My Favorite Documentaries

by CashIsOn | created - 26 Feb 2012 | updated - 12 Mar 2017 | Public
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1. Aileen Wuornos: The Selling of a Serial Killer (1992)

R | 87 min | Documentary, Crime

1992, Florida, USA. Aileen Wuornos is claimed to be the world's first female serial killer.

Director: Nick Broomfield | Stars: Jesse 'The Human Bomb' Aviles, Nick Broomfield, Cannonball, Steve Glazer

Votes: 2,527

2. 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: 15,887 | Gross: $1.16M

3. The Atomic Cafe (1982)

Not Rated | 86 min | Documentary, History

Disturbing collection of 1940s and 1950s United States government-issued propaganda films designed to reassure Americans that the atomic bomb was not a threat to their safety.

Directors: Jayne Loader, Kevin Rafferty, Pierce Rafferty | Stars: Paul Tibbets, Harry S. Truman, W.H.P. Blandy, Brien McMahon

Votes: 3,716 | Gross: $0.02M

4. Baraka (1992)

Not Rated | 96 min | Documentary

A collection of expertly photographed scenes of human life and religion.

Director: Ron Fricke

Votes: 33,555 | Gross: $1.33M

5. Born Into Brothels: Calcutta's Red Light Kids (2004)

R | 85 min | Documentary, Biography, News

78 Metascore

Two documentary filmmakers chronicle their time in Sonagchi, Calcutta and the relationships they developed with children of prostitutes who work the city's notorious red light district.

Directors: Zana Briski, Ross Kauffman | Stars: Kochi, Avijit Halder, Shanti Das, Manik

Votes: 15,142 | Gross: $3.41M

6. Burden of Dreams (1982)

Not Rated | 95 min | Documentary

A documentary on the chaotic production of Werner Herzog's epic Fitzcarraldo (1982), showing how the film managed to get made despite problems that would have floored a less obsessively ... See full summary »

Director: Les Blank | Stars: Werner Herzog, Klaus Kinski, Claudia Cardinale, Jason Robards

Votes: 5,723

7. 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: 22,625 | Gross: $3.12M

8. Catching Hell (2011)

102 min | Documentary, Sport

After the Chicago Cubs blow an opportunity to reach the World Series in 2003, Cubs fans blame the team's misfortune on fellow fan Steve Bartman, who interfered with a foul ball and prevented Moises Alou from making a catch.

Director: Alex Gibney | Stars: Moises Alou, Steve Bartman, Rod Blagojevich, Ron Borges

Votes: 1,363

9. 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: 17,071 | Gross: $3.17M

10. 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: 29,892

11. Empire of Dreams: The Story of the 'Star Wars' Trilogy (2004 Video)

151 min | Documentary, History, Sci-Fi

An in-depth making of documentary about the original Star Wars trilogy, covering the productions of the three films and their impact on popular culture.

Directors: Edith Becker, Kevin Burns | Stars: Robert Clotworthy, Walter Cronkite, George Lucas, Steven Spielberg

Votes: 3,247

12. Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room (2005)

R | 110 min | Documentary, Biography, History

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: 15,519

13. The Fall of Fujimori (2005)

83 min | Documentary

73 Metascore

President Alberto Fujimori risked everything to win Peru's war on terror, but in doing so became an international fugitive, wanted for corruption, kidnapping and murder.

Director: Ellen Perry | Star: Alberto Fujimori

Votes: 276 | Gross: $0.00M

14. The Filth and the Fury (2000)

R | 108 min | Documentary, Biography, Music

82 Metascore

A film about the career of the notorious punk rock band, the Sex Pistols.

Director: Julien Temple | Stars: Paul Cook, Steve Jones, John Lydon, Glen Matlock

Votes: 5,348 | Gross: $0.61M

15. 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: 21,905 | Gross: $4.20M

16. 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: 4,268 | Gross: $0.31M

17. Gimme Shelter (1970)

GP | 91 min | Documentary, Music, Thriller

80 Metascore

A harrowing documentary of the Stones' 1969 tour, with much of the focus on the tragic concert at Altamont.

Directors: Albert Maysles, David Maysles, Charlotte Zwerin | Stars: Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Mick Taylor, Charlie Watts

Votes: 9,936 | Gross: $0.25M

18. 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: 4,969 | Gross: $0.03M

19. Hearts of Darkness: A Filmmaker's Apocalypse (1991)

R | 96 min | Documentary

Documentary that chronicles how Francis Ford Coppola's Apocalypse Now (1979) was plagued by extraordinary script, shooting, budget, and casting problems--nearly destroying the life and career of the celebrated director.

Directors: Fax Bahr, George Hickenlooper, Eleanor Coppola | Stars: Dennis Hopper, Martin Sheen, Marlon Brando, George Lucas

Votes: 17,111 | Gross: $1.32M

20. High School (1968)

Not Rated | 75 min | Documentary

Documentary filmmaker Frederick Wiseman takes us inside Northeast High School as a fly on the wall to observe the teachers and how they interact with the students.

Director: Frederick Wiseman

Votes: 1,578

21. 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: 22,538 | Gross: $7.83M

22. Into the Wind (2010)

51 min | Documentary

In 1980, Fox was seeking a way to raise awareness for cancer research. His own struggle with the disease had resulted in the amputation of his right leg.

Directors: Ezra Holland, Steve Nash | Star: Terry Fox

Votes: 143

23. 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: 65,909 | Gross: $4.31M

24. The Interrupters (2011)

Unrated | 125 min | Documentary, Crime

86 Metascore

A year in the life of a city grappling with urban violence.

Director: Steve James | Stars: Tio Hardiman, Ameena Matthews, Toya Batey, Cobe Williams

Votes: 3,336 | Gross: $0.28M

25. The Kid Stays in the Picture (2002)

R | 93 min | Documentary, Biography

75 Metascore

Documentary about legendary Paramount producer Robert Evans (the film shares the same name as Evans's famous 1994 autobiography).

Directors: Nanette Burstein, Brett Morgen | Stars: Robert Evans, Eddie Albert, Peter Bart, Charlie Bluhdorn

Votes: 6,613 | Gross: $1.43M

26. Koyaanisqatsi (1982)

Not Rated | 86 min | Documentary, Music

72 Metascore

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: Marilyn Chambers, Lou Dobbs, Ted Koppel

Votes: 32,382 | Gross: $1.72M

27. Life Itself (2014)

R | 121 min | Documentary, Biography

87 Metascore

The life and career of the renowned film critic and social commentator, Roger Ebert.

Director: Steve James | Stars: Roger Ebert, Chaz Ebert, Gene Siskel, Martin Scorsese

Votes: 14,198 | Gross: $0.81M

28. 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: 9,582 | Gross: $1.52M

29. 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: 15,782

30. 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: 7,921 | Gross: $1.43M

31. O.J.: Made in America (2016)

TV-MA | 467 min | Documentary, Biography, Crime

A chronicle of the rise and fall of O.J. Simpson, whose high-profile murder trial exposed the extent of American racial tensions, revealing a fractured and divided nation.

Director: Ezra Edelman | Stars: Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Mike Albanese, Muhammad Ali, Marcus Allen

Votes: 15,323

32. 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: 5,426 | Gross: $0.16M

33. 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: 13,964

34. Paradise Lost 3: Purgatory (2011)

Not Rated | 121 min | Documentary, Crime

85 Metascore

A further followup of the case of the West Memphis Three and the decades long fight to exonerate them that finally gained traction with new DNA evidence.

Directors: Joe Berlinger, Bruce Sinofsky | Stars: Gary Gitchell, Todd Moore, Dana Moore, Pam Hobbs

Votes: 8,486

35. Pumping Iron (1977)

PG | 86 min | Documentary, Sport

72 Metascore

From Gold's Gym in Venice Beach California to the showdown in Pretoria, amateur and professional bodybuilders prepare for the 1975 Mr. Olympia and Mr. Universe contests in this ... See full summary »

Directors: George Butler, Robert Fiore | Stars: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Lou Ferrigno, Matty Ferrigno, Victoria Ferrigno

Votes: 20,173

36. 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: 20,983 | Gross: $1.33M

37. Silence Broken: Korean Comfort Women (2000)

Not Rated | 88 min | Documentary

A powerful and emotional documentary about Korean women forced into sexual servitude by the Japanese Imperial Army during World War II.

Director: Dai Sil Kim-Gibson

Votes: 17

38. Streetwise (1984)

91 min | Documentary

Gritty documentary that looks at the lives of teenagers living on the streets of Seattle.

Director: Martin Bell | Stars: Roberta Joseph Hayes, Baby Gramps, Erin Blackwell, Lou Ellen Couch

Votes: 1,474 | Gross: $0.01M

39. 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: 13,948 | Gross: $0.27M

40. The Thin Blue Line (1988)

Not Rated | 101 min | Documentary, Crime, Drama

79 Metascore

A film that successfully argued that a man was wrongly convicted for murder by a corrupt justice system in Dallas County, Texas.

Director: Errol Morris | Stars: Randall Adams, David Ray Harris, Gus Rose, Jackie Johnson

Votes: 20,080 | Gross: $1.21M

41. 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: 5,275 | Gross: $0.01M

42. 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: 13,939

43. Tupac: Resurrection (2003)

R | 112 min | Documentary, Biography, Music

66 Metascore

Home movies, photographs, and recited poetry illustrate the life of Tupac Shakur, one of the most beloved, revolutionary, and volatile hip-hop M.Cs. of all time.

Director: Lauren Lazin | Stars: Tupac Shakur, Rappin' 4-Tay, Conrad Bain, Bill Bellamy

Votes: 8,704 | Gross: $7.71M

44. Visions of Light (1992)

92 min | Documentary, History

Cameramen and women discuss the craft and art of cinematography and of the "DP" (the director of photography), illustrating their points with clips from 100 films, from Birth of a Nation to... See full summary »

Directors: Arnold Glassman, Todd McCarthy, Stuart Samuels | Stars: Conrad L. Hall, John Bailey, Vilmos Zsigmond, Charles Lang

Votes: 2,897 | Gross: $0.80M

45. Waco: The Rules of Engagement (1997)

Not Rated | 165 min | Documentary, History

A reassessment of the tragedy at Waco that left 76 members of the Branch Davidian religious sect dead.

Director: William Gazecki | Stars: Dan Gifford, Clive Doyle, Jack Harwell, Joseph Penno

Votes: 3,019

46. Waltz with Bashir (2008)

R | 90 min | Documentary, Animation, Biography

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: 52,716 | Gross: $2.28M

47. The Weather Underground (2002)

Unrated | 92 min | Documentary, History, War

77 Metascore

The remarkable story of The Weather Underground, radical activists of the 1970s, and of radical politics at its best and most disastrous.

Directors: Sam Green, Bill Siegel | Stars: Lili Taylor, Pamela Z, Jim Lange, Evan White

Votes: 3,313 | Gross: $0.56M



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