My Favorite Documentaries

by Norden-2 | created - 09 Nov 2013 | updated - 24 Nov 2013 | Public
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1. Spellbound (2002)

G | 97 min | Documentary, Comedy, Thriller

7.6
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  
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: 11,355 | Gross: $5.73M

2. Ônibus 174 (2002)

R | 122 min | Documentary, Crime

7.9
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  
83 Metascore

Documentary depicts what happened in Rio de Janeiro on June 12th 2000, when bus 174 was taken by an armed young man, threatening to shoot all the passengers. Transmitted live on all ... See full summary »

Directors: José Padilha, Felipe Lacerda | Stars: Sandro do Nascimento, Rodrigo Pimentel, Luiz Eduardo Soares, Anonymous

Votes: 7,151 | Gross: $0.22M

3. 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: 45,526 | Gross: $3.17M

4. Marwencol (2010)

83 min | Documentary, Biography, Fantasy

7.6
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  
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: 2,630 | Gross: $0.11M

5. Of Time and the City (2008)

Not Rated | 74 min | Documentary, Biography

7.3
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  
81 Metascore

A filmmaker looks at the history and transformation of his birthplace, Liverpool, England.

Director: Terence Davies | Star: Terence Davies

Votes: 1,649 | Gross: $0.03M

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: 50,718 | Gross: $77.44M

7. Armadillo (2010)

Not Rated | 105 min | Documentary, War

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

In February of 2009, a group of Danish soldiers accompanied by documentarian Janus Metz arrived at Armadillo, an army base in the southern Afghan province of Helmand. Metz and ... See full summary »

Director: Janus Metz

Votes: 8,587 | Gross: $0.01M

8. An Inconvenient Truth (2006)

PG | 96 min | Documentary

7.5
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  
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: 73,935 | Gross: $23.81M

9. Catfish (2010)

PG-13 | 87 min | Documentary

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

Young filmmakers document their colleague's budding online friendship with a young woman and her family which leads to an unexpected series of discoveries.

Directors: Henry Joost, Ariel Schulman | Stars: Yaniv Schulman, Ariel Schulman, Henry Joost, Angela Wesselman-Pierce

Votes: 37,347 | Gross: $3.23M

10. 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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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 X  
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: 20,562 | Gross: $4.19M

11. Nostalgia de la luz (2010)

Not Rated | 90 min | Documentary, Drama

7.6
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91 Metascore

In Chile's Atacama Desert, astronomers peer deep into the cosmos in search for answers concerning the origins of life. Nearby, a group of women sift through the sand searching for body ... See full summary »

Director: Patricio Guzmán | Stars: Gaspar Galaz, Lautaro Núñez, Luís Henríquez, Miguel Lawner

Votes: 3,818

12. Metallica: Some Kind of Monster (2004)

Not Rated | 141 min | Documentary, Music

7.5
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74 Metascore

A documentary crew followed Metallica for the better part of 2001-2003, a time of tension and release for the rock band, as they recorded their album St. Anger, fought bitterly, and sought the counsel of their on-call shrink.

Directors: Joe Berlinger, Bruce Sinofsky | Stars: James Hetfield, Kirk Hammett, Lars Ulrich, Robert Trujillo

Votes: 14,967 | Gross: $1.22M

13. Tarnation (2003)

Unrated | 88 min | Documentary, Biography

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

Filmmaker Jonathan Caouette's documentary on growing up with his schizophrenic mother -- a mixture of snapshots, Super-8, answering machine messages, video diaries, early short films, and more -- culled from 19 years of his life.

Director: Jonathan Caouette | Stars: Jonathan Caouette, Renee Leblanc, Adolph Davis, Rosemary Davis

Votes: 5,923 | Gross: $0.59M

14. Fahrenheit 9/11 (2004)

R | 122 min | Documentary, Drama, War

7.5
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67 Metascore

Michael Moore's view on what happened to the United States after September 11; and how the Bush Administration allegedly used the tragic event to push forward its agenda for unjust wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Director: Michael Moore | Stars: Michael Moore, George W. Bush, Ben Affleck, Stevie Wonder

Votes: 118,352 | Gross: $119.19M

15. Exit Through the Gift Shop (2010)

R | 87 min | Documentary, Comedy, Crime

8.0
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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: 55,707 | Gross: $3.29M

16. Taxi to the Dark Side (2007)

R | 106 min | Documentary, Crime, War

7.6
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82 Metascore

Alex Gibney exposes the haunting details of the USA's torture and interrogation practices during the War in Afghanistan.

Director: Alex Gibney | Stars: Alex Gibney, Brian Keith Allen, Moazzam Begg, Christopher Beiring

Votes: 12,626 | Gross: $0.27M

17. 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: 61,986 | Gross: $4.31M

18. Man on Wire (2008)

PG-13 | 94 min | Documentary, Biography

7.8
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89 Metascore

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".

Director: James Marsh | Stars: Philippe Petit, Jean François Heckel, Jean-Louis Blondeau, Annie Allix

Votes: 46,031 | Gross: $2.96M

19. Food, Inc. (2008)

PG | 94 min | Documentary

7.8
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80 Metascore

An unflattering look inside America's corporate controlled food industry.

Director: Robert Kenner | Stars: Michael Pollan, Eric Schlosser, Richard Lobb, Vince Edwards

Votes: 45,964 | Gross: $4.42M

20. Super Size Me (2004)

PG | 100 min | Documentary, Comedy, Drama

7.2
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  
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: 91,599 | Gross: $11.53M

21. Stories We Tell (2012)

PG-13 | 108 min | Documentary

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

A film that excavates layers of myth and memory to find the elusive truth at the core of a family of storytellers.

Director: Sarah Polley | Stars: Michael Polley, John Buchan, Mark Polley, Joanna Polley

Votes: 10,507 | Gross: $1.60M

22. 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: 28,307 | Gross: $0.49M

23. Thelonious Monk: Straight, No Chaser (1988)

PG-13 | 90 min | Documentary, Biography, Music

7.7
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A documentary film about the life of pianist and jazz great Thelonious Monk. Features live performances by Monk and his band, and interviews with friends and family about the offbeat genius.

Director: Charlotte Zwerin | Stars: Thelonious Monk, John Coltrane, Jimmy Cleveland, Harry Colomby

Votes: 818 | Gross: $0.52M

24. 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: 69,725 | Gross: $24.54M

25. Catastroika (2012)

87 min | Documentary

8.1
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The creators of Debtocracy, analyze the shifting of state assets to private hands. They travel round the world gathering data on privatization and search for clues on the day after Greece's massive privatization program.

Directors: Aris Chatzistefanou, Katerina Kitidi | Stars: Dean Baker, Alex Callinicos, Costas Douzinas, Ben Fine

Votes: 442

26. Capitalism: A Love Story (2009)

R | 127 min | Documentary, Crime, News

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

An examination of the social costs of corporate interests pursuing profits at the expense of the public good.

Director: Michael Moore | Stars: Michael Moore, William Black, Jimmy Carter, Elijah Cummings

Votes: 38,002 | Gross: $14.36M

27. Waltz with Bashir (2008)

R | 90 min | Animation, Biography, Drama

8.0
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91 Metascore

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.

Director: Ari Folman | Stars: Ari Folman, Ron Ben-Yishai, Ronny Dayag, Ori Sivan

Votes: 49,679 | Gross: $2.28M

28. The Devil and Daniel Johnston (2005)

PG-13 | 110 min | Documentary, Biography, Music

8.0
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77 Metascore

Daniel Johnston, manic-depressive genius singer/songwriter/artist is revealed in this portrait of madness, creativity and love.

Director: Jeff Feuerzeig | Stars: Daniel Johnston, Mabel Johnston, Bill Johnston, Laurie Allen

Votes: 7,905 | Gross: $0.33M

29. The Corporation (2003)

Not Rated | 145 min | Documentary, History

8.1
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73 Metascore

Documentary that looks at the concept of the corporation throughout recent history up to its present-day dominance.

Directors: Mark Achbar, Jennifer Abbott | Stars: Mikela Jay, Rob Beckwermert, Christopher Gora, Nina Jones

Votes: 19,038 | Gross: $1.88M

30. Pina (2011)

PG | 103 min | Documentary

7.7
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83 Metascore

A tribute to the late German choreographer, Pina Bausch, as her dancers perform her most famous creations.

Director: Wim Wenders | Stars: Pina Bausch, Regina Advento, Malou Airaudo, Ruth Amarante

Votes: 12,696 | Gross: $3.52M

31. We Are Legion: The Story of the Hacktivists (2012)

Not Rated | 93 min | Documentary

7.3
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  
66 Metascore

A documentary on the workings and beliefs of the self-described "hacktivist" collective, Anonymous.

Director: Brian Knappenberger | Stars: Anon2World, Anonyops, Julian Assange, Aaron Barr

Votes: 8,916

32. Samsara (I) (2011)

PG-13 | 102 min | Documentary, Music

8.5
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65 Metascore

Filmed over nearly five years in twenty-five countries on five continents, and shot on seventy-millimetre film, Samsara transports us to the varied worlds of sacred grounds, disaster zones, industrial complexes, and natural wonders.

Director: Ron Fricke | Stars: Balinese Tari Legong Dancers, Ni Made Megahadi Pratiwi, Puti Sri Candra Dewi, Putu Dinda Pratika

Votes: 26,849 | Gross: $2.60M

33. American Masters (1985– )
Episode: Woody Allen: A Documentary (2011)

Not Rated | 192 min | Documentary, Biography

7.7
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A documentary on Woody Allen that trails him on his movie sets and follows him back to Brooklyn as he visits his childhood haunts.

Director: Robert B. Weide | Stars: Woody Allen, Letty Aronson, Marshall Brickman, Josh Brolin

Votes: 4,728

34. The Code (2001)

58 min | Documentary

7.5
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Finnish-made documentary about GNU/Linux, featuring some of the most influential people of the free software (FOSS) movement.

Director: Hannu Puttonen | Stars: Eric Allman, Alan Cox, Miguel de Icaza, Jon Hall

Votes: 363

35. Baraka (1992)

Not Rated | 96 min | Documentary

8.6
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A collection of expertly photographed scenes of human life and religion.

Director: Ron Fricke

Votes: 30,922 | Gross: $1.25M

36. Zeitgeist (2007 Video)

Not Rated | 118 min | Documentary, History

8.2
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Mythology and belief in society today, presenting uncommon perspectives of common cultural issues.

Director: Peter Joseph | Stars: Chogyam Trungpa, Jordan Maxwell, George Carlin, Bill Hicks

Votes: 44,928

37. 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: 129,780 | Gross: $21.24M

38. Revolution OS (2001)

85 min | Documentary, Comedy

7.3
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  
46 Metascore

While Microsoft may be the biggest software company in the world, not every computer user is a fan of their products, or their way of doing business. While Microsoft's Windows became the ... See full summary »

Director: J.T.S. Moore | Stars: Linus Torvalds, Richard M. Stallman, Eric Raymond, Bruce Perens

Votes: 2,194 | Gross: $0.00M

39. The Imposter (2012)

R | 99 min | Documentary, Biography

7.5
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77 Metascore

A documentary centered on a young man in Spain who claims to a grieving Texas family that he is their 16-year-old son who has been missing for 3 years.

Director: Bart Layton | Stars: Adam O'Brian, Nicholas Barclay, Carey Gibson, Bryan Gibson

Votes: 39,315 | Gross: $0.89M

40. Earth (2007)

G | 90 min | Documentary

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

Feature-length version of the documentary TV series Planet Earth (2006), following the migration paths of four animal families.

Directors: Alastair Fothergill, Mark Linfield | Stars: James Earl Jones, Patrick Stewart, Anggun, Ulrich Tukur

Votes: 13,357 | Gross: $38.05M

41. The House I Live In (2012)

Not Rated | 108 min | Documentary

7.9
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  
77 Metascore

From the dealer to the narcotics officer, the inmate to the federal judge, a penetrating look inside America's criminal justice system, revealing the profound human rights implications of U.S. drug policy.

Director: Eugene Jarecki | Stars: Eugene Jarecki, Michelle Alexander, Mark W. Bennett, Joe Biden

Votes: 4,873 | Gross: $0.21M

42. Psywar (2010)

99 min | Documentary

8.2
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Psywar explores the evolution of propaganda and public relations in the United States, with an emphasis on the elitist theory of democracy; and the relationship between war, propaganda, and class.

Director: Scott Noble | Stars: George Bush, George W. Bush, Noam Chomsky, Bill Clinton

Votes: 163

43. 30 años de oscuridad (2012)

85 min | Documentary, Animation, Drama

7.3
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When the Spanish Civil War came to an end, Manuel Cortes was unable to flee the country. After a long journey, he managed to get back home in the dark without being discovered. His wife, ... See full summary »

Director: Manuel H. Martín | Stars: Juan Diego, Ana Fernández

Votes: 63

44. Notre poison quotidien (2011 TV Movie)

Not Rated | 113 min | Documentary

8.0
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An in-depth investigation into everyday products and the system charged with regulating them. Robin digs through the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the European Food ... See full summary »

Director: Marie-Monique Robin

Votes: 122

45. The Century of the Self (2002– )

235 min | Documentary

9.0
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80 Metascore

A documentary about the rise of psychoanalysis as a powerful means of persuasion for both governments and corporations.

Stars: Adam Curtis, Ann Bernays, Robert Reich, Alfred Pritz

Votes: 3,718

46. Le cas Pinochet (2001)

Not Rated | 110 min | Documentary

7.7
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84 Metascore

True story of the saga that was hoped to be the long-awaited justice brought to bear upon Augosto Pinochet, Chilean dictator from 1973 to 1990. In September 1998, Pinochet flew to London on... See full summary »

Director: Patricio Guzmán | Star: Salvador Allende

Votes: 257

47. La espalda del mundo (2000)

89 min | Documentary

7.8
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72 Metascore

This documentary looks at "the back of the world": small children working as quarrymen in Peru, Kurdish political refugees from Turkey, and families and inmates awaiting the end on Mississippi's Death Row.

Director: Javier Corcuera | Stars: Guinder Rodríguez, Mehdi Zana, Thomas Miller-El, George W. Bush

Votes: 177

48. Red Hollywood (1996 Video)

Not Rated | 118 min | Documentary, History

7.1
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A documentary that examines the films made by the victims of the Hollywood Blacklist and offers a radically difference perspective on a key period in the history of American cinema.

Directors: Thom Andersen, Noël Burch | Stars: Paul Jarrico, Eric Johnston, Ring Lardner Jr., John Howard Lawson

Votes: 126