My Favourite Documentaries

by Smoover1 | created - 2 weeks ago | updated - 1 week ago | Public
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1. Shoah (1985)

Not Rated | 566 min | Documentary, History, War

99 Metascore

Claude Lanzmann's epic documentary recounts the story of the Holocaust through interviews with witnesses - perpetrators as well as survivors.

Director: Claude Lanzmann | Stars: Simon Srebnik, Michael Podchlebnik, Motke Zaïdl, Hanna Zaïdl

Votes: 7,370 | Gross: $0.02M

2. The Act of Killing (2012)

Not Rated | 117 min | Documentary, Crime

90 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: 30,280 | Gross: $0.49M

3. The Salt of the Earth (2014)

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

83 Metascore

The life and work of photographer Sebastião Salgado, who has spent forty years documenting deprived societies in hidden corners of the world.

Directors: Juliano Ribeiro Salgado, Wim Wenders | Stars: Sebastião Salgado, Wim Wenders, Lélia Wanick Salgado, Juliano Ribeiro Salgado

Votes: 16,745 | Gross: $1.34M

4. Pictures of the Old World (1972)

70 min | Documentary

Pictures of the Old World is an unquestioned masterpiece of European documentary cinema, with existential radicalism that offers a contrast to the shallowness of hundreds of other ... See full synopsis »

Director: Dusan Hanák

Votes: 475

5. Le dernier des injustes (2013)

PG-13 | 220 min | Documentary, History

80 Metascore

A place: Theresienstadt. A unique place of propaganda which Adolf Eichmann called the "model ghetto", designed to mislead the world and Jewish people regarding its real nature, to be the ... See full summary »

Director: Claude Lanzmann | Stars: Benjamin Murmelstein, Claude Lanzmann

Votes: 572 | Gross: $0.04M

6. Night and Fog (1956)

Not Rated | 32 min | Documentary, Short, History

The history of Nazi Germany's death camps of the Final Solution and the hellish world of dehumanization and death contained inside.

Director: Alain Resnais | Stars: Michel Bouquet, Reinhard Heydrich, Heinrich Himmler, Adolf Hitler

Votes: 15,226

7. The Look of Silence (2014)

PG-13 | 103 min | Documentary, Biography, History

92 Metascore

A family that survived the genocide in Indonesia confronts the men who killed one of their brothers.

Director: Joshua Oppenheimer | Stars: Adi Rukun, M.Y. Basrun, Amir Hasan, Inong

Votes: 9,756 | Gross: $0.11M

8. Shoah: Four Sisters (2018– )

273 min | Documentary, History

93 Metascore

Four interviews done in the 1970s with women who survived the Holocaust.

Stars: Claude Lanzmann, Paula Biren, Ruth Elias, Ada Lichtman

Votes: 41 | Gross: $0.01M

9. Hearts and Minds (1974)

R | 112 min | Documentary, War

68 Metascore

An examination of the conflicting attitudes of the opponents of the Vietnam War.

Director: Peter Davis | Stars: Tin Chan, Chau Diem, Ngo Dinh Diem, John Foster Dulles

Votes: 4,833 | Gross: $0.03M

10. As I Was Moving Ahead Occasionally I Saw Brief Glimpses of Beauty (2000)

288 min | Documentary, Biography

Director Jonas Mekas provides an intimate glimpse of his personal life by constructing a feature length narrative from over 30 years of private home movie footage.

Director: Jonas Mekas | Stars: Jonas Mekas, Jane Brakhage, Stan Brakhage, Robert Breer

Votes: 643

11. Searching for Sugar Man (2012)

PG-13 | 86 min | Documentary, Biography, Music

79 Metascore

Two South Africans set out to discover what happened to their unlikely musical hero, the mysterious 1970s rock n roller, Rodriguez.

Director: Malik Bendjelloul | Stars: Rodriguez, Stephen 'Sugar' Segerman, Dennis Coffey, Mike Theodore

Votes: 57,577 | Gross: $3.97M

12. 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: 57,909 | Gross: $3.29M

13. Yuki yukite, shingun (1987)

Not Rated | 122 min | Documentary, War

A documentary following Kenzo Okuzaki, a 62-year-old WW2 veteran notorious for his protests against Emperor Hirohito, as he tries to expose the needless executions of two Japanese soldiers during the war.

Director: Kazuo Hara | Stars: Kenzo Okuzaki, Riichi Aikawa, Masaichi Hamaguchi, Toshio Hara

Votes: 1,158

14. Tower (2016)

TV-14 | 82 min | Documentary, Animation, Crime

92 Metascore

Animation, testimony, and archival footage combine to relate the events of August 1, 1966 when a gunman opened fire from the University of Texas clock tower, killing 16 people.

Director: Keith Maitland | Stars: Violett Beane, Louie Arnette, Blair Jackson, Monty Muir

Votes: 6,076 | Gross: $0.09M

15. Tiexi qu (2002)

551 min | Documentary

The impact of the decline of heavy industry on workers and their families in the Tiexi district of Shenyang, China, at the turn of the 21st century, documented unflinchingly by a fly-on-the-wall camera.

Director: Bing Wang

Votes: 871

16. A Personal Journey with Martin Scorsese Through American Movies (1995 TV Movie)

225 min | Documentary

Martin Scorsese describes his initial and growing obsession with films from the 1940s and 50s as the art form developed and grew with clips from classics and cult classics.

Directors: Martin Scorsese, Michael Henry Wilson | Stars: Martin Scorsese, Allison Anders, Kathryn Bigelow, Francis Ford Coppola

Votes: 4,358

17. Lektionen in Finsternis (1992)

Not Rated | 54 min | Documentary, War

This film shows the disaster of the Kuwaitian oil fields in flames, with few interviews and no explanatory narration. Hell itself is presented in such beautiful sights and music that one has to be fascinated by it.

Director: Werner Herzog | Star: Werner Herzog

Votes: 4,552

18. Hoop Dreams (1994)

PG-13 | 170 min | Documentary, Drama, Sport

98 Metascore

A film following the lives of two inner-city Chicago boys who struggle to become college basketball players on the road to going professional.

Director: Steve James | Stars: William Gates, Arthur Agee, Emma Gates, Curtis Gates

Votes: 21,904 | Gross: $7.83M

19. Diaries Notes and Sketches (1969)

Not Rated | 177 min | Documentary

A chronogical about life including self, family, friend, couple and idol in 6 reels

Director: Jonas Mekas | Stars: Timothy Leary, Ed Emshwiller, Franz Fuenstler, Jack Smith

Votes: 438

20. Bei xi mo shou (2015)

Not Rated | 95 min | Documentary

85 Metascore

Under the sun, the heavenly beauty of grasslands will soon be covered by the raging dust of mines. Facing the ashes and noises caused by heavy mining , the herdsmen have no choice but to ... See full summary »

Director: Liang Zhao

Votes: 679

21. Into the Abyss (2011)

PG-13 | 107 min | Documentary, Crime, Drama

74 Metascore

Conversations with death row inmate Michael Perry and those affected by his crime serve as an examination of why people - and the state - kill.

Director: Werner Herzog | Stars: Werner Herzog, Richard Lopez, Michael Perry, Damon Hall

Votes: 14,696 | Gross: $0.22M

22. Divorce Iranian Style (1998)

Not Rated | 80 min | Documentary

73 Metascore

A documentary about real divorce cases in Iran's tribunals.

Directors: Kim Longinotto, Ziba Mir-Hosseini

Votes: 356

23. Diaries Notes and Sketches (1969)

Not Rated | 177 min | Documentary

A chronogical about life including self, family, friend, couple and idol in 6 reels

Director: Jonas Mekas | Stars: Timothy Leary, Ed Emshwiller, Franz Fuenstler, Jack Smith

Votes: 438

24. A Visitor from the Living (1999)

Not Rated | 65 min | Documentary

An interview with a WWII Red Cross official who wrote a glowing report on a Jewish ghetto-cum-death camp.

Director: Claude Lanzmann | Stars: Maurice Rossel, Claude Lanzmann

Votes: 172

26. Lost, Lost, Lost (1976)

Not Rated | 178 min | Documentary

Artist-writer-poet-filmmaker Jonas Mekas documents his early years building a life and discovering an arts community in New York.

Director: Jonas Mekas | Stars: Peter Beard, Ed Emshwiller, Ken Jacobs, Adolfas Mekas

Votes: 227

27. The Interrupters (2011)

Unrated | 125 min | Documentary, Crime

86 Metascore

A year in the life of a city grappling with urban violence.

Director: Steve James | Stars: Tio Hardiman, Ameena Matthews, Toya Batey, Cobe Williams

Votes: 3,301 | Gross: $0.28M

28. Senna (2010)

PG-13 | 106 min | Documentary, Biography, Sport

79 Metascore

A documentary on Brazilian Formula One racing driver Ayrton Senna, who won the F1 world championship three times before his death at age 34.

Director: Asif Kapadia | Stars: Ayrton Senna, Alain Prost, Frank Williams, Ron Dennis

Votes: 53,192 | Gross: $1.61M

29. The House I Live In (2012)

Not Rated | 108 min | Documentary

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: 4,977 | Gross: $0.21M

30. Von Caligari zu Hitler: Das deutsche Kino im Zeitalter der Massen (2014)

119 min | Documentary, Biography, History

Focuses on the Weimar Republic (1918-1933) and its 'collective spirit' in cinema. The purpose of film as a cultural tool is examined. Based on celebrated sociologist Siegfried Kracauer's seminal book 'From Caligari to Hitler' (1947).

Director: Rüdiger Suchsland | Stars: Rüdiger Suchsland, Hans Henrik Wöhler, Fritz Lang, Volker Schlöndorff

Votes: 524

31. Land of Silence and Darkness (1971)

Not Rated | 85 min | Documentary

Through examining Fini Straubinger, an old woman who has been deaf and blind since adolescence, and her work on behalf of other deaf and blind people, this film shows how the deaf and blind... See full summary »

Director: Werner Herzog | Stars: Fini Straubinger, M. Baaske, Elsa Fehrer, Heinrich Fleischmann

Votes: 2,158

32. Pink Floyd: Live at Pompeii (1972)

G | 92 min | Documentary, Music

Live versions of the songs, filmed in an old Pompeii amphitheater. Songs included are Echoes (split into 2 parts), Careful with that axe, Eugene, A saucerful of secrets, One of those days, ... See full summary »

Director: Adrian Maben | Stars: David Gilmour, Roger Waters, Richard Wright, Nick Mason

Votes: 7,744

33. Wie man sieht (1986 TV Movie)

72 min | Documentary

A montage of images and topics, documentary style, connected more by theme than subject matter. Such topics include weaving machines and motors and their development through history. Theme ... See full summary »

Director: Harun Farocki

Votes: 65

34. Origins of the 21st Century (2000)

13 min | Short, Documentary

Commissioned by the heads of the 2000 Cannes Film Festival to make an opening-night short commemorating cinema as it enters its second full century, Godard instead offers up a 17-minute ... See full summary »

Director: Jean-Luc Godard | Stars: Pierre Guyotat, Ronald Chammah

Votes: 418

35. Phantom Limb (2005)

28 min | Documentary, Short

The death of my seven-year-old brother when I was nine remains a painful and haunting memory. My parents did not know how to cope with the loss of their child and the entire family ... See full summary »

Director: Jay Rosenblatt | Stars: Tyler Cassity, Chris Cornet, John Lambert, George Dalzell

Votes: 170

36. Les plages d'Agnès (2008)

Not Rated | 110 min | Documentary, Biography

86 Metascore

Agnès Varda explores her memories, mostly chronologically, with photographs, film clips, interviews, reenactments, and droll, playful contemporary scenes of her narrating her story.

Director: Agnès Varda | Stars: Agnès Varda, André Lubrano, Blaise Fournier, Vincent Fournier

Votes: 2,277 | Gross: $0.24M

37. Bowling for Columbine (2002)

R | 120 min | Documentary, Crime, Drama

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: 133,518 | Gross: $21.24M

38. 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: 9,849

39. Happy People: A Year in the Taiga (2010)

Not Rated | 90 min | Documentary

74 Metascore

A documentary depicting the life and work of the trappers of Bakhtia, a village in the heart of the Siberian Taiga, where daily life has changed little in over a century.

Directors: Werner Herzog, Dmitry Vasyukov | Stars: Werner Herzog, Nikolay Nikiforovitch Siniaev, Gennady Soloviev, Anatoly Tarkovsky

Votes: 7,033 | Gross: $0.34M

40. O.J.: Made in America (2016)

TV-MA | 467 min | Documentary, Biography, Crime

A chronicle of the rise and fall of O.J. Simpson, whose high-profile murder trial exposed the extent of American racial tensions, revealing a fractured and divided nation.

Director: Ezra Edelman | Stars: Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Mike Albanese, Muhammad Ali, Marcus Allen

Votes: 14,386

42. Isle of Flowers (1989)

13 min | Documentary, Short

The ironic, heartbreaking and acid "saga" of a spoiled tomato: from the plantation of a "Nisei" (Brazilian with Japanese origins); to a supermarket; to a consumer's kitchen to become sauce ... See full summary »

Director: Jorge Furtado | Stars: Paulo José, Ciça Reckziegel, Douglas Trainini, Júlia Barth

Votes: 4,902

43. Hearts of Darkness: A Filmmaker's Apocalypse (1991)

R | 96 min | Documentary

Documentary that chronicles how Francis Ford Coppola's Apocalypse Now (1979) was plagued by extraordinary script, shooting, budget, and casting problems--nearly destroying the life and career of the celebrated director.

Directors: Fax Bahr, George Hickenlooper, Eleanor Coppola | Stars: Dennis Hopper, Martin Sheen, Marlon Brando, George Lucas

Votes: 16,442 | Gross: $1.32M

44. My Voyage to Italy (1999)

PG-13 | 246 min | Documentary

90 Metascore

World-renowned director Martin Scorsese narrates this journey through his favorites in Italian cinema.

Director: Martin Scorsese | Star: Martin Scorsese

Votes: 2,688 | Gross: $0.01M

45. The Arbor (2010)

Unrated | 94 min | Documentary, Biography, Drama

88 Metascore

Portrayal of the late Bradford playwright Andrea Dunbar.

Director: Clio Barnard | Stars: Manjinder Virk, Christine Bottomley, Natalie Gavin, Parvani Lingiah

Votes: 1,534 | Gross: $0.02M

46. Dirty Wars (2013)

Not Rated | 87 min | Documentary, Crime, Drama

76 Metascore

Investigative journalist Jeremy Scahill is pulled into an unexpected journey as he chases down the hidden truth behind America's expanding covert wars.

Director: Rick Rowley | Stars: Jeremy Scahill, Nasser Al Aulaqi, Saleha Al Aulaqi, Muqbal Al Kazemi

Votes: 8,598 | Gross: $0.38M

47. Citizenfour (2014)

R | 114 min | Documentary, Biography

88 Metascore

A documentarian and a reporter travel to Hong Kong for the first of many meetings with Edward Snowden.

Director: Laura Poitras | Stars: Edward Snowden, Glenn Greenwald, William Binney, Jacob Appelbaum

Votes: 47,022 | Gross: $2.80M

48. V-E +1 (1945)

21 min | Documentary, Short

A film that documents the burial of those who lost their lives at the Holocaust camp in Falkenau, Czechoslovakia.

Director: Samuel Fuller

Votes: 25

49. Sing Your Song (2011)

Not Rated | 103 min | Documentary, Biography, Music