Praiseworthy Documentaries

by vhosseini | created - 18 Dec 2016 | updated - 15 Feb 2018 | Public
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1. Bully (I) (2011)

PG-13 | 98 min | Documentary

74 Metascore

A documentary on peer-to-peer bullying in schools across America.

Director: Lee Hirsch | Stars: Ja'Meya Jackson, Kelby Johnson, Lona Johnson, Bob Johnson

Votes: 9,656 | Gross: $4.04M

2. Cartel Land (2015)

R | 100 min | Documentary, News

76 Metascore

Filmmaker Matthew Heineman examines the state of the ongoing drug problem along the U.S.-Mexican border.

Director: Matthew Heineman | Stars: Tim Nailer Foley, José Manuel 'El Doctor' Mireles, Paco Valencia, Chaneque

Votes: 16,955 | Gross: $0.70M

3. 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: 31,987 | Gross: $0.49M

4. 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: 10,498 | Gross: $0.11M

5. Why We Fight (2005)

PG-13 | 98 min | Documentary, History, War

68 Metascore

Is American foreign policy dominated by the idea of military supremacy? Has the military become too important in American life? Jarecki's shrewd and intelligent polemic would seem to give an affirmative answer to each of these questions.

Director: Eugene Jarecki | Stars: Gore Vidal, John McCain, Ken Adelman, John Ashcroft

Votes: 9,591 | Gross: $1.44M

6. Citizenfour (2014)

R | 114 min | Documentary, Biography, News

88 Metascore

A documentarian and a reporter travel to Hong Kong for the first of many meetings with Edward Snowden.

Director: Laura Poitras | Stars: Edward Snowden, Glenn Greenwald, William Binney, Jacob Appelbaum

Votes: 49,131 | Gross: $2.80M

7. Lake of Fire (2006)

Unrated | 152 min | Documentary

83 Metascore

A graphic documentary on both sides of the abortion debate.

Director: Tony Kaye | Stars: Noam Chomsky, Bill Baird, Flip Benham, Dallas Blanchard

Votes: 2,361 | Gross: $0.02M

8. Red Army (2014)

PG | 84 min | Documentary, Biography, History

83 Metascore

The story of the Soviet Union's famed Red Army hockey team through the eyes of its players.

Director: Gabe Polsky | Stars: Viacheslav Fetisov, Scotty Bowman, Herb Brooks, Don Cherry

Votes: 6,233 | Gross: $0.69M

9. Mr. Untouchable (2007)

R | 92 min | Documentary, Crime

65 Metascore

The true-life story of a Harlem's notorious Nicky Barnes, a junkie turned multimillionaire drug-lord, MR. UNTOUCHABLE takes its audience deep inside the heroin industry of the 1970s. The ... See full summary »

Director: Marc Levin | Stars: Leroy 'Nicky' Barnes, David Breitbart, Walter Cronkite, Louie Diaz

Votes: 850 | Gross: $0.10M

10. The Gatekeepers (2012)

PG-13 | 101 min | Documentary, History, War

91 Metascore

A documentary featuring interviews with all surviving former heads of Shin Bet, the Israeli security agency whose activities and membership are closely held state secrets.

Director: Dror Moreh | Stars: Ami Ayalon, Avraham Shalom, Avi Dichter, Yaakov Peri

Votes: 5,280 | Gross: $2.42M

11. The Hunting Ground (2015)

PG-13 | 103 min | Documentary

77 Metascore

An exposé of rape crimes on U.S. college campuses, their institutional cover-ups, and the devastating toll they take on students and their families.

Director: Kirby Dick | Stars: Andrea Pino, Annie Clark, Claire Potter, Melinda Manning

Votes: 5,671 | Gross: $0.41M

12. The Invisible War (2012)

Not Rated | 93 min | Documentary, Crime

75 Metascore

An investigative documentary about the epidemic of rape of soldiers within the US military.

Director: Kirby Dick | Stars: Amy Ziering, Kirby Dick, Kori Cioca, Jessica Hinves

Votes: 6,399 | Gross: $0.07M

13. This Film Is Not Yet Rated (2006)

Unrated | 98 min | Documentary

75 Metascore

Kirby Dick's exposé about the American movie ratings board.

Director: Kirby Dick | Stars: Kirby Dick, Kimberly Peirce, Darren Aronofsky, Atom Egoyan

Votes: 26,899 | Gross: $0.30M

14. Undefeated (2011)

PG-13 | 113 min | Documentary, Sport

71 Metascore

Chronicles three underprivileged students from inner-city Memphis and their volunteer coach who tries to help them beat the odds on and off the field.

Directors: Daniel Lindsay, T.J. Martin | Stars: Bill Courtney, O.C. Brown, Montrail 'Money' Brown, Chavis Daniels

Votes: 6,500 | Gross: $0.56M

15. This Is Not a Film (2011)

Not Rated | 75 min | Documentary

90 Metascore

It's been months since Jafar Panahi, stuck in jail, has been awaiting a verdict by the appeals court. By depicting a day in his life, Panahi and Mojtaba Mirtahmasb try to portray the deprivations looming in contemporary Iranian cinema.

Directors: Mojtaba Mirtahmasb, Jafar Panahi | Stars: Jafar Panahi, Igi, Mrs. Gheirat, Mojtaba Mirtahmasb

Votes: 4,405 | Gross: $0.08M

16. West of Memphis (2012)

R | 147 min | Documentary, Crime

80 Metascore

An examination of a failure of justice in the case against the West Memphis Three.

Director: Amy Berg | Stars: Jason Baldwin, Damien Wayne Echols, Jessie Misskelley, Michael Baden

Votes: 9,408 | Gross: $0.31M

17. Winter on Fire: Ukraine's Fight for Freedom (2015)

Not Rated | 102 min | Documentary

79 Metascore

A documentary on the unrest in Ukraine during 2013 and 2014, as student demonstrations supporting European integration grew into a violent revolution calling for the resignation of President Viktor F. Yanukovich.

Director: Evgeny Afineevsky | Stars: Bishop Agapit, Catherine Ashton, Serhii Averchenko, Kristina Berdinskikh

Votes: 11,145

18. No End in Sight (2007)

Not Rated | 102 min | Documentary, War

89 Metascore

A comprehensive look at the Bush Administration's conduct of the Iraq war and its occupation of the country.

Director: Charles Ferguson | Stars: Campbell Scott, Gerald Burke, Ali Fadhil, Omar Fekeiki

Votes: 7,944 | Gross: $1.43M

19. Paradise Lost 3: Purgatory (2011)

Not Rated | 121 min | Documentary, Crime

85 Metascore

A further followup of the case of the West Memphis Three and the decades long fight to exonerate them that finally gained traction with new DNA evidence.

Directors: Joe Berlinger, Bruce Sinofsky | Stars: Gary Gitchell, Todd Moore, Dana Moore, Pam Hobbs

Votes: 8,551

20. 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: 14,085

21. Paradise Lost 2: Revelations (2000 TV Movie)

Unrated | 130 min | Documentary, Crime

The case of the West Memphis Three, its questionable circumstances and the parties involved are followed up years later.

Directors: Joe Berlinger, Bruce Sinofsky | Stars: Damien Wayne Echols, Melissa Byers, Norris Deajon, Tim Sullivan

Votes: 7,489

22. Taxi to the Dark Side (2007)

R | 106 min | Documentary, Crime, News

82 Metascore

Alex Gibney exposes the haunting details of the USA's torture and interrogation practices during the War in Afghanistan.

Director: Alex Gibney | Stars: Alex Gibney, Brian Keith Allen, Moazzam Begg, Christopher Beiring

Votes: 14,071 | Gross: $0.27M

23. 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, Ken Kratz, Brendan Dassey

Votes: 79,488

24. O.J.: Made in America (2016)

TV-MA | 467 min | Documentary, Biography, Crime

A chronicle of the rise and fall of O.J. Simpson, whose high-profile murder trial exposed the extent of American racial tensions, revealing a fractured and divided nation.

Director: Ezra Edelman | Stars: Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Mike Albanese, Muhammad Ali, Marcus Allen

Votes: 15,496

25. 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: 34,680

26. Metallica: Some Kind of Monster (2004)

Not Rated | 141 min | Documentary, Music

74 Metascore

A documentary crew followed Metallica for the better part of 2001-2003, a time of tension and release for the rock band, as they recorded their album St. Anger, fought bitterly, and sought the counsel of their on-call shrink.

Directors: Joe Berlinger, Bruce Sinofsky | Stars: James Hetfield, Kirk Hammett, Lars Ulrich, Robert Trujillo

Votes: 16,582 | Gross: $1.22M

27. Our Times (2002)

65 min | Documentary

Documentary covering women's political involvement and contribution in the 2001 Iranian elections.

Director: Rakhshan Banietemad | Stars: Pegah Ahangarani, Arezu Bayat, Reza Davoudnejad, Ehsan Delaviz

Votes: 90

28. The Defiant Ones (2017)

60 min | Documentary, Biography, Crime

"The Defiant Ones" examines the partnership between Jimmy Iovine and Dr. Dre - one the son of a Brooklyn longshoreman, the other straight out of Compton - and their leading roles in a chain of transformative events in contemporary culture.

Stars: Dr. Dre, Jimmy Iovine, Trent Reznor, Verna Griffin

Votes: 9,552



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