My Favourite Documentaries

by DougWonnacott | created - 13 Mar 2012 | updated - 3 weeks ago | Public

I am including both film and television documentaries.

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1. Laurel and Hardy's Laughing 20's (1965)

Approved | 90 min | Comedy, Family

A compilation of primarly Laurel and Hardy shorts---From Soup to Nuts, Wrong Again, Putting the Pants on Philip, The Finishing Touch, Sugar Daddies and short clips from others---plus Max ... See full summary »

Director: Robert Youngson | Stars: Stan Laurel, Oliver Hardy, Jay Jackson, Vivien Oakland

Votes: 282

2. Buster Keaton Rides Again (1965)

55 min | Documentary, Biography

This film is a documentary about the filming of one of Buster Keaton's movies: The Railrodder (1965).

Director: John Spotton | Stars: Buster Keaton, Eleanor Keaton, Gerald Potterton, Michael Kane

Votes: 352

3. Kung Fu Killers (1974 TV Movie)

72 min | Documentary

This documentary showcases Australian stuntman/actor Grant Page investigating the burgeoning interest in everything Kung Fu from students in Sydney to the action stars of the Hong Kong film industry.

Director: Brian Trenchard-Smith | Stars: Grant Page, Angela Mao, George Lazenby, Stuart Whitman

Votes: 41

4. 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: 32,286 | Gross: $1.72M

5. Bruce Lee, the Legend (1984)

TV-14 | 88 min | Documentary

The Official Golden Harvest tribute to the Master of the Martial Arts Film, Bruce Lee.

Director: Leonard Ho | Stars: Bruce Lee, James B. Nicholson, Hoi-Chuen Lee, Raymond Chow

Votes: 860

6. Chronos (1985)

Not Rated | 43 min | Documentary, Short

Carefully picked scenes of nature and civilization are viewed at high speed using time-lapse cinematography in an effort to demonstrate the history of various regions.

Director: Ron Fricke

Votes: 2,942

7. Moviedrome (1988–2000)

5 min | Documentary

Cult films receive interesting introductions from an expert, before the entire film is screened.

Stars: Alex Cox, Mark Cousins

Votes: 94

8. Powaqqatsi (1988)

G | 99 min | Documentary, Music

An exploration of technologically developing nations and the effect the transition to Western-style modernization has had on them.

Director: Godfrey Reggio | Stars: Christie Brinkley, David Brinkley, Pope John Paul II, Dan Rather

Votes: 7,183 | Gross: $0.59M

9. For All Mankind (1989)

Not Rated | 80 min | Documentary, History

An in-depth look at various NASA moon landing missions, starting with Apollo 8.

Director: Al Reinert | Stars: Jim Lovell, Ken Mattingly, Russell Schweickart, Eugene Cernan

Votes: 4,646 | Gross: $0.77M

10. Atlantis (I) (1991)

TV-PG | 78 min | Documentary, Music

Atmospheric soundtrack follows this compilation of nature footage that focuses on the ocean and various life forms that live, mate and die in it.

Director: Luc Besson

Votes: 1,673 | Gross: $0.14M

11. Baraka (1992)

Not Rated | 96 min | Documentary

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

Director: Ron Fricke

Votes: 33,436 | Gross: $1.33M

12. Anima Mundi (1991)

28 min | Documentary, Short

Image and music are intertwined in this third collaboration between director Godfrey Reggio and composer Philip Glass. The film was produced to celebrate the World Wildlife Fund's ... See full summary »

Director: Godfrey Reggio

Votes: 1,031

13. The Best of the Martial Arts Films (1990)

Not Rated | 90 min | Documentary, Action

A review about martial arts films as well as some of its biggest movie stars.

Director: Sandra Weintraub | Stars: John Saxon, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Chris Casamassa, Jackie Chan

Votes: 309

15. Top Fighter (1995 Video)

100 min | Documentary, Action

Welcome to the world of the martial arts. A voyage for the times of the martial arts cinema, from the beginning in China in the 6th Century B.C. by a Buddhist monk, Bodhidharma, until the ... See full summary »

Director: Toby Russell | Stars: Joel Cutrara, Jackie Chan, Sing Chen, Leo Fong

Votes: 126

16. Top Fighter 2 (1996 Video)

90 min | Documentary, Action

Women too can fight! The sequel of "Top Fighter" focuses in the importance of the women in the martial-arts movies, from her first characters as "hero's girl" until becoming superstars by ... See full summary »

Director: Toby Russell | Stars: Shenagh Cameron, Jackie Chan, Ling Chang, Pei-Pei Cheng

Votes: 61

17. Microcosmos (1996)

G | 80 min | Documentary

A documentary on insect life in meadows and ponds.

Directors: Claude Nuridsany, Marie Pérennou | Stars: Kristin Scott Thomas, Jacques Perrin

Votes: 10,277 | Gross: $1.57M

18. When We Were Kings (1996)

PG | 88 min | Documentary, Sport

83 Metascore

A documentary of the 1974 heavyweight championship bout in Zaire, "The Rumble in the Jungle," between champion George Foreman and underdog challenger Muhammad Ali.

Director: Leon Gast | Stars: Muhammad Ali, George Foreman, Don King, James Brown

Votes: 13,917 | Gross: $2.67M

19. Full Circle with Michael Palin (1997– )

500 min | Adventure, Documentary

Michael Palin embarks on another epic journey of exploration and adventure, this time 15,000 miles through 18 countries around the Pacific rim.

Stars: Michael Palin, Rob Hehnlin

Votes: 1,033

20. The Thing: Terror Takes Shape (1998 Video)

83 min | Documentary

A revealing and insightful look into the making of this underrated horror film.

Director: Michael Matessino | Stars: John Carpenter, David Foster, Bill Lancaster, John J. Lloyd

Votes: 787

21. Behind the Planet of the Apes (1998 TV Movie)

Not Rated | 127 min | Documentary

The story behind the making of the 5 "Planet of the Apes" movies.

Directors: Kevin Burns, David Comtois | Stars: Roddy McDowall, Mort Abrahams, Charlton Heston, Richard D. Zanuck

Votes: 1,496

22. Jackie Chan: My Story (1998 Video)

PG-13 | 74 min | Documentary

About Jackie Chan is written and filmed very much. A living legend, a unique creative personality, one of the biggest movie stars in the history of cinema, a man whose enthusiastic love for... See full summary »

Director: Jackie Chan | Stars: Jackie Chan, Willie Chan, Charles Chan, Stanley Tong

Votes: 592

23. Louis Theroux's Weird Weekends (1998–2000)

Not Rated | 60 min | Documentary

Louis Theroux documents some of the US's most bizarre happenings, events and rituals, by getting involved himself.

Stars: Louis Theroux, David Paul, Randy James, J.J. Michaels

Votes: 2,460

24. Hitman Hart: Wrestling with Shadows (1998 TV Movie)

R | 93 min | Documentary, Biography, Sport

Documentary focusing on the career of pro wrestler Bret Hart & his controversial exit from the WWF.

Director: Paul Jay | Stars: Bret Hart, Owen Hart, Brian Pillman, Blade Hart

Votes: 3,551

25. Jackie Chan: My Stunts (1999 Video)

94 min | Documentary

A documentary where Jackie Chan and his stuntman team show you the secrets of some of the great stunts they do in films. The film also takes you on the sets of "Who Am I?" and "Rush Hour".

Directors: Jackie Chan, Xavier Lee | Stars: Jackie Chan, Ken Lo, Bradley James Allan, Anthony Carpio

Votes: 1,035

26. 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: 7,508 | Gross: $2.05M

28. Bruce Lee: A Warrior's Journey (2000 Video)

PG | 100 min | Documentary, Action, Biography

Legendary martial artist Bruce Lee is the subject of this thoughtful documentary by Lee aficionado John Little. Using interviews, behind-the-scenes footage and action sequences from Lee's ... See full summary »

Directors: John Little, Bruce Lee | Stars: Bruce Lee, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Peter Archer, Sun-Man Bae

Votes: 2,595

29. The Art of Action: Martial Arts in Motion Picture (2002 TV Movie)

105 min | Documentary

A look at the history of martial arts films from their chinese roots to the present, presented by Samuel L. Jackson.

Director: Keith R. Clarke | Stars: Samuel L. Jackson, David Carradine, Jackie Chan, Pei-Pei Cheng

Votes: 302

30. Comedian (2002)

R | 82 min | Documentary, Comedy

62 Metascore

A look at the work of two stand-up comics, Jerry Seinfeld and a lesser-known newcomer, detailing the effort and frustration behind putting together a successful act and career while living a life on the road.

Director: Christian Charles | Stars: Jerry Seinfeld, Chris Rock, Garry Shandling, Greg Giraldo

Votes: 6,134 | Gross: $2.74M

31. Naqoyqatsi (2002)

PG | 89 min | Documentary, Music

59 Metascore

A visual montage portrait of our contemporary world dominated by globalized technology and violence.

Director: Godfrey Reggio | Stars: Belladonna, Marlon Brando, Elton John, Julia Louis-Dreyfus

Votes: 5,000 | Gross: $0.13M

32. Sahara with Michael Palin (2002– )

50 min | Documentary

In this four part BBC television series presented by British comedian and travel presenter Michael Palin, and broadcast in 2002. In it, Palin traveled around the Sahara Desert in Northern ... See full summary »

Star: Michael Palin

Votes: 707

33. Baadasssss Cinema (2002 TV Movie)

58 min | Documentary

Filmmaker Isaac Julien uses film clips and interviews to illustrate the history of the so-called "blaxploitation" genre.

Director: Isaac Julien | Stars: Pam Grier, Fred Williamson, Melvin Van Peebles, Elvis Mitchell

Votes: 627

34. Red Trousers: The Life of the Hong Kong Stuntmen (2003)

R | 100 min | Documentary, Action, Fantasy

50 Metascore

A short action film interwoven into a documentary tells the story of the legendary unsung heroes of Hong Kong film, the stuntmen and women. This film features the world's most illustrious ... See full summary »

Director: Robin Shou | Stars: Robin Shou, Beatrice Chia, Keith Cooke, Hakim Alston

Votes: 177

35. 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: 31,713 | Gross: $4.59M

36. Deep Blue (2003)

G | 83 min | Documentary

71 Metascore

The natural history of the oceans

Directors: Andy Byatt, Alastair Fothergill | Stars: Pierce Brosnan, Michael Gambon, David Attenborough, Frank Glaubrecht

Votes: 2,734 | Gross: $0.13M

37. Mind, Body & Kick Ass Moves (2004– )

28 min | Documentary

Documentary examining the world of martial arts.

Stars: Chris Crudelli, Mark Durden-Smith, Ting Leung

Votes: 221

38. Himalaya with Michael Palin (2004– )

360 min | Documentary

This 2004 BBC television series records comedian and travel presenter Michael Palin's six-month trip across the Himalaya mountain range, covering an amazingly diverse range of cultures and ... See full summary »

Stars: Michael Palin, The Dalai Lama

Votes: 1,001

39. Silent Clowns (2006)

60 min | Documentary, Biography

A profile of some of the greatest stars of silent comedy.

Stars: Paul Merton, Neil Brand, Vic Armstrong, Sanjeev Bhaskar

Votes: 44

40. Halloween: 25 Years of Terror (2006 Video)

Not Rated | 83 min | Documentary, Horror

A retrospective documentary about the Halloween movie franchise.

Director: Stefan Hutchinson | Stars: P.J. Soles, Irwin Yablans, Moustapha Akkad, John Carpenter

Votes: 1,616

41. The Pixar Story (2007)

G | 87 min | Documentary

A look at the first years of Pixar Animation Studios - from the success of "Toy Story" and Pixar's promotion of talented people, to the building of its East Bay campus, the company's ... See full summary »

Director: Leslie Iwerks | Stars: Stacy Keach, John Lasseter, Brad Bird, John Musker

Votes: 5,114

42. The Search for Weng Weng (2007)

92 min | Documentary

The bizarre history of Filipino B-films, as told through filmmaker Andrew Leavold's personal quest to find the truth behind its midget James Bond superstar Weng Weng.

Director: Andrew Leavold | Stars: Tikoy Aguiluz, Roy Arabejo, Tilman Baumgaertel, Don Gordon Bell

Votes: 156

43. The Shark Is Still Working: The Impact & Legacy of 'Jaws' (2007)

Not Rated | 100 min | Documentary

After three decades, Jaws continues to intrigue, thrill and frighten viewers. This documentary focuses on the many ways Jaws has helped to shape common elements of pop culture.

Director: Erik Hollander | Stars: Steve Alten, Joe Alves, Roy Arbogast, Steven Awalt

Votes: 588

44. Human Weapon (2007– )

60 min | Documentary, Drama, Sport

The ultimate search of a Human Weapon, each episode of Human Weapon charts an expedition through foreign continents, famous cities, exotic villages, back alleys and lush landscapes.

Stars: Jason Chambers, Bill Duff, Josh Barnett, Eddie Bravo

Votes: 780

45. Fight Quest (2007– )

Reality-TV, Sport

Two MMA fighters go on quests around the world regarding other fighting styles.

Stars: Douglass Anderson, Jimmy Smith, Mark Gerry, Rickson Gracie

Votes: 578

46. Earth (2007)

G | 90 min | Documentary

72 Metascore

Feature-length version of the documentary TV series Planet Earth (2006), following the migration paths of four animal families.

Directors: Alastair Fothergill, Mark Linfield | Stars: James Earl Jones, Patrick Stewart, Anggun, Ulrich Tukur

Votes: 13,891 | Gross: $38.05M

47. Dangerous Days: Making Blade Runner (2007 Video)

214 min | Documentary

The definitive three-and-a-half hour documentary about the troubled creation and enduring legacy of the science fiction classic Blade Runner (1982), culled from 80 interviews and hours of never-before-seen outtakes and lost footage.

Director: Charles de Lauzirika | Stars: Daryl Hannah, Michael Deeley, Harrison Ford, Joanna Cassidy

Votes: 1,726

48. Not Quite Hollywood: The Wild, Untold Story of Ozploitation! (2008)

R | 103 min | Documentary

76 Metascore

The story of the Australian exploitation genre cinema of 1970s and 80s.

Director: Mark Hartley | Stars: Phillip Adams, Glory Annen, Christine Amor, Victoria Anoux

Votes: 3,728 | Gross: $0.02M

49. Home (I) (2009)

Not Rated | 120 min | Documentary, Drama, Family