Documentaries

by kaada1 | created - 18 Jan 2014 | updated - 21 Apr 2018 | Public

*in no particular order *list contains spoilers!

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1. My Kid Could Paint That (2007)

PG-13 | 82 min | Documentary, Family, Mystery

74 Metascore

A look at the work and surprising success of a four-year-old girl whose paintings have been compared to the likes of Picasso and has raked in hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Director: Amir Bar-Lev | Stars: Marla Olmstead, Laura Olmstead, Mark Olmstead, Amir Bar-Lev

Votes: 3,074 | Gross: $0.23M

Spoilers: The film documents the rise and fall of four-year-old wunderkind Marla and (in the process) scrutinizes the nature of filtered truth in documentary filmmaking.

2. 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: 32,191 | Gross: $4.59M

A beautifully shot, edge-of-your-seat, climbing adventure. (I usually avoid reenacted documentaries but it works perfectly here.)

3. Blue Eyed (1996)

90 min | Documentary

In only 15 minutes with some 30 people Jane Elliott manages to build up a realistic microcosmos of society today with all its phenomena and feelings. As already known from the ill reputed ... See full summary »

Director: Bertram Verhaag | Stars: Jane Elliott, Martin Luther King

Votes: 391

How does racism work? In Jane Elliott's workshop white, blue eyed Americans are the target of discrimination for a single day - with lasting consequences. Informative, evocative and suspenseful.

4. Exit Through the Gift Shop (2010)

R | 87 min | Documentary, Comedy, Crime

85 Metascore

The story of how an eccentric French shop-keeper and amateur film-maker attempted to locate and befriend Banksy, only to have the artist turn the camera back on its owner. The film contains... See full summary »

Director: Banksy | Stars: Banksy, Mr. Brainwash, Space Invader, Debora Guetta

Votes: 60,000 | Gross: $3.29M

Spoiler warning: Starts out as a run-of-the-mill street art documentary but quickly blossoms into a satirical study of the battle between art and commerce.

5. Newswipe (2009–2010)

29 min | Documentary, Comedy

Hosted and written by Charlie Brooker, this sardonic series follows and critiques both current news stories and the way television portrays them.

Stars: Charlie Brooker, Tim Key, Doug Stanhope, Adam Curtis

Votes: 1,305

"The news itself is becoming less of an easily digestible summary of events and more of a grotesque entertainment reality show with heavy emphasis on emotion and sensation and a swaggering, comically theatrical sense of its own importance. Well, this show is gonna put an end to all of that for ever (or at least 29 minutes)." ~ Charlie Brooker 2009

6. Koko: A Talking Gorilla (1978)

Not Rated | 85 min | Documentary

A documentary that follows Dr. Penny Patterson's current scientific study of Koko, a gorilla who communicates through American Sign Language.

Director: Barbet Schroeder | Stars: Koko, Penny Patterson, Saul Kitchener, Carl Pribram

Votes: 674

Spoiler alert: Koko, a Talking Gorilla: an ethically questionable experiment with findings that remain controversial to this day. Whatever the good intentions somehow no one comes out of this looking very good.

7. The Jinx: The Life and Deaths of Robert Durst (2015)

TV-14 | 279 min | Documentary, Crime

Filmmaker Andrew Jarecki examines the complicated life of reclusive real estate icon Robert Durst, the key suspect in a series of unsolved crimes.

Stars: Robert Durst, Andrew Jarecki, Gary Napoli, Debra Kay Anderson

Votes: 35,413

8. How TV Ruined Your Life (2011)

30 min | Documentary, Comedy

A comedic documentary series in which Charlie Brooker uses a mix of sketches and jaw-dropping archive footage to explore the gulf between real life and television.

Stars: Charlie Brooker, Liz May Brice, Kevin Eldon, Beth Cordingly

Votes: 1,143

"A cynical and humorous look at how TV has ruined your life. Don't say it didn't! It did.

9. Earth: The Power of the Planet (2007– )

Not Rated | 60 min | Documentary

In each episode, geologist Dr. Iain Stewart explains the effects and importance of a specific force of nature, such as wind or volcanism. He also examines the various ways in which it ... See full summary »

Stars: Iain Stewart, Victor Baker, Phil Bland, Bernadette Carrion van Rijn

Votes: 1,883

Visually stunning, informative and presented with an evident passion for the subject.

10. 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: 19,875 | Gross: $1.88M

11. Sound and Fury (2000)

Not Rated | 80 min | Documentary

85 Metascore

If you could make your deaf child hear, would you? Academy Award-nominated Sound and Fury follows the intimate, heart-rending tale of the Artinians, an extended family with deaf and hearing... See full summary »

Director: Josh Aronson | Stars: Jaime Leigh Allen, Jemma Braham, Freeda Cat, Scott Davidson

Votes: 921 | Gross: $0.11M

12. My Flesh and Blood (2003)

Unrated | 83 min | Documentary

78 Metascore

Documentary following Susan Tom of Fairfield, California and her 11 adopted special needs children.

Director: Jonathan Karsh | Stars: Susan Tom, Anthony Tom, Faith Tom, Joe Tom

Votes: 1,676

13. Galápagos (2006– )

180 min | Documentary

The history of these beautiful Islands from their creation as uprising lava to their being studied by Darwin to their modern day inhabitants.

Stars: Tilda Swinton, Richard Wollocombe, Tom Hiddleston, Stacy Keach

Votes: 1,227

14. 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: 22,965 | Gross: $3.12M

15. Spellbound (2002)

G | 97 min | Documentary, Comedy, Thriller

80 Metascore

Spellbound follows eight teenagers on their quest to win the 1999 National Spelling Bee.

Director: Jeffrey Blitz | Stars: Angela Arenivar, Ubaldo Arenivar, Jorge Arenivar, Scott McGarraugh

Votes: 11,679 | Gross: $5.73M

16. GasLand (2010)

Not Rated | 107 min | Documentary

An exploration of the fracking petroleum extraction industry and the serious environmental consequences involved.

Director: Josh Fox | Stars: Josh Fox, Dick Cheney, Pete Seeger, Richard Nixon

Votes: 10,047 | Gross: $0.03M

17. The Gruen Transfer (2008–2011)

Documentary, Comedy

The Gruen Transfer (TGT) is a show about advertising, how it works, and how it works on us. Hosted by the inimitable Wil Anderson, TGT decodes and defuses the commercial messages that swirl... See full summary »

Stars: Wil Anderson, Russel Howcroft, Todd Sampson, Dan Gregory

Votes: 562

18. 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: 25,658 | Gross: $0.90M

19. Seven Up! (1964 TV Short)

40 min | Documentary, Short, Biography

A group of seven-year-old British children from widely ranging backgrounds are interviewed about a range of subjects. Director Michael Apted plans to reinterview them at seven-year ... See full summary »

Director: Paul Almond | Stars: Douglas Keay, Bruce Balden, Jacqueline Bassett, Symon Basterfield

Votes: 3,332

1964: First part of a groundbreaking documentary series that follows 14 children (from different social and economic backgrounds) as they grow up and find their way in life. New episodes are filmed every seven years (7 Up!, 7 Plus Seven, 21 Up...). The latest episode 56 Up aired in 2012 and featured 13 of the original 14 participants.

20. The Human Animal (1994– )

Documentary

A man is an extraordinarily strong, having a loud voice, enterprising and in a high degree gregarious monkey. Time to study the pattern of her behavior.

Stars: Desmond Morris, Eileen Daly, Wendy Duffield

Votes: 148

21. Making a Murderer (2015– )

TV-14 | 60 min | Documentary, Crime

Filmed over a 10-year period, Steven Avery, a DNA exoneree who, while in the midst of exposing corruption in local law enforcement, finds himself the prime suspect in a grisly new crime.

Stars: Dolores Avery, Steven Avery, Laura Nirider, Ken Kratz

Votes: 80,711

22. Paradise Lost: The Child Murders at Robin Hood Hills (1996)

Not Rated | 150 min | Documentary, Crime, Drama

A horrific triple child murder leads to an indictment and trial of three nonconformist boys based on questionable evidence.

Directors: Joe Berlinger, Bruce Sinofsky | Stars: Tony Brooks, Diana Davis, Terry Wood, Dick Clay

Votes: 14,303

23. America's Most Hated Family in Crisis (2011)

Not Rated | 60 min | Documentary

Louis returns to the Phelps family to find that several members have left the cult, and that they are being sued.

Director: Emma Cooper | Stars: Louis Theroux, Lauren Drain, Steve Drain, Betty Phelps

Votes: 2,236

24. Educating Essex (2011– )

48 min | Documentary

A group of GCSE students face the most important year in their education.

Stars: Mr. Drew, Mr. Goddard

Votes: 171



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