Best Documentary Movies of 2005




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.

Starring: Joaquin Phoenix
Directed by: Shaun Monson
Release date: 2005-09-24

Grizzly Man


Werner Herzog's documentary film about the "Grizzly Man" Timothy Treadwell and what the thirteen summers in a National Park in Alaska were like in one man's attempt to protect the grizzly bears. The film is full of unique images and a look into the spirit of a man who sacrificed himself for nature.

Starring: Timothy Treadwell, Kathleen Parker, Warren Queeney, Willy Fulton, Sam Egli
Directed by: Werner Herzog
Release date: 2005-08-12

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.

Starring: Bob Dylan, Allen Ginsberg, Joan Baez, Johnny Cash, Pete Seeger
Directed by: Martin Scorsese
Release date: 2005-07-21

Metal: A Headbanger's Journey


The film discusses the traits and originators of some of metal's many subgenres, including the New Wave of British Heavy Metal, power metal, Nu metal, glam metal, thrash metal, black metal, and death metal. Dunn uses a family-tree-type flowchart to document some of the most popular metal subgenres. The film also explores various aspects of heavy metal culture.

Starring: Sam Dunn, Chris Adler, Tom Araya, Gavin Baddeley, Blasphemer
Directed by: Sam Dunn, Scot McFadyen, Jessica Joy Wise
Release date: 2005-09-14

49 Up


49 Up is the seventh film in a series of landmark documentaries that began 42 years ago when UK-based Granada's World in Action team, inspired by the Jesuit maxim "Give me the child until he is seven and I will give you the man," interviewed a diverse group of seven-year-old children from all over England, asking them about their lives and their dreams for the future. Michael Apted, a researcher for the original film, has returned to interview the "children" every seven years since, at ages 14, 21, 28, 35, 42 and now again at age 49.In this latest chapter, more life-changing decisions are revealed, more shocking announcements made and more of the original group take part than ever before, speaking out on a variety of subjects including love, marriage, career, class and prejudice.

Starring: Bruce Balden, Jacqueline Bassett, Symon Basterfield, Andrew Brackfield, Neil Hughes
Directed by: Michael Apted
Release date: 2005-09-15

Ashes and Snow

Ashes and Snow
Ashes and Snow, a film by Gregory Colbert, uses both still and movie cameras to explore extraordinary interactions between humans and animals. The 60-minute feature is a poetic narrative rather than a documentary. It aims to lift the natural and artificial barriers between humans and other species, dissolving the distance that exists between them.
Starring: Laurence Fishburne, Ken Watanabe, Jeanne Moreau, Enrique Rocha
Directed by: Gregory Colbert
Release date: 2005-03-05

The Devil and Daniel Johnston


This 2006 documentary film chronicles the life of Daniel Johnston, a manic-depressive genius singer/songwriter/artist, from childhood up to the present, with an emphasis on his mental illness and how it manifested itself in demonic self-obsession.

Starring: Daniel Johnston, Matt Groening, Louis Black, Gibby Haynes, Thurston Moore
Directed by: Jeff Feuerzeig
Release date: 2005-01-23

Why We Fight


Is American foreign policy dominated by the idea of military supremacy? Has the military become too important in American life? Jarecki's shrewd and intelligent polemic would seem to give an affirmative answer to each of these questions.

Starring: Ken Adelman, John Ashcroft, Osama Bin Laden, George W. Bush, George H. W. Bush
Directed by: Eugene Jarecki
Release date: 2005-01-01

Street Fight

Street Fight
This documentary follows the 2002 mayoral campaign in Newark, New Jersey in which the Cory Booker attempted to unseat longtime mayor Sharpe James
Starring: Cory Booker, Spike Lee, Al Sharpton, Cornel West
Directed by: Marshall Curry
Release date: 2005-01-01



Quadriplegics, who play full-contact rugby in wheelchairs, overcome unimaginable obstacles to compete in the Paralympic Games in Athens, Greece.

Starring: Joe Bishop, Keith Cavill, Andy Cohn, Scott Hogsett, Christopher Igoe
Directed by: Henry Alex Rubin, Dana Adam Shapiro
Release date: 2005-07-22

Crossing the Bridge: The Sound of Istanbul

Crossing the Bridge: The Sound of Istanbul
Award-winning director Fatih Akin takes us on a journey through Istanbul, the city that bridges Europe and Asia, and challenges familiar notions of east and west. He looks at the vibrant musical scene which includes traditional Turkish music plus rock and hip-hop.
Starring: Orhan Gencebay, Baba Zula
Directed by: Fatih Akin
Release date: 2005-05-27

Erasure Live! The Tank, the Swan, and the Balloon


British synthpop legends Erasure perform live at the Manchester Apollo on 8 June 1992, as part of their Phantasmagorical Entertainment Tour.

Starring: Andy Bell, Vince Clarke, Annick Clarisse, Veronique Clarisse, Sadie Fletcher
Directed by: David Mallet
Release date: 2005-10-28

Workingman's Death

Workingman's Death
Is heavy manual labour disappearing or is it just becoming invisible? Where can we still find it in the 21st century? Workingman's Death follows the trail of the HEROES in the illegal mines of the Ukraine, sniffs out GHOST among the sulphur workers in Indonesia, finds itself face to face with LIONS at a slaughterhouse in Nigeria, mingles with BROTHERS as they cut a huge oil tanker into pieces in Pakistan, and joins Chinese steel workers in hoping for a glorious FUTURE.
Directed by: Michael Glawogger
Release date: 2005-11-25


The Gallipoli campaign of World War I was so controversial & devastating, it changed the face of battle forever. Using diaries, letters, photographs and memoirs, acclaimed director, Tolga Ornek, traces the personal journeys of Australian, New Zealand, British and Turkish soldiers, from innocence and patriotism to hardship and heartbreak.
Starring: Jeremy Irons, Sam Neill, Zafer Ergin
Directed by: Tolga Örnek
Release date: 2005-03-18

Live 8

Live 8
On 2 July 2005 an estimated 3 billion people came together in the fight against extreme poverty. LIVE 8 - 10 concerts featuring over 1000 musicians from across the globe - asked people not for their money, but for their voice.
Starring: Paul McCartney, Richard Ashcroft, Elton John, Pete Doherty, Dido
Release date: 2005-11-07

The Fearless Freaks


Equal parts punk and psychedelia, the Flaming Lips emerged from Oklahoma City as one of the most bracing bands of the late 1980's. The Fearless Freaks documents their rise from Butthole Surfers-imitating noisemakers to grand poobahs of orchestral pop masterpieces. Filmmaker Bradley Beesely had the good fortune of living in the same neighborhood as lead Lip Wayne Coyne, who quickly enlisted his buddy to document his band's many concerts and assorted exploits. The early footage is a riot, with tragic hair styles on proud display as the boys attempt to cover up their lack of natural talent with sheer volume. During one show, they even have a friend bring a motorcycle on stage, which is then miked for sound and revved throughout the performance, clearing the club with toxic levels of carbon monoxide. Great punk rock stuff. Interspersed among the live bits are interviews with the band's family and friends, revealing the often tragic circumstances of their childhoods and early career.

Starring: Beck, Bradley Beesley, Steve Burns, Dolly Coyne, Kenny Coyne
Directed by: Bradley Beesley
Release date: 2005-05-25

Darwin's Nightmare


Africa in the sixties. The Nile perch, a ravenous predator, is introduced into Lake Victoria as a scientific experiment, causing the extinction of many native species. Its meat is exported everywhere in exchange for weapons, creating a globalized evil alliance on the lake shores: local fishermen, bank agents, homeless children, African ministers, EU commissioners, Tanzanian prostitutes and Russian pilots. An infernal nightmare in the real world that wipes out Darwin's Theory of Evolution.

Starring: Elizabeth 'Eliza' Maganga Nsese, Raphael Tukiko Wagara, Dimond Remtulia, Marcus Nyoni, Sergey Samarets
Directed by: Hubert Sauper
Release date: 2005-01-21



The documentary recounts the world's first nuclear attack and examines the alarming repercussions. Covering a three-week period from the Trinity test to the atomic bombing of Hiroshima, the program chronicles America's political gamble and the planning for the momentous event. Archival film, dramatizations, and special effects feature what occurred aboard the Enola Gay (the aircraft that dropped the bomb) and inside the exploding bomb.

Starring: John Hurt, Shuntaro Hida, Robert Austin, George Anton
Directed by: Paul Wilmshurst
Release date: 2005-08-05

Behind the Mask: The Story of 'The Phantom of the Opera'

Behind the Mask: The Story of 'The Phantom of the Opera'
A documentary about the original "Phantom of the Opera" stage show and its creation.
Starring: Paul Hickey, Andrew Lloyd Webber, Gillian Lynne, Cameron Mackintosh
Directed by: Jamie Crichton
Release date: 2005-05-02

Punk: Attitude

Punk: Attitude
A documentary on the music, performers, attitude and distinctive look that made up punk rock.
Starring: Jello Biafra, Henry Rollins, Jim Jarmusch, Wayne Kramer, Glenn Branca
Directed by: Don Letts
Release date: 2005-07-04

Also check Best documentary movies of 2004.

Check out our top containing the Best Documentary Movies of 2005. This top was obtained with our unique algorithm ordered by our unique ranking system.