Favorite Documentaries

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1.
Man on Wire (2008 Documentary)
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A look at tightrope walker Philippe Petit's daring, but illegal, high-wire routine performed between New York City's World Trade Center's twin towers in 1974, what some consider, "the artistic crime of the century." (94 mins.)
Director: James Marsh
 
2.
Capturing the Friedmans (2003 Documentary)
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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
 
3.
Baraka (1992 Documentary)
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A collection of expertly photographed scenes of human life and religion. (96 mins.)
Director: Ron Fricke
 
4.
Grey Gardens (1975 Documentary)
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An old mother and her middle-aged daughter, the aunt and cousin of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, live their eccentric lives in a filthy, decaying mansion in East Hampton. (94 mins.)
 
5.
F for Fake (1973 Documentary)
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A documentary about fraud and fakery. (89 mins.)
Director: Orson Welles
 
6.
Touching the Void (2003 Documentary)
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The true story of two climbers and their perilous journey up the west face of Siula Grande in the Peruvian Andes in 1985. (106 mins.)
Director: Kevin Macdonald
 
7.
The Nazis: A Warning from History (1997 Mini-Series)
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An examination of how a cultured people could have allowed Hitler's rise to power.
Director: Laurence Rees
 
8.
Buena Vista Social Club (1999 Documentary)
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Aging Cuban musicians whose talents had been virtually forgotten following Castro's takeover of Cuba, are brought out of retirement by Ry Cooder, who travelled to Havana in order to bring the musicians together, resulting in triumphant performances of extraordinary music, and resurrecting the musicians' careers. (105 mins.)
Director: Wim Wenders
 
9.
Nanking (2007)
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Through readings of historical account by actors and the testimony of survivors, the events of the Nanjing Massacre are recounted. (90 mins.)
 
10.
Africa addio (1966 Documentary)
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The cruel acts of animal poaching and violence, executions, and tribal slaughtering, all taking place on the African continent. (140 mins.)
 
11.
Spellbound (2002 Documentary)
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Spellbound follows eight teenagers on their quest to win the 1999 National Spelling Bee. (97 mins.)
Director: Jeffrey Blitz
 
12.
Jesus Camp (2006 Documentary)
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A documentary on kids who attend a summer camp hoping to become the next Billy Graham. (84 mins.)
 
13.
Examined Life (2008 Documentary)
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Examined Life pulls philosophy out of academic journals and classrooms, and puts it back on the streets... (87 mins.)
Director: Astra Taylor
 
14.
Dark Days (2000 Documentary)
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A cinematic portrait of the homeless population who live permanently in the underground tunnels of New York City. (94 mins.)
Director: Marc Singer
 
15.
War Photographer (2001 Documentary)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.0/10 X  
Documentary about war photographer James Nachtwey, considered by many the greatest war photographer ever. (96 mins.)
Director: Christian Frei
 
16.
March of the Penguins (2005 Documentary)
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In the Antarctic, every March since the beginning of time, the quest begins to find the perfect mate and start a family. (80 mins.)
Director: Luc Jacquet
 
17.
Lake of Fire (2006 Documentary)
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A graphic documentary on both sides of the abortion debate. (152 mins.)
Director: Tony Kaye
 
18.
Grizzly Man (2005 Documentary)
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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. (103 mins.)
Director: Werner Herzog
 
19.
The Fog of War: Eleven Lessons from the Life of Robert S. McNamara (2003 Documentary)
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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
 
20.
Deliver Us from Evil (2006 Documentary)
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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. (101 mins.)
Director: Amy Berg
 
21.
The Cove (2009 Documentary)
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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. (92 mins.)
Director: Louie Psihoyos
 
22.
White Light/Black Rain: The Destruction of Hiroshima and Nagasaki (2007 Documentary)
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As global tensions rise, the unthinkable threat of nuclear war has become very real--and very frightening... (86 mins.)
Director: Steven Okazaki
 
23.
The Thin Blue Line (1988 Documentary)
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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
 
24.
Roger & Me (1989 Documentary)
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Director Michael Moore pursues GM CEO Roger Smith to confront him about the harm he did to Flint, Michigan with his massive downsizing. (91 mins.)
Director: Michael Moore
 
25.
Social Genocide (2004 Documentary)
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After the fall of the military dictatorship in 1983, successive democratic governments launched a series... (120 mins.)
 
26.
Religulous (2008 Documentary)
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Bill Maher's take on the current state of world religion. (101 mins.)
Director: Larry Charles
 
27.
One Day in September (1999 Documentary)
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The Palestinian terrorist group Black September holds Israeli athletes hostage at the 1972 Summer Olympic Games in Munich. (94 mins.)
Director: Kevin Macdonald
 
28.
Aileen: Life and Death of a Serial Killer (2003 Documentary)
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Nick Broomfield's second documentary on Aileen Carol Wuornos, a highway prostitute who was executed in 2002 for killing six men in the state of Florida. This second installment includes the filmmaker's testimony at Wournous's trial. (93 mins.)
 
29.
God Grew Tired of Us (2006 Documentary)
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Four boys from Sudan embark on a journey to America after years of wandering Sub-Saharan Africa in search of safety. (89 mins.)
 
30.
Paragraph 175 (2000 Documentary)
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Historian Klaus Müller interviews survivors of the Nazi persecution of homosexuals because of the German Penal Code of 1871, Paragraph 175. (81 mins.)
 
31.
General Idi Amin Dada (1974 Documentary)
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A documentary on the military dictator of Africa's Uganda. (90 mins.)
 
32.
Murder on a Sunday Morning (2001 Documentary)
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Oscar-winning documentary that documents a murder trial in which a 15-year-old African-American is wrongfully accused of a 2000 murder in Jacksonville, Florida. (111 mins.)
 
33.
Burden of Dreams (1982 Documentary)
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A documentary on the chaotic production of Werner Herzog's epic Fitzcarraldo, showing how the film... (95 mins.)
Director: Les Blank
 
34.
Encounters at the End of the World (2007 Documentary)
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Film-maker Werner Herzog travels to the McMurdo Station in Antarctica, looking to capture the continent's beauty and investigate the characters living there. (99 mins.)
Director: Werner Herzog
 
35.
Scared Straight! (1978 Documentary)
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The filmed depiction of a program where convicts tell troubled kids about the horrors of prison life. (96 mins.)
Director: Arnold Shapiro
 
36.
Nanook of the North (1922 Documentary)
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In this silent predecessor to the modern documentary, film-maker Robert J. Flaherty spends one year following the lives of Nanook and his family, Inuits living in the Arctic Circle. (78 mins.)
 
37.
Auschwitz: The Nazis and the 'Final Solution' (2005 Mini-Series)
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The history of the Final Solution phase of the Nazi Holocaust, particularly with the most infamous of the death camps. (285 mins.)