Best Documentary Movies
In 1970s London amidst the punk rock revolution, a young grifter named Estella is determined to make a name for herself with her designs. She befriends a pair of young thieves who appreciate her appetite for mischief, and together they are able to build a life for themselves on the London streets. One day, Estella’s flair for fashion catches the eye of the Baroness von Hellman, a fashion legend who is devastatingly chic and terrifyingly haute. But their relationship sets in motion a course of events and revelations that will cause Estella to embrace her wicked side and become the raucous, fashionable and revenge-bent Cruella.
In June 2013, Laura Poitras and reporter Glenn Greenwald flew to Hong Kong for the first of many meetings with Edward Snowden. She brought her camera with her.
Harry Potter 20th Anniversary: Return to Hogwarts
An enchanting making-of story told through all-new in-depth interviews and cast conversations, inviting fans on a magical first-person journey through one of the most beloved film franchises of all time.
Bowling for Columbine
This is not a film about gun control. It is a film about the fearful heart and soul of the United States, and the 280 million Americans lucky enough to have the right to a constitutionally protected Uzi. From a look at the Columbine High School security camera tapes to the home of Oscar-winning NRA President Charlton Heston, from a young man who makes homemade napalm with The Anarchist's Cookbook to the murder of a six-year-old girl by another six-year-old. Bowling for Columbine is a journey through the US, through our past, hoping to discover why our pursuit of happiness is so riddled with violence.
A documentary on the life of Amy Winehouse, the immensely talented yet doomed songstress. We see her from her teen years, where she already showed her singing abilities, to her finding success and then her downward spiral into alcoholism and drugs.
David Attenborough: A Life on Our Planet
The story of life on our planet by the man who has seen more of the natural world than any other. In more than 90 years, Attenborough has visited every continent on the globe, exploring the wild places of our planet and documenting the living world in all its variety and wonder. Addressing the biggest challenges facing life on our planet, the film offers a powerful message of hope for future generations.
O.J.: Made in America
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.
Stop Making Sense
A concert film documenting Talking Heads at the height of their popularity, on tour for their 1983 album "Speaking in Tongues." The band takes the stage one by one and is joined by a cadre of guest musicians for a career-spanning and cinematic performance that features creative choreography and visuals.
Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron
As a wild stallion travels across the frontiers of the Old West, he befriends a young human and finds true love with a mare.
The Social Dilemma
This documentary-drama hybrid explores the dangerous human impact of social networking, with tech experts sounding the alarm on their own creations.
The remarkable story of Brazilian racing driver Ayrton Senna, charting his physical and spiritual achievements on the track and off, his quest for perfection, and the mythical status he has since attained, is the subject of Senna, a documentary feature that spans the racing legend's years as an F1 driver, from his opening season in 1984 to his untimely death a decade later.
Michael Moore's view on how the Bush administration allegedly used the tragic events on 9/11 to push forward its agenda for unjust wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.
A paralysingly beautiful documentary with a global vision—an odyssey through landscape and time—that attempts to capture the essence of life.
Using hidden cameras and never-before-seen footage, Earthlings chronicles the day-to-day practices of the largest industries in the world, all of which rely entirely on animals for profit.
A love letter from a young mother to her daughter, the film tells the story of Waad al-Kateab’s life through five years of the uprising in Aleppo, Syria as she falls in love, gets married and gives birth to Sama, all while cataclysmic conflict rises around her. Her camera captures incredible stories of loss, laughter and survival as Waad wrestles with an impossible choice– whether or not to flee the city to protect her daughter’s life, when leaving means abandoning the struggle for freedom for which she has already sacrificed so much.
Filmed over nearly five years in twenty-five countries on five continents, and shot on seventy-millimetre film, Samsara transports us to the varied worlds of sacred grounds, disaster zones, industrial complexes, and natural wonders.
The Cove tells the amazing true story of how an elite team of individuals, films makers and free divers embarked on a covert mission to penetrate the hidden cove in Japan, shining light on a dark and deadly secret. The shocking discoveries were only the tip of the iceberg.
Dear Zachary: A Letter to a Son About His Father
In 2001, Andrew Bagby, a medical resident, is murdered not long after breaking up with his girlfriend. Soon after, when she announces she's pregnant, one of Andrew's many close friends, Kurt Kuenne, begins this film, a gift to the child.
Won't You Be My Neighbor?
Fred Rogers used puppets and play to explore complex social issues: race, disability, equality and tragedy, helping form the American concept of childhood. He spoke directly to children and they responded enthusiastically. Yet today, his impact is unclear. Have we lived up to Fred's ideal of good neighbors?
The Look of Silence
A family that survives the genocide in Indonesia confronts the men who killed one of their brothers.
Paris Is Burning
Where does voguing come from, and what, exactly, is throwing shade? This landmark documentary provides a vibrant snapshot of the 1980s through the eyes of New York City's African American and Latinx Harlem drag-ball scene. Made over seven years, PARIS IS BURNING offers an intimate portrait of rival fashion "houses," from fierce contests for trophies to house mothers offering sustenance in a world rampant with homophobia, transphobia, racism, AIDS, and poverty. Featuring legendary voguers, drag queens, and trans women — including Willi Ninja, Pepper LaBeija, Dorian Corey, and Venus Xtravaganza.
Bo Burnham: Make Happy
Combining his trademark wit and self-deprecating humor with original music, Bo Burnham offers up his unique twist on life in this stand-up special about life, death, sexuality, hypocrisy, mental illness and Pringles cans.
Planet Earth II
David Attenborough presents a documentary series exploring how animals meet the challenges of surviving in the most iconic habitats on earth.
Searching for Sugar Man
Two South Africans set out to discover what happened to their unlikely musical hero, the mysterious 1970s rock 'n' roller, Rodriguez. The film won Best Documentary at the 85th Academy Awards.
Takes us to locations all around the US and shows us the heavy toll that modern technology is having on humans and the earth. The visual tone poem contains neither dialogue nor a vocalized narration: its tone is set by the juxtaposition of images and the exceptional music by Philip Glass.
Hearts of Darkness: A Filmmaker's Apocalypse
A chronicle of the production problems — including bad weather, actors' health, war near the filming locations, and more — which plagued the filming of Apocalypse Now, increasing costs and nearly destroying the life and career of Francis Ford Coppola.
Bo Burnham: What.
Left brain and right brain duke it out and then belt out a tune in comedian Bo Burnham's quick and clever one-man show. As intelligent as he is lanky, Burnham cynically pokes at pop entertainment while offering unadulterated showmanship of his own.
Every school day, African-American teenagers William Gates and Arthur Agee travel 90 minutes each way from inner-city Chicago to St. Joseph High School in Westchester, Illinois, a predominately white suburban school well-known for the excellence of its basketball program. Gates and Agee dream of NBA stardom, and with the support of their close-knit families, they battle the social and physical obstacles that stand in their way. This acclaimed documentary was shot over the course of five years.
They Shall Not Grow Old
A documentary about World War I with never-before-seen footage to commemorate the centennial of Armistice Day, and the end of the war.
Follow Alex Honnold as he attempts to become the first person to ever free solo climb Yosemite's 3,000 foot high El Capitan wall. With no ropes or safety gear, this would arguably be the greatest feat in rock climbing history.
Notorious killer whale Tilikum is responsible for the deaths of three individuals, including a top killer whale trainer. Blackfish shows the sometimes devastating consequences of keeping such intelligent and sentient creatures in captivity.
A film that exposes the shocking truth behind the economic crisis of 2008. The global financial meltdown, at a cost of over $20 trillion, resulted in millions of people losing their homes and jobs. Through extensive research and interviews with major financial insiders, politicians and journalists, Inside Job traces the rise of a rogue industry and unveils the corrosive relationships which have corrupted politics, regulation and academia.
An in-depth look at the prison system in the United States and how it reveals the nation's history of racial inequality.
Virunga in the Democratic Republic of the Congo is Africa’s oldest national park, a UNESCO world heritage site, and a contested ground among insurgencies seeking to topple the government that see untold profits in the land. Among this ongoing power struggle, Virunga also happens to be the last natural habitat for the critically endangered mountain gorilla. The only thing standing in the way of the forces closing in around the gorillas: a handful of passionate park rangers and journalists fighting to secure the park’s borders and expose the corruption of its enemies. Filled with shocking footage, and anchored by the surprisingly deep and gentle characters of the gorillas themselves, Virunga is a galvanizing call to action around an ongoing political and environmental crisis in the Congo.
The Dawn Wall
In the middle of Yosemite National Park towers El Capitan, a huge block of granite whose smoothest side, the Dawn Wall, is said to be the most difficult rock climb in the world. Tommy Caldwell didn’t see inhospitable terrain, but rather a puzzle almost a kilometer tall. In The Dawn Wall, we follow him and Kevin Jorgeson in their historic ascent to the summit.
The Internet's Own Boy: The Story of Aaron Swartz
Programming prodigy and information activist Aaron Swartz achieved groundbreaking work in social justice and political organizing. His passion for open access ensnared him in a legal nightmare that ended with the taking of his own life at the age of 26.
No Direction Home: Bob Dylan
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.
The Last Waltz
Martin Scorsese's documentary intertwines footage from "The Band's" incredible farewell tour with probing backstage interviews and featured performances by Eric Clapton, Bob Dylan, Joni Mitchell, Van Morrison, and other rock legends.
My Octopus Teacher
After years of swimming every day in the freezing ocean at the tip of Africa, Craig Foster meets an unlikely teacher: a young octopus who displays remarkable curiosity. Visiting her den and tracking her movements for months on end he eventually wins the animal’s trust and they develop a never-before-seen bond between human and wild animal.
The Thin Blue Line
Errol Morris's unique documentary dramatically re-enacts the crime scene and investigation of a police officer's murder in Dallas.
Since the late 18th century American legal decision that the business corporation organizational model is legally a person, it has become a dominant economic, political and social force around the globe. This film takes an in-depth psychological examination of the organization model through various case studies. What the study illustrates is that in the its behaviour, this type of "person" typically acts like a dangerously destructive psychopath without conscience. Furthermore, we see the profound threat this psychopath has for our world and our future, but also how the people with courage, intelligence and determination can do to stop it.
Friends: The Reunion
The cast of Friends reunites for a once-in-a-lifetime celebration of the hit series, an unforgettable evening filled with iconic memories, uncontrollable laughter, happy tears, and special guests.
Super Size Me
Morgan Spurlock subjects himself to a diet based only on McDonald's fast food three times a day for thirty days without exercising to try to prove why so many Americans are fat or obese. He submits himself to a complete check-up by three doctors, comparing his weight along the way, resulting in a scary conclusion.
Cowspiracy: The Sustainability Secret
Follow the shocking, yet humorous, journey of an aspiring environmentalist, as he daringly seeks to find the real solution to the most pressing environmental issues and true path to sustainability.
Paradise Lost: The Child Murders at Robin Hood Hills
A horrific triple child murder leads to an indictment and trial of three nonconformist boys based on questionable evidence.
Passionate about ocean life, a filmmaker sets out to document the harm that humans do to marine species — and uncovers an alarming global conspiracy.
A look at the Apollo 11 mission to land on the moon led by commander Neil Armstrong and pilot Buzz Aldrin.
The King of Kong: A Fistful of Quarters
In this hilarious arcade showdown, a humble novice goes head-to-head against the reigning Donkey Kong champ in a confrontation that rocks the gaming world to its processors! For over 20 years, Billy Mitchell has owned the throne of the Donkey Kong world. No one could beat his top score until now. Newcomer Steve Wiebe claims to have beaten the unbeatable, but Mitchell isn't ready to relinquish his crown without a fight. Go behind the barrels as the two battle it out in a vicious war to earn the title of the true King of Kong.
The Fog of War
Using archival footage, cabinet conversation recordings, and an interview of the 85-year-old Robert McNamara, The Fog of War depicts his life, from working as a WWII whiz-kid military officer, to being the Ford Motor Company's president, to managing the Vietnam War as defense secretary for presidents Kennedy and Johnson.
When We Were Kings
It's 1974. Muhammad Ali is 32 and thought by many to be past his prime. George Foreman is ten years younger and the heavyweight champion of the world. Promoter Don King wants to make a name for himself and offers both fighters five million dollars apiece to fight one another, and when they accept, King has only to come up with the money. He finds a willing backer in Mobutu Sese Suko, the dictator of Zaire, and the "Rumble in the Jungle" is set, including a musical festival featuring some of America's top black performers, like James Brown and B.B. King.