iCM Forum's Favourite Documentaries

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1. Picasso, l'inventaire d'une vie (2014)

110 min | Documentary, Biography

Add a Plot

Director: Hugues Nancy

Votes: 39

2. Please Vote for Me (2007)

Not Rated | 58 min | Documentary

Democracy in China exists, that is, in a primary school in Wuhan where a grade 3 class can vote who they want as class monitor.

Director: Weijun Chen | Stars: Cheng Cheng, Luo Lei, Xu Xiaofei

Votes: 1,219

3. L'enfer d'Henri-Georges Clouzot (2009)

Not Rated | 100 min | Documentary

Henri-Georges Clouzot's unfinished masterpiece, L'enfer (1964), is reconstructed in this film which is part drama and part documentary.

Directors: Serge Bromberg, Ruxandra Medrea | Stars: Romy Schneider, Bérénice Bejo, Serge Reggiani, Jacques Gamblin

Votes: 1,373 | Gross: $0.02M

4. Grass: A Nation's Battle for Life (1925)

Passed | 71 min | Documentary

The struggles of a hardscrabble Iranian nomadic tribe as they journey through bleak country to reach the grasslands that will save their livestock.

Directors: Merian C. Cooper, Ernest B. Schoedsack | Stars: Merian C. Cooper, Ernest B. Schoedsack, Marguerite Harrison, Haidar Khan

Votes: 854

5. Regen (1929)

12 min | Short, Documentary

Rain falls on a Dutch city.

Directors: Mannus Franken, Joris Ivens

Votes: 1,325

6. Siddeshwari (1990)

123 min | Documentary

An impressionistic biographical look at Siddheshwari Devi (19081977), the classical Indian singer whose voice was appreciated by the maharajas and public alike. She was from Varanasi, India... See full synopsis »

Director: Mani Kaul | Stars: Mita Vasisht, Muhar Biswas, Ranjana Srivastava, Shravani Mukherjee

Votes: 49

7. 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

8. 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

9. The Illinois Parables (2016)

60 min | Documentary, History

73 Metascore

An experimental documentary comprised of regional vignettes about faith, force, technology and exodus. Eleven parables relay histories of settlement, removal, technological breakthrough, ... See full summary »

Director: Deborah Stratman | Stars: Raven Wolf C. Felton Jennings II, Joshua Frieman, Anna Toborg, Jose Oubrerie

Votes: 63

10. The siege (2016 TV Movie)

90 min | Documentary, History, War

Sarajevo, the longest siege in modern history. A surrounded city, a battle, resistance. A vertiginous descent into war.

Directors: Remy Ourdan, Patrick Chauvel

Votes: 35

11. The Cause of Progress (2016)

126 min | Documentary

"A Cambodian Spring" is an intimate and unique portrait of three people caught up in the chaotic and often violent development that is shaping modern-day Cambodia. Shot over six years, the ... See full summary »

Director: Christopher Kelly | Stars: Luon Sovath, Tep Vanny

Votes: 115

12. C'est dur d'être aimé par des cons (2008)

Not Rated | 110 min | Documentary

When twelve cartoons depicting the Prophet Muhammad were published by Denmark's largest newspaper in 2005, European muslim groups denounced the cartoons as insulting and sacrilegious. To ... See full summary »

Director: Daniel Leconte | Stars: Elisabeth Badinter, François Bayrou, Christophe Bigot, Cabu

Votes: 196

13. 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

14. 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: 7,371 | Gross: $0.02M

15. Nanook of the North (1922)

Not Rated | 78 min | Documentary

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.

Director: Robert J. Flaherty | Stars: Allakariallak, Alice Nevalinga, Cunayou, Allegoo

Votes: 9,425

17. 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

18. Nostalgia de la luz (2010)

Not Rated | 90 min | Documentary

91 Metascore

A documentary about two different searches conducted in the Chilean Atacama Desert: one by astronomers looking for answers about the history of the cosmos, and one by women looking for the remains of loved ones killed by Pinochet's regime.

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

Votes: 4,142

19. GasLand (2010)

Not Rated | 107 min | Documentary

An exploration of the fracking petroleum extraction industry and the serious environmental consequences involved.

Director: Josh Fox | Stars: Josh Fox, Dick Cheney, Pete Seeger, Richard Nixon

Votes: 9,885 | Gross: $0.03M

20. 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: 57,910 | Gross: $3.29M

21. The Sorrow and the Pity (1969)

PG | 251 min | Documentary, History, War

An in-depth exploration of the various reactions by the French people to the Vichy government's acceptance of Nazi invasion.

Director: Marcel Ophüls | Stars: Georges Bidault, Matthäus Bleibinger, Charles Braun, Maurice Buckmaster

Votes: 3,198

22. Inside Job (2010)

PG-13 | 109 min | Documentary, Crime

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: 64,426 | Gross: $4.31M

23. Jodorowsky's Dune (2013)

PG-13 | 90 min | Documentary

79 Metascore

The story of cult film director Alejandro Jodorowsky's ambitious but ultimately doomed film adaptation of the seminal science fiction novel.

Director: Frank Pavich | Stars: Alejandro Jodorowsky, Michel Seydoux, H.R. Giger, Chris Foss

Votes: 18,329 | Gross: $0.65M

24. Türk Pasaportu (2011)

Not Rated | 91 min | Documentary, Drama, History

The Turkish Passport tells the story of diplomats posted to Turkish Embassies and Consulates in several European countries, who saved numerous Jews during the Second World War. Based on the... See full summary »

Director: Burak Arliel | Stars: McKinley Anthony, Albert Barbouth, Batur Belirdi, Cosma Constantin

Votes: 380

25. Koyaanisqatsi (1982)

Not Rated | 86 min | Documentary, Music

A collection of expertly photographed phenomena with no conventional plot. The footage focuses on nature, humanity and the relationship between them.

Director: Godfrey Reggio | Stars: Lou Dobbs, Ted Koppel

Votes: 31,187 | Gross: $1.72M

26. Room 237 (I) (2012)

Not Rated | 102 min | Documentary

80 Metascore

An exploration of various interpretations of Stanley Kubrick's horror film, The Shining (1980).

Director: Rodney Ascher | Stars: Bill Blakemore, Geoffrey Cocks, Juli Kearns, John Fell Ryan

Votes: 19,349 | Gross: $0.26M

27. Mapplethorpe: Look at the Pictures (2016)

TV-MA | 108 min | Documentary, Biography

75 Metascore

An examination of the life and work of the revered and controversial photographer Robert Mapplethorpe.

Directors: Fenton Bailey, Randy Barbato | Stars: Nancy Rooney, Harry Mapplethorpe, George Stack, Robert Mapplethorpe

Votes: 1,068

28. À propos de Nice (1930)

Not Rated | 25 min | Documentary, Short, Comedy

What starts off as a conventional travelogue turns into a satirical portrait of the town of Nice on the French Cote d'Azur, especially its wealthy inhabitants.

Directors: Boris Kaufman, Jean Vigo

Votes: 3,318

29. 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: 30,282 | Gross: $0.49M

30. Études sur Paris (1928)

76 min | Documentary

Study of 1928 Paris based on locations, neighbourhoods rather than narration.

Director: André Sauvage

Votes: 63

31. The Sound of Belgium (2012)

85 min | Documentary, History, Music

'The Sound of Belgium' explores the rich but untold story of Belgian electronic dance music. From the grand dance halls with Decap organs to the golden days of Popcorn; From dark and cold ... See full summary »

Director: Jozef Deville | Star: John Flanders

Votes: 365

32. The Kid Stays in the Picture (2002)

R | 93 min | Documentary, Biography

75 Metascore

Documentary about legendary Paramount producer Robert Evans (the film shares the same name as Evans's famous 1994 autobiography).

Directors: Nanette Burstein, Brett Morgen | Stars: Robert Evans, Eddie Albert, Peter Bart, Charlie Bluhdorn

Votes: 6,488 | Gross: $1.43M

33. Finding Vivian Maier (2013)

Not Rated | 83 min | Documentary, Biography, Mystery

75 Metascore

A documentary on the late Vivian Maier, a nanny whose previously unknown cache of 100,000 photographs earned her a posthumous reputation as one of the most accomplished street photographers.

Directors: John Maloof, Charlie Siskel | Stars: Vivian Maier, John Maloof, Daniel Arnaud, Simon Amédé

Votes: 11,738 | Gross: $1.51M

34. The Fog of War: Eleven Lessons from the Life of Robert S. McNamara (2003)

PG-13 | 107 min | Documentary, Biography, History

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: 21,236 | Gross: $4.19M

35. The Return to Homs (2013)

Not Rated | 94 min | Documentary, Biography, History

85 Metascore

A look behind the barricades of the besieged city of Homs, where for nineteen-year-old Basset and his ragtag group of comrades, the audacious hope of revolution is crumbling like the buildings around them.

Director: Talal Derki | Star: Abdul Basset Saroot

Votes: 922

36. De fem benspænd (2003)

Unrated | 90 min | Documentary

79 Metascore

About a filmmaker not only revisiting, but also recreating (not in a conventional sense) one of his first films, The Perfect Human / Det perfekte menneske (1967)

Directors: Jørgen Leth, Lars von Trier | Stars: Claus Nissen, Majken Algren Nielsen, Daniel Hernandez Rodriguez, Jacqueline Arenal

Votes: 7,470 | Gross: $0.09M

37. Ploshcha (2007)

Not Rated | 87 min | Documentary

Three months before elections the president of the Republic of Belarus Alexander Lukashenko claimed: "You have no other choice, you will vote for me!" This is exactly how it happened in March 2006.

Director: Yuriy Khashchevatskiy

Votes: 55

38. 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

39. S-21, la machine de mort Khmère rouge (2003)

Unrated | 101 min | Documentary, History, War

75 Metascore

A unique documentary on the notorious S-21 prison, today the Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, with testimony by the only surviving prisoners and former Khmer Rouge guards.

Director: Rithy Panh | Stars: Khieu 'Poev' Ches, Yeay Cheu, Nhem En, Houy Him

Votes: 915 | Gross: $0.02M

41. Obyknovennyy prezident (1996)

Not Rated | 54 min | Documentary

A political satire which exposes the shape of totalitarianism in the presidency of Alexander Lukaschenka, admirer of Hitler.

Director: Yuriy Khashchevatskiy

Votes: 29

42. Touching the Void (2003)

R | 106 min | Documentary, Adventure, Drama

82 Metascore

The true story of two climbers and their perilous journey up the west face of Siula Grande in the Peruvian Andes in 1985.

Director: Kevin Macdonald | Stars: Simon Yates, Joe Simpson, Brendan Mackey, Nicholas Aaron

Votes: 30,793 | Gross: $4.59M

43. Beats of the Antonov (2014)

68 min | Documentary, War

The story of the people of the Blue Nile and Nuba Mountains in Sudan, showing how they deal with civil war. Traditionally music has always been part of daily life in these areas, but now, it has a new role in a society challenge by war.

Director: Hajooj Kuka

Votes: 107

44. Fuocoammare (2016)

114 min | Documentary

87 Metascore

Capturing life on the Italian island of Lampedusa, a frontline in the European migrant crisis.

Director: Gianfranco Rosi | Stars: Samuele Pucillo, Mattias Cucina, Samuele Caruana, Pietro Bartolo

Votes: 4,741 | Gross: $0.11M

45. L'homme qui répare les femmes: la colère d'Hippocrate (2015)

Not Rated | 112 min | Documentary, Biography, News

Winner of the Sakharov Prize 2014, Doctor Mukwege is internationally known as the man who mends thousands of women who have been raped during the 20 years of conflicts in the East of the ... See full summary »

Director: Thierry Michel | Stars: Martin Spinhayer, Denis Mukwege Mukengere, Hillary Clinton

Votes: 96

46. 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

48. Sonita (2015)

90 min | Documentary, Biography, Music

After her family attempts to sell her into marriage, a young Afghan refugee in Iran channels her frustrations and seizes her destiny through music. Grabbing the mic, she spits fiery rhymes in the face of oppressive traditions.

Director: Rokhsareh Ghaemmaghami | Stars: Sonita Alizadeh, Latifah Alizadeh, Fadia Alizadeh, Ahmad Ahmadi

Votes: 680

49. Histoire immédiate (2011– )
Episode: Paris, années folles (2013)

85 min | Documentary