Favourite Documentaries

by kevsabeaver | created - 16 Jun 2012 | updated - 03 Mar 2014 | Public
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1. 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: 20,169 | Gross: $1.21M

2. Cosmos (1980)

TV-PG | 60 min | Documentary

Astronomer Carl Sagan leads us on an engaging guided tour of the various elements and cosmological theories of the universe.

Stars: Carl Sagan, Jaromír Hanzlík, Jonathan Fahn, Alan Belod

Votes: 32,722

3. 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: 33,524 | Gross: $0.68M

4. Berkeley in the Sixties (1990)

Not Rated | 117 min | Documentary

A documentary about militant student political activity in the University of California-Berkely in the 1960's.

Director: Mark Kitchell | Stars: Jentri Anders, Joan Baez, Frank Bardacke, Stokely Carmichael

Votes: 647

5. Marley (2012)

PG-13 | 144 min | Documentary, Biography, Music

82 Metascore

A documentary on the life, music, and legacy of Bob Marley.

Director: Kevin Macdonald | Stars: Bob Marley, Ziggy Marley, Rita Marley, Jimmy Cliff

Votes: 12,648 | Gross: $1.41M

6. 6 Days to Air: The Making of South Park (2011 TV Movie)

Not Rated | 42 min | Documentary, Comedy

A look at the making of South Park: HUMANCENTiPAD (2011).

Director: Arthur Bradford | Stars: Trey Parker, Matt Stone, Anne Garefino, Frank C. Agnone II

Votes: 2,127

7. Under African Skies (2012)

Not Rated | 108 min | Documentary, Biography, History

82 Metascore

Paul Simon returns to South Africa to explore the journey of his Graceland album, including the political backlash he received for allegedly breaking the UN cultural boycott of South Africa designed to end the Apartheid regime.

Director: Joe Berlinger | Stars: Paul Simon, Maya Angelou, Okeyerama Asante, Harry Belafonte

Votes: 445

8. 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: 49,029 | Gross: $3.17M

9. American: The Bill Hicks Story (2009)

Not Rated | 102 min | Documentary, Animation, Biography

55 Metascore

Photo-animated feature documentary, uniquely narrated by the 10 people who knew Bill best.

Directors: Matt Harlock, Paul Thomas | Stars: Bill Hicks, Dwight Slade, Mary Hicks, Steve Hicks

Votes: 4,632 | Gross: $0.09M

10. Dispatches (1987– )
Episode: Mark Thomas on Coca-Cola (2007)

48 min | Documentary

Comedian and activist Mark Thomas reports on how Coca-Cola has caused problems in the world with pollution, worker exploitation and even death. The documentary also reports on how Coca-Cola respond to these allegations.

Director: Sarah MacDonald | Stars: Mark Thomas, Tim Beaty, Rene Canjura, Luis Eduardo Garcia

Votes: 21

11. 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: 17,211 | Gross: $1.32M

12. Biggie and Tupac (2002)

R | 108 min | Documentary, Biography, Crime

63 Metascore

Documentary on the deaths of Tupac Shakur and Biggie Smalls and the East Coast/West Coast, hip-hop/rap rivalry that culminated in late 1996 and early 1997.

Director: Nick Broomfield | Stars: The Notorious B.I.G., Tupac Shakur, Nick Broomfield, Russell Poole

Votes: 4,378 | Gross: $0.09M

13. George Harrison: Living in the Material World (2011)

Not Rated | 208 min | Documentary, Biography, Music

Filmmaker Martin Scorsese examines the life of musician George Harrison, weaving together interviews, concert footage, home movies and photographs.

Director: Martin Scorsese | Stars: George Harrison, Paul McCartney, John Lennon, Ringo Starr

Votes: 9,773

14. American Masters (1985– )
Episode: No Direction Home: Bob Dylan (2005)

Not Rated | 359 min | Documentary, Biography

A chronicle of Bob Dylan's strange evolution between 1961 and 1966 from folk singer to protest singer to "voice of a generation" to rock star.

Director: Martin Scorsese | Stars: Bob Dylan, B.J. Rolfzen, Dick Kangas, Liam Clancy

Votes: 10,685

15. Waking Sleeping Beauty (2009)

PG | 86 min | Documentary

70 Metascore

The story of the Disney Renaissance, an incredibly prolific, successful and prestigious decade lasting from 1984 to 1994 that saw the fallen Walt Disney Animation Studios' unexpected progressive triumphant return to excellence.

Director: Don Hahn | Stars: Roy Edward Disney, John Lasseter, Michael Eisner, Don Hahn

Votes: 2,142 | Gross: $0.08M

16. Lost in La Mancha (2002)

R | 89 min | Documentary

74 Metascore

Terry Gilliam's doomed attempt to get his film, The Man Who Killed Don Quixote (2018), off the ground.

Directors: Keith Fulton, Louis Pepe | Stars: Terry Gilliam, Johnny Depp, Jeff Bridges, Tony Grisoni

Votes: 10,765 | Gross: $0.73M

17. The Century of the Self (2002)

235 min | Documentary

80 Metascore

A documentary about the rise of psychoanalysis as a powerful means of persuasion for both governments and corporations.

Stars: Adam Curtis, Ann Bernays, Robert Reich, Alfred Pritz

Votes: 4,365

18. Gonzo: The Life and Work of Dr. Hunter S. Thompson (2008)

R | 120 min | Documentary, Biography, Music

73 Metascore

A portrait of the late gonzo journalist Hunter S. Thompson.

Director: Alex Gibney | Stars: Hunter S. Thompson, Johnny Depp, Joe Cairo, David Carlo

Votes: 7,205 | Gross: $1.25M

19. 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

20. 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: 14,014 | Gross: $2.67M

21. 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: 59,343 | Gross: $3.29M

22. More Than a Game (2008)

PG | 105 min | Documentary, Biography, Sport

59 Metascore

This documentary follows NBA superstar LeBron James and four of his talented teammates through the trials and tribulations of high school basketball in Ohio and James' journey to fame.

Director: Kristopher Belman | Stars: LeBron James, Dru Joyce, Romeo Travis, Sian Cotton

Votes: 4,906 | Gross: $0.94M

23. Bukowski: Born into This (2003)

R | 130 min | Documentary, Biography

77 Metascore

Documentary on Charles Bukowski, author of 'Notes of a Dirty Old Man', 'Love Is a Dog from Hell', and the autobiographical novels, 'Women', 'Hollywood', and 'Post Office'.

Director: John Dullaghan | Stars: Charles Bukowski, Bono, John Bryan, Linda Lee Bukowski

Votes: 3,209 | Gross: $0.30M

24. 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: 49,974 | Gross: $2.96M

25. Bob Dylan: Dont Look Back (1967)

Not Rated | 96 min | Documentary, Music

Documentary covering Bob Dylan's 1965 tour of England, which includes appearances by Joan Baez and Donovan.

Director: D.A. Pennebaker | Stars: Bob Dylan, Albert Grossman, Bob Neuwirth, Joan Baez

Votes: 7,747

26. American Masters (1985– )
Episode: Woody Allen: A Documentary (2011)

Not Rated | 192 min | Documentary, Biography

A documentary on Woody Allen that trails him on his movie sets and follows him back to Brooklyn as he visits his childhood haunts.

Director: Robert B. Weide | Stars: Woody Allen, Letty Aronson, Marshall Brickman, Josh Brolin

Votes: 4,880

27. 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: 21,953 | Gross: $4.20M

28. The Tillman Story (2010)

R | 94 min | Documentary, Biography, Mystery

86 Metascore

Pat Tillman never thought of himself as a hero. His choice to leave a multimillion-dollar football contract and join the military wasn't done for any reason other than he felt it was the ... See full summary »

Director: Amir Bar-Lev | Stars: Pat Tillman, Josh Brolin, Mary Tillman, Russell Baer

Votes: 4,377 | Gross: $0.80M

29. The Panama Deception (1992)

91 min | Documentary, History, War

A film about the true reasons for the 1989 US invasion of Panama and big media complicity in these activities.

Director: Barbara Trent | Stars: Elizabeth Montgomery, Carlos Cantú, Diviana Ingravallo, Abraham Alvarez

Votes: 963 | Gross: $0.31M

30. 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: 6,629 | Gross: $1.43M

31. The Self Destruction of the Ultimate Warrior (2005 Video)

90 min | Documentary

The Ultimate Warrior's meteoric rise to fame and fortune following his defeat of Hulk Hogan, his rivalries with other wrestlers such as Randy Savage and Rick Rude, and his rapid burn-out when the pressures of fame got too much for him.

Director: Kevin Dunn | Stars: Jim Hellwig, Adnan Al-Kaissy, André the Giant, Eric Bischoff

Votes: 770

32. 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: 19,737 | Gross: $1.88M

33. 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

34. Joe Strummer: The Future Is Unwritten (2007)

Unrated | 124 min | Documentary, Biography, Music

79 Metascore

As the front man of the Clash from 1977 onwards, Joe Strummer changed people's lives forever. Four years after his death, his influence reaches out around the world, more strongly now than ... See full summary »

Director: Julien Temple | Stars: Joe Strummer, Steve Jones, Mick Jones, Brigitte Bardot

Votes: 3,534 | Gross: $0.25M

35. Who Is Harry Nilsson (And Why Is Everybody Talkin' About Him?) (2010)

Not Rated | 116 min | Documentary, Biography, Music

68 Metascore

The life and work of the enigmatic folk rock singer-songwriter.

Director: John Scheinfeld | Stars: Gerry Beckley, Lee Blackman, Perry Botkin Jr., Ray Cooper

Votes: 1,361 | Gross: $0.03M

36. Talking Funny (2011 TV Special)

TV-MA | 49 min | Comedy, Talk-Show

Jerry Seinfeld, Chris Rock, Ricky Gervais and Louis C.K. let their guards down in an intimate, unscripted conversation about what it means to be a comedian.

Director: John Moffitt | Stars: Louis C.K., Ricky Gervais, Chris Rock, Jerry Seinfeld

Votes: 1,414

37. Project Nim (2011)

PG-13 | 93 min | Documentary

83 Metascore

Tells the story of a chimpanzee taken from its mother at birth and raised like a human child by a family in a brownstone on the upper West Side in the 1970s.

Director: James Marsh | Stars: Nim Chimpsky, Stephanie LaFarge, Herbert Terrace, Wer LaFarge

Votes: 7,969 | Gross: $0.41M

38. 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: 11,976 | Gross: $0.15M

39. Steve-O: Demise and Rise (2009 TV Movie)

42 min | Documentary

"Demise and Rise" is a brutally honest documentary about Steve-O's decent into madness, and how an intervention saved his life.

Director: Dimitry Elyashkevich | Stars: J.P. Blackmon, Jack Chandler, Dimitry Elyashkevich, Cindy Glover

Votes: 542

40. Foo Fighters: Back and Forth (2011)

Not Rated | 101 min | Documentary, Music

Rising from the ashes of Nirvana, the Foo Fighters became a Grammy-winning sensation on their own. Sixteen years of the band's history comes to life in this documentary, from their demo ... See full summary »

Director: James Moll | Stars: Shawn Cloninger, William Goldsmith, Jessy Greene, Dave Grohl

Votes: 5,726

41. 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

42. Religulous (2008)

R | 101 min | Documentary, Comedy, War

56 Metascore

Bill Maher's take on the current state of world religion.

Director: Larry Charles | Stars: Bill Maher, Tal Bachman, Jonathan Boulden, Steven Burg

Votes: 56,364 | Gross: $13.00M

43. NOFX Backstage Passport (2008– )

21 min | Documentary, Music

This is a must see for all rock n roll lovers, you don't have to like their music because the figures are so good and funny. They are a punk rolling stones band on the run for more than 20 years and they are having fun and a lots of fun.

Star: Aaron Abeyta

Votes: 356

44. Future by Design (2006)

Not Rated | 86 min | Documentary, Sci-Fi

Future by Design shares the life and far-reaching vision of Jacque Fresco, considered by many to be a modern day Da Vinci. Peer to Einstein and Buckminster Fuller, Jacque is a self-taught ... See full summary »

Director: William Gazecki | Stars: William Gazecki, Jacque Fresco, Larry King, Roxanne Meadows

Votes: 1,334

45. Panorama (1953– )
Episode: Scientology & Me (2007)

Documentary, News

John Sweeney investigates the Church of Scientology and allegations made by former members and relatives of current members. However, during the course of his investigation he soon finds that he has become a target of the Church.

Stars: Jeremy Vine, Kevin Hurley, John Travolta, Sharon

Votes: 163

46. H.R. Giger Revealed (2010 Video)

Not Rated | 52 min | Documentary

The film offers a unique insight into the world of Giger's creation and his private life. In addition to the interview with the artist himself, a considerable part of the documentary is ... See full summary »

Director: David N. Jahn | Stars: Bijan Aalam, Leslie Barany, Vincent Castiglia, Tom Gabriel Fischer

Votes: 171

47. Lenny Bruce: Swear to Tell the Truth (1998)

100 min | Documentary, Biography, Comedy

Comedian Lenny Bruce struck a subversive chord in an era of change in America. After getting his start as a conventional stand-up comic, Bruce's increasingly iconoclastic act transformed ... See full summary »

Director: Robert B. Weide | Stars: Robert De Niro, Steve Allen, Honey Bruce Friedman, Kitty Bruce

Votes: 526 | Gross: $0.02M

48. 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: 15,957 | Gross: $1.16M

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

Not Rated | 60 min | Documentary