Favorite documentaries

by loveunderlined | created - 29 Apr 2012 | updated - 3 months ago | Public
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1. 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: 30,166

2. 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: 14,087

and the others in the series

3. 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: 9,473 | Gross: $30.58M

4. The Staircase (2004–2018)

TV-MA | 629 min | Documentary, Crime, Drama

The high-profile murder trial of American novelist Michael Peterson following the death of his wife in 2001.

Stars: Michael Peterson, David Rudolf, Ron Guerette, Tom Maher

Votes: 14,135

amazing, astounding.

5. American Teen (2008)

PG-13 | 95 min | Documentary

66 Metascore

A documentary on seniors at a high school in a small Indiana town and their various cliques.

Director: Nanette Burstein | Stars: Hannah Bailey, Jake Tusing, Megan Krizmanich, Colin Clemens

Votes: 3,997 | Gross: $0.94M

the awkwardness oh man

6. Standard Operating Procedure (2008)

R | 116 min | Documentary, Crime, War

70 Metascore

Errol Morris examines the incidents of abuse and torture of suspected terrorists at the hands of U.S. forces at the Abu Ghraib prison.

Director: Errol Morris | Stars: Megan Ambuhl Graner, Javal Davis, Ken Davis, Anthony Diaz

Votes: 3,722 | Gross: $0.23M

7. 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: 49,200 | Gross: $3.17M

really good

8. The Business of Being Born (2008)

Not Rated | 87 min | Documentary

68 Metascore

Birth: it's a miracle. A rite of passage. A natural part of life. But more than anything, birth is a business. Compelled to find answers after a disappointing birth experience with her ... See full summary »

Director: Abby Epstein | Stars: Mary Helen Ayres, Julia Barnett, Sylvie Blaustein, Louann Brizendine

Votes: 1,276 | Gross: $0.07M

9. The Suicide Tourist (2007)

TV-PG | 56 min | Documentary

Frontline investigates suicide tourism by following a Chicago native as he travels to Switzerland in order to take his life with help of a nonprofit organization that legally assists suicides.

Director: John Zaritsky | Stars: Arthur Bernard, Craig Ewert, Ivan Ewert, Katrina Ewert

Votes: 159

made me cry like a baby

10. The Cove (2009)

PG-13 | 92 min | Documentary, Crime

84 Metascore

Using state-of-the-art equipment, a group of activists, led by renowned dolphin trainer Ric O'Barry, infiltrate a cove near Taijii, Japan to expose both a shocking instance of animal abuse and a serious threat to human health.

Director: Louie Psihoyos | Stars: Richard O'Barry, Louie Psihoyos, Hardy Jones, Michael Illiff

Votes: 45,757 | Gross: $0.87M

horrifying

11. Sound and Fury (2000)

Not Rated | 80 min | Documentary

85 Metascore

If you could make your deaf child hear, would you? Academy Award-nominated Sound and Fury follows the intimate, heart-rending tale of the Artinians, an extended family with deaf and hearing... See full summary »

Director: Josh Aronson | Stars: Jaime Leigh Allen, Jemma Braham, Freeda Cat, Scott Davidson

Votes: 915 | Gross: $0.11M

12. ...So Goes the Nation (2006)

Not Rated | 90 min | Documentary

65 Metascore

A look at the role of the Buckeye State in the 2004 Presidential Election.

Directors: Adam Del Deo, James D. Stern | Stars: George W. Bush, John Kerry, Ed Gillespie, William Bacon

Votes: 370 | Gross: $0.01M

13. Frontline (1983– )
Episode: Country Boys (2006)

TV-MA | 360 min | Documentary

The story of two boys growing up from ages 15 to 18 in rural parts of the United States.

Director: David Sutherland | Stars: Chris Johnson, Cody Perkins, Jessica Riddle, David Stükenberg

Votes: 157

absolutely amazing

14. My Flesh and Blood (2003)

Unrated | 83 min | Documentary

78 Metascore

Documentary following Susan Tom of Fairfield, California and her 11 adopted special needs children.

Director: Jonathan Karsh | Stars: Susan Tom, Anthony Tom, Faith Tom, Joe Tom

Votes: 1,670

15. For the Bible Tells Me So (2007)

Unrated | 95 min | Documentary, Romance

73 Metascore

An exploration of the intersection between religion and homosexuality in the U.S. and how the religious right has used its interpretation of the Bible to stigmatize the gay community.

Director: Daniel G. Karslake | Stars: Imogene Robinson, Victor Robinson, Gene Robinson, Isabella 'Boo' McDaniel

Votes: 4,276 | Gross: $0.31M

16. 39 Pounds of Love (2005)

Unrated | 70 min | Documentary, Biography, Romance

56 Metascore

This is the story of Ami, a man who while unable to move any part of his body, still manages to move each and every one of us, as he teaches us a part of life's intimate dance.

Director: Dani Menkin | Star: Ami Ankilewitz

Votes: 246 | Gross: $0.03M

unique

17. 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: 136,046 | Gross: $21.24M

18. Frontline (1983– )
Episode: The Wounded Platoon (2010)

TV-14 | 86 min | Documentary

Frontline investigates the violence, depression, and stress exhibited by a platoon of Iraq War veterans whose members who have committed murder, assault, and suicide.

Director: Daniel Edge | Stars: Robert Alvarez, Jose Barco, Bruce Bastien, George Brandt

Votes: 31

about how PTSD affects soliders

19. 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: 33,576 | Gross: $0.68M

20. Mine (I) (2009)

Not Rated | 80 min | Documentary

MINE is the powerful story about the essential bond between humans and animals told against the backdrop of one of the worst natural disasters in U.S. history. MINE explores how tragedy ... See full summary »

Director: Geralyn Pezanoski | Star: Karen O'Toole

Votes: 234 | Gross: $0.01M

sad.

21. 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: 9,609 | Gross: $1.52M

22. Babies (2010)

PG | 79 min | Documentary

63 Metascore

A look at one year in the life of four babies from around the world, from Mongolia to Namibia to San Francisco to Tokyo.

Director: Thomas Balmès | Stars: Bayar, Hattie, Mari, Ponijao

Votes: 6,730 | Gross: $7.29M

23. Under Our Skin (2008)

Unrated | 104 min | Documentary

63 Metascore

Exposes the hidden epidemic of Lyme disease and reveals how our corrupt health care system is failing to address one of the most serious illnesses of our time.

Director: Andy Abrahams Wilson | Stars: Mandy Hughes, Sean Hughes, Dana Walsh, Jordan Fisher Smith

Votes: 945 | Gross: $0.10M

24. Winnebago Man (2009)

Not Rated | 85 min | Documentary, Biography, Comedy

71 Metascore

Jack Rebney is the most famous man you've never heard of - after cursing his way through a Winnebago sales video, Rebney's outrageously funny outtakes became an underground sensation and ... See full summary »

Director: Ben Steinbauer | Stars: Jack Rebney, Ben Steinbauer, Keith Gordon, Nick Prueher

Votes: 4,477 | Gross: $0.18M

25. Frontline (1983– )
Episode: Flying Cheap (2010)

TV-PG | 55 min | Documentary

Frontline investigates how low-cost airlines and regional carriers have changed the airline business and whether the search for greater profit has led to sacrifices in safety.

Director: Rick Young | Stars: Loretta Alkalay, Randy Babbitt, Gordon Bethune, Susan Bourque

Votes: 39

who knew?

26. A Life Without Pain (2005)

Documentary

Documentarian Melody Gilbert follows the daily lives of three girls -- a 3-year-old Minnesotan, a 7-year-old Norwegian and a 10-year-old German -- who share an extremely rare disease: ... See full summary »

Director: Melody Gilbert

Votes: 114

27. Moving Midway (2007)

Not Rated | 95 min | Documentary

79 Metascore

At Christmas 2003, New York-based film critic Godfrey Cheshire is visiting his family in North Carolina when his cousin Charlie Silver tells him something startling. Charlie inherited ... See full summary »

Director: Godfrey Cheshire | Star: Bruce Chadwick

Votes: 144 | Gross: $0.04M

interesting

28. So Much So Fast (2006)

Not Rated | 87 min | Documentary

79 Metascore

A man suffering from Lou Gehrig's disease deals with the woman falling for him and a brother who becomes obsessed with finding a cure.

Directors: Steven Ascher, Jeanne Jordan | Stars: Jesse Abbott-Dallamora, Robert Bonazoli, Tyler DiVittorio, Benjamin Heywood

Votes: 208 | Gross: $0.02M

sad

29. Crime After Crime (2011)

Not Rated | 95 min | Documentary, Biography, Crime

72 Metascore

The story of the battle to free Debbie Peagler, an incarcerated survivor of brutal domestic violence. Over 26 years in prison cannot crush the spirit of this determined African-American ... See full summary »

Director: Yoav Potash | Stars: Deborah Peagler, Joshua Safran, Nadia Costa, Yoav Potash

Votes: 465 | Gross: $0.06M

30. Southern Comfort (2001)

Not Rated | 90 min | Documentary

78 Metascore

Southern Comfort documents the final year in the life of Robert Eads, a transgender man. Eads, diagnosed with ovarian cancer, was turned down for treatment by two dozen doctors out of fear ... See full summary »

Director: Kate Davis | Stars: Robert Eads, Lola Cola, Maxwell Scott Anderson, Cas Piotrowski

Votes: 845

31. At the Death House Door (2008)

98 min | Documentary

An investigation of the wrongful death of Carlos DeLuna, who was executed in Texas on December 7, 1989, after prosecutors ignored evidence inculpating a man, who bragged to friends about committing the crimes of which DeLuna was convicted.

Directors: Peter Gilbert, Steve James | Stars: Carroll Pickett, Steve Mills, Maurice Possley, Anne Ellis

Votes: 355

32. 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: 3,997

33. Girl 27 (2007)

Not Rated | 86 min | Documentary, Biography

The reclusive Patricia Douglas comes out of hiding to discuss the 1937 MGM scandal, in which the powerful film studio tricked her and over 100 other underage girls into attending a stag party, where she was raped.

Director: David Stenn | Stars: Patricia Douglas, Baby Peggy, Richard W. Bann, Kelly Brown

Votes: 778

disturbing

34. Hot Coffee (2011)

Not Rated | 88 min | Documentary

How the infamous McDonald's hot coffee lawsuit and similar cases were exploited as part of a right wing crusade to weaken civil justice.

Director: Susan Saladoff | Stars: Chuck Allen, Judy Allen, Jay Angoff, David Arredondo

Votes: 3,565

35. Bad Blood: A Cautionary Tale (2010)

TV-PG | 83 min | Documentary

From PBS - BAD BLOOD chronicles how a "miracle" treatment for hemophilia became an agent of death for 10,000 Americans.

Director: Marilyn Ness

Votes: 75

36. Training Rules (2009 Video)

Not Rated | 62 min | Documentary, Drama, News

Examines how women's collegiate sports, caught in a web of homophobic practices, collude in the destruction of the lives and dreams of many of its most talented athletes.

Directors: Dee Mosbacher, Fawn Yacker | Stars: Cindy Davies, Lisa Faloon, Christine Gulas, Corinne Gulas

Votes: 83

good

37. 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: 25,528 | Gross: $0.90M

38. The Trials of Darryl Hunt (2006)

PG-13 | 106 min | Documentary, Crime

"The Trials of Darryl Hunt" is a feature documentary about a brutal rape/murder case and a wrongly convicted man, Darryl Hunt, who spent nearly twenty years in prison for a crime he did not... See full summary »

Directors: Ricki Stern, Anne Sundberg | Stars: Evelyn Jefferson, Fred Flagler, John Reeves, Mary Anne Sheboy

Votes: 959 | Gross: $0.00M

39. 12th & Delaware (2010)

TV-14 | 81 min | Documentary, Drama

The abortion battle continues to rage in unexpected ways on one corner in an American city.

Directors: Heidi Ewing, Rachel Grady

Votes: 412

40. Paris Is Burning (1990)

R | 71 min | Documentary

A chronicle of New York's drag scene in the 1980s, focusing on balls, voguing and the ambitions and dreams of those who gave the era its warmth and vitality.

Director: Jennie Livingston | Stars: Brooke Xtravaganza, André Christian, Dorian Corey, Paris Duprée

Votes: 10,251 | Gross: $3.78M

41. Frontline (1983– )
Episode: Memory of the Camps (1985)

TV-MA | 56 min | Documentary

In 1945, camera crews went with the American and British armies in the nazis death camps and filmed the horror they found there. A group of directors among whom was Alfred Hichcock ... See full summary »

Directors: Sidney Bernstein, Alfred Hitchcock | Stars: Trevor Howard, Sidney Bernstein, Alfred Hitchcock

Votes: 249

42. 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: 5,297 | Gross: $0.01M

43. Super Size Me (2004)

PG | 100 min | Documentary, Comedy, Drama

73 Metascore

While examining the influence of the fast food industry, Morgan Spurlock personally explores the consequences on his health of a diet of solely McDonald's food for one month.

Director: Morgan Spurlock | Stars: Morgan Spurlock, Daryl Isaacs, Chemeeka Walker, Dania Abu-Rmaileh

Votes: 96,941 | Gross: $11.53M

44. Licensed to Kill (1997)

80 min | Documentary

Winner of both the Directors and Filmmakers Trophy awards at the Sundance Film Festival, "Licensed to Kill" goes behind the media headlines of recent high-profile anti-gay murders to ... See full summary »

Director: Arthur Dong | Stars: Donald Aldrich, Corey Burley, Raymond Childs, William Cross

Votes: 129

45. Stevie (2002)

R | 140 min | Documentary

72 Metascore

In 1995, director Steve James (of 'Hoop Dreams') returned to rural Southern Illinois to reconnect with Stevie Fielding, a troubled young boy to whom he had been an "Advocate Big Brother" ten years earlier.

Director: Steve James | Stars: Steve James, Stephen Fielding, Tonya Gregory, Bernice Hagler

Votes: 2,365 | Gross: $0.10M

46. God Grew Tired of Us (2006)

PG | 89 min | Documentary

72 Metascore

Four boys from Sudan embark on a journey to America after years of wandering Sub-Saharan Africa in search of safety.

Directors: Christopher Dillon Quinn, Tommy Walker | Stars: Panther Bior, John Bul Dau, Nicole Kidman, Daniel Abol Pach

Votes: 2,673 | Gross: $0.28M

47. The Untold Story of Emmett Louis Till (2005)

PG-13 | 70 min | Documentary, Biography

80 Metascore

Never-before-seen testimony is included in this documentary on Emmett Louis Till, who, in 1955, was brutally murdered after he whistled at a white woman.

Director: Keith Beauchamp | Stars: Mamie Till Mobley, Wheeler Parker, Simeon Wright, Ruthie Mae Crawford

Votes: 354 | Gross: $0.20M

48. Spellbound (2002)

G | 97 min | Documentary, Comedy, Thriller