Documentaries

by kimberley-crofts | created - 06 Nov 2013 | updated - 2 months ago | Public

Documentaries I have seen and enjoyed

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1. Salute (2008)

TV-14 | 120 min | Documentary, Sport

The black power salute at the 1968 Mexico Olympics was an iconic moment in the US civil rights movement. What part did the white Australian who ran second play and what price did these athletes pay for standing up for their beliefs?

Director: Matt Norman | Stars: Christopher Kirby, Bob Beamon, Ralph Boston, Raelene Boyle

Votes: 332

2. Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room (2005)

Not Rated | 110 min | Documentary

A documentary about the Enron corporation, its faulty and corrupt business practices, and how they led to its fall.

Director: Alex Gibney | Stars: John Beard, Tim Belden, Barbara Boxer, George W. Bush

Votes: 15,328

3. How to Survive a Plague (2012)

Not Rated | 110 min | Documentary, History, News

86 Metascore

The story of two coalitions -- ACT UP and TAG (Treatment Action Group) -- whose activism and innovation turned AIDS from a death sentence into a manageable condition.

Director: David France | Stars: Peter Staley, Larry Kramer, Iris Long, Bob Rafsky

Votes: 3,502 | Gross: $0.13M

4. Metallica: Some Kind of Monster (2004)

Not Rated | 141 min | Documentary, Music

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: 16,196 | Gross: $1.22M

5. 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: 58,721 | Gross: $3.97M

6. Sound City (2013)

Not Rated | 107 min | Documentary, Music

76 Metascore

A documentary on the fabled recording studio that was located in Van Nuys, California.

Director: Dave Grohl | Stars: Trent Reznor, Tom Petty, Mick Fleetwood, Vinny Appice

Votes: 11,447 | Gross: $0.42M

7. Marley (2012)

PG-13 | 144 min | Documentary, Biography, Music

82 Metascore

A documentary on the life, music, and legacy of Bob Marley.

Director: Kevin Macdonald | Stars: Bob Marley, Ziggy Marley, Rita Marley, Jimmy Cliff

Votes: 12,512 | Gross: $1.41M

8. Beats, Rhymes & Life: The Travels of A Tribe Called Quest (2011)

R | 97 min | Documentary, Music

76 Metascore

Michael Rapaport documents the inner workings and behind the scenes drama that follows this innovative and influential band to this day.

Director: Michael Rapaport | Stars: Q-Tip, Phife Dawg, Ali Shaheed Muhammad, Jarobi White

Votes: 3,254 | Gross: $1.20M

9. 20 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: 11,329 | Gross: $4.95M

About the backing singers behind many soul hits

10. The Network (2013)

Not Rated | 97 min | Documentary, History, News

47 Metascore

The Network is a documentary set behind the scenes at the largest television network in one of the most unstable and dangerous places on earth, Afghanistan.

Director: Eva Orner

Votes: 48

11. Paul Kelly - Stories of Me (2012)

Not Rated | 95 min | Documentary, Biography, Music

An intimate portrait of Paul Kelly, Australia's foremost singer-songwriter.

Director: Ian Darling | Stars: Paul Kelly, Michael Barclay, Kasey Chambers, Kutcha Edwards

Votes: 161

12. The Punk Singer (2013)

Not Rated | 81 min | Documentary, Biography, Music

75 Metascore

A look at the life of activist, musician, and cultural icon Kathleen Hanna, who formed the punk band Bikini Kill and pioneered the "riot grrrl" movement of the 1990s.

Director: Sini Anderson | Stars: Kathleen Hanna, Carrie Brownstein, Kim Gordon, Joan Jett

Votes: 2,513 | Gross: $0.12M

13. Cutie and the Boxer (2013)

R | 82 min | Documentary, Biography

83 Metascore

This candid New York love story explores the chaotic 40-year marriage of famed boxing painter Ushio Shinohara and his wife, Noriko. Anxious to shed her role as her overbearing husband's assistant, Noriko finds an identity of her own.

Director: Zachary Heinzerling | Stars: Ushio Shinohara, Noriko Shinohara, Alex Shinohara, Ethan Cohen

Votes: 4,313 | Gross: $0.20M

14. Autoluminescent: Rowland S. Howard (2011)

110 min | Documentary, Music

From myth to legend Rowland Howard appeared on the early Melbourne punk scene like a phantom out of Kafkaesque Prague or Bram Stoker's Dracula. A beautifully gaunt and gothic aristocrat, ... See full summary »

Directors: Richard Lowenstein, Lynn-Maree Milburn | Stars: Rowland S. Howard, Genevieve McGuckin, Nick Cave, Mick Harvey

Votes: 237

15. El Bulli: Cooking in Progress (2010)

Unrated | 108 min | Documentary

61 Metascore

For six months of the year, renowned Spanish chef Ferran Adrià closes his restaurant El Bulli and works with his culinary team to prepare the menu for the next season. An elegant, detailed ... See full summary »

Director: Gereon Wetzel | Stars: Ferran Adrià, Oriol Castro, Eduard Xatruch, Eugeni de Diego

Votes: 1,036 | Gross: $0.23M

16. Chef's Table (2015– )

TV-MA | 50 min | Documentary

Chef's Table goes inside the lives and kitchens of six of the world's most renowned international chefs. Each episode focuses on a single chef and their unique look at their lives, talents and passion from their piece of culinary heaven.

Stars: Dan Barber, Massimo Bottura, Bill Buford, Lara Gilmore

Votes: 10,629

17. Marina Abramovic: The Artist Is Present (2012)

Not Rated | 106 min | Documentary, Biography, History

74 Metascore

A documentary that follows the Serbian performance artist as she prepares for a retrospective of her work at The Museum of Modern Art in New York.

Directors: Matthew Akers, Jeff Dupre | Stars: Marina Abramovic, Ulay, Klaus Biesenbach, David Balliano

Votes: 5,328 | Gross: $0.09M

18. The September Issue (2009)

PG-13 | 90 min | Documentary

69 Metascore

A documentary chronicling Vogue editor-in-chief Anna Wintour's preparations for the 2007 fall-fashion issue.

Director: R.J. Cutler | Stars: Anna Wintour, Thakoon Panichgul, André Leon Talley, Grace Coddington

Votes: 7,022 | Gross: $3.82M

19. Under African Skies (2012)

Not Rated | 108 min | Documentary, Biography, History

82 Metascore

Paul Simon returns to South Africa to explore the journey of his Graceland album, including the political backlash he received for allegedly breaking the UN cultural boycott of South Africa designed to end the Apartheid regime.

Director: Joe Berlinger | Stars: Paul Simon, Maya Angelou, Okeyerama Asante, Harry Belafonte

Votes: 440

20. PressPausePlay (2011)

Not Rated | 80 min | Documentary, Music

The digital revolution of the last decade has unleashed creativity and talent of people in an unprecedented way, unleashing unlimited creative opportunities. But does democratized culture ... See full summary »

Directors: David Dworsky, Victor Köhler | Stars: Apparat, Ólafur Arnalds, Scott Belsky, Robyn Carlsson

Votes: 1,459

21. Mr. Dynamite: The Rise of James Brown (2014)

Not Rated | 120 min | Documentary, Biography, Music

A look at the music career of musician James Brown beginning with his first hit song, "Please, Please, Please," in 1956.

Director: Alex Gibney | Stars: James Brown, Christian McBride, Bobby Byrd, Greg Tate

Votes: 1,045

22. Finding Fela! (2014)

Not Rated | 119 min | Documentary, Biography, History

64 Metascore

A look at the life and music of Nigerian singer Fela Kuti.

Director: Alex Gibney | Stars: Fela Kuti, Yeni Kuti, Femi Kuti, Seun Kuti

Votes: 627

23. A State of Mind (2004)

Not Rated | 93 min | Documentary

63 Metascore

A British documentary that follows two young North Korean girls as they prepare for the Mass Games, the world's largest choreographed gymnastics performance.

Director: Daniel Gordon | Stars: Daniel Gordon, Hyon Sun Pak, Song Yun Kim, Jong-Il Kim

Votes: 984 | Gross: $0.04M

24. Iris (IX) (2014)

PG-13 | 79 min | Documentary, Biography, History

80 Metascore

A documentary about fashion icon Iris Apfel from legendary documentary filmmaker Albert Maysles.

Director: Albert Maysles | Stars: Carl Apfel, Harold Koda, Dries Van Noten, Inez Bailey

Votes: 3,948 | Gross: $1.31M

25. She's Beautiful When She's Angry (2014)

Not Rated | 92 min | Documentary, History

80 Metascore

A documentary that resurrects the buried history of the outrageous, often brilliant women who founded the modern women's movement from 1966 to 1971.

Director: Mary Dore | Stars: Chude Pamela Allen, Alta, Judith Arcana, Nona Willis Aronowitz

Votes: 1,338 | Gross: $0.42M

26. Michael Jackson's Journey from Motown to Off the Wall (2016)

Not Rated | 93 min | Documentary, Music

A look at the life of the late pop star Michael Jackson from his early days at Motown Records to the release of his hit 1979 album, Off the Wall.

Director: Spike Lee | Stars: Michael Jackson, Jackson 5, Berry Gordy, Suzanne De Passe

Votes: 1,893

27. Still Bill (2009)

Not Rated | 78 min | Documentary, Biography, Music

76 Metascore

A portrait of soul legend Bill Withers.

Directors: Damani Baker, Alex Vlack | Stars: Bill Withers, Clarence Avant, Benorce Blackmon, Cornell Dupree

Votes: 537

28. Soul Power (2008)

PG-13 | 92 min | Documentary, Music

76 Metascore

A filmed account of the Zaire 74 soul music festival, originally intended to be in concert with the famous Rumble in the Jungle bout in Kinshasa, Zaire in 1974.

Director: Jeffrey Kusama-Hinte | Stars: Muhammad Ali, James Brown, Don King, Celia Cruz

Votes: 718 | Gross: $0.21M

29. 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: 12,052 | Gross: $1.51M

30. Diana Vreeland: The Eye Has to Travel (2011)

PG-13 | 86 min | Documentary, Biography

69 Metascore

A look at the life and work of the influential fashion editor of Harpers Bazaar, Diana Vreeland.

Directors: Lisa Immordino Vreeland, Bent-Jorgen Perlmutt, Frédéric Tcheng | Stars: Diana Vreeland, Richard Avedon, David Bailey, Lauren Bacall

Votes: 1,303 | Gross: $1.00M

31. Icarus (I) (2017)

TV-MA | 120 min | Documentary, Sport, Thriller

68 Metascore

When Bryan sets out to uncover the truth about doping in sports, a chance meeting with a Russian scientist transforms his story from a personal experiment into a geopolitical thriller.

Director: Bryan Fogel | Stars: Thomas Bach, Sebastian Coe, Bryan Fogel, Nikita Kamaev

Votes: 29,112

32. All for One (II) (2017)

107 min | Documentary, Biography, Sport

ALL FOR ONE is the story of GreenEdge, Australia's first ProTour cycling team.

Directors: Marcus Cobbledick, Dan Jones | Stars: Esteban Chaves, Matthew Hayman, Phil Liggett

Votes: 93

33. The Great Rock 'n' Roll Swindle (1980)

103 min | Music

A rather incoherent post-breakup Sex Pistols "documentary", told from the point of view of Pistols manager Malcolm McLaren, whose (arguable) position is that the Sex Pistols in particular ... See full summary »

Director: Julien Temple | Stars: Malcolm McLaren, Sid Vicious, Steve Jones, Paul Cook

Votes: 1,893

34. The Filth and the Fury (2000)

R | 108 min | Documentary, Biography, Music

82 Metascore

A film about the career of the notorious punk rock band, the Sex Pistols.

Director: Julien Temple | Stars: Paul Cook, Steve Jones, John Lydon, Glen Matlock

Votes: 5,321 | Gross: $0.61M

35. Citizen Jane: Battle for the City (2016)

Not Rated | 92 min | Documentary, Biography, History

70 Metascore

Writer and urban activist Jane Jacobs fights to save historic New York City during the ruthless redevelopment era of urban planner Robert Moses in the 1960s.

Director: Matt Tyrnauer | Stars: Thomas Campanella, Vincent D'Onofrio, Mindy Fullilove, Alexander Garvin

Votes: 403 | Gross: $0.31M

36. Whitney: Can I Be Me (2017)

Not Rated | 105 min | Documentary, Music

64 Metascore

Tells the story of Whitney Houston's extraordinary life and tragic death.

Directors: Nick Broomfield, Rudi Dolezal | Stars: Whitney Houston, Tony Anderson, Burt Bacharach, Michael Baker

Votes: 3,644

37. Sherpa (2015)

Not Rated | 96 min | Documentary

93 Metascore

A fight on Everest? It seemed incredible. But in 2013 news channels around the world reported an ugly brawl at 6400 m (21,000 ft) as European climbers fled a mob of angry Sherpas. In 1953, ... See full summary »

Director: Jennifer Peedom | Stars: Russell Brice, Tim Medvetz, Phurba Tashi Sherpa, Edmund Hillary

Votes: 2,259

38. Venus and Serena (2012)

PG-13 | 99 min | Documentary, Sport

65 Metascore

Ever since Venus and Serena Williams started playing in tennis tournaments, they've provoked strong reactions - from awe and admiration to suspicion and resentment. They've been winning ... See full summary »

Directors: Maiken Baird, Michelle Major | Stars: Raul Arevalo, Billie Jean King, John McEnroe, Richard Williams

Votes: 673 | Gross: $0.05M

39. The Defiant Ones (2017)

60 min | Documentary, Biography, Crime

"The Defiant Ones" examines the partnership between Jimmy Iovine and Dr. Dre - one the son of a Brooklyn longshoreman, the other straight out of Compton - and their leading roles in a chain of transformative events in contemporary culture.

Stars: Dr. Dre, Jimmy Iovine, Trent Reznor, Verna Griffin

Votes: 8,898

40. The Gospel According to André (2017)

PG-13 | 93 min | Documentary

67 Metascore

From the segregated American South to the fashion capitals of the world, operatic fashion editor André Leon Talley's life and career are on full display, in a poignant portrait that ... See full summary »

Director: Kate Novack | Stars: André Leon Talley, Bethann Hardison, Marc Jacobs, Anna Wintour

Votes: 292 | Gross: $0.40M

41. Quincy (2018)

TV-MA | 124 min | Documentary

60 Metascore

An intimate look into the life of icon Quincy Jones. A unique force in music and popular culture for 70 years, Jones has transcended racial and cultural boundaries; his story is inextricably woven into the fabric of America.

Directors: Alan Hicks, Rashida Jones | Stars: Quincy Jones, Rashida Jones, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Clarence Avant

Votes: 2,357

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

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

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: 887 | Gross: $0.52M

43. RBG (2018)

PG | 98 min | Documentary, Biography

71 Metascore

The exceptional life and career of U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who has developed a breathtaking legal legacy while becoming an unexpected pop culture icon.

Directors: Julie Cohen, Betsy West | Stars: Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Ann Kittner, Harryette Helsel, Nina Totenberg

Votes: 8,155 | Gross: $14.02M



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