Documentaries to watch

by trontur | created - 14 Apr 2011 | updated - 4 days ago | Public
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1. Plastic Planet (2009)

TV-G | 95 min | Documentary

55 Metascore

Werner Boote presents an up-close and personal view of the controversial and fascinating material that has found its way into every facet of our daily lives: plastic. He takes us on a ... See full summary »

Director: Werner Boote | Stars: Werner Boote, John Taylor, Peter Lieberzeit, Marques Brown

Votes: 1,092 | Gross: $0.00M

2. Exit Through the Gift Shop (2010)

R | 87 min | Documentary, Comedy, Crime

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: 57,731 | Gross: $3.29M

About the graffiti artist

3. Taste the Waste (2010)

92 min | Documentary

Why do we throw away so much food? And how can we stop this kind of waste?Amazing but true: On the way from the farm to the dining-room table, more than half the food lands on the dump. Most of it before it ever reaches consumers.

Director: Valentin Thurn | Stars: Klaudia Fischer, Jörn Franck, Michael Gerling, Sylvain Sadoine

Votes: 448

4. The Union (2011)

Documentary

A look at the making of Elton John and Leon Russell's collaborative album, "The Union," produced by T-Bone Burnett.

Director: Cameron Crowe | Stars: T Bone Burnett, Elton John, Bill Maxwell, Leon Russell

Votes: 116

5. Deep Blues (1992)

91 min | Documentary, Music

Music critic Robert Palmer narrates the insightful story of Delta blues and North Mississippi hill country blues.

Director: Robert Mugge | Stars: Robert Palmer, David A. Stewart, Abraham Schwab, Booker T. Laury

Votes: 103

6. You See Me Laughin' (2002)

77 min | Documentary

You See Me Laughin' is a personal journey into the lives and music of the last of the hill country bluesmen who've kept their music alive on the back porches and in the tiny juke joints of the Mississippi backwoods.

Director: Mandy Stein | Stars: R.L. Burnside, Junior Kimbrough, Cedell Davis, T-Model Ford

Votes: 191

8. Why Man Creates (1968)

29 min | Documentary, Animation, Short

Through several amusing live action and animated vignettes, Saul Bass illustrates a fundamental and essential particularity of human nature that keeps us alive and the world turning, ... See full summary »

Director: Saul Bass | Stars: Peter Hansen, Paul Saltman

Votes: 491

9. Planet Earth (2006)

TV-G | 533 min | Documentary

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.

Stars: David Attenborough, Sigourney Weaver, Huw Cordey, Doug Allan

Votes: 139,696

10. Dogville Confessions (2003)

52 min | Documentary

This film depicts the intense drama that takes place during the making of Dogville. Lars von Trier and Nicole Kidman work through this creative process under very extreme conditions.

Director: Sami Saif | Stars: Harriet Andersson, Lauren Bacall, Paul Bettany, Blair Brown

Votes: 584

11. The Act of Killing (2012)

Not Rated | 117 min | Documentary, Crime

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: 30,108 | Gross: $0.49M

12. Americans (2012)

11 min | Short, Comedy

A "Troglodyte" Republican (Kid Rock) and a "Commie" Democrat (Sean Penn) argue in a bar over the contentious presidential campaign, until a news report about the Iraq War inspires the two to unite as fellow Americans.

Director: Jameson Stafford | Stars: Sean Penn, Kid Rock, Bianca Siavoshy, Rod Simmons

Votes: 154

13. Objectified (2009)

Not Rated | 75 min | Documentary

A feature-length documentary about our complex relationship with manufactured objects and, by extension, the people who design them.

Director: Gary Hustwit | Stars: Paola Antonelli, Chris Bangle, Andrew Blauvelt, Erwan Bouroullec

Votes: 3,201 | Gross: $0.01M

14. Cathedrals of Culture (2014)

165 min | Documentary

Six directors tackle the question "If buildings could talk, what would they say about us?" by capturing iconic buildings with narration from the perspective of the buildings.

Directors: Karim Aïnouz, Michael Glawogger, Michael Madsen, Margreth Olin, Robert Redford, Wim Wenders | Stars: Meret Becker, Gennadi Vengerov, Benedicte C. Westin, Jonas Salk

Votes: 183

15. Public Speaking (2010)

84 min | Documentary

A feature-length documentary starring Fran Lebowitz, a writer known for her unique take on modern life. The film weaves together extemporaneous monologues with archival footage and the ... See full summary »

Director: Martin Scorsese | Stars: James Baldwin, William F. Buckley, Truman Capote, Pau Casals

Votes: 1,426 | Gross: $0.06M

16. Empire of Dreams: The Story of the 'Star Wars' Trilogy (2004 Video)

151 min | Documentary, History, Sci-Fi

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.

Directors: Edith Becker, Kevin Burns | Stars: Robert Clotworthy, Walter Cronkite, George Lucas, Steven Spielberg

Votes: 3,051

17. Human Planet (2011)

TV-PG | 50 min | Documentary

Like all life forms, humanity partially adapts to types of natural environment, yet also tends to change them. Each episode examines how life differs for men and nature in some type of ... See full summary »

Stars: John Hurt, Roger Munns

Votes: 19,406

18. Cosmos: Possible Worlds (2014– )

TV-PG | 557 min | Documentary

An exploration of our discovery of the laws of nature and coordinates in space and time.

Stars: Neil deGrasse Tyson, Stoney Emshwiller, Piotr Michael, André Sogliuzzo

Votes: 90,748

19. Cosmos (1980)

TV-PG | 60 min | Documentary

Astronomer Carl Sagan leads us on an engaging guided tour of the various elements and cosmological theories of the universe.

Stars: Carl Sagan, Jaromír Hanzlík, Jonathan Fahn, Alan Belod

Votes: 29,478

20. What Happened, Miss Simone? (2015)

Not Rated | 101 min | Documentary, Biography, Music

75 Metascore

A documentary about the life and legend Nina Simone, an American singer, pianist, and civil rights activist labeled the "High Priestess of Soul."

Director: Liz Garbus | Stars: Nina Simone, Lisa Simone Kelly, Roger Nupie, Al Schackman

Votes: 9,727

21. Life (2009)

TV-G | 473 min | Documentary

David Attenborough's legendary BBC crew explains and shows wildlife all over planet earth in 10 episodes. The first is an overview the challenges facing life, the others are dedicated to ... See full summary »

Stars: David Attenborough, Oprah Winfrey, Doug Allan, Michael Pitts

Votes: 32,362

22. The Blue Planet (2001)

TV-G | 50 min | Documentary

Mammoth series, five years in the making, taking a look at the rich tapestry of life in the world's oceans.

Stars: David Attenborough, Pierce Brosnan, Jason Roberts

Votes: 24,425

23. Inequality for All (2013)

PG | 89 min | Documentary

68 Metascore

A documentary that follows former U.S. Labor Secretary Robert Reich as he looks to raise awareness of the country's widening economic gap.

Director: Jacob Kornbluth | Stars: Robert Reich, Dolly Parton, George Bush, Tyne Daly

Votes: 6,132 | Gross: $1.21M

24. The Resurrection of Jake the Snake (2015)

Not Rated | 93 min | Documentary, Biography, Drama

A fallen professional wrestling superstar battles his past demons in a struggle to reclaim his life and the family that has given up on him.

Director: Steve Yu | Stars: Steve Austin, Louie Benson, Joe Case, Adam Copeland

Votes: 2,402

25. Seymour: An Introduction (2014)

PG | 84 min | Documentary, Biography, Music

83 Metascore

Meet Seymour Bernstein: a beloved pianist, teacher and true inspiration who shares eye-opening insights from an amazing life. Ethan Hawke helms this poignant guide to life.

Director: Ethan Hawke | Stars: Seymour Bernstein, Ethan Hawke, Sam Bachelor, Jiyang Chen

Votes: 901 | Gross: $0.58M

27. Gimme Danger (2016)

R | 108 min | Documentary, Music

72 Metascore

An in-depth look at the legendary punk band, The Stooges.

Director: Jim Jarmusch | Stars: Iggy Pop, Ron Asheton, Scott Asheton, James Williamson

Votes: 3,774 | Gross: $0.44M

28. Vice (2013– )

TV-MA | 30 min | Documentary, News

Documentary series featuring startling, groundbreaking stories from around the world.

Stars: Shane Smith, Gianna Toboni, Thomas Morton, Isobel Yeung

Votes: 3,856

29. Before the Flood (2016)

PG | 96 min | Documentary, News

63 Metascore

A look at how climate change affects our environment and what society can do to prevent the demise of endangered species, ecosystems and native communities across the planet.

Director: Fisher Stevens | Stars: Leonardo DiCaprio, Ki-moon Ban, Alejandro G. Iñárritu, Mike Brune

Votes: 22,011

30. Madonna: Truth or Dare (1991)

R | 120 min | Documentary, Music

Documentary following singer Madonna on her controversial Blond Ambition tour in 1990.

Director: Alek Keshishian | Stars: Madonna, Donna DeLory, Niki Harris, Luis Camacho

Votes: 8,122 | Gross: $15.01M

31. Twenty Feet from Stardom (2013)

PG-13 | 91 min | Documentary, Music

83 Metascore

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.

Director: Morgan Neville | Stars: Darlene Love, Merry Clayton, Lisa Fischer, Judith Hill

Votes: 11,023 | Gross: $4.95M

32. Johnny Cash's America (2008)

Not Rated | 89 min | Documentary, Music

This documentary combines archival footage and interviews to examine the life of one of music's most universal legends, Johnny Cash. The film recounts the events of Cash's life, from his poor beginnings to his celebrity and his battle with drugs. It also delves into how Cash addressed the issues of his day and evolved to be both a patriot and a social activist. Many famous fans of Cash, including... See full summary »

Directors: Robert Gordon, Morgan Neville | Stars: Jimmy Kendricks, Loretta Lynn, John Carter Cash, J.E. Huff

Votes: 107

33. The Music of Strangers (2015)

PG-13 | 96 min | Documentary, Music

70 Metascore

Cellist Yo-Yo Ma and other international artists of The Silk Road Project discuss their philosophies on music and culture.

Director: Morgan Neville | Stars: Yo-Yo Ma, Kinan Azmeh, Kayhan Kalhor, Cristina Pato

Votes: 561 | Gross: $1.16M

34. Bright Lights: Starring Carrie Fisher and Debbie Reynolds (2016 TV Movie)

TV-14 | 95 min | Documentary

78 Metascore

An intimate portrait of actress Debbie Reynolds and her relationship with her beloved children, Carrie Fisher and Todd Fisher.

Directors: Alexis Bloom, Fisher Stevens | Stars: Debbie Reynolds, Carrie Fisher, Todd Fisher, Catherine Hickland

Votes: 2,794

35. The Happy Film (2016)

93 min | Documentary

Austrian designer Stefan Sagmeister is doing well. He lives in New York, the city of his dreams, and he has success in his work, designing album covers for the Rolling Stones, Jay-Z and the... See full summary »

Directors: Hillman Curtis, Ben Nabors, Stefan Sagmeister | Stars: Jonathan Haidt, Sheenah Hankin, Ben Nabors, Stefan Sagmeister

Votes: 564

36. The White Helmets (2016)

TV-14 | 41 min | Documentary, Short, Crime

As daily airstrikes pound civilian targets in Syria, a group of indomitable first responders risk their lives to rescue victims from the rubble.

Director: Orlando von Einsiedel | Stars: Khalid Farah, Mohammed Farah, Abu Omar, Raed Saleh

Votes: 5,744

37. Hating Breitbart (2012)

PG-13 | 85 min | Documentary

29 Metascore

One man with a website who forever changed the media paradigm, upending the traditional press and changing the ground rules of political journalism.

Director: Andrew Marcus | Stars: Andrew Breitbart, Orson Bean, Dick Armey, Michele Bachmann

Votes: 425 | Gross: $0.08M

38. Oasis: Supersonic (2016)

R | 122 min | Documentary, Biography, Music

71 Metascore

An in-depth look at the life and music of Manchester-based rock band, Oasis.

Director: Mat Whitecross | Stars: Paul Arthurs, Christine Biller, Mark Coyle, Debbie Turner

Votes: 8,074 | Gross: $0.24M

39. The Other F Word (2011)

Not Rated | 98 min | Documentary, Comedy, Drama

60 Metascore

What happens when a generation's ultimate anti-authoritarians -- punk rockers-- become society's ultimate authorities -- dads? With a large chorus of Punk Rock's leading men - Blink-182's ... See full summary »

Director: Andrea Blaugrund Nevins | Stars: Tony Adolescent, Art Alexakis, Tony Cadena, Rob Chaos

Votes: 1,748 | Gross: $0.05M

40. Another World (II) (2014)

87 min | Documentary, Biography, Drama

What would drive someone to drop everything and move into a city park in lower Manhattan? In the fall of 2011 hundreds of people did just that as a public protest against corporate greed ... See full summary »

Directors: Rebecca Chaiklin, Fisher Stevens

Votes: 28

41. Notes on Blindness (2016)

90 min | Documentary, Drama

75 Metascore

In the summer of 1983, just days before the birth of his first son, writer and theologian John Hull went blind. In order to make sense of the upheaval in his life, he began keeping a diary ... See full summary »

Directors: Peter Middleton, James Spinney | Stars: John M. Hull, Marilyn Hull, Miranda Beinart-Smith, Jamie Bradley

Votes: 1,561

42. 13th (2016)

TV-MA | 100 min | Documentary, Crime, History

90 Metascore

An in-depth look at the prison system in the United States and how it reveals the nation's history of racial inequality.

Director: Ava DuVernay | Stars: Melina Abdullah, Michelle Alexander, Cory Booker, Dolores Canales

Votes: 18,204

43. The Beatles: Eight Days a Week - The Touring Years (2016)

Unrated | 106 min | Documentary, Music

72 Metascore

A compilation of found footage featuring music, interviews, and stories of The Beatles' 250 concerts from 1963 to 1966.

Director: Ron Howard | Stars: The Beatles, John Lennon, George Harrison, Paul McCartney

Votes: 9,083 | Gross: $2.93M

44. Weiner (2016)

R | 96 min | Documentary

84 Metascore

An examination of disgraced New York Congressman Anthony Weiner's mayoral campaign and today's political landscape.

Directors: Josh Kriegman, Elyse Steinberg | Stars: Anthony Weiner, Huma Abedin, Jordan Zain Weiner, Barbara Morgan

Votes: 8,781 | Gross: $1.61M

45. Home (I) (2009)

Not Rated | 120 min | Documentary, Drama, Family

47 Metascore

With aerial footage from fifty-four countries, 'Home' is a depiction of how Earth's problems are all interlinked.

Director: Yann Arthus-Bertrand | Stars: Yann Arthus-Bertrand, Glenn Close, Jacques Gamblin

Votes: 20,187

46. Democracy: Im Rausch der Daten (2015)

100 min | Documentary

Digitalization has changed society. While data is becoming the "new oil", data protection is becoming the new "pollution control". This creative documentary opens an astonishing inside view... See full summary »

Director: David Bernet | Stars: Jan Philipp Albrecht, Viviane Reding, Ralf Bendrath, John Boswell

Votes: 185

47. An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power (2017)

PG | 98 min | Documentary

68 Metascore

A decade after An Inconvenient Truth (2006) brought climate change to the heart of popular culture, the follow-up shows just how close we are to a real energy revolution.

Directors: Bonni Cohen, Jon Shenk | Stars: Al Gore, George W. Bush, Bill Clinton, Laurent Fabius

Votes: 6,268 | Gross: $3.50M

48. Forks Over Knives (2011)

PG | 90 min | Documentary

57 Metascore

Examines the profound claim that most, if not all, of the degenerative diseases that afflict us can be controlled, or even reversed, by rejecting our present menu of animal-based and processed foods.

Director: Lee Fulkerson | Stars: Lee Fulkerson, Matthew Lederman, Alona Pulde, T. Colin Campbell

Votes: 9,797

49. Cowspiracy: The Sustainability Secret (2014)

Not Rated | 90 min | Documentary

8.3