Favorite Documentaries

By no means an exhaustive list, as there are many documentaries not in the IMDb database. This is just a selection skewed heavily toward Big Cats, Science, and Music.
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1.
Africa: The Serengeti (1994 Documentary)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  
The Serengeti is a huge area of grassland in Tanzania, Africa. Once a year, in the time of drought,... (39 mins.)
Director: George Casey
“ The equation of life on the Serengeti is simple. Herbivores eat plants. Carnivores eat herbivores. ” - sitenoise
 
2.
Planet Earth (2006 Mini-Series)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 9.4/10 X  
Emmy Award-winning, 11 episodes, five years in the making, the most expensive nature documentary series ever commissioned by the BBC, and the first to be filmed in high definition. (533 mins.)
 
3.
Himalaya with Michael Palin (2004 TV Series)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.4/10 X  
This 2004 BBC television series records comedian and travel presenter Michael Palin's six-month trip across the Himalaya mountain range... (360 mins.)
 
4.
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.)
 
5.
National Geographic Specials (1965 TV Series)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 9.3/10 X  
National Geographic goes to Botswana to examine the struggle for survival between lions and hyenas. (60 mins.)
 
6.
Last Train Home (2009 Documentary)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  
A couple embarks on a journey home for Chinese new year along with 130 million other migrant workers, to reunite with their children and struggle for a future. Their unseen story plays out as China soars towards being a world superpower. (85 mins.)
Director: Lixin Fan
 
7.
Nova (1974 TV Series)
Episode: Kings of Camouflage (2007)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.3/10 X  
Marine biologists examine an animal that looks alien enough to be from another planet. Through their...
 
8.
Stop Making Sense (1984 Documentary)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.5/10 X  
An innovative concert movie for the rock group The Talking Heads. (88 mins.)
Director: Jonathan Demme
 
9.
Denis Leary: No Cure for Cancer (1992 Documentary)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  
Ticked off comic Denis Leary talks honestly about subjects ranging from smoking, red meat, drugs, his family, rehab, and yes, cancer. (62 mins.)
Director: Ted Demme
“ If you smoke or eat meat you will enjoy Denis Leary's intimidating sense of humor. ” - sitenoise
 
10.
Eye of the Leopard (2006 Documentary)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.6/10 X  
(90 mins.)
 
11.
Wild Africa (2001 Mini-Series)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  
Wild Africa is a nature documentary series exploring the natural history of the African continent. The series comprises six episodes...
 
12.
Wild China (2008 Mini-Series)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.5/10 X  
An in-depth look at some of China's most impressive natural sites such as the ancient Han kingdom, the Mongol steppes, the Silk Road and the Tibetan Plateau. (60 mins.)
 
13.
Twenty Feet from Stardom (2013 Documentary)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  
Backup singers live in a world that lies just beyond the spotlight. Their voices bring harmony to the biggest bands in popular music, but we've had no idea who these singers are or what lives they lead, until now. (91 mins.)
Director: Morgan Neville
 
14.
In the Mood for Doyle (2007 Documentary)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  
(54 mins.)
Director: Yves Montmayeur
 
15.
The Last Waltz (1978 Documentary)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 X  
A film account and presentation of the final concert of The Band. (117 mins.)
Director: Martin Scorsese
 
16.
Relentless Enemies (2006 Documentary)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  
A documentary on a pride of lions and their buffalo prey trapped on an island in the Okavango delta. (90 mins.)
 
17.
Paul Merton in China (2007 Mini-Series)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.0/10 X  
Paul Merton takes a six-week tour of China, exploring many areas and aspects of the country's culture. (60 mins.)
 
18.
Collapse (2009 Documentary)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  
A documentary on Michael Ruppert, a police officer turned independent reporter who predicted the current financial crisis in his self-published newsletter, From the Wilderness. (82 mins.)
Director: Chris Smith
 
19.
Cosmos (1980 Mini-Series)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 9.3/10 X  
Astronomer Carl Sagan leads us on an engaging guided tour of the various elements and cosmological theories of the universe. (60 mins.)
 
20.
Urgh! A Music War (1981 Documentary)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.0/10 X  
Punk, New Wave, Reggae and Techno bands from Europe and the US recorded live in several locations in 1980... (96 mins.)
Director: Derek Burbidge
 
21.
Woodstock (1970 Documentary)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  
The film chronicle of the legendary 1969 music festival. (184 mins.)
 
22.
Predators at War (2005 Documentary)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.4/10 X  
Take an ultimate look at the deadly game of survival through the minds and eyes of Africa's 5 mega-Predators. (97 mins.)
Director: Jeff Morales
 
23.
1 Giant Leap (2002 Documentary)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  
Jamie Catto and Duncan Bridgeman travelled for 7 months through all 5 continents, and recorded in over... (155 mins.)
 
24.
Z Channel: A Magnificent Obsession (2004 Documentary)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  
A documentary on the Z Channel, one of the first pay cable stations in the US, and its programming chief... (120 mins.)
Director: Xan Cassavetes
 
25.
The Ascent of Man (1973 Mini-Series)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 9.0/10 X  
An account of man's development through his scientific and technological achievements. (50 mins.)
 
26.
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.)
 
27.
The Act of Killing (2012 Documentary)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 X  
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. (115 mins.)
 
28.
Africa's Super Seven (2005 Documentary)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  
On the northern bank of the Sand River in the Mala-Mala Game Reserve in South Africa, seven magnificent creatures reside in an area the size of Manhattan Island. Tracking them for 24 hours reveals a never-ending daily drama. (52 mins.)
 
29.
Big Cat Odyssey (2010 Documentary)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  
See firsthand the numerous changes that have led to dramatic decline of the lion population, and what... (50 mins.)