Favorite Documentaries

by bal3x | created - 04 May 2015 | updated - 20 May 2015 | Public
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1. Man with a Movie Camera (1929)

Not Rated | 68 min | Documentary, Music

A man travels around a city with a camera slung over his shoulder, documenting urban life with dazzling invention.

Director: Dziga Vertov | Star: Mikhail Kaufman

Votes: 19,286

2. 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

3. 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

4. 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

5. The Corporation (2003)

Not Rated | 145 min | Documentary, History

73 Metascore

Documentary that looks at the concept of the corporation throughout recent history up to its present-day dominance.

Directors: Mark Achbar, Jennifer Abbott | Stars: Mikela Jay, Rob Beckwermert, Christopher Gora, Nina Jones

Votes: 19,465 | Gross: $1.88M

6. Kon-Tiki (1950)

Approved | 77 min | Documentary

A documentary about the Kon-Tiki expedition of the Norwegian explorer Thor Heyerdahl.

Director: Thor Heyerdahl | Stars: Thor Heyerdahl, Herman Watzinger, Erik Hesselberg, Knut Haugland

Votes: 2,081

7. Harlan County U.S.A. (1976)

PG | 103 min | Documentary

80 Metascore

A filmed account of a bitterly violent miner strike.

Director: Barbara Kopple | Stars: Norman Yarborough, Houston Elmore, Phil Sparks, John Corcoran

Votes: 4,155

8. Berlin: Symphony of a Metropolis (1927)

Not Rated | 65 min | Documentary

This movie shows us one day in Berlin, the rhythm of that time, starting at the earliest morning and ends in the deepest night.

Director: Walter Ruttmann | Star: Paul von Hindenburg

Votes: 3,359

9. 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

10. 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

11. Route One USA (1989)

255 min | Documentary

Doc (McIsaac), back from a decade in in Africa, and filmmaker Kramer, decide to follow Route 1, from the Canadian border all the way to the tip of Florida.

Director: Robert Kramer | Stars: Jesse Jackson, Paul McIsaac, Pat Robertson

Votes: 197

12. Four Seasons (1975)

29 min | Documentary, Short

The last collaboration of Artavazd Peleshian and cinematographer Mikhail Vartanov is a film-essay about Armenia's shepherds, about the contradiction and the harmony between man and nature, scored to Vivaldi's Four Seasons.

Director: Artavazd Peleshian

Votes: 639

13. Menq (1969)

27 min | Documentary, Short

Monumental picture exploring the identity and fate of the Armenian nation.

Director: Artavazd Peleshian

Votes: 320

14. Mer dare (1983)

47 min | Documentary

A man paves his own way to his own soul through an intellectual quest, tragedies of nations and personal drama. The road moving through the cosmic distances is a flight into one's internal ... See full summary »

Director: Artavazd Peleshian

Votes: 257

15. The Two Escobars (2010)

104 min | Documentary, Biography, Sport

Pablo Escobar was the richest, most powerful drug kingpin in the world, ruling the Medelli­n Cartel with an iron fist. Andres Escobar was the biggest soccer star in Colombia. The two were ... See full summary »

Directors: Jeff Zimbalist, Michael Zimbalist | Stars: María Ester Escobar, Alexis García V., Jaime Gaviria Gómez, Francisco Maturana

Votes: 1,425

16. Melodie der Welt (1929)

40 min | Documentary

An impression of the state of the world in 1929, contrasting similarities and differences in religion, customs, art and entertainment from all over the world. The film is constructed like a symphony.

Director: Walter Ruttmann | Stars: Ivan Koval-Samborsky, Renée Stobrawa, Grace Chiang, O. Idris

Votes: 171

17. Powers of Ten (1977)

9 min | Documentary, Short

A scientific film essay, narrated by Phil Morrison. A set of pictures of two picnickers in a park, with the area of each frame one-tenth the size of the one before. Starting from a view of ... See full summary »

Directors: Charles Eames, Ray Eames | Star: Philip Morrison

Votes: 1,894

18. 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

19. Gadajace glowy (1980)

16 min | Documentary, Short

People of different age, profession and social status answer two simple questions: who they are and what they want from life.

Director: Krzysztof Kieslowski

Votes: 2,115

20. The Battle of Chile: Part I (1975)

Not Rated | 191 min | Documentary

The chronicle of the political tension in Chile in 1973 and of the violent counter revolution against the democratically elected government of Salvador Allende.

Director: Patricio Guzmán | Stars: Salvador Allende, Abilio Fernández

Votes: 1,008

21. The Battle of Chile: Part II (1976)

Not Rated | 88 min | Documentary

Taking place during the Chilean Coup d'état in 1973, this film opens with the attempted military coup of June 1973, which is put down by troops loyal to the government. The left is divided ... See full summary »

Director: Patricio Guzmán | Stars: Salvador Allende, Carlos Altamirano, Fernando Castillo, Luis Corvalán

Votes: 811

22. The Battle of Chile: Part III (1979)

80 min | Documentary

Completed two years after The Battle of Chile: Part I (1975) and The Battle of Chile: Part II (1976), this film deals with the creation of thousands of local groups of "popular power" by ... See full summary »

Director: Patricio Guzmán | Stars: Salvador Allende, Abilio Fernández

Votes: 647

23. Glas (1958)

11 min | Documentary, Short

Documentary about Dutch glass production in the 50s.

Director: Bert Haanstra

Votes: 822

24. Regen (1929)

12 min | Short, Documentary

Rain falls on a Dutch city.

Directors: Mannus Franken, Joris Ivens

Votes: 1,325

25. Valparaiso (1964)

28 min | Documentary, Short

A travelogue of Valparaiso, Chile, a city built on steep hills. Life is a constant struggle against geography. Neighbourhoods are reached by series of ramps, staircases, and funicular ... See full summary »

Director: Joris Ivens | Star: Roger Pigaut

Votes: 425

26. Salesman (1969)

G | 85 min | Documentary, Drama

Four relentless door-to-door salesmen deal with constant rejection, homesickness and inevitable burnout as they go across the country selling very expensive bibles to low-income Catholic families.

Directors: Albert Maysles, David Maysles, Charlotte Zwerin | Stars: Paul Brennan, Charles McDevitt, James Baker, Raymond Martos

Votes: 4,095

27. Par desmit minutem vecaks (1978)

10 min | Documentary, Short

A 10 minute long journey of emotions that befall children faces. Fear, Curiosity; a Smile. They all sit in a dark theater. What they see, we don't; we can only guess from their faces.

Director: Herz Frank

Votes: 518

28. Zoo (1961)

10 min | Documentary, Short

Who is watching who in the zoo?

Director: Bert Haanstra

Votes: 426

29. Daybreak Express (1953)

5 min | Documentary, Short, Music

Set to a classic Duke Ellington recording "Daybreak Express", this is a five-minute short of the soon-to-be-demolished Third Avenue elevated subway station in New York City.

Director: D.A. Pennebaker

Votes: 726

30. Terminus (1961)

33 min | Short, Documentary

The movie follows the routine of a busy train station - London's Waterloo Station - making a brief yet important cultural portrait of 1960s England, mixing reality and fiction.

Director: John Schlesinger | Stars: Margaret Ashcroft, Gertrude Dickin, Margaret Lacey, Matthew Perry

Votes: 252

31. From the East (1993)

107 min | Documentary

A look at life in Eastern Europe after the collapse of the Soviet Union.

Director: Chantal Akerman | Star: Natalia Chakhovskaia

Votes: 480

32. 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

33. Winter Soldier (1972)

Not Rated | 96 min | Documentary, History, War

For three days in 1971, former US soldiers who were in Vietnam testify in Detroit about their war experiences. Nearly 30 speak, describing atrocities personally committed or witnessed, ... See full summary »

Stars: Rusty Sachs, Joe Bangert, Scott Shimabukuro, Kenneth Campbell

Votes: 883

34. 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

35. Stop Making Sense (1984)

Not Rated | 88 min | Documentary, Music

89 Metascore

An innovative concert movie for the rock group The Talking Heads.

Director: Jonathan Demme | Stars: David Byrne, Bernie Worrell, Alex Weir, Steven Scales

Votes: 10,419 | Gross: $5.02M

36. Winged Migration (2001)

G | 89 min | Documentary

82 Metascore

Documentary on the migratory patterns of birds, shot over the course of three years on all seven continents.

Directors: Jacques Perrin, Jacques Cluzaud, Michel Debats | Stars: Jacques Perrin, Philippe Labro

Votes: 11,026 | Gross: $10.76M

37. 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: 21,235 | Gross: $4.19M

38. 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

39. Waltz with Bashir (2008)

R | 90 min | Animation, Biography, Drama

91 Metascore

An Israeli film director interviews fellow veterans of the 1982 invasion of Lebanon to reconstruct his own memories of his term of service in that conflict.

Director: Ari Folman | Stars: Ari Folman, Ron Ben-Yishai, Ronny Dayag, Ori Sivan

Votes: 51,657 | Gross: $2.28M

40. Roger & Me (1989)

R | 91 min | Documentary

70 Metascore

Director Michael Moore pursues GM CEO Roger B. Smith to confront him about the harm he did to Flint, Michigan with his massive downsizing.

Director: Michael Moore | Stars: Michael Moore, Roger B. Smith, Rhonda Britton, Fred Ross

Votes: 24,548 | Gross: $6.71M

41. The Road to Guantanamo (2006)

R | 95 min | Documentary, Drama, War

64 Metascore

Part drama, part documentary, The Road to Guantánamo focuses on the Tipton Three, a trio of British Muslims who were held in Guantanamo Bay for two years until they were released without charge.

Directors: Mat Whitecross, Michael Winterbottom | Stars: Riz Ahmed, Farhad Harun, Waqar Siddiqui, Arfan Usman

Votes: 10,885 | Gross: $0.32M

42. 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: 14,963

43. March of the Penguins (2005)

G | 80 min | Documentary, Family

79 Metascore

In the Antarctic, every March since the beginning of time, the quest begins to find the perfect mate and start a family.

Director: Luc Jacquet | Stars: Morgan Freeman, Charles Berling, Romane Bohringer, Jules Sitruk

Votes: 52,699 | Gross: $77.44M

44. 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

45. 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

46. Leviathan (I) (2012)

Not Rated | 87 min | Documentary

81 Metascore

A documentary shot in the North Atlantic and focused on the commercial fishing industry.

Directors: Lucien Castaing-Taylor, Verena Paravel | Stars: Brian Jannelle, Adrian Guillette, Arthur Smith, Asterias Vulgaris

Votes: 2,871 | Gross: $1.09M

47. 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

48. Grizzly Man (2005)

R | 103 min | Documentary, Biography

87 Metascore

A devastating and heart-rending take on grizzly bear activists Timothy Treadwell and Amie Huguenard, who were killed in October of 2003 while living among grizzly bears in Alaska.

Director: Werner Herzog | Stars: Timothy Treadwell, Amie Huguenard, Werner Herzog, Carol Dexter

Votes: 47,483 | Gross: $3.17M

49. Man on Wire (2008)

PG-13 | 94 min | Documentary, Biography