Best Documentary Movies of 2012

1.

Searching for Sugar Man

5.8
8.2/10

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.

Starring: Dennis Coffey, Rodriguez, Stephen Segerman, Mike Theodore, Regan Rodriguez
Directed by: Malik Bendjelloul
Release date: 2012-06-30
2.

Marley

5.6
8.0/10

Bob Marley's universal appeal, impact on music history and role as a social and political prophet is both unique and unparalleled. Directed by Academy Award-winning director Kevin Macdonald (The Last King of Scotland), MARLEY is the definitive life story of the musician, revolutionary, and legend, from his early days to his rise to international superstardom. Made with the support of the Marley family, the film features rare footage, incredible performances and revelatory interviews with the people that knew him best.

Starring: Bob Marley, Ziggy Marley, Rita Marley, Cedella Marley, Jimmy Cliff
Directed by: Kevin Macdonald
Release date: 2012-04-20
3.

Stories We Tell

5.3
7.6/10

Filmmaker Sarah Polley interviews members of her family as they look back on decades-old events.

Starring: Michael Polley, Harry Gulkin, Susy Buchan, John Buchan, Mark Polley
Directed by: Sarah Polley
Release date: 2012-10-12
4.

The Imposter

5.3
7.5/10

In 1994 a 13-year-old boy disappeared without a trace from his home in San Antonio, Texas. Three and a half years later he is found alive thousands of miles away in a village in southern Spain with a horrifying story of kidnap and torture. His family is overjoyed to bring him home. But all is not quite as it seems.

Starring: Frédéric Bourdin, Adam O'Brian, Anna Ruben, Cathy Dresbach, Alan Teichman
Directed by: Bart Layton
Release date: 2012-07-13
5.

The Queen of Versailles

5.2
7.1/10

With the epic dimensions of a Shakespearean tragedy, The Queen of Versailles follows billionaires Jackie and David’s rags-to-riches story to uncover the innate virtues and flaws of their American dream. We open on the triumphant construction of the biggest house in America, a sprawling, 90,000-square-foot mansion inspired by Versailles. Since a booming time-share business built on the real-estate bubble is financing it, the economic crisis brings progress to a halt and seals the fate of its owners. We witness the impact of this turn of fortune over the next two years in a riveting film fraught with delusion, denial, and self-effacing humor.

Starring: Jackie Siegel, David Siegel, Virginia Nebab
Directed by: Lauren Greenfield
Release date: 2012-07-06
6.

Katy Perry: Part of Me

4.6
5.9/10

Giving fans unprecedented access to the real life of the music sensation, Katy Perry: Part of Me exposes the hard work, dedication and phenomenal talent of a girl who remained true to herself and her vision in order to achieve her dreams. Featuring rare behind-the-scenes interviews, personal moments between Katy and her friends, and all-access footage of rehearsals, choreography, Katy’s signature style and more, Katy Perry: Part of Me reveals the singer’s unwavering belief that if you can be yourself, then you can be anything.

Starring: Katy Perry, Russell Brand, Shannon Woodward, Rachael Markarian, Mia Moretti
Directed by: Dan Cutforth, Jane Lipsitz
Release date: 2012-06-28
7.

Room 237

4.5
6.2/10

A subjective documentary that explores various theories about hidden meanings in Stanley Kubrick's classic film The Shining. Five very different points of view are illuminated through voice over, film clips, animation and dramatic reenactments.

Starring: Stephen King, Bill Blakemore, Geoffrey Cocks, Juli Kearns, John Fell Ryan
Directed by: Rodney Ascher
Release date: 2012-10-26
8.

We Are Legion: The Story of the Hacktivists

4.4
7.3/10

WE ARE LEGION: THE STORY OF THE HACTIVISTS takes us inside the world of Anonymous, the radical "hacktivist" collective that has redefined civil disobedience for the digital age. The film explores early hacktivist groups like Cult of the Dead Cow and Electronic Disturbance Theater, then moves to Anonymous' raucous beginnings on the website 4chan. Through interviews with current members, people recently returned from prison or facing trial, writers, academics, activists and major players in various "raids," the documentary traces Anonymous’ evolution from merry pranksters to a full-blown movement with a global reach, the most transformative civil disobedience of our time.

Starring: Anon2World, Anonyops, Julian Assange, Aaron Barr, Barrett Brown
Directed by: Brian Knappenberger
Release date: 2012-01-20
9.

George Harrison: Living in the Material World

4.2
8.2/10

Director Martin Scorsese profiles former Beatle George Harrison in this reverent portrait that mixes interviews and archival footage, featuring commentary from the likes of Paul McCartney, Eric Clapton, Ringo Starr and Yoko Ono.

Starring: George Harrison, Paul McCartney, John Lennon, Ringo Starr, Olivia Harrison
Directed by: Martin Scorsese
Release date: 2012-09-27
10.

Jason Becker: Not Dead Yet

4.2
8.1/10

When doctors diagnosed 19-year-old rock star Jason Becker with Lou Gehrig's Disease, they said he would never make music again and that he wouldn’t live to see his 25th birthday. 22 years later, without the ability to move or to speak, Jason is alive and making music with his eyes.

Starring: Jason Becker, Joe Satriani, Steve Vai, Marty Friedman
Directed by: Jesse Vile
Release date: 2012-03-03
11.

You Don't Know Bo

4.1
8.1/10
You Don't Know Bo
A close look at two-sport athlete Bo Jackson and the creation of a legend. Even without winning a Super Bowl or World Series, Bo will forever be known as a cultural icon and one of the most famous athletes of all time. This film will examine the truths and tall tales that surround Jackson, and how his seemingly impossible feats captured our collective imagination for an all-too-brief moment in time.
Starring: Bo Jackson, James Andrews, Bomani Jones, Boomer Esiason, Mike Greenberg
Directed by: Michael Bonfiglio
Release date: 2012-12-08
12.

Steve Jobs: The Lost Interview

4.1
8.0/10
Steve Jobs: The Lost Interview
A conversation with Steve Jobs as he was running NeXT, the company he had founded after leaving Apple.
Starring: Steve Jobs, Bob Cringely
Directed by: Paul Sen
Release date: 2012-05-11
13.

Mea Maxima Culpa: Silence in the House of God

4.1
8.0/10

Academy Award®–winning documentary filmmaker Alex Gibney (Taxi to the Dark Side) explores the charged issue of pedophilia in the Catholic Church, following a trail from the first known protest against clerical sexual abuse in the United States and all way to the Vatican.

Starring: Jamey Sheridan, Chris Cooper, Ethan Hawke, John Slattery, Brady Bryson
Directed by: Alex Gibney
Release date: 2012-11-16
14.

The House I Live In

4.1
7.9/10

In the past 40 years, the War on Drugs has accounted for 45 million arrests, made America the world's largest jailer, and destroyed impoverished communities at home and abroad. Yet drugs are cheaper, purer, and more available today than ever. Where did we go wrong, and what can be done?

Starring: Eugene Jarecki
Directed by: Eugene Jarecki
Release date: 2012-10-05
15.

Marina Abramovi?: The Artist Is Present

4.1
7.9/10

Performance artist Marina Abramovic prepares for a major retrospective of her work at the Museum of Modern Art in New York.

Starring: Marina Abramovi?, Ulay, Klaus Biesenbach, David Balliano, Chrissie Iles
Directed by: Matthew Akers
Release date: 2012-01-01
16.

The Central Park Five

4.1
7.7/10

In 1989, five black and Latino teenagers from Harlem were arrested and later convicted of raping a white woman in New York City's Central Park. They spent between 6 and 13 years in prison before a serial rapist confessed that he alone had committed the crime, leading to their convictions being overturned. Set against a backdrop of a decaying city beset by violence and racial tension, this is the story of that horrific crime, the rush to judgment by the police, a media clamoring for sensational stories and an outraged public, and the five lives upended by this miscarriage of justice.

Starring: Antron McCray, Kevin Richardson, Yusef Salaam, Raymond Santana, Kharey Wise
Directed by: Sarah Burns, Ken Burns, David McMahon
Release date: 2012-05-24
17.

Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry

4.1
7.6/10

Ai Weiwei is known for many things – great architecture, subversive in-your-face art, and political activism. He has also called for greater transparency on the part of the Chinese state. Director Alison Klayman chronicles the complexities of Ai’s life for three years, beginning with his rise to public prominence via blog and Twitter after he questioned the deaths of more than 5,000 students in the 2008 Sichuan earthquake. The record continues through his widely publicized arrest in Beijing in April of 2011. As Ai prepares various works of art for major international exhibitions, his activism heats up, and his run-ins with China’s authorities become more and more frequent.

Starring: Ai Weiwei, Dan-qing Chen
Directed by: Alison Klayman
Release date: 2012-06-14
18.

56 Up

4.0
7.9/10

When a cross-section of seven-year-olds were interviewed for 7 Up in 1964 it was immediately evident that their social backgrounds influenced their attitudes towards life. While the upper class children were confident and self-assured, those from middle and working class backgrounds were resigned to a challenging life of hard work. This premise was put to the test every seven years when the same group were interviewed about the progression of their lives. 49 years in the making, the changes that occurred to the original 14 make for fascinating television and are in many ways the stories of all our lives. From success and disappointment, marriage and childbirth, to poverty and illness, nearly every facet of life has been captured on film. Now, at the age of 56, the group are once more brought together and, with the benefit of hindsight, assess whether their lives have been ruled by circumstance or self-determination.

Starring: Peter Davies, Neil Hughes, Tony Walker, Lynn Johnson, Susan Sullivan
Directed by: Michael Apted
Release date: 2012-05-14
19.

West of Memphis

4.0
7.9/10

An examination of a failure of justice in Arkansas. The documentary tells the hitherto unknown story behind an extraordinary and desperate fight to bring the truth to light. Told and made by those who lived it, the filmmakers' unprecedented access to the inner workings of the defense, allows the film to show the investigation, research and appeals process in a way that has never been seen before; revealing shocking and disturbing new information about a case that still haunts the American South.

Starring: Jason Baldwin, Julie Ann Doan, Damien Wayne Echols, Pam Hobbs, Jessie Misskelley
Directed by: Amy Berg
Release date: 2012-12-25
20.

Beware of Mr. Baker

4.0
7.7/10

Ginger Baker is known for playing in Cream and Blind Faith, but the world's greatest drummer didn’t hit his stride until 1972, when he arrived in Nigeria and discovered Fela Kuti's Afrobeat. After leaving Nigeria, Ginger returned to his pattern of drug-induced self-destruction, and countless groundbreaking musical works, eventually settling in South Africa, where the 73-year-old lives with his young bride and 39 polo ponies. This documentary includes interviews with Eric Clapton, Steve Winwood, Carlos Santana and more. Beware of Mr. Baker! With every smash of the drum is a man smashing his way through life.

Starring: Ginger Baker, Bob Adcock, Tony Allen, Carmine Appice, Ginette Baker
Directed by: Jay Bulger
Release date: 2012-11-28

Also check Best documentary movies of 2011.

Check out our top containing the Best Documentary Movies of 2012. This top was obtained with our unique algorithm ordered by our unique ranking system.

tmdb