Best Documentary Movies of 2009


The Cove


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.

Starring: Joe Chisholm, Mandy-Rae Cruikshank, Charles Hambleton, Simon Hutchins, Kirk Krack
Directed by: Louie Psihoyos
Release date: 2009-07-31

Capitalism: A Love Story


Michael Moore comes home to the issue he's been examining throughout his career: the disastrous impact of corporate dominance on the everyday lives of Americans (and by default, the rest of the world).

Starring: Michael Moore, Thora Birch, William Black, Elijah Cummings, Baron Hill
Directed by: Michael Moore
Release date: 2009-09-06

This Is It


A compilation of interviews, rehearsals and backstage footage of Michael Jackson as he prepared for his series of sold-out shows in London.

Starring: Michael Jackson, Orianthi, Kenny Ortega, Dorian Holley, Patrick Woodroffe
Directed by: Kenny Ortega
Release date: 2009-10-28



An ecological drama/documentary, filmed throughout the globe. Part thriller, part meditation on the vanishing wonders of the sub-aquatic world.

Starring: Pierce Brosnan, Jacques Perrin, Rie Miyazawa, Aldo Baglio, Matthias Brandt
Directed by: Jacques Perrin, Jacques Cluzaud
Release date: 2009-10-17

Charles Darwin and the Tree of Life

Charles Darwin and the Tree of Life
Darwin's great insight – that life has evolved over millions of years by natural selection – has been the cornerstone of all David Attenborough’s natural history series. In this documentary, he takes us on a deeply personal journey which reflects his own life and the way he came to understand Darwin’s theory.
Starring: David Attenborough
Directed by: David Attenborough
Release date: 2009-02-01

Waking Sleeping Beauty


By the mid-1980s, the fabled animation studios of Walt Disney had fallen on hard times. The artists were polarized between newcomers hungry to innovate and old timers not yet ready to relinquish control. These conditions produced a series of box-office flops and pessimistic forecasts: maybe the best days of animation were over. Maybe the public didn't care. Only a miracle or a magic spell could produce a happy ending. Waking Sleeping Beauty is no fairy tale. It's the true story of how Disney regained its magic with a staggering output of hits - "Little Mermaid," "Beauty and the Beast ," "Aladdin," "The Lion King," and more - over a 10-year period.

Starring: Tim Burton, John Lasseter, Don Bluth, Howard Ashman, Jeffrey Katzenberg
Directed by: Don Hahn
Release date: 2009-09-05

The U

The U
Throughout the 1980s, Miami, Florida, was at the center of a racial and cultural shift taking place throughout the country. Overwhelmed by riots and tensions, Miami was a city in flux, and the University of Miami football team served as a microcosm for this evolution. The image of the predominantly white university was forever changed when coach Howard Schnellenberger scoured some of the toughest ghettos in Florida to recruit mostly black players for his team. With a newly branded swagger, inspired and fueled by the quickly growing local Miami hip hop culture, these Hurricanes took on larger-than-life personalities and won four national titles between 1983 and 1991. Filmmaker Billy Corben, a Miami native and University of Miami alum, will tell the story of how these “Bad Boys” of football changed the attitude of the game they played, and how this serene campus was transformed into “The U.”
Starring: Dwayne Johnson, Billy Corben, Luther Campbell
Directed by: Billy Corben
Release date: 2009-12-12

Facing Ali

Facing Ali
Ten of Muhammad Ali's former rivals pay tribute to the three-time world heavyweight champion.
Starring: George Chuvalo, Henry Cooper, George Foreman, Joe Frazier, Larry Holmes
Directed by: Pete McCormack
Release date: 2009-01-01

I Knew It Was You: Rediscovering John Cazale


John Cazale was in only five films - The Godfather, The Conversation, The Godfather, Part Two, Dog Day Afternoon, and The Deer Hunter - each was nominated for Best Picture. Yet today most people don't even know his name. I KNEW IT WAS YOU is a fresh tour through movies that defined a generation.

Starring: John Cazale, Al Pacino, Meryl Streep, Robert De Niro, Olympia Dukakis
Directed by: Richard Shepard
Release date: 2009-01-16

Boy Interrupted

Boy Interrupted
On the night of Oct. 2, 2005, Hart and Dana Perry’s 15-year-old son Evan jumped to his death from his New York City bedroom window. This moving film is the story, told by his filmmaker parents and others who knew him, of Evan’s life and death, and his life-long struggle with bipolar disorder. It delves into the complexity of Evan’s disease, sharing his family’s journey through the maze of mental illness. In showing how one family deals with generations of loss and grief, the film defies the stigma related to mental illness and suicide and tells a human story that touches everyone.
Starring: Evan Scott Perry
Directed by: Dana Heinz Perry
Release date: 2009-10-03

The Most Dangerous Man in America: Daniel Ellsberg and the Pentagon Papers


"The Most Dangerous Man in America" is the story of what happens when a former Pentagon insider, armed only with his conscience, steadfast determination, and a file cabinet full of classified documents, decides to challenge an "Imperial" Presidency-answerable to neither Congress, the press, nor the people-in order to help end the Vietnam War.

Starring: Daniel Ellsberg, Patricia Ellsberg, John Dean, Howard Zinn
Directed by: Judith Ehrlich, Rick Goldsmith
Release date: 2009-10-16

Under the Sea 3D


Imagine a world of incredible color and beauty. Of crabs wearing jellyfish for hats. Of fish disguised as frogs, stones and shag carpets. Of a kaleidoscope of life dancing and weaving, floating and darting in an underwater wonderland. Now, go explore it! Howard Hall and his filmmaking team, who brought you Deep Sea and Into the Deep, take you into tropical waters alive with adventure: the Great Barrier Reef and other South Pacific realms. Narrated by Jim Carrey and featuring astonishing camerawork, this amazing film brings you face to fin with Nature's marvels, from the terrible grandeur (and terrible teeth) of a Great White to the comic antics of a lovestruck cuttlefish. Excitement and fun run deep Under the Sea!

Starring: Jim Carrey
Directed by: Howard Hall
Release date: 2009-02-13

The Yes Men Fix the World


THE YES MEN FIX THE WORLD is a screwball true story about two gonzo political activists who, posing as top executives of giant corporations, lie their way into big business conferences and pull off the world's most outrageous pranks.

Starring: Andy Bichlbaum, Mike Bonanno, Reggie Watts
Directed by: Andy Bichlbaum, Mike Bonanno, Kurt Engfehr
Release date: 2009-01-18

The Shock Doctrine


An investigation of "disaster capitalism", based on Naomi Klein's proposition that neo-liberal capitalism feeds on natural disasters, war and terror to establish its dominance.

Starring: Kieran O'Brien, Naomi Klein, Milton Friedman
Directed by: Mat Whitecross, Michael Winterbottom
Release date: 2009-09-01

Best Worst Movie


A look at the making of the film Troll 2 (1990) and its journey from being crowned the "worst film of all time" to a cherished cult classic.

Starring: Michael Stephenson, George Hardy, Jason Steadman, Jason Wright, Zack Carlson
Directed by: Michael Stephenson
Release date: 2009-01-01

RiP!: A Remix Manifesto


RiP!: A Remix Manifesto is a 2008 open source documentary film about the "the changing concept of copyright" directed by Brett Gaylor.

Starring: Girl Talk, Lawrence Lessig, Cory Doctorow, Gilberto Gil
Directed by: Brett Gaylor
Release date: 2009-04-01

Winnebago Man

Winnebago Man
Jack Rebney is the most famous man you've never heard of - after cursing his way through a Winnebago sales video, Rebney's outrageously funny outtakes became an underground sensation and made him an internet superstar. Filmmaker Ben Steinbauer journeys to the top of a mountain to find the recluse who unwittingly became the "Winnebago Man".
Starring: Jack Rebney, Ben Steinbauer, Nick Prueher, Joe Pickett, Douglas Rushkoff
Directed by: Ben Steinbauer
Release date: 2009-03-14

Beyoncé: I Am... Yours


Filmed at the Encore Theater at Wynn Las Vegas, this extraordinary concert features performances of over 30 songs from Beyoncé’s three multi-platinum solo releases, Destiny’s Child catalog and a few surprises. This amazing concert includes the #1 hits, “Single Ladies (Put A Ring On It),” “If I Were A Boy,” “Halo,” “Sweet Dreams” and showcases a gut-wrenching performance of “That’s Why You’re Beautiful.” Included on "I AM... YOURS An Intimate Performance At Wynn Las Vegas," is a biographical storytelling woven between many songs and exclusive behind-the-scenes footage. "I AM... YOURS An Intimate Performance At Wynn Las Vegas" is Beyoncé’s first live CD and fans can also consider the release a greatest hits collection.

Starring: Beyoncé Knowles
Directed by: Nick Wickham
Release date: 2009-11-23



A feature-length documentary about our complex relationship with manufactured objects and, by extension, the people who design them.

Directed by: Gary Hustwit
Release date: 2009-03-14

Fat Head

Fat Head
A comedian replies to the "Super Size Me" crowd by losing weight on a fast-food diet while demonstrating that almost everything you think you know about the obesity "epidemic" and healthy eating is wrong.
Starring: Tom Naughton, Chareva Naughton
Directed by: Tom Naughton
Release date: 2009-02-03

Also check Best documentary movies of 2008.

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