Favorite Documentaries (as of 03.01.2019)

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1. Sans Soleil (1983)

Not Rated | 100 min | Documentary, Drama

A woman narrates the contemplative writings of a seasoned world traveler, focusing on contemporary Japan.

Director: Chris Marker | Stars: Florence Delay, Arielle Dombasle, Riyoko Ikeda, Charlotte Kerr

Votes: 8,174 | Gross: $0.03M

2. La société du spectacle (1974)

88 min | Documentary

Guy Debord's cinematic analysis of consumer society based on his influential book "La société du spectacle" (1967).

Director: Guy Debord | Stars: Guy Debord, Leonid Brezhnev, Fidel Castro, Jacques Duclos

Votes: 462

3. 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

4. Hao si bu ru lai huo zhe (2003)

88 min | Documentary

A portrait of a Chinese family living with and dying of HIV/AIDS.

Director: Weijun Chen | Stars: Shenyi Ma, Mei Lei, Ningning Ma, Rong Ma

Votes: 86

5. Baraka (1992)

Not Rated | 96 min | Documentary

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

Director: Ron Fricke

Votes: 32,373 | Gross: $1.25M

6. 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

7. A Tale of the Wind (1988)

80 min | Documentary

An elderly, asthmatic filmmaker travels to China, hoping to film the wind.

Director: Joris Ivens | Stars: Joris Ivens, Henxiang Han, Zhuang Liu, Delong Wang

Votes: 644

8. 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

9. The Great White Silence (1924)

108 min | Documentary

In 1910 the British Antarctic Expedition, led by Capt. Robert F. Scott, embarks from Lyttleton, NZ on a quest to become the first to reach the South Pole.

Director: Herbert G. Ponting | Stars: Robert Falcon Scott, Herbert G. Ponting, Henry R. Bowers, Edgar Evans

Votes: 671

10. 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

11. 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

12. 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: 31,186 | Gross: $1.72M

13. Hôtel Terminus (1988)

Unrated | 267 min | Documentary, Biography, History

A documentary about Klaus Barbie, the Gestapo chief of Lyon, and his life after the war.

Director: Marcel Ophüls | Stars: Klaus Barbie, Claude Lanzmann, Marcel Ophüls, Johannes Schneider-Merck

Votes: 1,121 | Gross: $0.34M

14. Voyage of Time: Life's Journey (2016)

PG-13 | 90 min | Documentary, Drama

68 Metascore

An exploration into our planetary past and a search for humanity's place in the future. With narration by Cate Blanchett.

Director: Terrence Malick | Stars: Cate Blanchett, Jamal Cavil, Maisha Diatta, Yagazie Emezi

Votes: 3,227

15. Cheng zhe guang ying lu xing (2009)

90 min | Documentary

This fascinating look into the mind and inner life of one of Asia's greatest cinematographers, Mark Lee Ping-Bing, features famous collaborators like Wong Kar-wei, Hou Hsiao-Hsien, and Sylvia Chang, and Shu Qi.

Directors: Hsiu-Chiung Chiang, Pung-Leung Kwan | Stars: Ping Bin Lee, Gilles Bourdos, Sylvia Chang, Hsiao-Hsien Hou

Votes: 132

16. 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: 18,330 | Gross: $0.65M

17. 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

18. Ashes and Snow (2005)

63 min | Documentary, Drama

Exploring the shared language and poetic sensibilities of all animals.

Director: Gregory Colbert | Stars: Laurence Fishburne, Jeanne Moreau, Enrique Rocha, Ken Watanabe

Votes: 3,573

19. 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

20. 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

21. Arirang (2011)

100 min | Documentary, Drama

Documentary on director Kim Ki-Duk looking back at his film career.

Director: Ki-duk Kim | Star: Ki-duk Kim

Votes: 1,005

22. Woodstock (1970)

R | 184 min | Documentary, History, Music

The film chronicle of the legendary 1969 music festival.

Director: Michael Wadleigh | Stars: Joan Baez, Richie Havens, Roger Daltrey, Joe Cocker

Votes: 14,374 | Gross: $50.00M

23. 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

25. India: Matri Bhumi (1959)

90 min | Documentary, Drama

Several stories depicting the landscapes and fauna of India are mixed with documentary footage.

Director: Roberto Rossellini

Votes: 474

26. Tokyo Olympiad (1965)

Not Rated | 170 min | Documentary, Sport

Kon Ichikawa examines the beauty and rich drama on display at the 1964 Summer Games in Tokyo, creating a record of observations that range from the expansive to the intimate.

Director: Kon Ichikawa | Stars: Abebe Bikila, Jack Douglas, Hirohito

Votes: 1,329

27. 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

28. Salt for Svanetia (1930)

TV-14 | 55 min | Documentary

Story of distant mountainous region in Georgia that depicts folklore, lifestyle and daily routines of Svani people, focuses on the scarcity of salt in Svaneti region. Rich with documentary ... See full summary »

Director: Mikhail Kalatozov

Votes: 509

29. 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

30. For All Mankind (1989)

Not Rated | 80 min | Documentary, History

An in-depth look at various NASA moon landing missions, starting with Apollo 8.

Director: Al Reinert | Stars: Jim Lovell, Ken Mattingly, Russell Schweickart, Eugene Cernan

Votes: 4,097 | Gross: $0.77M

31. Les glaneurs et la glaneuse (2000)

Not Rated | 82 min | Documentary

83 Metascore

Varda films and interviews gleaners in France in all forms, from those picking fields after the harvest to those scouring the dumpsters of Paris.

Director: Agnès Varda | Stars: François Wertheimer, Agnès Varda, Bodan Litnanski

Votes: 4,742 | Gross: $0.15M

32. Grey Gardens (1975)

PG | 94 min | Documentary, Comedy, Drama

An old mother and her middle-aged daughter, the aunt and cousin of Jacqueline Kennedy, live their eccentric lives in a filthy, decaying mansion in East Hampton.

Directors: Ellen Hovde, Albert Maysles, David Maysles, Muffie Meyer | Stars: Edith Bouvier Beale, Edith 'Little Edie' Bouvier Beale, Brooks Hyers

Votes: 10,365 | Gross: $0.03M

33. Mein liebster Feind - Klaus Kinski (1999)

Not Rated | 95 min | Documentary, Biography

70 Metascore

In the 1950s, an adolescent Werner Herzog was transfixed by a film performance of the young Klaus Kinski. Years later, they would share an apartment where, in an unabated, forty-eight-hour ... See full summary »

Director: Werner Herzog | Stars: Werner Herzog, Klaus Kinski, Claudia Cardinale, Justo González

Votes: 9,323 | Gross: $0.10M

34. Tabloid (2010)

R | 87 min | Documentary, Crime

74 Metascore

A documentary on a former Miss Wyoming who is charged with abducting and imprisoning a young Mormon Missionary.

Director: Errol Morris | Stars: Joyce McKinney, Peter Tory, Troy Williams, Jackson Shaw

Votes: 6,101 | Gross: $0.68M

35. A Grin Without A Cat (1977)

240 min | Documentary

81 Metascore

French essay film focusing on global political turmoil in the 1960s and '70s, particularly the rise of the New Left in France and the development of socialist movements in Latin America.

Director: Chris Marker | Stars: Laurence Cuvillier, Davos Hanich, François Maspero, Yves Montand

Votes: 819

36. HyperNormalisation (2016)

166 min | Documentary

Adam Curtis explains how, at a time of confusing and inexplicable world events, politicians and the people they represent have retreated in to a damaging over-simplified version of what is happening.

Director: Adam Curtis | Stars: Adam Curtis, Donald Trump, Vladimir Putin, Victor Gotbaum

Votes: 3,757

37. F for Fake (1973)

PG | 89 min | Documentary

A documentary about fraud and fakery.

Directors: Orson Welles, Gary Graver, Oja Kodar, François Reichenbach | Stars: Orson Welles, Oja Kodar, François Reichenbach, Elmyr de Hory

Votes: 12,896

38. 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

39. Wu ming zhe (2010)

92 min | Documentary

Man with No Name is an intimate portrait of an anonymous man living in a deserted wasteland in an unnamed part of China. He lives in an underground cave, in a harsh and otherworldly ... See full summary »

Director: Bing Wang

Votes: 77

40. Fuck Cinema (2005)

173 min | Documentary

This documentary shows how different young people try to realize their dreams or become famous through the film industry. One of the main characters of this documentary is named Wang, a ... See full summary »

Director: Wenguang Wu | Stars: Wenguang Wu, Zhang Yuan, Wang Zhutian

Votes: 24

41. Feng ai (2013)

227 min | Documentary

70 Metascore

50 men live for 12 months in a madhouse, they passing their days in a single plane and having little contact with the medical team. Every one of the inmates is not there for mental health ... See full summary »

Director: Bing Wang

Votes: 223

42. I Wish I Knew (2010)

125 min | Documentary, History

Focuses on the people, their stories and architecture spanning from the mid-1800s, when Shanghai was opened as a trading port, to the present day.

Director: Zhangke Jia | Stars: Yindi Cao, Hsin-i Chang, Danqing Chen, Mei-Ru Du

Votes: 455

43. Without Memory (1996 TV Movie)

84 min | Documentary

This documentary follows the life of a man who has a disability which prevents him from forming new memories. The vital importance of human memory is revealed through his daily interactions with his family and the filmmakers.

Director: Hirokazu Koreeda | Stars: Hiroshi Sekine, Miwa Sekine, Taku Sekine, Yû Sekine

Votes: 101

44. 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

45. Buena Vista Social Club (1999)

G | 105 min | Documentary, Music

81 Metascore

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.

Director: Wim Wenders | Stars: Compay Segundo, Ibrahim Ferrer, Rubén González, Eliades Ochoa

Votes: 15,090 | Gross: $7.00M



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