Best Documentary Movies of 2021
In 1970s London amidst the punk rock revolution, a young grifter named Estella is determined to make a name for herself with her designs. She befriends a pair of young thieves who appreciate her appetite for mischief, and together they are able to build a life for themselves on the London streets. One day, Estella’s flair for fashion catches the eye of the Baroness von Hellman, a fashion legend who is devastatingly chic and terrifyingly haute. But their relationship sets in motion a course of events and revelations that will cause Estella to embrace her wicked side and become the raucous, fashionable and revenge-bent Cruella.
The enthralling, against-all-odds story that transfixed the world in 2018: the daring rescue of twelve boys and their coach from deep inside a flooded cave in Northern Thailand.
Summer of Soul (...Or, When the Revolution Could Not Be Televised)
During the same summer as Woodstock, over 300,000 people attended the Harlem Cultural Festival, celebrating African American music and culture, and promoting Black pride and unity. The footage from the festival sat in a basement, unseen for over 50 years, keeping this incredible event in America's history lost — until now.
Passionate about ocean life, a filmmaker sets out to document the harm that humans do to marine species — and uncovers an alarming global conspiracy.
Friends: The Reunion
The cast of Friends reunites for a once-in-a-lifetime celebration of the hit series, an unforgettable evening filled with iconic memories, uncontrollable laughter, happy tears, and special guests.
14 Peaks: Nothing Is Impossible
In 2019, Nepalese mountain climber Nirmal “Nims” Purja set out to do the unthinkable by climbing the world’s fourteen highest summits in less than seven months. (The previous record was eight years). He called the effort “Project Possible 14/7” and saw it as a way to inspire others to strive for greater heights in any pursuit. The film follows his team as they seek to defy naysayers and push the limits of human endurance.
Through exclusive interviews and archival footage, this documentary traces an intimate portrait of seven-time Formula 1 champion Michael Schumacher.
Billie Eilish: The World's a Little Blurry
This documentary offers a deeply intimate look at extraordinary teenager Billie Eilish. Award-winning filmmaker R.J. Cutler follows her journey on the road, onstage, and at home with her family as the writing and recording of her debut album changes her life.
The rise of Aretha Franklin’s career from a child singing in her father’s church’s choir to her international superstardom.
Happier Than Ever: A Love Letter to Los Angeles
Fresh off the heels of her brand-new album, "Happier Than Ever," this cinematic concert experience features an intimate performance of every song in the album's sequential order – for the first and only time – from the stage of the legendary Hollywood Bowl.
For over 40 years Val Kilmer, one of Hollywood’s most mercurial and/or misunderstood actors has been documenting his own life and craft through film and video. He has amassed thousands of hours of footage, from 16mm home movies made with his brothers, to time spent in iconic roles for blockbuster movies like Top Gun, The Doors, Tombstone, and Batman Forever. This raw, wildly original and unflinching documentary reveals a life lived to extremes and a heart-filled, sometimes hilarious look at what it means to be an artist and a complex man.
Death to 2021
This comedic retrospective mixes archival footage and scripted sketches as it revisits all the dread — and occasional delight — that 2021 had to offer.
Life of Crime: 1984-2020
An intimate documentary that looks at the vicious cycles of drug addiction and street crime in one of the roughest parts of New Jersey.
Operation Varsity Blues: The College Admissions Scandal
An examination that goes beyond the celebrity-driven headlines and dives into the methods used by Rick Singer, the man at the center of the shocking 2019 college admissions scandal, to persuade his wealthy clients to cheat an educational system already designed to benefit the privileged.
Biggie: I Got a Story to Tell
Christopher Wallace, AKA The Notorious B.I.G., remains one of Hip-Hop’s icons, renowned for his distinctive flow and autobiographical lyrics. This documentary celebrates his life via rare behind-the-scenes footage and the testimonies of his closest friends and family.
Adele One Night Only
A primetime special with performances from the superstar including Adele’s first new material in six years plus her chart-topping hits. The special will also feature an exclusive interview with Adele by Oprah Winfrey from her rose garden, in Adele’s first televised wide-ranging conversation.
When filmmaker Peter Mortimer encounters an elusive young climber named Marc-André Leclerc, an evolution in free solo mountaineering unfolds. Along the two-year journey up high alpine peaks and steep frozen waterfalls, Peter explores Marc’s connection to nature, his uncompromising quest for adventure, and the risks he takes to pursue his passion.
Sir Alex Ferguson: Never Give In
A look at the life and legend of Sir Alex Ferguson, from his working-class roots in Glasgow through to his career as one of the greatest football managers of all time. While recovering from a traumatic brain haemorrhage in 2018, Sir Alex intimately recounts vivid details of his life and career to his son, including his legendary 26-year tenure as manager of Manchester United.
The Year Earth Changed
Never-before-seen footage shows how our living in lockdown opened the door for nature to bounce back and thrive. Across the seas, skies, and lands, Earth found its rhythm when we came to a stop.
The Sparks Brothers
Take a musical odyssey through five weird and wonderful decades with brothers Ron & Russell Mael, celebrating the inspiring legacy of Sparks: your favorite band’s favorite band.
Oasis: Knebworth 1996
This 25th anniversary film of the legendary Oasis gig at Knebworth features a 1996 archive concert that has never ever been shown alongside rare backstage footage, with additional interviews with the band and concert organisers.
Child of Nature
An epic journey of courage, hope and generosity, filmed in 15 countries. Child of Nature follows 5 connected stories of young people who, against all odds are transforming their lives and the lives of those around them.
The Last Baron
The meaty saga of Burger Baron, a rogue fast-food chain with mysterious origins and a cult following, run by a loose network of fiercely independent Arab Canadian immigrants.
P!NK: All I Know So Far
A behind-the-scenes look at P!NK as she balances family and life on the road, leading up to her first Wembley Stadium performance on 2019's "Beautiful Trauma" world tour.
Tina Turner overcame impossible odds to become one of the first female African American artists to reach a mainstream international audience. Her road to superstardom is an undeniable story of triumph over adversity. It’s the ultimate story of survival – and an inspirational story of our times.
A Man Named Scott
In 2009, Scott Mescudi aka Kid Cudi released his debut LP, Man on the Moon: The End of Day. A genre-bending album that broke barriers by featuring songs dealing with depression, anxiety and loneliness, it resonated deeply with young listeners and launched Cudi as a musical star and cultural hero. A Man Named Scott explores Cudi’s journey over a decade of creative choices, struggles and breakthroughs, making music that continues to move and empower his millions of fans around the world.
Breaking Boundaries: The Science of Our Planet
David Attenborough and scientist Johan Rockström examine Earth's biodiversity collapse and how this crisis can still be averted.
Roadrunner: A Film About Anthony Bourdain
An intimate, behind-the-scenes look at how an anonymous chef became a world-renowned cultural icon. This unflinching look at Anthony Bourdain reverberates with his presence, in his own voice and in the way he indelibly impacted the world around him.
This Is How We Roll
YouTuber Coaster Studios presents a feature length documentary about the roller coaster manufacturer Rocky Mountain Construction! This documentary tells the story of Fred Grubb, a humble man from a small town in Wyoming with a big sense for adventure. He’d go on to develop a new way of building roller coaster track that would change the industry forever. This story goes into all of the challenges, hardships, and experiences that went into bringing these incredible thrill rides to life.
Miss Alma Thomas: A Life in Color
Alma W. Thomas lived a life of firsts: the first Fine Arts graduate of Howard University (1924), the first Black woman to mount a retrospective at the Whitney Museum of American Art (1972), and the first Black woman to have her paintings exhibited in the White House (2009). Yet she did not receive national attention until she was 80.
The Lost Leonardo
London, England, 2008. Some of the most distinguished experts on the work of Italian artist Leonardo da Vinci (1452-1519) gather at the National Gallery to examine a painting known as Salvator Mundi; an event that turns out to be the first act of one of the most fascinating stories in the history of art.
Untold: Breaking Point
Under pressure to continue a winning tradition in American tennis, Mardy Fish faced mental health challenges that changed his life on and off the court.
Street Gang: How We Got to Sesame Street
Take a stroll down Sesame Street and witness the birth of the most influential children's show in television history. From the iconic furry characters to the classic songs you know by heart, learn how a gang of visionary creators changed the world.
Being James Bond
Daniel Craig candidly reflects on his 15 year adventure as James Bond. Including never-before-seen archival footage from Casino Royale to the upcoming 25th film No Time To Die, Craig shares his personal memories in conversation with 007 producers, Michael G Wilson and Barbara Broccoli.
Experiential cinema in its purest form, GUNDA chronicles the unfiltered lives of a mother pig, a flock of chickens, and a herd of cows with masterful intimacy. Using stark, transcendent black and white cinematography and the farm's ambient soundtrack, Master director Victor Kossakowsky invites the audience to slow down and experience life as his subjects do, taking in their world with a magical patience and an other worldly perspective. GUNDA asks us to meditate on the mystery of animal consciousness, and reckon with the role humanity plays in it. Executive produced by Joaquin Phoenix.
45 Days: The Fight for a Nation
A feature documentary presented and directed by former Royal Marines Commando Emile Ghessen. The documentary tells the story of the 2020 war between Armenia and Azerbaijan over the disputed region of Nagorno Karabakh. In the fall of 2020, Armenia and Azerbaijan fought a brutal bloody war. Azerbaijan won, decisively. The feature documentary 45 Days: The Fight for a Nation tells the story of this conflict, from the Armenian perspective, focusing on the human cost of war and its impact on the large Armenian diaspora.
The Wisdom of Trauma
One in five Americans are diagnosed with mental illness every year. Suicide is the second most common cause of death in the US for youth aged 15-24, and kills over 800,000 people globally per year. Drug overdose kills 81,000 in the US annually. The autoimmune disorder epidemic affects 24 million people in the US alone. What is going on? The interconnected epidemics of anxiety, chronic illness and substance abuse are, according to Dr. Gabor Maté, normal - but not in the way you might think.
Follows the story of three American teenage girls—each adopted from China—who discover they are blood-related cousins on 23andMe. Their online meeting inspires the young women to confront the burning questions they have about their lost history.
Marvel Studios ASSEMBLED: The Making of WandaVision
Join Elizabeth Olsen, Paul Bettany and WandaVision’s creative team as they pull back the curtain on this highly groundbreaking series.
Woman in Motion
Nichelle Nichols' daunting task to launch a national blitz for NASA, recruiting 8,000 of the nation's best and brightest, including the trailblazing astronauts who became the first African American, Asian and Latino men and women to fly in space.
Four Hours at the Capitol
The documentary is an immersive chronicle of the insurrection at the U.S. Capitol on January 6, 2021, when thousands of American citizens from across the country gathered in Washington D.C. to protest the results of the 2020 presidential election, many with the intent of disrupting the certification of Joe Biden’s presidency.
The Girl Who Wore Freedom
Discover the untold stories of D-Day from the men, women and children who lived through German occupation and Allied liberation of Normandy, France. Powerful and deeply personal, THE GIRL WHO WORE FREEDOM tells the stories of an America that lived its values, instilling pride in a country that's in danger of becoming a relic of the past.
Woodlands Dark and Days Bewitched: A History of Folk Horror
Explores the folk horror phenomenon from its beginnings in a trilogy of films – Witchfinder General, Blood on Satan’s Claw and The Wicker Man – through its proliferation on British television in the 1970s and its culturally specific manifestations in American, Asian, Australian and European horror, to the genre’s revival over the last decade.
Ramin Fallah is a documentary biographical film about Iranian singer Ramin Fallah.
Follows the largest prison uprising in US history, conducting dozens of new interviews with inmates, journalists, and other witnesses.
Forget Me Not
As 3-year-old Emilio is ready to start school, his family finds itself cornered in the United States' most segregated education system - New York City public schools. Fighting for their son's right to an inclusive education - where Emilio and other children with disabilities would be taught alongside their classmates without disabilities - film director Olivier and his wife Hilda investigate the personal stories of students and their parents in the US. With children with disabilities worldwide less likely to attend school, these experiences expose just a handful of the widespread injustices currently taking place in the educational system and beyond for kids with disabilities.
Thomas Sowell: Common Sense in a Senseless World
Traces Thomas Sowell's journey from humble beginnings to the Hoover Institution, becoming one of our era's most controversial economists, political philosophers, and prolific authors.
Quentin Blake – The Drawing of My Life
The illustrator and author paints scenes from a 70-year-long career, including his work with Roald Dahl. With David Walliams, Joanna Lumley, Peter Capaldi, Ore Oduba and Michael Rosen.
Liz Garbus takes an inside look at Jacques-Yves Cousteau, adventurer, filmmaker, innovator, author and conservationist.
The Real Charlie Chaplin
A look at the life and work of Charlie Chaplin in his own words featuring an in-depth interview he gave to Life magazine in 1966.