What’s your favorite documentary movie? This might be an easy question to answer if you’re already an avid watcher of documentaries, but it might take a while to think of just one, especially if you don’t watch this genre as often as you should. To help inspire you, here are the best documentary movies released in theaters or on Netflix so you can start adding them to your queue. Of course, there are hundreds more movies out there that deserve attention, so don’t limit yourself to just these!
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Best Documentary Movies To Watch Right Now:
1. Exit Through the Gift Shop (2010)
A documentary film by Banksy, Exit Through the Gift Shop tells the story of Thierry Guetta, an eccentric Frenchman with a passion for street art. Going against his father’s wishes, Thierry opened a videography store in Los Angeles and would go out to record the city’s artists. Soon after he met Banksy, they recorded together and over time this friendship developed into a business partnership.
2. 13th (2016) – Documentary Movie
The 13th is a 2016 documentary film about the history of racial inequality in the United States. The film centers on how African-Americans were disenfranchised in society and their struggle to be free from discrimination and oppression. It follows the activists of the Civil Rights movement, politicians, historians, and regular citizens that are fighting for equality. The movie is not only informative but also empowering as it sheds light on an important topic that needs more attention.
3. God Grew Tired of Us (2006)
This documentary, which follows a group of Sudanese refugees as they try to make their way from Africa to America, beautifully depicts how even the smallest acts of kindness can change someone’s life. The film is full of emotional moments that will leave you in tears– like when young Abdul recounts his harrowing escape from Sudan and his struggle to find peace in America.
4. An Inconvenient Truth (2006) – Documentary Movie
In 2006, director Davis Guggenheim premiered the documentary An Inconvenient Truth. The film takes a look at the effects of global warming, built by the emission of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, through the eyes of former Vice President Al Gore. The film was a huge success and was instrumental in educating audiences on global warming and raising awareness.
5. He Named Me Malala (2015)
This documentary follows the story of Malala Yousafzai, a Pakistani girl who was shot in the head by the Taliban. The film documents her childhood as she battles for girls’ education and faces assassination attempts. It also explores her relationship with her father, Ziauddin Yousafzai, as he comes to terms with his daughter’s activism.
6. Spotlight (2015) – Documentary Movie
Spotlight is a 2015 American drama film directed by Tom McCarthy and written by McCarthy and Josh Singer. It tells the true story of the Pulitzer Prize-winning Boston Globe investigation into cases of widespread and systemic child sex abuse in the Boston area by numerous Roman Catholic priests.
It is told through investigative reporting, interviews with victims, legal counsels, church officials, and impassioned pleas from members of the public.
7. Amy (2015)
Documentaries are one of my favorite things to watch. I love seeing everything that goes into making a movie and all the work that goes into it. One of my favorite documentaries is Amy. Amy is a documentary about the life of Amy Winehouse. This documentary does a wonderful job of capturing the highs and lows of her life, including her rise to fame, her descent into addiction, and her attempt to get back on top with the release of Back in Black.
8. Food Inc. (2008) – Documentary Movie
This documentary is informative and educational, but it is also very emotional. You will learn about the food industry, but you might also find yourself feeling guilty for what you’ve been eating for years. In our society, there are only two options when it comes to food: organic or processed. However, this film presents a third option- more sustainable farming practices that don’t use pesticides and fertilizers.
9. Super Size Me (2004)
In this documentary, Morgan Spurlock eats three meals a day from McDonald’s for 30 days straight. He documents the process with video footage as well as interviews with nutritionists and doctors about the effects of his diet. The movie discusses obesity in America, corporate responsibility, and fast food culture. You’ll be shocked at what he finds out!
10. Holy Hell (2016) – Documentary Movie
Holy Hell is a documentary about Reverend Fred Phelps, head of the Westboro Baptist Church. The film was created in response to his death in 2014. It follows the life of Fred Phelps and his family members as they fight for their cause. This documentary won the World Cinema Jury Award for documentaries at Sundance 2017. It is not available on Netflix or Amazon Prime but it is still worth watching if you can find it online.
Documentaries are a great way to learn about different cultures, past events, and current topics. They offer unique perspectives that textbooks or other media might not be able to provide. There are so many documentaries out there though and it can be difficult to find the ones that are worth watching.