Best Documentary Movies of 2013
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.
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.
Shot in France, England, Switzerland and the United States, this documentary covers director Alejandro Jodorowsky (El Topo, Holy Mountain, Santa Sangre) and his 1974 Quixotic attempt to adapt the seminal sci-fi novel Dune into a feature film. After spending 2 years and millions of dollars, the massive undertaking eventually fell apart, but the artists Jodorowsky assembled for the legendary project continued to work together. This group of artists, or his “warriors” as Jodorowsky named them, went on to define modern sci-fi cinema with such films as Alien, Blade Runner, Star Wars and Total Recall.
The history of Sound City and their huge recording device; exploring how digital change has allowed 'people that have no place' in music to become stars. It follows former Nirvana drummer and Foo Fighter David Grohl as he attempts to resurrect the studio back to former glories.
20 Feet from Stardom
Backup singers live in a world that lies just beyond the spotlight. Their voices bring harmony to the biggest bands in popular music, but we've had no idea who these singers are or what lives they lead, until now.
Africa: The Greatest Show On Earth
Sir David Attenborough takes a breath-taking journey through the vast and diverse continent of Africa as it's never been seen before. From the richness of the Cape of Good Hope to blizzards in the high Atlas Mountains, from the brooding jungles of the Congo to the steaming swamps and misty savannahs, Africa explores the whole continent. An astonishing array of previously unknown places are revealed along with bizarre new creatures and extraordinary behaviours.Using the latest in filming technology including remote HD cameras, BBC One takes an animal's eye view of the action. The journey begins in the Kalahari, Africa's ancient southwest corner, where two extraordinary deserts sit side by side and even the most familiar of its creatures have developed ingenious survival techniques.
Tim Jenison, a Texas based inventor, attempts to solve one of the greatest mysteries in all art: How did Dutch Master Johannes Vermeer manage to paint so photo-realistically 150 years before the invention of photography? Spanning a decade, Jenison's adventure takes him to Holland, on a pilgrimage to the North coast of Yorkshire to meet artista David Hockney, and eventually even to Buckingham Palace. The epic research project Jenison embarques on is as extraordinary as what he discovers.
Africa, co-produced by the BBC Natural History Unit and the Discovery Channel, focuses on wildlife and wild habitats in Africa, and has been four years in the making.
Investigative journalist, Jeremy Scahill is pulled into an unexpected journey as he chases down the hidden truth behind America's expanding covert wars, and examines how the US government has responded to international terrorist threats in ways that seem to go against the established laws of the land.
As the Large Hadron Collider is about to be launched for the first time, physicists are on the cusp of the greatest scientific discovery of all time - or perhaps their greatest failure.
Terms and Conditions May Apply
Have you ever read the Terms and Conditions and Privacy Policies connected to every website you visit, phone call you make, or app you use? Of course you haven’t. But those agreements allow corporations to do things with your personal information you could never even imagine. This film explores the intent hidden within these ridiculous agreements, and reveals what corporations and governments are legally taking from you and the outrageous consequences that result from clicking “I accept.”
Adolf Hitler: The Greatest Story Never Told
Adolf Hitler, born in Braunau, one man who will change the history of the world forever. It follows his childhood to the death of his mother and his broken ambition to become an artist, then further to his entry into politics. His service in the army, accolades, his writing Mein Kampf, politics and most importantly Germany's revival are well explained followed by WW2. It also covers the effect on Germany's after the WW2 defeat up until the fall of the Berlin Wall.
Survive and Advance
Documentary exploring the 1983 North Carolina State Wolfpack men's basketball team's success after being the underdogs in the competitions.
One Direction: This Is Us
"One Direction: This Is Us" is a captivating and intimate all-access look at life on the road for the global music phenomenon. Weaved with stunning live concert footage, this inspiring feature film tells the remarkable story of Niall, Zayn, Liam, Harry and Louis's really like to be One Direction.
Kevin Hart: Let Me Explain
Captures the laughter, energy and mayhem from Hart's 2012 "Let Me Explain" concert tour, which spanned 10 countries and 80 cities, and generated over $32 million in ticket sales.
We Steal Secrets: The Story of WikiLeaks
Julian Assange. Bradley Manning. Collateral murder. Cablegate. WikiLeaks. These people and terms have exploded into public consciousness by fundamentally changing the way democratic societies deal with privacy, secrecy, and the right to information, perhaps for generations to come. We Steal Secrets: The Story of WikiLeaks is an extensive examination of all things related to WikiLeaks and the larger global debate over access to information.
Crystal Lake Memories: The Complete History of Friday the 13th
Taking inspiration from Peter M. Bracke's definitive book of the same name, this seven-hour documentary dives into the making of all twelve Friday the 13th films, with all-new interviews from the cast and the crew.
Generation Iron - examines the professional sport of bodybuilding today and gives the audience front row access to the lives of the top 7 bodybuilders in the sport as they train to compete in the world's most premiere bodybuilding stage - Mr. Olympia.
Galapagos with David Attenborough
Two hundred years after Charles Darwin set foot on the shores of the Galápagos Islands, David Attenborough travels to this wild and mysterious archipelago. Amongst the flora and fauna of these enchanted volcanic islands, Darwin formulated his groundbreaking theories on evolution. Journey with Attenborough to explore how life on the islands has continued to evolve in biological isolation, and how the ever-changing volcanic landscape has given birth to species and sub-species that exist nowhere else in the world. Encompassing treacherous journeys, life-forms that forge unlikely companionships, and survival against all odds, Galápagos tells the story of an evolutionary melting pot in which anything and everything is possible.
Scientists Richard Dawkins and Lawrence Krauss travel the globe promoting a scientific worldview and the rational questioning of religious belief.
Filmage: The Story of Descendents/All
Long before Green Day and Blink 182 inflicted punk-rock's puncture wound on the map of mainstream music, the Descendents were at home concocting the perfect mix of pop, angst, love, and coffee. FILMAGE: The Story of DESCENDENTS/ALL follows drummer/square-peg Bill Stevenson and his 'caffeinated retardedness' as he pushes his rotating door of bandmates to 'achieve ALL,' his philosophy of going for greatness at all costs. Stevenson is a force to be reckoned with--not even grapefruit-sized brain tumors can keep him down.
The Crash Reel
The Crash Reel tells the story of a sport and the risks that athletes face in reaching the pinnacle of their profession. This is Kevin Pearce’s story, a celebrated snowboarder who sustained a brain injury in a trick gone wrong and who now aims, against all the odds, to get back on the snow.
I Am Divine
Harris Glenn Milstead, aka Divine (1945-1988) was the ultimate outsider turned underground hero. Spitting in the face of the status quos of body image, gender identity, sexuality, and preconceived notions of beauty, Divine succeeded in becoming an internationally recognized icon, recording artist, and character actor of stage and screen. Glenn went from the often-mocked, schoolyard fat kid to underdog royalty, standing up for millions of gay men and women, drag queens and punk rockers, and countless other socially ostracized misfits and freaks. With a completely committed in-your-face style, he blurred the line between performer and personality, and revolutionized pop culture.
Speciesism: The Movie
Modern farms are struggling to keep a secret. Most of the animals used for food in the United States are raised in giant, bizarre factories, hidden deep in remote areas of the countryside. Speciesism: The Movie director Mark Devries set out to investigate. The documentary takes viewers on a sometimes funny, sometimes frightening adventure, crawling through the bushes that hide these factories, flying in airplanes above their toxic manure lagoons, and coming face-to-face with their owners.
Let the Fire Burn
Jason Osder delivers an account of the incidents leading up to and during the 1985 standoff between the extremist African-American organization MOVE and Philadelphia authorities. The dramatic clash would claim eleven lives and devastate an entire community.
A documentary that tells the emotional journey of Shane and Tom, two young men in a loving and committed relationship — a relationship that was cut tragically short by a misstep off the side of a roof.
Inequality for All
U.S. Labor Secretary Robert Reich tries to raise awareness of the country's widening economic gap.
An animated short about the 75 years of Superman.
Rocky Braat went to India as a disillusioned American tourist. When he met a group of children with HIV/AIDS, he decided to stay. He never could have imagined the obstacles he would face. Or the love he would find.
The quest to create a two-litre, turbocharged, 4WD Austin Mini.
Gore Vidal: The United States of Amnesia
Anchored by intimate, one-on-one interviews with the man himself, Nicholas Wrathall’s new documentary is a fascinating and wholly entertaining tribute to the iconic Gore Vidal. Commentary by those who knew him best—including filmmaker/nephew Burr Steers and the late Christopher Hitchens—blends with footage from Vidal’s legendary on-air career to remind us why he will forever stand as one of the most brilliant and fearless critics of our time.
A Band Called Death
Before Bad Brains, the Sex Pistols or even the Ramones, there was Death. Formed in the early '70s by three teenage brothers from Detroit, Death is credited as being the first black punk band, and the Hackney brothers, David, Bobby, and Dannis, are now considered pioneers in their field. But it wasn’t until recently — when a dusty 1974 demo tape made its way out of Bobby’s attic nearly 30 years after Death’s heyday — that anyone outside a small group of punk enthusiasts had even heard of them.
Set in the golden era of Grand Prix Racing '1' tells the story of a generation of charismatic drivers who raced on the edge, risking their lives during Formula 1's deadliest period, and the men who stood up and changed the sport forever.
The Class Of ‘92
A detailing of the rise to prominence and global sporting superstardom of six supremely talented young Manchester United football players (David Beckham, Nicky Butt, Ryan Giggs, Paul Scholes, Phil and Gary Neville). The film covers the period 1992-1999, culminating in Manchester United's European Cup triumph.
Good Ol' Freda
The story of Freda Kelly, a shy Liverpudlian teenager asked to work for a young local band hoping to make it big: The Beatles. Their loyal secretary from beginning to end, Freda tells her tales for the first time in 50 years.
David Bowie: Five Years
Featuring a wealth of previously unseen archive, this film looks at how Bowie continually evolved: from Ziggy Stardust to the Soul Star of Young Americans, to the ‘Thin White Duke’. It explores his regeneration in Berlin with the critically acclaimed album Heroes, his triumph with Scary Monsters and his global success with Let’s Dance. With interviews with all his closest collaborators, David Bowie - Five Years presents a unique account of why Bowie has become an ‘icon of our times’.
Mistaken for Strangers
Mistaken for Strangers follows The National on its biggest tour to date. Newbie roadie Tom (lead singer Matt Berninger’s younger brother) is a heavy metal and horror movie enthusiast, and can't help but put his own spin on the experience. Inevitably, Tom’s moonlighting as an irreverent documentarian creates some drama for the band on the road. The film is a hilarious and touching look at two very different brothers, and an entertaining story of artistic aspiration.
In a tiny Alabama town with the curious name of Muscle Shoals, something miraculous sprang from the mud of the Tennessee River. A group of unassuming, yet incredibly talented, locals came together and spawned some of the greatest music of all time: “Mustang Sally,” “I Never Loved a Man,” “Wild Horses,” and many more. During the most incendiary periods of racial hostility, white folks and black folks came together to create music that would last for generations and gave birth to the incomparable “Muscle Shoals sound.”
Legendary Nights: The Tale of Gatti-Ward
The brutal trilogy of light-welterweight fights between Arturo 'Thunder' Gatti and 'Irish' Mickey Ward is the focus of this documentary.
Top Gear: The Perfect Road Trip
The aim: to select the ideal mode of transport for each leg of a pilgrimage from Venice, Italy to Pau in France – home to a legendary street circuit and the origins of Grand Prix racing. On the way we prepare by taking to the track at Monza – the home of Italian Formula One. We try to get noticed on the road course in Monaco in a Bugatti, a Lamborghini and a Model T Ford. After cruising the canals in Venice we take to the tarmac and things look good - thanks to the Ferrari F12 Berlinetta and Mercedes SLS Black. Throw in a Pagani Huayra, Porsche Cayman S and a GT3 as well as the Aston Martin Vanquish centenary edition, Bentley V8 convertible, Rolls Royce Phantom coupe and the face-bending BAC Mono all seems pretty perfect to us.
The Armstrong Lie
In 2009, Alex Gibney was hired to make a film about Lance Armstrong’s comeback to cycling. The project was shelved when the doping scandal erupted, and re-opened after Armstrong’s confession. The Armstrong Lie picks up in 2013 and presents a riveting, insider's view of the unraveling of one of the most extraordinary stories in the history of sports. As Lance Armstrong says himself, “I didn’t live a lot of lies, but I lived one big one.”
The extraordinary story of the planet’s most famous contemporary scientist, told in his own words and by those closest to him. Made with unique access to Hawking’s private life, this is an intimate and moving journey into Stephen's world, both past and present.
3.11: Surviving Japan
True story of an American volunteer who discovered the unvarnished truth about the Fukushima nuclear disaster cover-up while living in Japan. A critical look at how the authorities handled the nuclear crisis and Tsunami relief by an American who volunteered in the clean-up.
Return to Homs
Filmed over 3 years in Homs, accompanying 2 outstanding young men from the time they were only dreaming of freedom to the time when they are forced to change course. Basset, the 19yo national football team goalkeeper, who became an outspoken demonstration leader in the city, then an icon revolution singer, till he becomes a fighter... a militia leader. Ossama, his 24yo friend, renowned citizen journalist, cynical pacifist... as his views are forced to change, until he is detained by army secret service. It is the story of a city, of which the world have heard a lot, but never really got closer than news, never really had the chance to experience how a war erupted. a modern times epic of youth in war time.
Antarctica: A Year on Ice
Filling the giant screen with stunning time-lapse vistas of Antarctica, and detailing year-round life at McMurdo and Scott Base, Anthony Powell’s documentary is a potent hymn to the icy continent and the heavens above.
Neurons to Nirvana
Through interviews with leading psychologists and scientists, Neurons to Nirvana explores the history of four powerful psychedelic substances (LSD, Psilocybin, MDMA and Ayahuasca) and their previously established medicinal potential. Strictly focusing on the science and medicinal properties of these drugs, Neurons to Nirvana looks into why our society has created such a social and political bias against even allowing research to continue the exploration of any possible positive effects they can present in treating some of today's most challenging afflictions.
Mankind: The Story of All of Us
Follow-up to 'America the Story of Us'. Mankind embraces a groundbreaking way of telling this epic human story. Drawing on a growing global interest in a revelatory field of history, now adopted by universities across the globe. 'Big history' focuses on the forces of nature to show how mankind's path is guided by events that stretch back, not hundreds, but thousands, even millions of years. How the power of science, from geology and astronomy, to physics and biology, combined to shape our shared human journey. Revealing astounding global connections, and an astonishing interconnected story. This is history without limits. Free from boundaries and politics. Our story, like it's never been told before.
Gasland Part II
Two years ago, Josh Fox introduced us to hydraulic fracturing with his Oscar®-nominated exposé Gasland. Now this once-touted energy source has become a widely discussed, contentious topic. In his follow-up, Fox reveals the extreme circumstances facing those affected by fracking, from earthquakes to the use of federal anti-terror psychological operations tactics. Gasland Part II is the definitive proof that issues raised by fracking cannot be ignored for long.
Travis: A Soldier's Story
Army Staff Sgt. Travis Mills, one of five quadruple amputees to survive their injuries, provides insight into the life of a wounded soldier as he faces the physical and emotional challenges of his wounds.
Adolf Hitler: The Greatest Story Never Told
A revisionist biography of Adolf Hitler and history of the Second World War, detailing the origins and rise of Hitler and Nazi Germany.