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Best Documentary Films of All Time

Updated on March 7, 2017

Documentary Films That Were Real

Fahrenheit 9/11 was written by Michael Moore and although it showed some hyperbole it was still fact based.
Fahrenheit 9/11 was written by Michael Moore and although it showed some hyperbole it was still fact based. | Source
Food. Inc. shows you some horrendous footage of animals such as cows before they are slaughtered.
Food. Inc. shows you some horrendous footage of animals such as cows before they are slaughtered. | Source
Bowling for Columbine was made in 2002 and it tells the tale of the Columbine school shootings. This was one of the most heinous crimes committed in a high school and America mourned for months.
Bowling for Columbine was made in 2002 and it tells the tale of the Columbine school shootings. This was one of the most heinous crimes committed in a high school and America mourned for months. | Source
Michael Jackson's film This Is It shows Jackson's final stage performances and his final interviews and appearances.
Michael Jackson's film This Is It shows Jackson's final stage performances and his final interviews and appearances. | Source

Which is The Best?

Which is your favorite Documentary Film?

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Fahrenheit 9/11 on DVD

Grizzly Man

Grizzly Man was released to worldwide acclaim in 2005. It is a well made documentary that tells all without holding back.
Grizzly Man was released to worldwide acclaim in 2005. It is a well made documentary that tells all without holding back.

Great Documentary Movies

1. Fahrenheit 9/11 (2004): This documentary written by Michael Moore, shows his views on the Bush Administration after the September 11, 2001 attacks. In this film, the writer alleges that President Bush used the attacks in N.Y. to instigate war in Afghanistan and Iraq. Many graphic scenes and horrific stories are shared in this film. The truth is, sometimes more than what we can handle. That is why war is such a hard thing to go through. This was such a day in American history, it still hurts to this day. I know that the families still struggle with their different losses each day. Some lost limbs, sight, the ability to walk or hear and some Americans gave their lives.

2. Grizzly Man (2005): This true story was very deep, emotional and extremely sad but, also raises awareness about issues from the wildlife areas of the world. Bear enthusiast Timothy Treadwell and his girlfriend Amie Huguenard were touching bears and living near them until one day, they were killed and half eaten by a bear. This should remind us that even though we think we are comfortable with wild life, remember they are still wild. Respect their space. They are curious, territorial and moms their young cubs protect them at all costs.

3. Trouble the Water (2008): This film deals with Hurricane Katrina and the aftermath including the levees breaking apart in New Orleans, Louisiana. The film deals with the Red Cross, the government and all the troubles that resulted for the community when the hurricane tore through the state. It's a very compelling look at a problem that exists right before our eyes. The failure of the levees

4. In The Shadow of The Moon (2007): The Apollo NASA Space mission survivors tell their stories of that mission gone awry. This film has footage of all the manned missions to the moon from U.S. Astronauts during the 1960's as well as the early 70's. The film shows unreleased NASA footage that is very informative and rare. Space is not something to be taken lightly. We get complacent when we have several missions that go off without a hitch. Space is a bit overwhelming, when you get to thinking about it.

5. Primary (1960): This documentary follows the lives of John F. Kennedy and his opponent for the Presidency Hubert Humphrey. The footage was taken in Wisconsin in 1960 and shows debates and interviews with the candidates. It includes up close and personal film of election night and the parties family members. The good, the bad and the ugly are highlighted in this production. This film is in black and white and some interviews are in color. This is an interesting to watch.

6. Bowling for Columbine (2002): This film was made and narrated by Michael Moorer and it stems from questions raised after the horrible Columbine school shootings. Interviews from people on the streets as well as interviews with rock star Marilyn Manson and Charlton Heston. This film focuses on gun control and violence throughout. This was a true tragedy is US History.

7. Food, Inc. (2008): This film documents greed and how it relates to agriculture. Farms are explored and disturbing facts are seen. Interviews are loaded in this movie including talks with over thirty people. It shows the inside of factories and what really goes on at some places anyway. It shows how certain functions are performed including fertilization. I am sure that politics for farmers are terrible. I am sure that there is lots of red tape.

8. An Inconvenient Truth (2006): This film attempts to educate the world on Global Warming. Former vice president Al Gore is featured in this movie and climate change and other environmental problems are discussed. This film tends to use tables, graphs and fact based data to show proof that Global Warming is a horrible problem for the planet.

9. Scared Straight! (1978): This film was filmed at Rahway State Prison and like the title says, the inmates try to scare some inner city youths straight that are going down the wrong path. This film won an Academy Award in 1978 and it had real life footage with inmates whose crimes ranged from murder to grand larceny.

10. This is It (2009): This film shows Jackson behind the scenes, during rehearsal and interviewed for his final concert which never happened because, he died before it's scheduled start date. This is the highest grossing documentary concert film ever made. This film shows the last dance moves by the King of Pop. This documentary was done very well, and it did great numbers at the box office due to the untimely death of Michael Jackson.

* Please let me know what your favorite documentary film is and why by leaving feedback in the comments capsule located at the bottom of this hub.

Trouble the Water Trailer

Location of the documentary entitled, Primary

Fahrenheit 911 Trailer

Documentaries: Fact or Fiction

Although documentaries are based on fact they also are known to bend the truth for television ratings. I am however a big fan of documentaries because seeing the under belly of things is important.

© 2013 Buster Johnson

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    • The Reminder profile image

      The Reminder 4 years ago from Canada

      I fell asleep in theaters while watching Fahrenheit 9/11. Maybe I was tired too! I should perhaps give it another try!

    • Kosmo profile image

      Kelley 4 years ago from California

      I fell asleep during "Fahrenheit 9/11" - George W. Bush always does that to me. I must sleep or kill him. Sorry. Anyway, I love documentaries and don't see enough of them. Later!

    • Mr Deltoid 1966 profile image

      Rich 4 years ago from New Jersey

      "Endless Summer" is well worth seeing, even if you dont like surfing.

      "The Kids Are Alright" is one of the best Rock Docs.

      "Hearts Of Darkness"is one of the best film-making oriented ones.

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