Great Documentaries

by Rebecca_Knowles | created - 06 Feb 2016 | updated - 11 months ago | Public
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1. The Wolfpack (2015)

R | 90 min | Documentary, Biography

75 Metascore

Confined in an apartment from a New York housing project, the six Angulo brothers learned everything they know about the world through watching films and spend their time reenacting their favorite movies with intricate homemade costumes.

Director: Crystal Moselle | Stars: Bhagavan Angulo, Govinda Angulo, Jagadisa Angulo, Krsna Angulo

Votes: 11,262 | Gross: $1.30M

2. Catfish (2010)

PG-13 | 87 min | Documentary, Drama, Mystery

65 Metascore

Young filmmakers document their colleague's budding online friendship with a young woman and her family which leads to an unexpected series of discoveries.

Directors: Henry Joost, Ariel Schulman | Stars: Nev Schulman, Ariel Schulman, Henry Joost, Angela Wesselman-Pierce

Votes: 39,027 | Gross: $3.23M

3. Exit Through the Gift Shop (2010)

R | 87 min | Documentary, Comedy, Crime

85 Metascore

The story of how an eccentric French shop-keeper and amateur film-maker attempted to locate and befriend Banksy, only to have the artist turn the camera back on its owner. The film contains... See full summary »

Director: Banksy | Stars: Banksy, Mr. Brainwash, Space Invader, Debora Guetta

Votes: 59,525 | Gross: $3.29M

4. Blackfish (2013)

PG-13 | 83 min | Documentary, News

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: 57,825 | Gross: $2.07M

5. The Internet's Own Boy: The Story of Aaron Swartz (2014)

Not Rated | 105 min | Documentary, Biography, Crime

72 Metascore

The story of programming prodigy and information activist Aaron Swartz, who took his own life at the age of 26.

Director: Brian Knappenberger | Stars: Aaron Swartz, Tim Berners-Lee, Cindy Cohn, Gabriella Coleman

Votes: 14,718 | Gross: $0.05M

6. Going Clear: Scientology & the Prison of Belief (2015)

Not Rated | 119 min | Documentary

80 Metascore

A documentary looking at the inner-workings of the Church of Scientology.

Director: Alex Gibney | Stars: Paul Haggis, Jason Beghe, Spanky Taylor, David Miscavige

Votes: 34,964

7. Amy (III) (2015)

R | 128 min | Documentary, Biography, Music

85 Metascore

Archival footage and personal testimonials present an intimate portrait of the life and career of British singer/songwriter Amy Winehouse.

Director: Asif Kapadia | Stars: Amy Winehouse, Mitch Winehouse, Mark Ronson, Russell Brand

Votes: 45,004 | Gross: $8.41M

8. 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: 12,300 | Gross: $1.51M

9. Tabloid (2010)

R | 87 min | Documentary, Crime

74 Metascore

A documentary on a former Miss Wyoming who is charged with abducting and imprisoning a young Mormon Missionary.

Director: Errol Morris | Stars: Joyce McKinney, Peter Tory, Troy Williams, Jackson Shaw

Votes: 6,325 | Gross: $0.68M

10. Cropsey (2009)

Not Rated | 84 min | Documentary, Crime, Horror

73 Metascore

Realizing the urban legend of their youth has actually come true; two filmmakers delve into the mystery surrounding five missing children and the real-life boogeyman linked to their disappearances.

Directors: Barbara Brancaccio, Joshua Zeman | Stars: Joshua Zeman, Barbara Brancaccio, Bill Ellis, Dorothy D'Eletto

Votes: 7,267 | Gross: $0.05M

11. Crazy Love (I) (2007)

PG-13 | 92 min | Documentary, Romance

69 Metascore

The bizarre true story of Linda Riss and Burt Pugach.

Directors: Dan Klores, Fisher Stevens | Stars: Burt Pugach, Linda Pugach, Bob Janoff, Sylvia Hoffman

Votes: 2,320 | Gross: $0.30M

12. An Honest Liar (2014)

Not Rated | 90 min | Documentary, Biography, Comedy

76 Metascore

The life and career of the renowned stage magician turned scientific skeptic of the paranormal, James Randi.

Directors: Tyler Measom, Justin Weinstein | Stars: James Randi, Deyvi Peña, Penn Jillette, Teller

Votes: 8,617 | Gross: $0.12M

13. Dreams of a Life (2011)

Not Rated | 95 min | Documentary, Biography, Drama

62 Metascore

A filmmaker sets out to discover the life of Joyce Vincent, who died in her bedsit in North London in 2003. Her body wasn't discovered for three years, and newspaper reports offered few details of her life - not even a photograph.

Director: Carol Morley | Stars: Zawe Ashton, Alix Luka-Cain, Alistair Abrahams, Mandy Allen

Votes: 2,851 | Gross: $0.01M

14. Supermensch: The Legend of Shep Gordon (2013)

R | 85 min | Documentary, Biography, Music

64 Metascore

The life and career of the legendary Hollywood insider, Shep Gordon.

Directors: Beth Aala, Mike Myers | Stars: Shep Gordon, Sylvester Stallone, Michael Douglas, Alice Cooper

Votes: 3,053 | Gross: $0.21M

15. The Galapagos Affair: Satan Came to Eden (2013)

Not Rated | 120 min | Documentary, Biography, Crime

69 Metascore

About a series of unsolved disappearances on the Galapagos Island of Floreana in the 1930s.

Directors: Daniel Geller, Dayna Goldfine | Stars: Cate Blanchett, Sebastian Koch, Thomas Kretschmann, Diane Kruger

Votes: 1,227 | Gross: $0.25M

16. Bobby Fischer Against the World (2011)

TV-14 | 93 min | Documentary, Biography, History

76 Metascore

'Bobby Fischer Against the World' is a documentary feature exploring the tragic and bizarre life of the late chess master Bobby Fischer. The drama of Bobby Fischer's career was undeniable, ... See full summary »

Director: Liz Garbus | Stars: Bobby Fischer, David Edmonds, Anthony Saidy, Susan Polgar

Votes: 6,464

17. 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: 2,549 | Gross: $0.12M

18. About Face: Supermodels Then and Now (2012)

Not Rated | 75 min | Documentary, Biography, Comedy

'About Face' explores beauty and aging through the stories of the original supermodels: women, now between fifty and eighty years old, whose images defined our sense of beauty over the last... See full summary »

Director: Timothy Greenfield-Sanders | Stars: Carmen Dell'Orefice, Isabella Rossellini, Jerry Hall, Christie Brinkley

Votes: 501

19. 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: 136,084 | Gross: $21.24M

20. Room 237 (I) (2012)

Not Rated | 102 min | Documentary

80 Metascore

An exploration of various interpretations of Stanley Kubrick's horror film, The Shining (1980).

Director: Rodney Ascher | Stars: Bill Blakemore, Geoffrey Cocks, Juli Kearns, John Fell Ryan

Votes: 20,002 | Gross: $0.26M

21. Forks Over Knives (2011)

PG | 90 min | Documentary

57 Metascore

Examines the profound claim that most, if not all, of the degenerative diseases that afflict us can be controlled, or even reversed, by rejecting our present menu of animal-based and processed foods.

Director: Lee Fulkerson | Stars: Lee Fulkerson, Matthew Lederman, Alona Pulde, T. Colin Campbell

Votes: 10,659

22. In the Realms of the Unreal (2004)

Unrated | 81 min | Documentary, Biography

74 Metascore

A documentary on Henry Darger, visionary artist, janitor, and novelist.

Director: Jessica Yu | Stars: Henry Darger, Dakota Fanning, Larry Pine, Frier McCollister

Votes: 2,021 | Gross: $0.41M

23. Beware of Mr. Baker (2012)

Not Rated | 100 min | Documentary

78 Metascore

Ginger Baker looks back on his musical career with Cream and Blind Faith; his introduction to Fela Kuti; his self-destructive patterns and losses of fortune; and his current life inside a fortified South African compound.

Director: Jay Bulger | Stars: Ginger Baker, Femi Kuti, Eric Clapton, Stewart Copeland

Votes: 3,089 | Gross: $0.11M

24. There's Something Wrong with Aunt Diane (2011 TV Movie)

TV-MA | 101 min | Documentary

This documentary explores the depth behind the case of a woman whose vehicle collision killed numerous people, including herself. Was she really the reckless drunk, or the perfect suburban mother?

Director: Liz Garbus | Stars: Jesse Temple, Brad Katinas, Diane Schuler, Jay Schuler

Votes: 3,723

25. 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: 22,758 | Gross: $3.12M

26. The Woman Who Wasn't There (2012)

Not Rated | 65 min | Documentary

The Woman Who Wasn't There is a psychological thriller that goes inside the mind of history's most infamous 9/11 survivor.

Director: Angelo J. Guglielmo Jr. | Stars: Tania Head, Elia Zedeno, Gerry Bogacz, Brendan Chellis

Votes: 1,630

27. Resurrect Dead: The Mystery of the Toynbee Tiles (2011)

Not Rated | 86 min | Documentary

60 Metascore

An urban mystery unfurls as one man pieces together the surreal meaning of hundreds of cryptic tiled messages that have been appearing in city streets across the U.S. and South America.

Director: Jon Foy | Stars: Justin Duerr, Marc Duerr, Kevin Riley, Abby Miller

Votes: 2,016 | Gross: $0.01M

28. 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: 30,192

29. 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: 49,218 | Gross: $3.17M

30. Finders Keepers (I) (2015)

R | 82 min | Documentary

80 Metascore

A story about fame, addiction and a custody battle over a man's leg.

Directors: Bryan Carberry, Clay Tweel | Stars: John Wood, Shannon Whisnant

Votes: 2,191 | Gross: $0.04M

31. Lost Soul: The Doomed Journey of Richard Stanley's Island of Dr. Moreau (2014)

Not Rated | 97 min | Documentary, Adventure

A behind the scenes chronicle of how clash of vision, bad creative decisions, lack of interest and really bad weather plagued the disastrous production of the infamous The Island of Dr. Moreau (1996).

Director: David Gregory | Stars: Richard Stanley, Kier-La Janisse, Michael Gingold, Graham Humphreys

Votes: 2,895

32. Beyond the Edge (2013)

Unrated | 90 min | Documentary, Drama, History

59 Metascore

Tenzing Norgay and Edmund Hillary's monumental and historical ascent of Mt. Everest in 1953 - an event that stunned the world and defined a nation.

Director: Leanne Pooley | Stars: Chad Moffitt, Sonam Sherpa, John Wraight, Joshua Rutter

Votes: 1,586

33. The Summit (II) (2012)

R | 95 min | Documentary

63 Metascore

The story of the deadliest day on the world's most dangerous mountain, when 11 climbers mysteriously perished on K2.

Director: Nick Ryan | Stars: Christine Barnes, Hoselito Bite, Walter Bonatti, Marco Confortola

Votes: 4,240 | Gross: $0.22M

34. Dig! (2004)

R | 107 min | Documentary, Music

76 Metascore

A documentary on the once-promising American rock bands The Brian Jonestown Massacre and The Dandy Warhols, and the friendship/rivalry between their respective founders, Anton Newcombe and Courtney Taylor.

Director: Ondi Timoner | Stars: Anton Newcombe, Courtney Taylor-Taylor, Joel Gion, Matt Hollywood

Votes: 5,806 | Gross: $0.13M

35. Shut Up Little Man! An Audio Misadventure (2011)

Unrated | 90 min | Documentary, Comedy, Drama

57 Metascore

When two friends tape-recorded the fights of their violently noisy neighbors, they accidentally created one of the world's first 'viral' pop-culture sensations.

Director: Matthew Bate | Stars: Eddie Lee Sausage, Mitch Deprey, Daniel Clowes, Ivan Brunetti

Votes: 1,081 | Gross: $0.02M

36. The House of Suh (2010)

Not Rated | 90 min | Documentary

A chilling exploration of the tragic history of the Suh family and the murder that shocked America - when the picture perfect son, Andrew, shot and killed his sister's fiancé at her bidding.

Director: Iris K. Shim | Stars: Bob J. Berlin, Myung Han, Carol Hogan, Kevin Koron

Votes: 420

37. Hit So Hard (2011)

Not Rated | 103 min | Documentary, Biography, Music

52 Metascore

A documentary that follows Hole drummer Patty Schemel as she struggles with fame and addiction.

Director: P. David Ebersole | Stars: Patty Schemel, Courtney Love, Eric Erlandson, Melissa Auf der Maur

Votes: 628 | Gross: $0.03M

38. Kurt & Courtney (1998)

R | 95 min | Documentary, Crime, Music

A documentary on the life of Kurt Cobain and his relationship with Courtney Love.

Director: Nick Broomfield | Stars: Courtney Love, Nick Broomfield, Kurt Cobain, Mari Earle

Votes: 6,671 | Gross: $0.44M

39. Aileen: Life and Death of a Serial Killer (2003)

R | 93 min | Documentary, Crime

71 Metascore

Nick Broomfield's second documentary about serial killer Aileen Wuornos, focusing on her mental state on death row.

Directors: Nick Broomfield, Joan Churchill | Stars: Aileen Wuornos, Nick Broomfield, Terry Humphreys-Slay, Leitha Prather

Votes: 6,076 | Gross: $0.10M

40. All This Mayhem (2014)

Not Rated | 104 min | Documentary, Biography, History

All This Mayhem is a searing account of what happens when raw talent and extreme personalities collide. In this unflinching, never-before-seen account of drugs and the dark side of ... See full summary »

Director: Eddie Martin | Stars: Tas Pappas, Ben Pappas, Tommy Caudill, Lance Conklin

Votes: 3,005

41. 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: 16,595 | Gross: $1.22M

42. Craigslist Joe (2012)

Not Rated | 90 min | Documentary, Adventure

45 Metascore

In a time when America's economy was crumbling and sense of community was in question, one guy left everything behind to see if he could survive solely on the support and goodwill of the 21st century's new town square: Craigslist.

Director: Joseph Garner | Stars: Joseph Garner, Kristos Andrews, Gina Keatley, Michael T. Kuciak

Votes: 3,675

43. Surfwise (2007)

R | 93 min | Documentary, Sport

72 Metascore

Doug Pray explores the life of surfer Dorian "Doc" Paskowitz.

Director: Doug Pray | Stars: Juliette Paskowitz, David Paskowitz, Jonathan Paskowitz, Abraham Paskowitz

Votes: 1,395 | Gross: $0.27M

44. Maidentrip (2013)

Not Rated | 82 min | Documentary, Adventure, Biography

70 Metascore

14-year-old Laura Dekker sets out on a two-year voyage in pursuit of her dream to become the youngest person ever to sail around the world alone.

Director: Jillian Schlesinger | Stars: Dick Dekker, Kim Dekker, Laura Dekker, Barbara Mueller

Votes: 3,537 | Gross: $0.07M

45. Until the Light Takes Us (2008)

Not Rated | 93 min | Documentary, Music

54 Metascore

Interviews and news footage explore the rise of black metal music in Norway in the 1990s, including artists who were involved in suicide, murder and arson.

Directors: Aaron Aites, Audrey Ewell | Stars: Fenriz, Varg Vikernes, Euronymous, Hellhammer

Votes: 5,107 | Gross: $0.12M

46. 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: 17,224 | Gross: $3.17M

47. 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: 2,345

48. The Wild Parrots of Telegraph Hill (2003)

G | 83 min | Documentary

80 Metascore

A homeless musician finds meaning to his life when he starts a friendship with dozens of parrots.

Director: Judy Irving | Stars: Mark Bittner, Maggie McCall, Ivan Stormgart, Gary Thompson

Votes: 2,889 | Gross: $3.06M

49. Who Took Johnny (2014)

Not Rated | 81 min | Documentary, Biography

7.2