Favourite Documentaries

by benjaminlatta | created - 15 Apr 2016 | updated - 29 Jan 2018 | Public

These are my favourite documentaries. In order.

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1. 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: 15,432

2. The Imposter (2012)

R | 99 min | Documentary, Biography, Crime

77 Metascore

A documentary centered on a young man in Spain who claims to a grieving Texas family that he is their 16-year-old son who has been missing for 3 years.

Director: Bart Layton | Stars: Adam O'Brian, Nicholas Barclay, Carey Gibson, Bryan Gibson

Votes: 42,722 | Gross: $0.89M

3. 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: 49,037 | Gross: $3.17M

4. Just, Melvin: Just Evil (2000)

96 min | Documentary

An in-depth look at the director James Ronald Whitney's family history of incest spanning at least three generations and the devastating consequences that include drug abuse and alcoholism.

Director: James Ronald Whitney | Stars: James Ronald Whitney, Melvin Just

Votes: 1,479

5. 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: 49,989 | Gross: $2.96M

6. Senna (2010)

PG-13 | 106 min | Documentary, Biography, Sport

79 Metascore

A documentary on Brazilian Formula One racing driver Ayrton Senna, who won the F1 world championship three times before his death at age 34.

Director: Asif Kapadia | Stars: Ayrton Senna, Alain Prost, Frank Williams, Ron Dennis

Votes: 56,580 | Gross: $1.61M

7. 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: 22,636 | Gross: $7.83M

8. 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: 59,352 | Gross: $3.29M

9. We Live in Public (2009)

Unrated | 91 min | Documentary

69 Metascore

A documentary focusing on the life of dot-com entrepreneur Josh Harris, and his exploits over the last decade.

Director: Ondi Timoner | Stars: Josh Harris, Tom Harris, Carlos Alvarez, David Amron

Votes: 1,756 | Gross: $0.04M

10. The Jinx: The Life and Deaths of Robert Durst (2015)

TV-14 | 279 min | Documentary, Crime

Filmmaker Andrew Jarecki examines the complicated life of reclusive real estate icon Robert Durst, the key suspect in a series of unsolved crimes.

Stars: Robert Durst, Andrew Jarecki, Gary Napoli, Debra Kay Anderson

Votes: 34,490

11. 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: 57,589 | Gross: $2.07M

12. 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: 30,048

13. 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: 5,792 | Gross: $0.13M

14. The Armstrong Lie (2013)

R | 124 min | Documentary, Biography, Sport

67 Metascore

A documentary chronicling sports legend Lance Armstrong's improbable rise and ultimate fall from grace.

Director: Alex Gibney | Stars: Lance Armstrong, Reed Albergotti, Betsy Andreu, Frankie Andreu

Votes: 6,934 | Gross: $0.38M

15. 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: 14,017 | Gross: $2.67M

16. The Invisible War (2012)

Not Rated | 93 min | Documentary, Crime

75 Metascore

An investigative documentary about the epidemic of rape of soldiers within the US military.

Director: Kirby Dick | Stars: Amy Ziering, Kirby Dick, Kori Cioca, Jessica Hinves

Votes: 6,395 | Gross: $0.07M

17. The Central Park Five (2012)

Not Rated | 119 min | Documentary, Crime, History

79 Metascore

A documentary that examines the 1989 case of five black and Latino teenagers who were convicted of raping a white woman in Central Park. After having spent between 6 and 13 years each in prison, a serial rapist confessed to the crime.

Directors: Ken Burns, Sarah Burns, David McMahon | Stars: Antron McCray, Kevin Richardson, Kharey Wise, Raymond Santana

Votes: 6,390 | Gross: $0.27M

18. Weiner (2016)

R | 96 min | Documentary

84 Metascore

An examination of disgraced New York Congressman Anthony Weiner's mayoral campaign and today's political landscape.

Directors: Josh Kriegman, Elyse Steinberg | Stars: Anthony Weiner, Huma Abedin, Jordan Zain Weiner, Barbara Morgan

Votes: 9,182 | Gross: $1.61M

19. Bigger Stronger Faster* (2008)

PG-13 | 105 min | Documentary, Sport

80 Metascore

An examination of America's win-at-all-cost culture from the perspective of bodybuilding and performance enhancing drugs, as it focuses on a pair of siblings chasing their dream.

Director: Chris Bell | Stars: Chris Bell, Mike Bell, Mark Bell, Hank Aaron

Votes: 12,857 | Gross: $0.31M

20. 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: 31,856 | Gross: $4.59M

21. 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: 6,453

22. Tyson (2008)

R | 90 min | Documentary, Biography, Sport

83 Metascore

A mixture of original interviews, archival footage, and photographs sheds light on the life experiences of Mike Tyson.

Director: James Toback | Stars: Mike Tyson, Mills Lane, Trevor Berbick, Cus D'Amato

Votes: 11,767 | Gross: $0.89M

23. West of Memphis (2012)

R | 147 min | Documentary, Crime

80 Metascore

An examination of a failure of justice in the case against the West Memphis Three.

Director: Amy Berg | Stars: Jason Baldwin, Damien Wayne Echols, Jessie Misskelley, Michael Baden

Votes: 9,390 | Gross: $0.31M

24. 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: 5,064 | Gross: $0.12M

25. 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: 4,227 | Gross: $0.22M

26. The Barkley Marathons: The Race That Eats Its Young (2014)

Not Rated | 89 min | Documentary, Adventure, History

67 Metascore

In its first 25 years only 10 people have finished The Barkley Marathons. Based on a historic prison escape, this cult like race tempts people from around the world to test their limits of ... See full summary »

Directors: Annika Iltis, Timothy James Kane | Star: Lazarus Lake

Votes: 4,066

27. 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: 20,244

28. Beats, Rhymes & Life: The Travels of A Tribe Called Quest (2011)

R | 97 min | Documentary, Music

76 Metascore

Michael Rapaport documents the inner workings and behind the scenes drama that follows this innovative and influential band to this day.

Director: Michael Rapaport | Stars: Q-Tip, Phife Dawg, Ali Shaheed Muhammad, Jarobi White

Votes: 3,290 | Gross: $1.20M

29. 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: 34,865

30. Mommy Dead and Dearest (2017)

TV-MA | 82 min | Documentary, Crime

In this documentary, the murder of Deedee Blanchard by her daughter Gypsey Rose is explored, as well as the circumstances leading up to the event.

Director: Erin Lee Carr | Stars: Jim Arnott, David Blanchard, Dee Dee Blanchard, Gypsy Rose Blanchard

Votes: 6,192

31. Big River Man (2009)

100 min | Documentary

68 Metascore

Martin Strel attempts to cover 3,375 miles of the Amazon River, the longest continuous swim in history.

Director: John Maringouin | Stars: Matthew Mohlke, Borut Strel, Martin Strel

Votes: 1,478

32. Making a Murderer (2015– )

TV-14 | 60 min | Documentary, Crime

Filmed over a 10-year period, Steven Avery, a DNA exoneree who, while in the midst of exposing corruption in local law enforcement, finds himself the prime suspect in a grisly new crime.

Stars: Dolores Avery, Steven Avery, Ken Kratz, Brendan Dassey

Votes: 79,186

33. Last Days in Vietnam (2014)

Not Rated | 98 min | Documentary, History, War

86 Metascore

During the chaotic final weeks of the Vietnam War, the North Vietnamese Army closes in on Saigon as the panicked South Vietnamese people desperately attempt to escape. On the ground, ... See full summary »

Director: Rory Kennedy | Stars: Richard Nixon, Henry Kissinger, Stuart Herrington, Juan Valdez

Votes: 3,534 | Gross: $0.47M

34. Holy Hell (2016)

Not Rated | 100 min | Documentary

64 Metascore

An inside look at a West Hollywood cult formed by a charismatic teacher in the 1980s that eventually imploded.

Director: Will Allen | Stars: Will Allen, Dimitrius Pulido, Phillipe Coquet, David Christopher

Votes: 4,202 | Gross: $0.02M

35. 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

36. 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: 13,979

37. 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: 5,064 | Gross: $0.12M



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