Documentary films have been around as long as video cameras and can cover any number of topics. A documentary is a non-fiction film that sets out to shed light on, and document, a given event, time period, or anything else that the filmmaker feels is relevant. There are many documentaries, some little known, some very mainstream. Following is a list of some of the most popular documentaries of all time.
Fahrenheit 9/11 The biggest grossing documentary ever, this was Michael Moore’s searing look at the climate in the United States before and after 9/11. This documentary was released in 2004.
F For Fake This documentary by Orson Welles from 1973 documented a study on the art of lying. At turns entertaining and informative.
An Inconvenient Truth Al Gore’s documentary about global warming. This documentary was very controversial when it was released in 2006.
Montery Pop Montery Pop was the first big pop festival of the 1960’s, and this documentary was the first major concert film of that time period. This film did not just feature the music from the festival, but also aptly captured the counterculture of that era.
Bowling For Columbine Another very popular and controversial documentary from Michael Moore. This documentary is on gun control and violence and how it affects America, especially the youth. This film was released in 2002.
The Up Series A fascinating look at how life often takes unexpected turns. This project, which began in 1964, follows a group of 14 British kids who are interviewed every seven years throughout their lives. Each segment that is released will touch and surprise.
Woodstock Arguably one of the best known documentaries, this 1970 film is about, you guessed it, the Woodstock festival in upstate New York. This film by Michael Wadleigh has become a cult classic.
Grizzly Man Timothy Treadwell and his girlfriend began shooting this documentary about their interactions and life with grizzly bears before both were tragically killed by a grizzly in 2003. Their footage was later found and the rest of the documentary put together by Discovery Docs. The documentary was released in 2005.
The Times of Harvey Milk This 1984 documentary about a San Francisco politician who was killed by a homophobic colleague went on to win an academy award.
Whatever your interests or political affiliation, there are sure to be documentaries to make you think. The documentaries listed here are considered to be among the most popular documentaries and most are available on DVD or online.
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