Best Documentary Movies of 2008


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.

Starring: Kurt Kuenne, Andrew Bagby, David Bagby, Kathleen Bagby, Shirley Turner
Directed by: Kurt Kuenne
Release date: 2008-10-31

Zeitgeist: Addendum


Zeitgeist: Addendum premiered at the 5th Annual Artivist Film Festival. Director Peter Joseph stated: "The failure of our world to resolve the issues of war, poverty, and corruption, rests within a gross ignorance about what guides human behavior to begin with. It address the true source of the instability in our society, while offering the only fundamental, long-term solution."

Directed by: Peter Joseph
Release date: 2008-10-02

Man on Wire


On August 7th 1974, French tightrope walker Philippe Petit stepped out on a high wire, illegally rigged between New York's World Trade Center twin towers, then the world's tallest buildings. After nearly an hour of performing on the wire, 1,350 feet above the sidewalks of Manhattan, he was arrested. This fun and spellbinding documentary chronicles Philippe Petit's "highest" achievement.

Starring: Philippe Petit, Jean François Heckel, Jean-Louis Blondeau, Annie Allix, David Forman
Directed by: James Marsh
Release date: 2008-07-25

Food, Inc.


Documentary filmmaker Robert Kenner examines how mammoth corporations have taken over all aspects of the food chain in the United States, from the farms where our food is grown to the chain restaurants and supermarkets where it's sold. Narrated by author and activist Eric Schlosser, the film features interviews with average Americans about their dietary habits, commentary from food experts like Michael Pollan and unsettling footage shot inside large-scale animal processing plants.

Starring: Michael Pollan, Eric Schlosser, Richard Lobb, Vince Edwards, Carole Morison
Directed by: Robert Kenner
Release date: 2008-09-07



Commentator-comic Bill Maher plays devil's advocate with religion as he talks to believers about their faith. Traveling around the world, Maher examines the tenets of Christianity, Judaism and Islam and raises questions about homosexuality, proof of Christ's existence, Jewish Sabbath laws, violent Muslim extremists.

Starring: Bill Maher, Jose Luis De Jesus Miranda, Andrew Newberg, Steve Burg, Tal Bachman
Directed by: Larry Charles
Release date: 2008-10-01

Life in Cold Blood

Life in Cold Blood
David Attenborough hosts this compelling documentary series that explores the world of reptiles and amphibians, using amazing new technology that gives viewers a real inside look at these creatures' lives. A co-production between BBC and Animal Planet, the show follows a variety of cold-blooded creatures all over the world, examining the individual behavior and complex societies of these fascinating animals.
Release date: 2008-02-04

Bigger Stronger Faster*


In America, we define ourselves in the superlative: we are the biggest, strongest, fastest country in the world. Is it any wonder that so many of our heroes are on performance enhancing drugs? Director Christopher Bell explores America's win-at-all-cost culture by examining how his two brothers became members of the steroid-subculture in an effort to realize their American dream.

Starring: Sylvester Stallone, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Chris Bell, Mark Bellinghaus, Mike Bell
Directed by: Chris Bell
Release date: 2008-05-30



Director James Toback takes an unflinching, uncompromising look at the life of Mike Tyson--almost solely from the perspective of the man himself. TYSON alternates between the controversial boxer addressing the camera and shots of the champion's fights to create an arresting picture of the man.

Starring: Mike Tyson
Directed by: James Toback
Release date: 2008-05-16

Shine a Light


Martin Scorsese and the Rolling Stones unite in "Shine A Light," a look at The Rolling Stones." Scorsese filmed the Stones over a two-day period at the intimate Beacon Theater in New York City in fall 2006. Cinematographers capture the raw energy of the legendary band.

Starring: Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Charlie Watts, Ron Wood, Christina Aguilera
Directed by: Martin Scorsese
Release date: 2008-02-07

National Geographic: Journey to the Edge of the Universe

National Geographic: Journey to the Edge of the Universe
In one single, epic camera move we journey from Earth's surface to the outermost reaches of the universe on a grand tour of the cosmos, to explore newborn stars, distant planets, black holes and beyond.
Starring: Alec Baldwin, Sean Pertwee
Directed by: Yavar Abbas
Release date: 2008-12-06

102 Minutes That Changed America


The morning of September 11, 2001 is shown through multiple video cameras in and around New York City, from the moment the first WTC tower is hit until after both towers collapse.

Directed by: Seth Skundrick, Nicole Rittenmeyer
Release date: 2008-01-01

Global Metal


In GLOBAL METAL, directors Scot McFadyen and Sam Dunn set out to discover how the West's most maligned musical genre - heavy metal - has impacted the world's cultures beyond Europe and North America. The film follows metal fan and anthropologist Sam Dunn on a whirlwind journey through Asia, South America and the Middle East as he explores the underbelly of the world's emerging extreme music scenes; from Indonesian death metal to Chinese black metal to Iranian thrash metal. GLOBAL METAL reveals a worldwide community of metalheads who aren't just absorbing metal from the West - they're transforming it - creating a new form of cultural expression in societies dominated by conflict, corruption and mass-consumerism.

Starring: Sam Dunn, Rafael Bittencourt, Bruce Dickinson, Adrian Smith, Dave Murray
Directed by: Sam Dunn
Release date: 2008-06-20

Young @ Heart


Documents the true story of the final weeks of rehearsal for the Young at Heart Chorus in Northampton, MA and many of whom must overcome health adversities to participate. Their music going against the stereotype of their age group. Although they have toured Europe and sang for royalty, this account focuses on preparing new songs for a concert in their home town.

Starring: Joe Benoit, Helen Boston, Louise Canady, Nelsan Ellis, Elaine Fligman
Directed by: Sally George, Stephen Walker
Release date: 2008-10-02

Burma VJ: Reporting from a Closed Country


Going beyond the occasional news clip from Burma, the acclaimed filmmaker, Anders Østergaard, brings us close to the video journalists who deliver the footage. Though risking torture and life in jail, courageous young citizens of Burma live the essence of journalism as they insist on keeping up the flow of news from their closed country.

Starring: George W. Bush, Ko Muang, Aung San Suu Kyi
Directed by: Anders Østergaard
Release date: 2008-11-12

The Wrecking Crew


A celebration of the musical work of a group of session musicians known as "The Wrecking Crew", a band that provided back-up instrumentals to such legendary recording artists as Frank Sinatra, The Beach Boys and Bing Crosby.

Starring: Lou Adler, Herb Alpert, Hal Blaine, Glen Campbell, Al Casey
Directed by: Denny Tedesco
Release date: 2008-03-11

Sold Out: A Threevening with Kevin Smith

Sold Out: A Threevening with Kevin Smith
Kevin Smith brings his famous and "infamous" Q&A back to his hometown of Red Bank, New Jersey for his 37th birthday.
Starring: Kevin Smith, Jennifer Schwalbach Smith, Harley Quinn Smith, Grace Smith
Directed by: Joey Figueroa, Zak Knutson
Release date: 2008-10-22

Let's Make Money


Let’s Make Money is an Austrian documentary by Erwin Wagenhofer released in the year 2008. It is about aspects of the development of the world wide financial system.

Starring: Mark Mobius
Directed by: Erwin Wagenhofer
Release date: 2008-10-30

Not Quite Hollywood


As Australian cinema broke through to international audiences in the 1970s through respected art house films like Peter Weir's "Picnic At Hanging Rock," a new underground of low-budget exploitation filmmakers were turning out considerably less highbrow fare. Documentary filmmaker Mark Hartley explores this unbridled era of sex and violence, complete with clips from some of the scene's most outrageous flicks and interviews with the renegade filmmakers themselves.

Starring: Phillip Adams, Glory Annen, Briony Behets, Steve Bisley, Jamie Blanks
Directed by: Mark Hartley
Release date: 2008-08-28

Gonzo: The Life and Work of Dr. Hunter S. Thompson


Fueled by a raging libido, Wild Turkey, and superhuman doses of drugs, Thompson was a true "free lance, " goring sacred cows with impunity, hilarity, and a steel-eyed conviction for writing wrongs. Focusing on the good doctor's heyday, 1965 to 1975, the film includes clips of never-before-seen (nor heard) home movies, audiotapes, and passages from unpublished manuscripts.

Starring: Hunter S. Thompson, Johnny Depp, Muhammad Ali, Warren Beatty, George W. Bush
Directed by: Alex Gibney
Release date: 2008-07-04

Standard Operating Procedure


Errol Morris examines the incidents of abuse and torture of suspected terrorists at the hands of U.S. forces at the Abu Ghraib prison.

Starring: Javal Davis, Ken Davis, Tony Diaz, Tim Dugan, Lynndie England
Directed by: Errol Morris
Release date: 2008-02-12

Also check Best documentary movies of 2007.

Check out our top containing the Best Documentary Movies of 2008. This top was obtained with our unique algorithm ordered by our unique ranking system.