All 151 Oscar-Qualifying Documentaries for 2013 (Sorted by IMDb Rating Descending)



1. Lion Ark (2013)

91 min | Documentary, Action, Adventure

9.0
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 9/10 X  
55 Metascore

More action adventure than traditional documentary, Lion Ark follows the world's most ambitious and daring animal rescue, with a narrative meticulously compiled from film, interviews, ... See full summary »

Director: Tim Phillips | Stars: Remy Ballivan, Bob Barker, Martin Beltran, Diego Cortes

Votes: 23

2. A.K.A. Doc Pomus (2012)

Not Rated | 98 min | Documentary, Biography, Music

8.5
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.5/10 X  
83 Metascore

Doc Pomus was the most unlikely of rock & roll icons. Paralyzed with polio as a child, Brooklyn-born Jerome Felder reinvented himself first as a blues singer, renaming himself Doc Pomus, ... See full summary »

Directors: William Hechter, Peter Miller | Stars: Willi Burke, Marshall Chapman, Shawn Colvin, Dion DiMucci

Votes: 71

3. Symphony of the Soil (2012)

Not Rated | 104 min | Documentary, Adventure, History

8.5
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.5/10 X  

Drawing from ancient knowledge and cutting edge science, Symphony of the Soil is an artistic exploration of the miraculous substance soil. By understanding the elaborate relationships and ... See full summary »

Director: Deborah Koons | Stars: Ignacio Chapela, Dan Barber, Vandana Shiva, Daniel Hillel

Votes: 113

4. The Ghosts in Our Machine (2013)

93 min | Documentary

8.3
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.3/10 X  
60 Metascore

A cinematic documentary that illuminates the lives of individual animals living within and rescued from the machine of our modern world.

Director: Liz Marshall | Stars: Marcel Saba, Lori Reese, Perrie Wardell, Martin Rowe

Votes: 618 | Gross: $0.02M

5. The Second Meeting (2013)

Not Rated | 86 min | Documentary

8.3
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.3/10 X  

In 1999 as NATO forces bombard Belgrade city USAF pilot Dale Zelko begins his sortie into nearby Belgrade target flying his F-117 stealth bomber. On the opposite side a Serbian colonel ... See full summary »

Director: Zeljko Mirkovic | Stars: Zoltan Dani, Dale Zelko, Iren Dani, Lauren Zelko

Votes: 51

6. The Paw Project (2013)

58 min | Documentary, History, News

8.3
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.3/10 X  

This is a David and Goliath story of one veterinarian's battle to protect her patients (tigers, lions and even house cats) from big corporations, with their big corporate money, that will ... See full summary »

Director: Jennifer Conrad

Votes: 211

7. Not Yet Begun to Fight (2012)

Not Rated | 60 min | Documentary, Biography, Drama

8.3
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.3/10 X  
78 Metascore

In the space between war and a new battle, NOT YET BEGUN TO FIGHT unfolds, offering an intimate look at the human cost of combat. A retired Marine Colonel reaches out to five men, a new ... See full summary »

Directors: Shasta Grenier, Sabrina Lee

Votes: 39

8. Blood Brother (2013)

Not Rated | 92 min | Documentary

8.3
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.3/10 X  
71 Metascore

Documentarian visits best friend in India to see the mutual unconditional love that keeps his buddy bonded to a village hostel housing AIDS-afflicted children.

Director: Steve Hoover | Stars: Rocky Braat, Steve Hoover, Anitha, Devi

Votes: 1,534 | Gross: $0.12M

9. Life According to Sam (2013)

TV-G | 94 min | Documentary, Biography, Drama

8.2
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 X  

A moving look at a couple's inspiring efforts to save their only son Sam from the rare and fatal premature-aging disease of progeria.

Directors: Sean Fine, Andrea Nix | Stars: Sam Berns, Leslie Gordon, Scott Berns, Francis Collins

Votes: 700

10. The Crash Reel (2013)

108 min | Documentary, Biography, Sport

8.2
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 X  
79 Metascore

Fifteen years of verite footage show the epic rivalry between half-pipe legends Shaun White and Kevin Pearce, childhood friends who become number one and two in the world leading up to the ... See full summary »

Director: Lucy Walker | Stars: Kevin Pearce, Shaun White, Mason Aguirre, Daniel Amen

Votes: 4,501

11. The Act of Killing (2012)

Not Rated | 117 min | Documentary, Crime

8.2
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 X  
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: 30,682 | Gross: $0.49M

12. How to Lose Jobs & Alienate Girlfriends (2014)

77 min | Documentary, Biography, Family

8.2
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 X  

First time filmmaker follows his girlfriend and boss chase their dream as musicians. His insecurities flair while struggling to find a story, and begins challenging their flaws, on camera, jeopardizing the film, relationships and careers.

Director: Tom Meadmore | Stars: Tony Jackson, Amanda Medica, Tom Meadmore, Aaron Darcy

Votes: 12

13. CinemAbility (2012)

PG-13 | 98 min | Documentary

8.2
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 X  

This documentary examines the ever-changing portrayals of disability story lines in film, TV and the web to see if the media has had a hand in transforming the societal inclusion of people with disabilities.

Director: Jenni Gold | Stars: Ben Affleck, Michael Apted, Adam Arkin, Paris Barclay

Votes: 28

14. Blackfish (2013)

PG-13 | 83 min | Documentary, Drama

8.1
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  
83 Metascore

A documentary following the controversial captivity of killer whales, and its dangers for both humans and whales.

Director: Gabriela Cowperthwaite | Stars: Tilikum, Dave Duffus, Samantha Berg, Dean Gomersall

Votes: 55,953 | Gross: $2.06M

15. Al midan (2013)

Not Rated | 95 min | Documentary, Drama, History

8.1
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  
84 Metascore

A group of Egyptian revolutionaries battle leaders and regimes, risking their lives to build a new society of conscience.

Director: Jehane Noujaim | Stars: Ahmed Hassan, Khalid Abdalla, Magdy Ashour, Ramy Essam

Votes: 7,940 | Gross: $0.12M

16. Inequality for All (2013)

PG | 89 min | Documentary

8.1
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  
68 Metascore

A documentary that follows former U.S. Labor Secretary Robert Reich as he looks to raise awareness of the country's widening economic gap.

Director: Jacob Kornbluth | Stars: Robert Reich, Lily Tomlin, Candice Bergen, Dolly Parton

Votes: 6,215 | Gross: $1.21M

17. Gahan Wilson: Born Dead, Still Weird (2013)

Not Rated | 85 min | Documentary

8.0
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  

Gahan Wilson: Born Dead, Still Weird is an insightful profile of the legendary cartoonist. For over fifty years, Gahan Wilson has been known for his ghoulish, twisted visions that combine ... See full summary »

Director: Steven-Charles Jaffe | Stars: Lewis Black, Stephen Colbert, Guillermo del Toro, Neil Gaiman

Votes: 10

18. The Revolutionary Optimists (2013)

Not Rated | 95 min | Documentary, Drama

8.0
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  
66 Metascore

Children are saving lives in the slums of Kolkata. Amlan Ganguly doesn't rescue slum children; he empowers them to become change agents, battling poverty and transforming their ... See full summary »

Directors: Maren Grainger-Monsen, Nicole Newnham | Stars: Amlan Ganguly, Kajal Kahar, Priyanka Mandal, Sikha Patro

Votes: 36

19. Bridegroom (2013)

R | 80 min | Documentary

7.9
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  
85 Metascore

Shane Bitney Crone's plans to marry Tom Bridegroom in California after the same-sex marriage law is passed takes a tragic turn when his partner of six years accidentally dies and Tom's family refuses Shane from attending the funeral.

Director: Linda Bloodworth-Thomason | Stars: Cindy Bitney, David Crone, Jessica Mitchell, Lizzy Mohl

Votes: 4,183

20. Tim's Vermeer (2013)

PG-13 | 80 min | Documentary, History

7.8
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  
76 Metascore

Inventor Tim Jenison seeks to understand the painting techniques used by Dutch Master Johannes Vermeer.

Director: Teller | Stars: Tim Jenison, Penn Jillette, Martin Mull, Philip Steadman

Votes: 7,243 | Gross: $1.66M

21. Which Way Is the Front Line from Here? The Life and Time of Tim Hetherington (2013)

Not Rated | 78 min | Documentary, Biography, Drama

7.8
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  
80 Metascore

Documentary about deceased photojournalist Tim Hetherington directed by Sebastian Junger. Together with his friend and long-term collaborator Sebastian, Tim had travelled the world ... See full summary »

Director: Sebastian Junger | Stars: Chris Anderson, Peter Bouckaert, James Brabazon, Guillermo Cervera

Votes: 629

22. Sound City (2013)

Not Rated | 107 min | Documentary, Music

7.8
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  
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: 11,364 | Gross: $0.42M

23. Let the Fire Burn (2013)

Not Rated | 88 min | Documentary

7.8
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  
86 Metascore

A history of the conflict of the City of Philadelphia and the Black Liberation organization, MOVE, that led to the disastrously violent final confrontation in 1985.

Director: Jason Osder | Stars: Birdie Africa, Ramona Africa, Wilson Goode, William Brown III

Votes: 1,146 | Gross: $0.06M

24. Mumia: Long Distance Revolutionary (2012)

Not Rated | 120 min | Documentary, Biography, History

7.8
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  
41 Metascore

The film chronicles the life and revolutionary times of the former death row inmate Mumia Abu-Jamal.

Director: Stephen Vittoria | Stars: Cornel West, Alice Walker, Angela Davis, Rubin 'Hurricane' Carter

Votes: 434 | Gross: $0.04M

25. Long Shot: The Kevin Laue Story (2012)

PG-13 | 93 min | Documentary, Drama

7.8
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  
55 Metascore

The story of Kevin Laue striving to be the first one-armed basketball player ever to receive a scholarship and play on an elite NCAA Division 1 basketball team.

Director: Franklin Martin | Stars: Kevin Laue, Barry Rohrssen

Votes: 22 | Gross: $0.03M

26. Gasland Part II (2013)

Not Rated | 125 min | Documentary

7.7
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

A documentary that declares the gas industry's portrayal of natural gas as a clean and safe alternative to oil is a myth, and that fracked wells inevitably leak over time, contaminating ... See full summary »

Director: Josh Fox | Stars: Al Armendariz, Kindra Arnesen, Lon Burnam, Lois Capps

Votes: 1,494

27. Muscle Shoals (2013)

PG | 111 min | Documentary, Biography, History

7.7
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  
75 Metascore

A documentary that celebrates Rick Hall, the founder of FAME Studios in Muscle Shoals, Alabama, and the signature sound he developed in songs such as "I'll Take You There", "Brown Sugar", and "When a Man Loves a Woman".

Director: Greg 'Freddy' Camalier | Stars: Rick Hall, Aretha Franklin, Keith Richards, Candi Staton

Votes: 3,227 | Gross: $0.70M

28. Far Out Isn't Far Enough: The Tomi Ungerer Story (2012)

Not Rated | 98 min | Documentary

7.7
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  
73 Metascore

Far Out Isn't Far Enough: The Tomi Ungerer Story depicts one man's wild, lifelong adventure of testing societal boundaries through his use of subversive art. This 98-minute film combines ... See full summary »

Director: Brad Bernstein | Stars: Tomi Ungerer, Maurice Sendak, Jules Feiffer, Michael Patrick Hearn

Votes: 294 | Gross: $0.03M

29. Fire in the Blood (2013)

87 min | Documentary, History

7.7
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  
68 Metascore

An intricate tale of "medicine, monopoly and malice", FIRE IN THE BLOOD tells the story of how Western pharmaceutical companies and governments blocked access to low-cost AIDS drugs for the... See full summary »

Director: Dylan Mohan Gray | Stars: Zackie Achmat, Peter Mugyenyi, Bill Clinton, William Hurt

Votes: 543 | Gross: $0.03M

30. Why We Ride (2013)

PG | 89 min | Documentary, Family, History

7.6
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

The passion of the riders and the soul of their machines.

Director: Bryan H. Carroll | Stars: Jim Adams, Ernie Alexander, Kenny Alexander, Jay Allen

Votes: 757

31. A River Changes Course (2013)

Not Rated | 83 min | Documentary, Drama

7.6
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  
77 Metascore

"We've worked so hard on this land," says Sav Samourn. "And now they've come to destroy it all. Sooner or later it will all be gone." In her directorial debut, award-winning filmmaker ... See full summary »

Director: Kalyanee Mam

Votes: 117

32. Stories We Tell (2012)

PG-13 | 108 min | Documentary

7.6
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  
91 Metascore

A film that excavates layers of myth and memory to find the elusive truth at the core of a family of storytellers.

Director: Sarah Polley | Stars: Michael Polley, John Buchan, Mark Polley, Joanna Polley

Votes: 11,119 | Gross: $1.60M

33. Revolution (II) (2012)

PG | 85 min | Documentary, Adventure, Family

7.6
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  
53 Metascore

Filmmaker Rob Stewart advances the theory that though humans depend on the natural world for subsistence, humans are nature's greatest enemy.

Director: Rob Stewart | Stars: Nnimmo Bassey, Krystyna Bednarska, Adrienne Maree Brown, Lester Brown

Votes: 371

34. More Than Honey (2012)

Unrated | 95 min | Documentary

7.6
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  
70 Metascore

An in-depth look at honeybee colonies in California, Switzerland, China and Australia.

Director: Markus Imhoof | Stars: Fred Jaggi, Randolf Menzel, John Miller, Liane Singer

Votes: 3,695 | Gross: $0.07M

35. Free China: The Courage to Believe (2011)

61 min | Documentary, Biography, History

7.6
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

The fates of a woman living in Beijing and a man living in New York become inextricably linked because of a common conviction... The award winning "Free China: The Courage To Believe" tells... See full summary »

Director: Michael Perlman | Stars: Ethan Gutmann, David Kilgour

Votes: 377

36. Pad Yatra: A Green Odyssey (2012)

70 min | Documentary, Adventure

7.6
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  
61 Metascore

PAD YATRA: A Green Odyssey is the adventure of 700 people trekking across the Himalayas with a call to save the planet's "3rd pole," a glacial region now devastated by the climate chaos ... See full summary »

Director: Wendy J.N. Lee | Star: Daryl Hannah

Votes: 10

37. Call Me Kuchu (2012)

Not Rated | 87 min | Documentary, Drama

7.6
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  
80 Metascore

In Uganda, a new bill threatens to make homosexuality punishable by death. David Kato - Uganda's first openly gay man - and his fellow activists work against the clock to defeat the ... See full summary »

Directors: Katherine Fairfax Wright, Malika Zouhali-Worrall | Stars: David Bahati, David Kato, Gilles Muhame, Naome Ruzindana

Votes: 724 | Gross: $0.01M

38. The Girls in the Band (2011)

Not Rated | 81 min | Documentary, Biography, History

7.6
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  
90 Metascore

The untold stories of female jazz and big band instrumentalists and their journeys from the late 1930's to the present day.

Director: Judy Chaikin | Stars: Geri Allen, Jessie Bailey, Jane Ira Bloom, Clora Bryant

Votes: 96

39. Casting By (2012)

TV-14 | 89 min | Documentary

7.6
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  
70 Metascore

The surprising, never-before-told tale of the indispensable yet unsung Casting Director - Iconoclasts whose keen eye, exquisite taste and gut instincts redefined Hollywood.

Director: Tom Donahue | Stars: Deborah Aquila, Risa Bramon Garcia, Ellen Chenoweth, Marion Dougherty

Votes: 1,348 | Gross: $0.01M

40. Glickman (2013 TV Movie)

TV-PG | 84 min | Documentary

7.5
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

Glickman is an illuminating portrait of a man who overcame prejudice to forge a remarkable career in sports, setting the gold standard for athletes and sports broadcasters past, present and future.

Director: James L. Freedman | Stars: Seth Abraham, Marv Albert, Red Auerbach, Len Berman

Votes: 64

41. War on Whistleblowers: Free Press and the National Security State (2013)

Not Rated | 67 min | Documentary

7.5
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

War on Whistleblowers: Free Press and the National Security State highlights four cases where whistleblowers noticed government wrong-doing and took to the media to expose the fraud and abuse.

Director: Robert Greenwald | Stars: Daniel Ellsberg, Franz Gayl, Seymour Hersh, David Carr

Votes: 182

42. Herblock: The Black & the White (2013)

95 min | Documentary

7.5
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  
70 Metascore

Add a Plot

Director: Michael Stevens | Stars: Ken Auletta, Carl Bernstein, Lewis Black, Tom Brokaw

Votes: 128

43. First Cousin Once Removed (2012)

Not Rated | 78 min | Documentary

7.5
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  
94 Metascore

Acclaimed filmmaker Alan Berliner chronicles the deeply personal story of his mother's first cousin--well-known poet/translator/professor Edwin Honig--on his journey into the depths of ... See full summary »

Director: Alan Berliner | Stars: Eli Berliner, Stuart Blazer, Susan Brown, Barbara Estrin

Votes: 309

44. Dirty Wars (2013)

Not Rated | 87 min | Documentary, Crime, Drama

7.5
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  
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: 8,635 | Gross: $0.38M

45. The Short Game (2013)

PG | 99 min | Documentary, Sport

7.5
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  
51 Metascore

The best 7 year old golfers from around the world descend on the world famous Pinehurst Golf course in North Carolina to determine the next world champion and who might become golf's next ... See full summary »

Director: Josh Greenbaum | Stars: Amari Avery, Jed Dy, Allan Kournikova, Zamokuhle Nxasana

Votes: 1,151 | Gross: $0.04M

46. Best Kept Secret (2013)

Not Rated | 85 min | Documentary, Drama

7.5
Rate this
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  
100 Metascore

JFK High School, located in the midst of a run-down area in Newark, New Jersey, is a public school for all types of students with special education needs, ranging from those on the autism ... See full summary »

Director: Samantha Buck | Stars: Alyce Barnhardt, Carla Byrd, Robert Caspar, Johnson Green

Votes: 280

47. After Tiller (2013)

PG-13 | 85 min | Documentary, Biography, Drama

7.5
Rate this
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  
75 Metascore

After the assassination of Dr. George Tiller in Kansas in 2009, there are a limited number of doctors left in the country who provide third-trimester abortions for women. AFTER TILLER moves... See full summary »

Directors: Martha Shane, Lana Wilson | Stars: George Tiller, Warren Hern, Leroy Carhart, Susan Robinson

Votes: 970 | Gross: $0.07M

48. Hiver nomade (2012)

90 min | Documentary, History

7.5
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  
77 Metascore

A 600 kilometre winter trek for 800 sheep, accompanied by 3 donkeys, 4 dogs and led by two shepherds, Pascal and Carole.

Director: Manuel von Stürler | Stars: Carole Noblanc, Jean-Paul Peguiron, Pascal Éguisier

Votes: 218

49. Rising from Ashes (2012)

82 min | Documentary, Sport

7.5
Rate this
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  
58 Metascore

The impossible triumph of Team Rwanda.

Director: T.C. Johnstone | Stars: Jonathan 'Jock' Boyer, Adrien Niyonshuti, Tom Ritchey, Nathan Byukusenge

Votes: 220 | Gross: $0.04M

50. When I Walk (2013)

84 min | Documentary

7.5
Rate this
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  
80 Metascore

In 2006, 25-year-old Jason DaSilva was on vacation at the beach with family when, suddenly, he fell down. He couldn't get back up. His legs had stopped working; his disease could no longer ... See full summary »

Director: Jason DaSilva | Stars: Alice Cook, Jason DaSilva

Votes: 198


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