Documandatory — A list of must-see documentaries that will make you dizzy from all the talking and stuff.

by TurdBird420 | created - 05 Jan 2012 | updated - 1 month ago | Public
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1. The Wild and Wonderful Whites of West Virginia (2009)

TV-MA | 86 min | Documentary

A year in the life of the White family, well known for Jesco White, the star of the "Dancing Outlaw" documentary.

Director: Julien Nitzberg | Stars: J. Parker Bazzle II, Big & Rich, Ponty's Camper, Derek Wayne Castle

Votes: 3,325

2. Man on Wire (2008)

PG-13 | 94 min | Documentary, Biography, History

89 Metascore

A look at tightrope walker Philippe Petit's daring, but illegal, high-wire routine performed between New York City's World Trade Center's twin towers in 1974, what some consider, "the artistic crime of the century".

Director: James Marsh | Stars: Philippe Petit, Jean François Heckel, Jean-Louis Blondeau, Annie Allix

Votes: 49,945 | Gross: $2.96M

3. Deliver Us from Evil (2006)

Not Rated | 101 min | Documentary, Crime

86 Metascore

Documentary about Father Oliver O'Grady, a Catholic priest who was relocated to various parishes around the United States during the 1970s in an attempt by the Catholic Church to cover up his rape of dozens of children.

Director: Amy Berg | Stars: Oliver O'Grady, Thomas Doyle, Adam, Jeff Anderson

Votes: 9,453 | Gross: $30.58M

4. The Cove (2009)

PG-13 | 92 min | Documentary, Crime

84 Metascore

Using state-of-the-art equipment, a group of activists, led by renowned dolphin trainer Ric O'Barry, infiltrate a cove near Taijii, Japan to expose both a shocking instance of animal abuse and a serious threat to human health.

Director: Louie Psihoyos | Stars: Richard O'Barry, Louie Psihoyos, Hardy Jones, Michael Illiff

Votes: 45,653 | Gross: $0.87M

5. Dear Zachary: A Letter to a Son About His Father (2008)

Not Rated | 95 min | Documentary, Biography, Crime

82 Metascore

A filmmaker decides to memorialize a murdered friend when his friend's ex-girlfriend announces she is expecting his son.

Director: Kurt Kuenne | Stars: Kurt Kuenne, Andrew Bagby, David Bagby, Kathleen Bagby

Votes: 30,021

6. Capturing the Friedmans (2003)

Not Rated | 107 min | Documentary, Biography

90 Metascore

Documentary on the Friedmans, a seemingly typical, upper-middle-class Jewish family whose world is instantly transformed when the father and his youngest son are arrested and charged with shocking and horrible crimes.

Director: Andrew Jarecki | Stars: Arnold Friedman, Jesse Friedman, David Friedman, Elaine Friedman

Votes: 22,680 | Gross: $3.12M

7. The Devil and Daniel Johnston (2005)

PG-13 | 110 min | Documentary, Biography, Music

77 Metascore

Daniel Johnston, manic-depressive genius singer/songwriter/artist is revealed in this portrait of madness, creativity and love.

Director: Jeff Feuerzeig | Stars: Daniel Johnston, Mabel Johnston, Bill Johnston, Laurie Allen

Votes: 8,766 | Gross: $0.33M

8. Virunga (2014)

Not Rated | 100 min | Documentary, War

95 Metascore

A team of brave individuals risk their lives to protect the last mountain gorillas.

Director: Orlando von Einsiedel | Stars: André Bauma, Emmanuel de Merode, Mélanie Gouby, Rodrigue Mugaruka Katembo

Votes: 9,185

9. Food, Inc. (2008)

PG | 94 min | Documentary, News

80 Metascore

An unflattering look inside America's corporate controlled food industry.

Director: Robert Kenner | Stars: Michael Pollan, Eric Schlosser, Richard Lobb, Vince Edwards

Votes: 48,127 | Gross: $4.42M

10. The King of Kong: A Fistful of Quarters (2007)

PG-13 | 79 min | Documentary, Biography

83 Metascore

Die-hard gamers compete to break world records on classic arcade games.

Director: Seth Gordon | Stars: Steve Wiebe, Billy Mitchell, Mark Alpiger, Adam Wood

Votes: 33,513 | Gross: $0.68M

11. American Movie (1999)

R | 107 min | Documentary, Comedy

84 Metascore

Documentary about an aspiring filmmaker's attempts to finance his dream project by finally completing the low-budget horror film he abandoned years before.

Director: Chris Smith | Stars: Mark Borchardt, Mike Schank, Tom Schimmels, Monica Borchardt

Votes: 15,946 | Gross: $1.16M

12. Ivory Tower (2014)

PG-13 | 90 min | Documentary, Family, History

65 Metascore

A documentary that questions the cost -- and value -- of higher education in the United States.

Director: Andrew Rossi | Stars: Elizabeth Armstrong, Richard Arum, Jamshed Bharucha, David Boone

Votes: 1,227 | Gross: $0.10M

13. Jesus Camp (2006)

PG-13 | 87 min | Documentary

62 Metascore

A documentary on kids who attend a summer camp hoping to become the next Billy Graham.

Directors: Heidi Ewing, Rachel Grady | Stars: Mike Papantonio, Lou Engle, Becky Fischer, Ted Haggard

Votes: 25,472 | Gross: $0.90M

14. Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room (2005)

R | 110 min | Documentary, Biography, History

A documentary about the Enron corporation, its faulty and corrupt business practices, and how they led to its fall.

Director: Alex Gibney | Stars: John Beard, Tim Belden, Barbara Boxer, George W. Bush

Votes: 15,580

15. The Devil Came on Horseback (2007)

85 min | Documentary

78 Metascore

A documentary that exposes the genocide raging in Darfur, Sudan as seen through the eyes of a former U.S. marine who returns home to make the story public.

Directors: Ricki Stern, Anne Sundberg | Stars: Nicholas Kristof, Brian Steidle

Votes: 1,499 | Gross: $0.13M

17. Terry Pratchett: Choosing to Die (2011 TV Movie)

59 min | Documentary

Terry Pratchett looks at the highly controversial issue of assisted suicide.

Director: Charlie Russell | Stars: Terry Pratchett, Andrew Colgan, Erika, Horst

Votes: 574

18. Catfish (2010)

PG-13 | 87 min | Documentary, Drama, Mystery

65 Metascore

Young filmmakers document their colleague's budding online friendship with a young woman and her family which leads to an unexpected series of discoveries.

Directors: Henry Joost, Ariel Schulman | Stars: Nev Schulman, Ariel Schulman, Henry Joost, Angela Wesselman-Pierce

Votes: 38,960 | Gross: $3.23M

19. Grizzly Man (2005)

R | 103 min | Documentary, Biography

87 Metascore

A devastating and heart-rending take on grizzly bear activists Timothy Treadwell and Amie Huguenard, who were killed in October of 2003 while living among grizzly bears in Alaska.

Director: Werner Herzog | Stars: Timothy Treadwell, Amie Huguenard, Werner Herzog, Carol Dexter

Votes: 49,006 | Gross: $3.17M

20. Happy People: A Year in the Taiga (2010)

Not Rated | 90 min | Documentary

74 Metascore

A documentary depicting the life and work of the trappers of Bakhtia, a village in the heart of the Siberian Taiga, where daily life has changed little in over a century.

Directors: Werner Herzog, Dmitry Vasyukov | Stars: Werner Herzog, Nikolay Nikiforovitch Siniaev, Gennady Soloviev, Anatoly Tarkovsky

Votes: 7,234 | Gross: $0.34M

21. Cave of Forgotten Dreams (2010)

G | 90 min | Documentary, History

86 Metascore

Werner Herzog gains exclusive access to film inside the Chauvet caves of Southern France and captures the oldest known pictorial creations of humanity.

Director: Werner Herzog | Stars: Werner Herzog, Jean Clottes, Julien Monney, Jean-Michel Geneste

Votes: 14,190 | Gross: $5.23M

22. Encounters at the End of the World (2007)

G | 99 min | Documentary

80 Metascore

Film-maker Werner Herzog travels to the McMurdo Station in Antarctica, looking to capture the continent's beauty and investigate the characters living there.

Director: Werner Herzog | Stars: Werner Herzog, Scott Rowland, Stefan Pashov, Doug MacAyeal

Votes: 16,318 | Gross: $0.94M

23. Lo and Behold: Reveries of the Connected World (2016)

PG-13 | 98 min | Documentary

76 Metascore

Werner Herzog's exploration of the Internet and the connected world.

Director: Werner Herzog | Stars: Elon Musk, Lawrence Krauss, Lucianne Walkowicz, Kevin Mitnick

Votes: 10,995 | Gross: $0.59M

24. The Act of Killing (2012)

Not Rated | 117 min | Documentary, Biography, Crime

90 Metascore

A documentary which challenges former Indonesian death-squad leaders to reenact their mass-killings in whichever cinematic genres they wish, including classic Hollywood crime scenarios and lavish musical numbers.

Directors: Joshua Oppenheimer, Anonymous, Christine Cynn | Stars: Anwar Congo, Herman Koto, Syamsul Arifin, Ibrahim Sinik

Votes: 31,795 | Gross: $0.49M

25. The Look of Silence (2014)

PG-13 | 103 min | Documentary, Biography, History

92 Metascore

A family that survived the genocide in Indonesia confronts the men who killed one of their brothers.

Director: Joshua Oppenheimer | Stars: Adi Rukun, M.Y. Basrun, Amir Hasan, Inong

Votes: 10,438 | Gross: $0.11M

26. God Grew Tired of Us (2006)

PG | 89 min | Documentary

72 Metascore

Four boys from Sudan embark on a journey to America after years of wandering Sub-Saharan Africa in search of safety.

Directors: Christopher Dillon Quinn, Tommy Walker | Stars: Panther Bior, John Bul Dau, Nicole Kidman, Daniel Abol Pach

Votes: 2,671 | Gross: $0.28M

27. Outfoxed: Rupert Murdoch's War on Journalism (2004)

Unrated | 78 min | Documentary

58 Metascore

Documentary on reported Conservative bias of the Rupert Murdoch-owned Fox News Channel (FNC), which promotes itself as "Fair and Balanced". Material includes interviews with former FNC employees and the inter-office memos they provided.

Director: Robert Greenwald | Stars: Douglas Cheek, Walter Cronkite, Roger Ailes, Eric Alterman

Votes: 6,033 | Gross: $0.24M

28. Darwin's Nightmare (2004)

107 min | Documentary

84 Metascore

A documentary on the effect of fishing the Nile perch in Tanzania's Lake Victoria. The predatory fish, which has wiped out the native species, is sold in European supermarkets, while starving Tanzanian families have to make do with the leftovers.

Director: Hubert Sauper | Stars: Elizabeth 'Eliza' Maganga Nsese, Raphael Tukiko Wagara, Dimond Remtulia, Marcus Nyoni

Votes: 5,239 | Gross: $0.20M

29. 9/11 (2002 TV Movie)

TV-PG | 112 min | Documentary

A real life documentary following the events of September 11 from an insider's view, through the lens of James Hanlon and two French filmmakers who were in Manhattan that one day.

Directors: James Hanlon, Gédéon Naudet, Jules Naudet | Stars: Tony Benatatos, Jamal Braithwaite, Steve Buscemi, Joe Casaliggi

Votes: 6,127

30. We Feed the World (2005)

Not Rated | 96 min | Documentary

A look at how the world's food is produced and how mass production changes the environment and the lives of people.

Director: Erwin Wagenhofer | Stars: Jean Ziegler, Peter Brabeck, Karl Otrok

Votes: 2,365

31. The Bridge (I) (2006)

R | 94 min | Documentary, Drama

58 Metascore

People suffer largely unnoticed while the rest of the world goes about its business. This is a documentary exploration of the mythic beauty of the Golden Gate Bridge, the most popular ... See full summary »

Director: Eric Steel | Stars: Eric Geleynse, Chris Brown, Susan Ginwalla, Caroline Pressley

Votes: 10,512 | Gross: $0.18M

32. Confessions of an Eco-Terrorist (2010)

Not Rated | 90 min | Documentary

Seen through the eyes of activist Peter Jay Brown, Confessions grants the viewer an intimate look at shipboard life amongst these self proclaimed animal saviors and sea rebels who shaped ... See full summary »

Director: Peter Brown | Stars: Peter Brown, Robert Hunter, Paul Watson

Votes: 288

33. The Imposter (2012)

R | 99 min | Documentary, Biography, Crime

77 Metascore

A documentary centered on a young man in Spain who claims to a grieving Texas family that he is their 16-year-old son who has been missing for 3 years.

Director: Bart Layton | Stars: Adam O'Brian, Nicholas Barclay, Carey Gibson, Bryan Gibson

Votes: 42,695 | Gross: $0.89M

34. The Aristocrats (2005)

Not Rated | 89 min | Documentary, Comedy

72 Metascore

One hundred superstar comedians tell the same very, VERY dirty, filthy joke--one shared privately by comics since Vaudeville.

Directors: Penn Jillette, Paul Provenza | Stars: George Carlin, Don Rickles, Chris Rock, Chris Albrecht

Votes: 15,699 | Gross: $6.38M

35. The Corporation (2003)

Not Rated | 145 min | Documentary, History

73 Metascore

Documentary that looks at the concept of the corporation throughout recent history up to its present-day dominance.

Directors: Mark Achbar, Jennifer Abbott | Stars: Mikela Jay, Rob Beckwermert, Christopher Gora, Nina Jones

Votes: 19,733 | Gross: $1.88M

36. Burma VJ: Reporting from a Closed Country (2008)

Unrated | 84 min | Documentary, History, News

82 Metascore

Using smuggled footage, this documentary tells the story of the 2007 protests in Burma by thousands of monks.

Director: Anders Østergaard | Stars: George W. Bush, Ko Muang, Aung San Suu Kyi

Votes: 2,272 | Gross: $0.05M

37. Who Killed the Electric Car? (2006)

PG | 92 min | Documentary

70 Metascore

A documentary that investigates the birth and death of the electric car, as well as the role of renewable energy and sustainable living in the future.

Director: Chris Paine | Stars: Martin Sheen, Tom Hanks, Mel Gibson, Reverend Gadget

Votes: 11,900 | Gross: $1.68M

38. Die Hochstapler (2006)

84 min | Documentary, Crime

Peter managed to sell rich executives tickets for a trip to the moon. Torsten passed himself off as diplomatic ambassador for a lark. In four hours Marc sold a holiday home he didn't own. ... See full summary »

Directors: Alexander Adolph, Nina Ergang | Stars: Torsten Schmitt, Mark Z., Peter Groth, Jürgen Harksen

Votes: 123

39. Mr. Death: The Rise and Fall of Fred A. Leuchter, Jr. (1999)

PG-13 | 91 min | Documentary, Biography

78 Metascore

A cinematic portrait of the life and career of the infamous American execution device designer and holocaust denier.

Director: Errol Morris | Stars: Fred A. Leuchter Jr., Robert Jan Van Pelt, David Irving, Caroline Leuchter

Votes: 5,175 | Gross: $0.50M

40. Murder on a Sunday Morning (2001)

Not Rated | 111 min | Documentary, Crime

Oscar-winning documentary that documents a murder trial in which a 15-year-old African-American is wrongfully accused of a 2000 murder in Jacksonville, Florida.

Director: Jean-Xavier de Lestrade | Stars: Ann Finnell, Patrick McGuinness, James Williams, Michael Glover

Votes: 3,996

41. Earthlings (2005)

95 min | Documentary, Horror

Using hidden cameras and never-before-seen footage, Earthlings chronicles the day-to-day practices of the largest industries in the world, all of which rely entirely on animals for profit.

Director: Shaun Monson | Star: Joaquin Phoenix

Votes: 16,391

42. Touching the Void (2003)

R | 106 min | Documentary, Adventure, Drama

82 Metascore

The true story of two climbers and their perilous journey up the west face of Siula Grande in the Peruvian Andes in 1985.

Director: Kevin Macdonald | Stars: Simon Yates, Joe Simpson, Brendan Mackey, Nicholas Aaron

Votes: 31,843 | Gross: $4.59M

43. Waste Land (2010)

Not Rated | 99 min | Documentary

78 Metascore

On the outskirts of Rio de Janeiro is Jardim Gramacho, the world's largest landfill, where men and women sift through garbage for a living. Artist Vik Muniz produces portraits of the workers and learns about their lives.

Directors: Lucy Walker, Karen Harley, João Jardim | Star: Vik Muniz

Votes: 8,056 | Gross: $0.19M

44. War Photographer (2001)

96 min | Documentary, War

79 Metascore

Documentary about war photographer James Nachtwey, considered by many the greatest war photographer ever.

Director: Christian Frei | Stars: James Nachtwey, Christiane Amanpour, Hans-Hermann Klare, Christiane Breustedt

Votes: 3,792

45. Les mercredis de l'histoire (1999– )
Episode: Dark Side of the Moon (2002)

52 min | Documentary

This hard-hitting mockumentary exposes how Stanley Kubrick faked the 1969 moon landing, with seeming-endorsements from many key players in NASA and the US government.

Director: William Karel | Stars: Buzz Aldrin, Loïs Aldrin, Jan Harlan, Farouk Elbaz

Votes: 1,734

46. The Union: The Business Behind Getting High (2007)

104 min | Documentary

BC's illegal marijuana trade industry has evolved into a business giant, dubbed by some involved as 'The Union', Commanding upwards of $7 billion Canadian annually. With up to 85% of 'BC ... See full summary »

Director: Brett Harvey | Stars: Adam Scorgie, Chris Bennett, Steve Bloom, Renee Bojee

Votes: 7,497

47. The Civil War (1990)

TV-14 | 680 min | Documentary, History, War

A comprehensive survey of the American Civil War.

Stars: David McCullough, Sam Waterston, Julie Harris, Jason Robards

Votes: 11,683

48. Taxi to the Dark Side (2007)

R | 106 min | Documentary, Crime, News