Documentaries

by jdevries1982 | created - 16 Nov 2011 | updated - 04 Sep 2015 | Public

A list of some great documentaries I've seen over the time. Updating when possible. Missing a classic? Let me know.

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1. Titicut Follies (1967)

Unrated | 84 min | Documentary

Documentary filmmaker Frederick Wiseman takes us inside the Massachusetts Correctional Institution Bridgewater where people stay trapped in their madness.

Director: Frederick Wiseman

Votes: 3,655

2. Hearts and Minds (1974)

R | 112 min | Documentary, History, War

68 Metascore

An examination of the conflicting attitudes of the opponents of the Vietnam War.

Director: Peter Davis | Stars: Tin Chan, Chau Diem, Ngo Dinh Diem, John Foster Dulles

Votes: 4,983 | Gross: $0.03M

3. Deep Water (2006)

PG | 92 min | Documentary, History, Sport

80 Metascore

A documentary about the disastrous 1968 round-the-world yacht race.

Directors: Louise Osmond, Jerry Rothwell | Stars: Tilda Swinton, Donald Crowhurst, Jean Badin, Simon Russell Beale

Votes: 2,789 | Gross: $0.27M

4. Man on Wire (2008)

PG-13 | 94 min | Documentary, Biography, History

89 Metascore

A look at tightrope walker Philippe Petit's daring, but illegal, high-wire routine performed between New York City's World Trade Center's twin towers in 1974, what some consider, "the artistic crime of the century".

Director: James Marsh | Stars: Philippe Petit, Jean François Heckel, Jean-Louis Blondeau, Annie Allix

Votes: 49,967 | Gross: $2.96M

5. Dear Zachary: A Letter to a Son About His Father (2008)

Not Rated | 95 min | Documentary, Biography, Crime

82 Metascore

A filmmaker decides to memorialize a murdered friend when his friend's ex-girlfriend announces she is expecting his son.

Director: Kurt Kuenne | Stars: Kurt Kuenne, Andrew Bagby, David Bagby, Kathleen Bagby

Votes: 30,037

6. The King of Kong: A Fistful of Quarters (2007)

PG-13 | 79 min | Documentary, Biography

83 Metascore

Die-hard gamers compete to break world records on classic arcade games.

Director: Seth Gordon | Stars: Steve Wiebe, Billy Mitchell, Mark Alpiger, Adam Wood

Votes: 33,525 | Gross: $0.68M

7. 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 Baines Johnson, Robert McNamara.

Director: Errol Morris | Stars: Robert McNamara, John F. Kennedy, Fidel Castro, Richard Nixon

Votes: 21,952 | Gross: $4.20M

8. Hoop Dreams (1994)

PG-13 | 170 min | Documentary, Drama, Sport

98 Metascore

A film following the lives of two inner-city Chicago boys who struggle to become college basketball players on the road to going professional.

Director: Steve James | Stars: William Gates, Arthur Agee, Emma Gates, Curtis Gates

Votes: 22,631 | Gross: $7.83M

9. 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: 66,077 | Gross: $4.31M

10. Restrepo (2010)

R | 93 min | Documentary, War

85 Metascore

A year with one platoon in the deadliest valley in Afghanistan.

Directors: Tim Hetherington, Sebastian Junger | Stars: The Men of Battle Company 2nd of the 503rd Infantry Regiment 173rd Airborne Brigade Combat Team, Juan 'Doc Restrepo, Dan Kearney, LaMonta Caldwell

Votes: 21,072 | Gross: $1.33M

11. 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: 13,502

12. Enemies of the People (2009)

Not Rated | 93 min | Documentary

The Khmer Rouge slaughtered nearly two million people in the late 1970s. Yet the Killing Fields of Cambodia remain unexplained. Until now. Enter Thet Sambath, an unassuming, yet cunning, ... See full summary »

Directors: Rob Lemkin, Thet Sambath | Stars: Thet Sambath, Nuon Chea, Pol Pot, Khieu Samphan

Votes: 459 | Gross: $0.07M

13. War Photographer (2001)

96 min | Documentary, War

79 Metascore

Documentary about war photographer James Nachtwey, considered by many the greatest war photographer ever.

Director: Christian Frei | Stars: James Nachtwey, Christiane Amanpour, Hans-Hermann Klare, Christiane Breustedt

Votes: 3,793

14. Riding Giants (2004)

PG-13 | 105 min | Documentary, History, Sport

80 Metascore

Documentary detailing the origins and history of surf culture.

Director: Stacy Peralta | Stars: Laird Hamilton, Darrick Doerner, Dave Kalama, Jeff Clark

Votes: 4,204 | Gross: $2.28M

15. Manufacturing Consent: Noam Chomsky and the Media (1992)

Not Rated | 167 min | Documentary, Biography, War

A film about the noted American linguist/political dissident and his warning about corporate media's role in modern propaganda.

Directors: Mark Achbar, Peter Wintonick | Stars: Noam Chomsky, Mark Achbar, Karin Aguilar-San Juan, Paul Andrews

Votes: 4,122

16. Jonestown: The Life and Death of Peoples Temple (2006)

86 min | Documentary, History

79 Metascore

Featuring never-before-seen footage, this documentary delivers a startling new look at the Peoples Temple, headed by preacher Jim Jones who, in 1978, led more than 900 members to Guyana, where he orchestrated a mass suicide via tainted punch.

Director: Stanley Nelson | Stars: Rebecca Moore, Janet Shular, Tim Carter, Stanley Clayton

Votes: 4,752

17. My Best Fiend (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: 9,677 | Gross: $0.10M

18. Paradise Lost: The Child Murders at Robin Hood Hills (1996)

Not Rated | 150 min | Documentary, Crime, Drama

A horrific triple child murder leads to an indictment and trial of three nonconformist boys based on questionable evidence.

Directors: Joe Berlinger, Bruce Sinofsky | Stars: Tony Brooks, Diana Davis, Terry Wood, Dick Clay

Votes: 14,030

19. No End in Sight (2007)

Not Rated | 102 min | Documentary, War

89 Metascore

A comprehensive look at the Bush Administration's conduct of the Iraq war and its occupation of the country.

Director: Charles Ferguson | Stars: Campbell Scott, Gerald Burke, Ali Fadhil, Omar Fekeiki

Votes: 7,934 | Gross: $1.43M

20. Jesus Camp (2006)

PG-13 | 87 min | Documentary

62 Metascore

A documentary on kids who attend a summer camp hoping to become the next Billy Graham.

Directors: Heidi Ewing, Rachel Grady | Stars: Mike Papantonio, Lou Engle, Becky Fischer, Ted Haggard

Votes: 25,479 | Gross: $0.90M

21. Why We Fight (2005)

PG-13 | 98 min | Documentary, History, War

68 Metascore

Is American foreign policy dominated by the idea of military supremacy? Has the military become too important in American life? Jarecki's shrewd and intelligent polemic would seem to give an affirmative answer to each of these questions.

Director: Eugene Jarecki | Stars: Gore Vidal, John McCain, Ken Adelman, John Ashcroft

Votes: 9,588 | Gross: $1.44M

22. Cocaine Cowboys (2006)

R | 118 min | Documentary, Crime, History

59 Metascore

In the 1980s, ruthless Colombian cocaine barons invaded Miami with a brand of violence unseen in this country since Prohibition-era Chicago - and it put the city on the map. "Cocaine ... See full summary »

Director: Billy Corben | Stars: Jon Roberts, Al Sunshine, Sam Burstyn, Mickey Munday

Votes: 11,975 | Gross: $0.15M

23. 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: 31,852 | Gross: $4.59M

24. 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: 19,736 | Gross: $1.88M

25. Svyato (2005)

45 min | Documentary

In Russian, "Svyato" means "happy". But it is also a nickname for Svyatoslav, the son of director Kossakovsky, who for two years covered mirrors from Svyato. For the first time in his life, Svyato is going to watch himself on a mirror.

Director: Viktor Kossakovsky | Star: Svyatoslav Kossakovsky

Votes: 119

26. Position Among the Stars (2010)

115 min | Documentary, History

84 Metascore

Position among the Stars, the final part of a trilogy, follows the award- winning documentaries Eye of the Day and Shape of the Moon (Joris Ivens Award IDFA 2004 - World Cinema Documentary ... See full summary »

Director: Leonard Retel Helmrich

Votes: 274

27. Terror's Advocate (2007)

Unrated | 135 min | Documentary, Biography, History

75 Metascore

A documentary on Jacques Vergès, the controversial lawyer and former Free French Forces guerrilla who has defending unpopular figures such as Nazi war criminal Klaus Barbie and Holocaust denier Roger Garaudy.

Director: Barbet Schroeder | Stars: Jacques Vergès, Klaus Barbie, Barbet Schroeder, Bassam Abu Sharif

Votes: 1,431 | Gross: $0.04M

28. Stanley Kubrick: A Life in Pictures (2001)

Not Rated | 142 min | Documentary, Biography

The career and life of Stanley Kubrick is explored through pictures, clips from his films, his old home movies, comments from his colleagues and a narration by Tom Cruise.

Director: Jan Harlan | Stars: Katharina Kubrick, Malcolm McDowell, Stanley Kubrick, Barbara Kroner

Votes: 9,462

29. Mr. Death: The Rise and Fall of Fred A. Leuchter, Jr. (1999)

PG-13 | 91 min | Documentary, Biography

78 Metascore

A cinematic portrait of the life and career of the infamous American execution device designer and holocaust denier.

Director: Errol Morris | Stars: Fred A. Leuchter Jr., Robert Jan Van Pelt, David Irving, Caroline Leuchter

Votes: 5,176 | Gross: $0.50M

30. Outfoxed: Rupert Murdoch's War on Journalism (2004)

Unrated | 78 min | Documentary

58 Metascore

Documentary on reported Conservative bias of the Rupert Murdoch-owned Fox News Channel (FNC), which promotes itself as "Fair and Balanced". Material includes interviews with former FNC employees and the inter-office memos they provided.

Director: Robert Greenwald | Stars: Douglas Cheek, Walter Cronkite, Roger Ailes, Eric Alterman

Votes: 6,033 | Gross: $0.24M

31. Sir! No Sir! (2005)

Not Rated | 85 min | Documentary, War

74 Metascore

This feature-length documentary focuses on the efforts by troops in the U.S. military during the Vietnam War to oppose the war effort by peaceful demonstration and subversion. It speaks ... See full summary »

Director: David Zeiger | Stars: Michael Alaimo, Edward Asner, Joe Bangert, Tom Bernard

Votes: 624 | Gross: $0.11M

32. The Times of Harvey Milk (1984)

Not Rated | 90 min | Documentary, Biography, History

A documentary of the successful career and assassination of San Francisco's first elected gay city supervisor.

Director: Rob Epstein | Stars: Harvey Fierstein, Harvey Milk, Anne Kronenberg, Tory Hartmann

Votes: 5,286 | Gross: $0.01M

33. In the Shadow of the Moon (2007)

PG | 100 min | Documentary, History

84 Metascore

The crew members of NASA's Apollo missions tell their story in their own words.

Director: David Sington | Stars: Buzz Aldrin, Neil Armstrong, Stephen Armstrong, Viola Armstrong

Votes: 6,320 | Gross: $1.13M

34. Beyond the Mat (1999)

R | 102 min | Documentary, Biography, Sport

73 Metascore

A heartfelt documentary focusing on the day-to-day lives of professional wrestlers, some on the rise, some on the wane, and others fighting for their lives.

Director: Barry W. Blaustein | Stars: Terry Funk, Mick Foley, Jake Roberts, Barry W. Blaustein

Votes: 7,532 | Gross: $2.05M

35. Control Room (2004)

Not Rated | 84 min | Documentary

79 Metascore

A documentary on perception of the United States's war with Iraq, with an emphasis on Al Jazeera's coverage.

Director: Jehane Noujaim | Stars: Samir Khader, Josh Rushing, George W. Bush, Hassan Ibrahim

Votes: 4,936 | Gross: $2.59M

36. One Day in September (1999)

R | 94 min | Documentary, History, Sport

82 Metascore

The Palestinian terrorist group Black September holds Israeli athletes hostage at the 1972 Summer Olympic Games in Munich.

Director: Kevin Macdonald | Stars: Michael Douglas, Ankie Spitzer, Jamal Al Gashey, Gerald Seymour

Votes: 5,439 | Gross: $0.16M

37. Brother's Keeper (1992)

R | 104 min | Documentary, Crime, Mystery

92 Metascore

This documentary by Joe Berlinger and Bruce Sinofsky details the murder trial of Delbert Ward. Delbert's of a family of 4 brothers (the other 3 being Roscoe, Lyman and William - Bill, for ... See full summary »

Directors: Joe Berlinger, Bruce Sinofsky | Stars: Delbert Ward, Roscoe Ward, Lyman Ward, Walt Geisler

Votes: 3,665 | Gross: $1.31M

38. Murder on a Sunday Morning (2001)

Not Rated | 111 min | Documentary, Crime

Oscar-winning documentary that documents a murder trial in which a 15-year-old African-American is wrongfully accused of a 2000 murder in Jacksonville, Florida.

Director: Jean-Xavier de Lestrade | Stars: Ann Finnell, Patrick McGuinness, James Williams, Michael Glover

Votes: 3,996

39. 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: 24,954 | Gross: $6.71M

40. American Movie (1999)

R | 107 min | Documentary, Comedy

84 Metascore

Documentary about an aspiring filmmaker's attempts to finance his dream project by finally completing the low-budget horror film he abandoned years before.

Director: Chris Smith | Stars: Mark Borchardt, Mike Schank, Tom Schimmels, Monica Borchardt

Votes: 15,953 | Gross: $1.16M

41. Taxi to the Dark Side (2007)

R | 106 min | Documentary, Crime, News

82 Metascore

Alex Gibney exposes the haunting details of the USA's torture and interrogation practices during the War in Afghanistan.

Director: Alex Gibney | Stars: Alex Gibney, Brian Keith Allen, Moazzam Begg, Christopher Beiring

Votes: 14,012 | Gross: $0.27M

42. Capturing the Friedmans (2003)

Not Rated | 107 min | Documentary, Biography

90 Metascore

Documentary on the Friedmans, a seemingly typical, upper-middle-class Jewish family whose world is instantly transformed when the father and his youngest son are arrested and charged with shocking and horrible crimes.

Director: Andrew Jarecki | Stars: Arnold Friedman, Jesse Friedman, David Friedman, Elaine Friedman

Votes: 22,690 | Gross: $3.12M

43. Deliver Us from Evil (2006)

Not Rated | 101 min | Documentary, Crime

86 Metascore

Documentary about Father Oliver O'Grady, a Catholic priest who was relocated to various parishes around the United States during the 1970s in an attempt by the Catholic Church to cover up his rape of dozens of children.

Director: Amy Berg | Stars: Oliver O'Grady, Thomas Doyle, Adam, Jeff Anderson

Votes: 9,457 | Gross: $30.58M

44. Triumph of the Will (1935)

Not Rated | 110 min | Documentary, History, War

The infamous propaganda film of the 1934 Nazi Party rally in Nuremberg, Germany.

Director: Leni Riefenstahl | Stars: Adolf Hitler, Hermann Göring, Max Amann, Martin Bormann

Votes: 13,983

45. Crumb (1994)

R | 119 min | Documentary, Biography, Comedy

93 Metascore

An intimate portrait of controversial cartoonist Robert Crumb and his traumatized family.

Director: Terry Zwigoff | Stars: Robert Crumb, Aline Kominsky-Crumb, Charles Crumb, Maxon Crumb

Votes: 17,151 | Gross: $3.17M

46. Murderball (2005)

R | 88 min | Documentary, Sport

87 Metascore

Quadriplegics, who play full-contact rugby in wheelchairs, overcome unimaginable obstacles to compete in the Paralympic Games in Athens, Greece.

Directors: Henry Alex Rubin, Dana Adam Shapiro | Stars: Joe Soares, Keith Cavill, Mark Zupan, Joe Bishop

Votes: 9,591 | Gross: $1.52M

47. Spellbound (2002)

G | 97 min | Documentary, Comedy, Thriller

80 Metascore

Spellbound follows eight teenagers on their quest to win the 1999 National Spelling Bee.

Director: Jeffrey Blitz | Stars: Angela Arenivar, Ubaldo Arenivar, Jorge Arenivar, Scott McGarraugh

Votes: 11,643 | Gross: $5.73M

48. Standard Operating Procedure (2008)

R | 116 min | Documentary, Crime, War

7.4