morris
 
18.
For the Bible Tells Me So (2007 Documentary)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  
An exploration of the intersection between religion and homosexuality in the U.S. and how the religious right has used its interpretation of the Bible to stigmatize the gay community. (95 mins.)
Director: Daniel Karslake
 
19.
Gimme Shelter (1970 Documentary)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  
A harrowing documentary of the Stones' 1969 tour, with much of the focus on the tragic concert at Altamont. (91 mins.)
 
20.
Hearts and Minds (1974 Documentary)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.4/10 X  
An examination of the conflicting attitudes of the opponents of the Vietnam War. (112 mins.)
Director: Peter Davis
 
21.
Hearts of Darkness: A Filmmaker's Apocalypse (1991 Documentary)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 X  
Documentary that chronicles how Francis Ford Coppola's Apocalypse Now was plagued by extraordinary script, shooting, budget, and casting problems--nearly destroying the life and career of the celebrated director. (96 mins.)
 
22.
High School (1969 Documentary)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  
Documentary filmmaker Frederick Wiseman takes us inside Northeast High School as a fly on the wall to observe the teachers and how they interact with the students. (75 mins.)
 
23.
Hoop Dreams (1994 Documentary)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.3/10 X  
A film following the lives of two inner-city Chicago boys who struggle to become college basketball players on the road to going professional. (170 mins.)
Director: Steve James
 
24.
Into the Wind (2010 Documentary)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  
In 1980, Fox was seeking a way to raise awareness for cancer research. His own struggle with the disease had resulted in the amputation of his right leg. (51 mins.)
Stars: Terry Fox
 
25.
Inside Job (2010 Documentary)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.3/10 X  
Takes a closer look at what brought about the 2008 financial meltdown. (105 mins.)
 
26.
The Interrupters (2011 Documentary)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  
A year in the life of a city grappling with urban violence. (125 mins.)
Director: Steve James
 
27.
The Kid Stays in the Picture (2002 Documentary)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  
Documentary about legendary Paramount producer Robert Evans (the film shares the same name as Evans's famous 1994 autobiography). (93 mins.)
 
28.
Koyaanisqatsi (1982 Documentary)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.3/10 X  
A collection of expertly photographed phenomena with no conventional plot. The footage focuses on nature, humanity and the relationship between them. (86 mins.)
Director: Godfrey Reggio
 
29.
Life Itself (2014 Documentary)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  
The life and career of the renowned film critic and social commentator, Roger Ebert. (120 mins.)
Director: Steve James
 
30.
Man with a Movie Camera (1929 Documentary)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.4/10 X  
A man travels around a city with a camera slung over his shoulder, documenting urban life with dazzling invention. (68 mins.)
Director: Dziga Vertov
 
31.
Murderball (2005 Documentary)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  
Quadriplegics, who play full-contact rugby in wheelchairs, overcome unimaginable obstacles to compete in the Paralympic Games in Athens, Greece. (88 mins.)
 
32.
Night and Fog (1956 Documentary)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.6/10 X  
The history of Nazi Germany's death camps of the Final Solution and the hellish world of dehumanization and death contained inside. (32 mins.)
Director: Alain Resnais
 
33.
No End in Sight (2007 Documentary)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.3/10 X  
A comprehensive look at the Bush Administration's conduct of the Iraq war and its occupation of the country. (102 mins.)
 
34.
One Day in September (1999 Documentary)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  
The Palestinian terrorist group Black September holds Israeli athletes hostage at the 1972 Summer Olympic Games in Munich. (94 mins.)
Director: Kevin Macdonald
 
35.
Paradise Lost: The Child Murders at Robin Hood Hills (1996 Documentary)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.4/10 X  
A horrific triple child murder leads to an indictment and trial of three nonconformist boys based on questionable evidence. (150 mins.)
 
36.
Paradise Lost 3: Purgatory (2011 Documentary)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  
A further followup of the case of the West Memphis Three and the decades long fight to exonerate them that finally gained traction with new DNA evidence. (121 mins.)
 
37.
Pumping Iron (1977 Documentary)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  
From Gold's Gym in Venice Beach California to the showdown in Pretoria, amateur and professional bodybuilders prepare for the 1975 Mr... (85 mins.)
 
38.
Restrepo (2010 Documentary)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  
A year with one platoon in the deadliest valley in Afghanistan. (93 mins.)
 
39.
Silence Broken: Korean Comfort Women (2000 Documentary)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  
A powerful and emotional documentary about Korean women forced into sexual servitude by the Japanese Imperial Army during World War II. (88 mins.)
 
40.
Streetwise (1984 Documentary)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.3/10 X  
Gritty documentary looks at the life and lives of teenagers living on the streets of Seattle. (91 mins.)
Director: Martin Bell
 
41.
Taxi to the Dark Side (2007 Documentary)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  
Alex Gibney exposes the haunting details of the USA's torture and interrogation practices during the War in Afghanistan. (106 mins.)
Director: Alex Gibney
 
42.
The Thin Blue Line (1988 Documentary)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  
A film that successfully argued that a man was wrongly convicted for murder by a corrupt justice system in Dallas County, Texas. (103 mins.)
Director: Errol Morris
 
43.
The Times of Harvey Milk (1984 Documentary)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.4/10 X  
A documentary of the successful career and assassination of San Francisco's first elected gay councilor. (90 mins.)
Director: Robert Epstein
 
44.
Triumph of the Will (1935 Documentary)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  
The infamous propaganda film of the 1934 Nazi Party rally in Nuremberg, Germany. (114 mins.)
 
45.
Tupac: Resurrection (2003 Documentary)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.0/10 X  
Home movies, photographs, and recited poetry illustrate the life of Tupac Shakur, one of the most beloved, revolutionary, and volatile hip-hop M.Cs. of all time. (112 mins.)
Director: Lauren Lazin
 
46.
Visions of Light (1992 Documentary)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  
Cameramen and women discuss the craft and art of cinematography and of the "DP" (the director of photography)... (92 mins.)
 
47.
Waco: The Rules of Engagement (1997 Documentary)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  
This controversial documentary about the stand-off between an unorthodox Christian group - the Branch Davidians... (136 mins.)
Director: William Gazecki
 
48.
Waltz with Bashir (2008 Documentary)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.0/10 X  
An Israeli film director interviews fellow veterans of the 1982 invasion of Lebanon to reconstruct his own memories of his term of service in that conflict. (90 mins.)
Director: Ari Folman
 
49.
The Weather Underground (2002 Documentary)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  
The remarkable story of The Weather Underground, radical activists of the 1970s, and of radical politics at its best and most disastrous. (92 mins.)
 
50.
O.J.: Made in America (2016 Documentary)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 9.0/10 X  
It is the defining cultural tale of modern America - a saga of race, celebrity, media, violence, and the criminal justice system. And two decades after its unforgettable climax, it continues to fascinate, polarize, and develop new chapters. (467 mins.)
Director: Ezra Edelman