documentaries to watch

by riseandthenset | created - 06 Nov 2013 | updated - 07 Dec 2013 | Public
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1. Waltz with Bashir (2008)

R | 90 min | Documentary, Animation, Biography

91 Metascore

An Israeli film director interviews fellow veterans of the 1982 invasion of Lebanon to reconstruct his own memories of his term of service in that conflict.

Director: Ari Folman | Stars: Ari Folman, Ron Ben-Yishai, Ronny Dayag, Ori Sivan

Votes: 52,867 | Gross: $2.28M

2. TPB AFK: The Pirate Bay Away from Keyboard (2013)

Not Rated | 85 min | Documentary

An intellectual freedoms documentary based around the interpersonal triumphs, and defeats of the three main characters against the largest industry in the known universe. The media industry.

Director: Simon Klose | Stars: Gottfrid Svartholm, Peter Sunde, Fredrik Neij, Peter Althin

Votes: 13,080

3. Jiro Dreams of Sushi (2011)

PG | 81 min | Documentary

77 Metascore

A documentary on 85-year-old sushi master Jiro Ono, his renowned Tokyo restaurant, and his relationship with his son and eventual heir, Yoshikazu.

Director: David Gelb | Stars: Jiro Ono, Yoshikazu Ono, Masuhiro Yamamoto, Daisuke Nakazama

Votes: 31,281 | Gross: $2.55M

4. Indie Game: The Movie (2012)

Not Rated | 103 min | Documentary, Drama

73 Metascore

A documentary that follows the journeys of indie game developers as they create games and release those works, and themselves, to the world.

Directors: Lisanne Pajot, James Swirsky | Stars: Jonathan Blow, Brandon Boyer, Renaud Bédard, Anthony Carboni

Votes: 19,683

5. Rivers and Tides: Andy Goldsworthy Working with Time (2001)

TV-G | 90 min | Documentary

82 Metascore

Portrait of Andy Goldsworthy, an artist whose specialty is ephemeral sculptures made from elements of nature.

Director: Thomas Riedelsheimer | Stars: Andy Goldsworthy, Anna Goldsworthy, Holly Goldsworthy, James Goldsworthy

Votes: 2,188

6. An Inconvenient Truth (2006)

PG | 96 min | Documentary, News

75 Metascore

Filmmaker Davis Guggenheim follows Al Gore on the lecture circuit, as the former presidential candidate campaigns to raise public awareness of the dangers of global warming and calls for immediate action to curb its destructive effects on the environment.

Director: Davis Guggenheim | Stars: Al Gore, Billy West, George Bush, George W. Bush

Votes: 78,079 | Gross: $23.81M

7. 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: 33,525 | Gross: $0.68M

8. 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: 48,134 | Gross: $4.42M

9. Restrepo (2010)

R | 93 min | Documentary, War

85 Metascore

A year with one platoon in the deadliest valley in Afghanistan.

Directors: Tim Hetherington, Sebastian Junger | Stars: The Men of Battle Company 2nd of the 503rd Infantry Regiment 173rd Airborne Brigade Combat Team, Juan 'Doc Restrepo, Dan Kearney, LaMonta Caldwell

Votes: 21,073 | Gross: $1.33M

10. The Last Days (1998)

PG-13 | 87 min | Documentary, War

In late 1944, even as they faced imminent defeat, the Nazis expended enormous resources to kill or deport over 425,000 Jews during the "cleansing" of Hungary. This Oscar-winning documentary... See full summary »

Director: James Moll | Stars: Bill Basch, Martin Basch, Randolph Braham, Alice Lok Cahana

Votes: 1,787 | Gross: $0.42M

11. 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: 31,853 | Gross: $4.59M

12. The Last Bolshevik (1993)

Not Rated | 120 min | Documentary, Biography, History

This documentary tells the story of film director Aleksandr Medvedkin, throughout his life a sincere believer in communism, whose films were repeatedly banned in the Soviet Union. Modern ... See full summary »

Director: Chris Marker | Stars: Léonor Graser, Nikolai Izvolov, Kira Paramonova, Viktor Dyomin

Votes: 565

13. Paragraph 175 (2000)

Not Rated | 81 min | Documentary, History, Romance

85 Metascore

Historian Klaus Müller interviews survivors of the Nazi persecution of homosexuals because of the German Penal Code of 1871, Paragraph 175.

Directors: Rob Epstein, Jeffrey Friedman | Stars: Rupert Everett, Klaus Müller, Karl Gorath, Pierre Seel

Votes: 1,765 | Gross: $0.07M

14. The Times of Harvey Milk (1984)

Not Rated | 90 min | Documentary, Biography, History

A documentary of the successful career and assassination of San Francisco's first elected gay city supervisor.

Director: Rob Epstein | Stars: Harvey Fierstein, Harvey Milk, Anne Kronenberg, Tory Hartmann

Votes: 5,286 | Gross: $0.01M

15. It Might Get Loud (2008)

PG | 98 min | Documentary, Music

70 Metascore

A documentary on the electric guitar from the point of view of three significant rock musicians: the Edge, Jimmy Page and Jack White.

Director: Davis Guggenheim | Stars: Jimmy Page, The Edge, Jack White, Dallas Schoo

Votes: 11,933 | Gross: $1.61M

16. Sympathy for the Devil (1968)

Not Rated | 100 min | Documentary, Music

Godard's documentation of late 1960s Western counter-culture, examining the Black Panthers, referring to works by LeRoi Jones and Eldridge Cleaver. Other notable subjects are the role of ... See full summary »

Director: Jean-Luc Godard | Stars: Sean Lynch, Mick Jagger, Brian Jones, Keith Richards

Votes: 2,595

17. Nanook of the North (1922)

Not Rated | 78 min | Documentary

In this silent predecessor to the modern documentary, film-maker Robert J. Flaherty spends one year following the lives of Nanook and his family, Inuits living in the Arctic Circle.

Director: Robert J. Flaherty | Stars: Allakariallak, Alice Nevalinga, Cunayou, Allegoo

Votes: 9,865

18. 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: 11,697

19. The War (2007)

TV-14 | 124 min | Documentary, History, War

A seven-part series focusing on the many ways in which the Second World War impacted the lives of American families.

Stars: Keith David, Katharine Phillips, Tom Hanks, Paul Fussell

Votes: 4,227

20. Horatio's Drive: America's First Road Trip (2003 TV Movie)

TV-G | 107 min | Documentary, Adventure, History

The saga of Horatio Nelson Jackson, the first man to cross the United States by automobile--in 1903!

Director: Ken Burns | Stars: Keith David, Tom Hanks, Adam Arkin, Tom Bodett

Votes: 409

21. Mark Twain (2001 TV Movie)

TV-PG | 212 min | Documentary, Biography

A biographical film about the acclaimed American humourist and author.

Director: Ken Burns | Stars: Keith David, Kevin Conway, Philip Bosco, Blythe Danner

Votes: 753

22. Biography (1987– )

60 min | Documentary, Biography

The life stories of various historical figures and celebrities are told.

Stars: Jack Perkins, Peter Graves, Harry Smith, Bill Mumy

Votes: 1,512

23. Prohibition (2011– )

360 min | Documentary, History

The story of the American activist struggle against the influence of alcohol, climaxing in the failed early 20th century nationwide era when it was banned.

Stars: Peter Coyote, Pete Hamill, Catherine Gilbert Murdock, Michael Lerner

Votes: 2,433

24. Modern Marvels (1993– )

TV-PG | 60 min | Documentary, History

Fast-paced, fun and informative, Modern Marvels is The History Channel's signature series focusing on historical technology.

Stars: Lloyd Sherr, Harlan Saperstein, William Atwater, Alexander B. Rubinow

Votes: 1,635

25. The Dust Bowl (2012– )

Documentary

A documentary about the 1930s drought of North American prairie farm land, and its consequences during the great depression.

Stars: Dorothy Williamson, Donald Worster, Timothy Egan, Calvin Crabill

Votes: 1,401

26. Frank Lloyd Wright (1998)

TV-PG | 146 min | Documentary, Biography, History

A biography of the life and work of the American architect.

Directors: Ken Burns, Lynn Novick | Stars: Edward Herrmann, Philip Bosco, Julie Harris, Sab Shimono

Votes: 689

27. Thomas Jefferson (1997– )

180 min | Documentary, History

A biographical film about The United States' influential and profoundly enigmatic Founding Father.

Stars: Ossie Davis, Joseph Ellis, John Hope Franklin, Gwyneth Paltrow

Votes: 538

28. Lewis & Clark: The Journey of the Corps of Discovery (1997 TV Movie)

TV-G | 240 min | Documentary, Adventure, Biography

The story of the most important American exploration expedition in American history and the participants in it.

Director: Ken Burns | Stars: Hal Holbrook, Adam Arkin, John Logan Allen, Stephen Ambrose

Votes: 994

29. The West (1996)

537 min | Documentary, History, War

Stephen Ives' "The West" is a PBS 4-Video Series co-produced by Ken Burns: - "Death Runs Riot" 85 min. - "Fight No More Forever" 85 min. - "Ghost Dance" 58 min. - "The People" 82 min.

Stars: Peter Coyote, N. Scott Momaday, Murphy Guyer, John Trudell

Votes: 1,554

30. Empire of the Air: The Men Who Made Radio (1991)

TV-G | 113 min | Documentary, History

For 50 years, radio dominated the airwaves as the first mass medium. Ken Burns examines the lives of three men who shared the responsibility for its invention and early success.

Director: Ken Burns | Stars: Jason Robards, Red Barber, Erik Barnouw, Ken Bilby

Votes: 408

31. The Fog of War: Eleven Lessons from the Life of Robert S. McNamara (2003)

PG-13 | 107 min | Documentary, Biography, History

87 Metascore

The story of America as seen through the eyes of the former Secretary of Defense under President John F. Kennedy and President Lyndon Baines Johnson, Robert McNamara.

Director: Errol Morris | Stars: Robert McNamara, John F. Kennedy, Fidel Castro, Richard Nixon

Votes: 21,954 | Gross: $4.20M

32. Alone in the Wilderness (2004 TV Movie)

57 min | Documentary

Documentary tells the story of Dick Proenneke who, in the late 1960s, built his own cabin in the wilderness at the base of the Aleutian Peninsula, in what is now Lake Clark National Park. ... See full summary »

Stars: Dick Proenneke, Bob Swerer Jr., Wendy Ishii, Pamela Guest

Votes: 3,274

33. I Am (III) (2010)

Not Rated | 78 min | Documentary

38 Metascore

Director Tom Shadyac speaks with intellectual and spiritual leaders about what's wrong with our world and how we can improve both it and the way we live in it.

Director: Tom Shadyac | Stars: Tom Shadyac, Desmond Tutu, Noam Chomsky, Ray Anderson

Votes: 3,332 | Gross: $1.57M

34. The Presidents (2005– )

45 min | Documentary, Biography, History

A historical compendium of the 42 men who have served as the chief executive of the United States taking us from George Washington to George W. Bush. Each segment discusses the highlights and often lowlights of the men who have served.

Stars: Edward Herrmann, H.W. Brands, Douglas Brinkley, Richard Brookhiser

Votes: 236

35. American Experience (1988– )

Not Rated | 60 min | Documentary, Biography, History

A series showcasing documentaries on American history.

Stars: David McCullough, David Ogden Stiers, Oliver Platt, Michael Murphy

Votes: 1,414

36. The Untold History of the United States (2012–2013)

58 min | Documentary, History, War

Oliver Stone's re-examination of under-reported events in American history.

Stars: Oliver Stone, Alan Shearman, Jim Ward, André Sogliuzzo

Votes: 7,224

38. Surviving Progress (2011)

Not Rated | 86 min | Documentary

59 Metascore

Theorists consider the evolution of human society and question the sustainability of the current paradigm.

Directors: Mathieu Roy, Harold Crooks | Stars: Ronald Wright, Mark Levine, Robert Wright, Marina Silva

Votes: 1,731 | Gross: $0.05M

39. The House I Live In (2012)

Not Rated | 108 min | Documentary

77 Metascore

From the dealer to the narcotics officer, the inmate to the federal judge, a penetrating look inside America's criminal justice system, revealing the profound human rights implications of U.S. drug policy.

Director: Eugene Jarecki | Stars: Eugene Jarecki, David Simon, Shanequa Benitez, William Julius Wilson

Votes: 5,052 | Gross: $0.21M

40. 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: 10,514 | Gross: $0.18M

41. I Will Be Murdered (2013)

85 min | Documentary, News, Romance

The fascinating story of Rodrigo Rosenberg, a Guatemalan lawyer who predicted his own death on YouTube, and the subsequent investigation that reached an unbelievable conclusion.

Director: Justin Webster | Stars: Rodrigo Rosenberg, Eduardo Rosenberg, Claudia Méndez, Otto Pérez Molina

Votes: 271

42. Our Daily Bread (2005)

Not Rated | 92 min | Documentary

86 Metascore

OUR DAILY BREAD is a wide-screen tableau of a feast which isn't always easy to digest - and in which we all take part. A pure, meticulous and high-end film experience that enables the audience to form their own ideas.

Director: Nikolaus Geyrhalter | Stars: Claus Hansen Petz, Arkadiusz Rydellek, Barbara Hinz, Renata Wypchlo

Votes: 2,394

43. Hearts of Darkness: A Filmmaker's Apocalypse (1991)

R | 96 min | Documentary

Documentary that chronicles how Francis Ford Coppola's Apocalypse Now (1979) was plagued by extraordinary script, shooting, budget, and casting problems--nearly destroying the life and career of the celebrated director.

Directors: Fax Bahr, George Hickenlooper, Eleanor Coppola | Stars: Dennis Hopper, Martin Sheen, Marlon Brando, George Lucas

Votes: 17,210 | Gross: $1.32M

44. I Think We're Alone Now (2008)

Not Rated | 70 min | Documentary, Comedy, Drama

Two individuals, Jeff and Kelly, claim to be in love with the 80's pop singer Tiffany.

Director: Sean Donnelly | Stars: Kelly McCormick, Tiffany, Jeff Turner

Votes: 1,278

45. No Impact Man: The Documentary (2009)

Not Rated | 93 min | Documentary

66 Metascore

Follow the Manhattan-based Beavan family as they abandon their high consumption 5th Avenue lifestyle and try to live a year while making no net environmental impact.

Directors: Laura Gabbert, Justin Schein | Stars: Colin Beavan, Michelle Conlin

Votes: 1,445 | Gross: $0.10M

46. Cinemania (2002)

Not Rated | 83 min | Documentary

67 Metascore

This documentary about the culture of intense cinephilia in New York City reveals the impassioned world of five obsessed movie buffs. The filmmakers expose this delightfully deranged cult ... See full summary »

Directors: Angela Christlieb, Stephen Kijak | Stars: Jack Angstreich, Eric Chadbourne, Bill Heidbreder, Roberta Hill

Votes: 2,165 | Gross: $0.01M

47. Sam Peckinpah's West: Legacy of a Hollywood Renegade (2004 TV Movie)

TV-14 | 89 min | Documentary

Spattered with blood and controversy, Sam Peckinpah's Westerns revolutionized their genre. SAM PECKINPAH'S WEST: LEGACY OF A HOLLYWOOD RENEGADE goes in search of the man behind these ... See full summary »

Director: Tom Thurman | Stars: Sam Peckinpah, Kris Kristofferson, Fern Lea Peter, Harry Dean Stanton

Votes: 242

48. Stephen Hawking's Universe (1997– )

Not Rated | 360 min | Documentary

6-part documentary series from arguably the greatest scientific mind in the world, the wheelchair-bound Stephen Hawking, which describes all current thinking on the Big Bang, origins of the... See full summary »

Stars: Stephen Hawking, Eugene Babaev, Jeff Rawle, Gregory Benford

Votes: 939