Good Documentaries (1 Viewer)

d gray

tried to do his best but could not
Founding member
can anyone recommend any good documentaries they've seen?

here's a partial list of ones i can remember off the top of my head. any suggestions would be great.

Don't Look Back
Grey Gardens
Style Wars
Sherman's March
Gimme Shelter
Titticut Follies
Thin Blue Line
Hoop Dreams
Capturing the Friedman's
Train on the Brain
Grizzly Man
Manufacturing Consent
When We Were Kings
Hearts of Darkness
US vs John Lennon
Wild Man Blues
Mayor of Sunset Strip
I, Curmudgeon
Straight No Chaser
Pumping Iron
Dark Days
American Pimp
End of the Century
Filth and the Fury
Cocaine Cowboys
Dogtown and Zboys
Pumping Iron
The Future is Unwritten
Unknown Chaplin
Glenn Gould on and off the record
Bix: Ain't None of Them Play Like Him Yet
When I posted in a different thread my fave flicks I added a couple of docs that were faves. Two glaring omissions were Crumb and The Thin Blue Line. The similarities in Crumb and Bukowski are really quite profound. The Thin Blue Line at the time was a revelatory glimpse in to police procedure gone awry. Paradise Lost: The Child Murders at Robin Hood Hills and Heartworn Highways are two to add to your list.
I saw a great one last night on Pluto-not the dog.
People actually demonstrated when it was pulled from list of planets-where do they find the time??
Dear Zachary
Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room
Food, Inc.
Crazy Love
Little Dieter Needs to Fly
My Best Fiend
Encounters at the End of the World
Walmart: The High Cost of a Low Price
Joseph Campbell: The Power of Myth
The Battle Over Citizen Kane
The Corporation
The World According to Monsanto
Why We Fight
Night and Fog
The Bridge
Iraq For Sale: The War Profiteers
FLOW (For Love of Water)
Abel Raises Cain
American Hardcore
The Decline of Western Civilisation
Monterey Pop
The Civil War (Ken Burns PBS Series)
The War (Ken Burns PBS Series)
Planet Earth (BBC series... incredible photography throughout)
Roger and Me
Snuff: A Documentary About Killing On Camera
Storm Over Everest
Jonestown: The Life and Death of Peoples Temple

and, oh yeah, Born Into This
I have too many here to link to, but these are all good (I tried not to duplicate any previous recommendations, but I may have missed one or two - and I agree with a lot of the recommendations so far):

Dr. Bronner's Magic Soapbox
New York Doll
I Like Killing Flies
Betty Blowtorch
Killer of Sheep (not a documentary - see it anyway!)
TV Party: The Documentary
Land of Look Behind
Tom Dowd and the Language of Music
The Cool School
The King of Kong
My Kid Could Paint That
The Beales of Grey Gardens
Danielson: A Family Movie
7 up (14 up, 21 up, etc.)
The Devil and Daniel Johnston
The True Meaning of Pictures
Rock School
In the Realms of the Unreal

Anything by Errol Morris, including:
Mr. Death
Standard Operating Procedure
Fast, Cheap & Out of Control
Last edited:
Cocksucker Blues
Give Me Your Soul
911 by the Naudet brothers
mjp - Killer of Sheep (by Charles Burnett) wasn't a documentary. But it was a really great film. For anyone who likes Spike Lee, you gotta see this one. Burnett was a huge influence.

My recommendations would include:

King Corn
Jesus Camp
Man On Wire

And enough people whose opinion I trust are raving about the Anvil documentary, so I'll throw that one in.
Anvil was good.

I guess Killer of Sheep just felt like a documentary...funny I misclassified it.
"Jesus Camp" was kinda scary to watch, teaching the kids to fight against abortion etc. as Christian soldiers of a sort.
anvil seconded here. thinking about going to see until the light takes us this weekend - it looks really good.
Last tuesday evening we've watched:
A docu. on Céline.
A docu. on Nick Drake.
An interview with Henry Miller
and a play written by Jean Genet.

You grab the ugly huge laptop
out of the study, put it on the coffee table,
hang on the couch together and you open a
bottle of organic red wine.
Life is good. Sometimes.
Last edited by a moderator:
Got me thinking (always a bad thing):

Ladies and Gentlemen: Mr. Leonard Cohen
, 1965. Leonard, before he became the singer songwriter he is known as.

Buster Keaton Rides Again, 1965. Old master showing how to make a film and smoke too much at the same time. I got lung cancer watching these people.

28Up (and onward to 49Up) by Michael Apted. I know it started at 7Up, but I didn't see the first three.

Peking to Paris, The Great Expedition. Australian loonies take veteran cars across the vast expanse.

Koyaanisqatsi. Phillip Glass soundtrack. I saw the follow-up but not the third in the trilogy.

9/11 by the Naudet brothers. That from-street-level footage of the first jet going in still scares the shit out of me.

Artie Shaw: Time is All You've Got
. Big band leader and the trials of celebrity, amongst other things.

AYP: Seattle's Forgotten World's Fair. 1909 World's Fair.

Dreams With Sharp Teeth
. Harlan Ellison. Ah, it could have been better, it could have been worse.

A Day in the Life of a Bus Driver
. I need all the mentors I can get.

There's more.
some very good ones already mentioned, but I'd like to add:


PBS HV.jpg
This one is a great documentary! - It's incredible movies are rated by an anonymous rating board set up by the largest movie companies instead of a public rating board. I wonder how fair they treat independent movies. ;)

From IMDB:

Documents a history of the MPAA ratings board. Talks to numerous directors and actors about the censorship of their movies before they could be released. Includes directors, Kevin Smith, Matt Stone, John Waters, Darren Aronosfsky, Maria Bello, Atom Egoyan. Director, Kirby Dick hires a lesbian family of private investigators to find out the names of the MPAA ratings board and see if the raters are actually parents of children 5-17 like the MPAA tells American parents they are.

Last edited by a moderator:
Hey, what do I know. Too many big words. Too many pages. Ha.

Just not interesting for me.

Great movie though. Kind of like Some Kind of Monster - I don't give a shit about Metallica, but it was a compelling movie. Same with DiG! The music of those bands was really meaningless to me, but their story was good.
Great movie though. Kind of like Some Kind of Monster - I don't give a shit about Metallica, but it was a compelling movie. Same with DiG! The music of those bands was really meaningless to me, but their story was good.

sign of a great documentary, in my opinion. a lot of the documentaries i like are about subjects i'm not really interested, generally.
Probably helps if you're a stoner but I absolutely love watching For All Mankind. I never get bored with it and the soundtrack is perfect too.
And a horrible book...

Well, I've disagreed with you before so it's only fair to acknowledge when I agree. This book does suck and damn the doc for "sucking" me in to reading it. But I'm a sucker for documentaries. Damn you, d gray, for starting this thread. Amazon shareholders gotta love me for the order I just placed. The only disappointment is In the Realms of the Unreal is OOP (Shit!!!) - I just received the Biesenbach book on Darger and fuck me, the oop dvd costs more than the book.
9/11 by the Naudet brothers. That from-street-level footage of the first jet going in still scares the shit out of me.

was probably a set up by people who knew the 9-11 attack was happening when it did. The gas leak that was phoned in may have been part of it. But as a result one of the greatest documentaries of our time. IMHO.
I know many of these have been mentioned, but I wanted to list some of my favorites, if not just to be part of the club.

Tarnation (still one of the greatest movies in the whole wide world!)
In the Realms of the Unreal
Danielson Family Movie
Thin Blue Line
Encounters at the Ends of the World
Just Melvin
Born into This
Born into Brothels
Grey Gardens
51 Birch Street
I've read Fest's Hitler biography years ago. It was quite good. I did'nt know he's made a Hitler documentary too, but I'm sure it's just as good as his HItler biography.
Last edited by a moderator:
Not to change the subject from Hitler or anything, but Carol reminded me about Edgeplay, a documentary about the Runaways. Probably only of interest to the elderly, but with the Runaways movie coming out, maybe some young whippersnappers will feel compelled to see what the real Runaways were like.

Joan Jett declined to take part in the film, but even without her it's an engrossing story. It's easy to forget how much shit those young women had to take when they dared to infringe on the sacred male rawk'n'roll turf in the not-too-distant past. If you were around in those days you probably remember the demeaning and dismissive way the music press treated them (jailbait rock, etc,. etc.). Whether you respect their music or not (most of it is easy to dismiss if you're so inclined), you have to respect them as pioneers.
Okay, got a batch of docs in from Amazon and the 1st one up is Anvil. Never realized till now that piss and shit in a toilet looks terribly similar to bacon and eggs (sunny side up) on a white plate. If the ending doesn't effect you then it's my sad task to inform you you may very well be dead inside. 51 Birch Street is next.

Users who are viewing this thread