Must See Documentaries

by EbonyButler | created - 19 Apr 2012 | updated - 17 Oct 2013 | Public
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1. Control Room (2004)

84 min | Documentary

7.8
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  
79 Metascore

A documentary on perception of the United States's war with Iraq, with an emphasis on Al Jazeera's coverage.

Director: Jehane Noujaim | Stars: Samir Khader, Josh Rushing, George W. Bush, Hassan Ibrahim

Votes: 4,865 | Gross: $2.59M

2. Darfur Now (2007)

PG | 98 min | Documentary

6.9
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66 Metascore

An examination of the genocide in Sudan's western region of Darfur.

Director: Ted Braun | Stars: Don Cheadle, Ahmed Mahammed Abaka, Sheikh Ahmed Mohamad Abakar, Hawa Abaker

Votes: 664 | Gross: $0.11M

3. The Devil Came on Horseback (2007)

85 min | Documentary

7.8
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78 Metascore

A documentary that exposes the genocide raging in Darfur, Sudan as seen through the eyes of a former U.S. marine who returns home to make the story public.

Directors: Ricki Stern, Anne Sundberg | Stars: Nicholas Kristof, Brian Steidle

Votes: 1,473 | Gross: $0.13M

4. The Most Dangerous Man in America: Daniel Ellsberg and the Pentagon Papers (2009)

92 min | Documentary

7.8
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75 Metascore

"The Most Dangerous Man in America" is the story of what happens when a former Pentagon insider, armed only with his conscience, steadfast determination, and a file cabinet full of ... See full summary »

Directors: Judith Ehrlich, Rick Goldsmith | Stars: Peter Arnett, Ben Bagdikian, Ann Beeson, John Dean

Votes: 2,056 | Gross: $0.45M

5. The Fog of War: Eleven Lessons from the Life of Robert S. McNamara (2003)

PG-13 | 107 min | Documentary, Biography, History

8.2
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87 Metascore

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.

Director: Errol Morris | Stars: Robert McNamara, John F. Kennedy, Fidel Castro, Richard Nixon

Votes: 20,555 | Gross: $4.19M

6. No End in Sight (2007)

Not Rated | 102 min | Documentary, War

8.3
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89 Metascore

A comprehensive look at the Bush Administration's conduct of the Iraq war and its occupation of the country.

Director: Charles Ferguson | Stars: Campbell Scott, Gerald Burke, Ali Fadhil, Omar Fekeiki

Votes: 7,638 | Gross: $1.43M

7. Why We Fight (2005)

PG-13 | 98 min | Documentary, History, War

8.1
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68 Metascore

Is American foreign policy dominated by the idea of military supremacy? Has the military become too important in American life? Jarecki's shrewd and intelligent polemic would seem to give an affirmative answer to each of these questions.

Director: Eugene Jarecki | Stars: Gore Vidal, John McCain, Ken Adelman, John Ashcroft

Votes: 9,377 | Gross: $1.44M

8. Outfoxed: Rupert Murdoch's War on Journalism (2004)

Unrated | 78 min | Documentary

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

Documentary on reported Conservative bias of the Rupert Murdoch-owned Fox News Channel (FNC), which promotes itself as "Fair and Balanced". Material includes interviews with former FNC employees and the inter-office memos they provided.

Director: Robert Greenwald | Stars: Douglas Cheek, Walter Cronkite, Roger Ailes, Eric Alterman

Votes: 5,941 | Gross: $0.24M

9. An Inconvenient Truth (2006)

PG | 96 min | Documentary

7.5
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75 Metascore

Filmmaker Davis Guggenheim follows Al Gore on the lecture circuit, as the former presidential candidate campaigns to raise public awareness of the dangers of global warming and calls for immediate action to curb its destructive effects on the environment.

Director: Davis Guggenheim | Stars: Al Gore, Billy West, George Bush, George W. Bush

Votes: 73,882 | Gross: $23.81M

10. Iraq in Fragments (2006)

94 min | Documentary, War

7.3
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84 Metascore

Stories from modern day Iraq as told by Iraqis living in a time of war, occupation and ethnic tension.

Director: James Longley | Stars: Mohammed Haithem, Suleiman Mahmoud, Muqtada al-Sadr, George W. Bush

Votes: 1,309 | Gross: $0.20M

11. Uncovered: The War on Iraq (2004)

Unrated | 83 min | Documentary, History, War

7.5
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In this documentary feature, filmmaker Robert Greenwald chronicles the Bush Administration's case to invade Iraq following the events of Sept. 11, 2001. The film examines the ... See full summary »

Director: Robert Greenwald | Stars: David Albright, Robert Baer, Milton Bearden, Rand Beers

Votes: 547 | Gross: $0.03M

12. Manufacturing Consent: Noam Chomsky and the Media (1992)

Not Rated | 167 min | Documentary, Biography, War

8.2
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A film about the noted American linguist/political dissident and his warning about corporate media's role in modern propaganda.

Directors: Mark Achbar, Peter Wintonick | Stars: Noam Chomsky, Mark Achbar, Karin Aguilar-San Juan, Paul Andrews

Votes: 3,854

13. Occupation: Dreamland (2005)

Unrated | 78 min | Documentary, War

7.3
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66 Metascore

In January, 2004, in Al-Falluja, Iraq, a documentary film crew follows an infantry squad of the 82nd Airborne, US Army. Cameras accompany the squad of seven on day and night patrols, as ... See full summary »

Directors: Ian Olds, Garrett Scott | Stars: Matthew Bacik, Chris Corcione, Eric Forbes, Patrick Napoli

Votes: 406

14. The War Tapes (2006)

Not Rated | 97 min | Documentary, War

7.4
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77 Metascore

Called up for service in Iraq, several members of the National Guard were given digital video cameras. This film, edited from their footage, provides a perspective on a complex and troubled conflict.

Director: Deborah Scranton | Stars: Zack Bazzi, Duncan Domey, Ben Flanders, Mike Moriarty

Votes: 1,185 | Gross: $0.25M

15. The Act of Killing (2012)

Not Rated | 117 min | Documentary, Crime

8.2
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89 Metascore

A documentary which challenges former Indonesian death-squad leaders to reenact their mass-killings in whichever cinematic genres they wish, including classic Hollywood crime scenarios and lavish musical numbers.

Directors: Joshua Oppenheimer, Anonymous, Christine Cynn | Stars: Anwar Congo, Herman Koto, Syamsul Arifin, Ibrahim Sinik

Votes: 28,283 | Gross: $0.49M

16. Enemies of the People (2009)

Not Rated | 93 min | Documentary

7.9
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The Khmer Rouge slaughtered nearly two million people in the late 1970s. Yet the Killing Fields of Cambodia remain unexplained. Until now. Enter Thet Sambath, an unassuming, yet cunning, ... See full summary »

Directors: Rob Lemkin, Thet Sambath | Stars: Thet Sambath, Nuon Chea, Pol Pot, Khieu Samphan

Votes: 430 | Gross: $0.07M

17. Waste Land (2010)

Not Rated | 99 min | Documentary

7.9
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78 Metascore

On the outskirts of Rio de Janeiro is Jardim Gramacho, the world's largest landfill, where men and women sift through garbage for a living. Artist Vik Muniz produces portraits of the workers and learns about their lives.

Directors: Lucy Walker, Karen Harley, João Jardim | Star: Vik Muniz

Votes: 7,721 | Gross: $0.19M

18. L'image manquante (2013)

Not Rated | 92 min | Documentary

7.4
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87 Metascore

Rithy Panh uses clay figures, archival footage, and his narration to recreate the atrocities Cambodia's Khmer Rouge committed between 1975 and 1979.

Director: Rithy Panh | Stars: Randal Douc, Jean-Baptiste Phou

Votes: 2,554 | Gross: $0.05M

19. We Steal Secrets: The Story of WikiLeaks (2013)

R | 130 min | Documentary

6.9
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  
76 Metascore

A documentary that details the creation of Julian Assange's controversial website, which facilitated the largest security breach in U.S. history.

Director: Alex Gibney | Stars: Julian Assange, Adrian Lamo, John 'FuzzFace' McMahon, Alex Gibney

Votes: 6,835 | Gross: $0.16M

20. Bowling for Columbine (2002)

R | 120 min | Documentary, Crime, Drama

8.0
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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: 129,731 | Gross: $21.24M

21. Jiro Dreams of Sushi (2011)

PG | 81 min | Documentary

7.9
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77 Metascore

A documentary on 85-year-old sushi master Jiro Ono, his renowned Tokyo restaurant, and his relationship with his son and eventual heir, Yoshikazu.

Director: David Gelb | Stars: Jiro Ono, Yoshikazu Ono, Masuhiro Yamamoto, Daisuke Nakazama

Votes: 28,340 | Gross: $2.55M

22. Earthlings (2005)

95 min | Documentary

8.7
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.7/10 X  

Using hidden cameras and never-before-seen footage, Earthlings chronicles the day-to-day practices of the largest industries in the world, all of which rely entirely on animals for profit.

Director: Shaun Monson | Star: Joaquin Phoenix

Votes: 14,739

23. The Cove (2009)

PG-13 | 92 min | Documentary, Crime

8.5
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84 Metascore

Using state-of-the-art equipment, a group of activists, led by renowned dolphin trainer Ric O'Barry, infiltrate a cove near Taijii, Japan to expose both a shocking instance of animal abuse and a serious threat to human health.

Director: Louie Psihoyos | Stars: Richard O'Barry, Louie Psihoyos, Hardy Jones, Michael Illiff

Votes: 43,203 | Gross: $0.86M

24. Inside Job (2010)

PG-13 | 105 min | Documentary, Crime

8.3
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.3/10 X  
88 Metascore

Takes a closer look at what brought about the 2008 financial meltdown.

Director: Charles Ferguson | Stars: Matt Damon, Gylfi Zoega, Andri Snær Magnason, Sigridur Benediktsdottir

Votes: 61,938 | Gross: $4.31M

25. Underground: The Julian Assange Story (2012)

Not Rated | 94 min | Biography, Drama

6.7
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A look at the early career of Wikileaks founder, Julian Assange.

Director: Robert Connolly | Stars: Rachel Griffiths, Anthony LaPaglia, Alex Williams, Laura Wheelwright

Votes: 1,744

26. Strange Birds in Paradise: A West Papuan Story (2009)

75 min | Documentary, History, Music

7.5
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Music can rise above tyranny.

Director: Charlie Hill-Smith

Votes: 32

27. The Civil War (1990)

TV-14 | 680 min | Documentary, History, War

9.2
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A comprehensive survey of the American Civil War.

Stars: David McCullough, Sam Waterston, Julie Harris, Jason Robards

Votes: 8,439

28. The Civil War (1990)

TV-14 | 680 min | Documentary, History, War

9.2
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A comprehensive survey of the American Civil War.

Stars: David McCullough, Sam Waterston, Julie Harris, Jason Robards

Votes: 8,439

29. God Loves Uganda (2013)

83 min | Documentary

7.4
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  
77 Metascore

An account of the American Evangelicals' attempts to indoctrinate their Christian Right beliefs in Uganda.

Director: Roger Ross Williams

Votes: 1,066 | Gross: $0.05M

30. Uganda Rising (2006)

90 min | Documentary

8.3
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Add a Plot

Directors: Pete McCormack, Jesse James Miller | Stars: Kavan Smith, Kevin Spacey

Votes: 42

31. Uganda Rising (2006)

90 min | Documentary

8.3
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Add a Plot

Directors: Pete McCormack, Jesse James Miller | Stars: Kavan Smith, Kevin Spacey

Votes: 42

32. Call Me Kuchu (2012)

Not Rated | 87 min | Documentary, Drama

7.6
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80 Metascore

In Uganda, a new bill threatens to make homosexuality punishable by death. David Kato - Uganda's first openly gay man - and his fellow activists work against the clock to defeat the ... See full summary »

Directors: Katherine Fairfax Wright, Malika Zouhali-Worrall | Stars: David Bahati, David Kato, Gilles Muhame, Naome Ruzindana

Votes: 685 | Gross: $0.01M

33. Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room (2005)

Not Rated | 110 min | Documentary

7.7
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A documentary about the Enron corporation, its faulty and corrupt business practices, and how they led to its fall.

Director: Alex Gibney | Stars: John Beard, Tim Belden, Barbara Boxer, George W. Bush

Votes: 14,042

34. Brother's Keeper (1992)

R | 104 min | Documentary, Crime, Mystery

7.6
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This documentary by Joe Berlinger and Bruce Sinofsky details the murder trial of Delbert Ward. Delbert's of a family of 4 brothers (the other 3 being Roscoe, Lyman and William - Bill, for ... See full summary »

Directors: Joe Berlinger, Bruce Sinofsky | Stars: Delbert Ward, Roscoe Ward, Lyman Ward, Walt Geisler

Votes: 3,287 | Gross: $1.31M