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ubersiren's avatar

What are some good documentary suggestions?

Asked by ubersiren (15152points) February 23rd, 2010

I enjoy documentaries in a range of subjects. I prefer ones which aren’t terribly depressing, but I’m open to suggestions.

Ones I’ve seen most recently:
Valentino: The Last Emperor
The Cove

What are your favorites?

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41 Answers

Likeradar's avatar

Wordplay, about crossword puzzle players is really good.

janbb's avatar

The Fog of War about Robert MacNamara and Vietnam is excellent but it is heavy.

OpryLeigh's avatar

I love anything that David Attenborough does.

drClaw's avatar

Facing Ali, it was done by Spike so I was a bit apprehensive about whether it would be any good, but I was surprised to see it was really well done.

jeffgoldblumsprivatefacilities's avatar

Does Planet Earth count? That’d be my vote.

Bluefreedom's avatar

I would recommend any of these:

• Sweet Misery: A Poisoned World
• The Future of Food
• Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room
• Wal-Mart: The High Cost of Low Price
• This Film Is Not Yet Rated
• Who Killed the Electric Car?
• Waco – The Rules of Engagement
• Incident at Oglala – The Leonard Peltier Story
• Broken Rainbow
• The Men Who Killed Kennedy
• Super Size Me
• Outfoxed – Rupert Murdoch’s War On Journalism
• Manufacturing Consent – Noam Chomsky and the Media
• On Native Soil
• Iraq For Sale – The War Profiteers
• Fast Food Nation
• The Injustice System in America
• America: Freedom to Fascism
• Uncovered – The War On Iraq
• Unconstitutional – The War On Our Civil Liberties
• A Crude Awakening: The Oil Crash
• Maxed Out
• In Debt We Trust
• The Big Guy – Tom Delay’s Stolen Congress
• No Human Rights
• Terrorstorm – A History of Government Sponsored Terrorism
• The Unforeseen
• NOVA – The Family That Walks On All Fours
• American Experience: Hijacked
• NOVA – Battle Plan Under Fire
• Frontline: The Storm
• Stagedoor
• NOVA – Life and Death in the War Zone
• About Baghdad
• Dealing Dogs
• Scared Sacred
• Absolutely Positive
• Remaking American Medicine
• 100 Years of Flight
• Frontline: The Age of AIDS
• No Human Rights
• Omar & Pete
• A Life Without Pain: A Documentary
• NOVA: Secret of the Wild Child
• Reporting America At War
• Parallel Lines
• Big Easy to Big Empty: The Untold Story of the Drowning of New Orleans
• Easy Street
• Echoes of Forgotten Places
• The Park
• National Geographic – World’s Most Dangerous Gang
• National Geographic – World’s Most Dangerous Drug
• Ghost of Abu Ghraib
• Plastic Disasters
• Twist of Faith
• Frontline: Is Wal-Mart Good For America?
• Forgiving Dr. Mengele
• The War Tapes
• North Korea: A Day in the Life
• 30 Frames A Second: The WTO in Seattle

jfos's avatar

It’s not actually a documentary, but Diarios de motocicleta (Motorcycle Diaries), is really good. It’s a dramatization of Che Guevara’s famous youthful motorcycle road trip.

squidcake's avatar

Capitalism: A Love Story.
The Wild Parrots of Telegraph Hill.

knitfroggy's avatar

I just watched one called Who the *$&% is Jackson Pollack that was really interesting and entertaining. It was about a lady that bought a painting at a second hand store that was thought to be a Jackson Pollack.

TheJoker's avatar

Hmmm, mine do tend to be a little depressing. ‘The Nazis: A Warning from History’ is one I’d strongly recommend…. although anything from the Horizon team is usually pretty fun.

juniper's avatar

Born into Brothels.

On the less depressing side, Enlighten Up!

BoBo1946's avatar

@juniper lmao…can i sign up for your class?

juniper's avatar

@BoBo1946, Huh? Were these supposed to be recommendations for a class? I must have missed that.

kevbo's avatar

Riding Giants
The Flyingist Flying

Any documentary by Nick Broomfield… although they aren’t not depressing topics, his manner provides some comic relief.

fathippo's avatar

the day i died, that is about near death experience and is awesome,
and i think it’s just called parallel universes, which was also awesome =)

Bluefreedom's avatar

Return with Honor
On Any Sunday
The Endless Summer

Likeradar's avatar

Oh, I forgot one: Simply Raw, about the benefits of raw foods.

GladysMensch's avatar

Hoop Dreams
Grizzly Man
Paradise Lost: The Child Murders at Robin Hood Hills

BoBo1946's avatar

@juniper just a thought!

Rarebear's avatar

It’s a little dated now, but I would add “Outfoxed” to this list.

JONESGH's avatar

Man On Wire was good

ubersiren's avatar

Good gracious… I have some Netflixing to do!

thriftymaid's avatar

I recently watched Nanking on Hulu; it was very well done. Warning: graphic

phoebusg's avatar

Zeitgeist and the addendum as well. Good compilation of a lot of facts. Some controversial parts – but most of it is golden.

juniper's avatar

Oh wait, I forgot one of the best: Food Inc. I’ve watched a lot of stuff on the meat industry, but this is by far the best. Not for the faint of heart, though.

aprilsimnel's avatar

I got The Genius of Charles Darwin recently. Fascinating insights on him by the people Richard Dawkins interviews. I also like Ken Burns’ Jazz series, and, if you can get hold of it, back int he early 80s, Channel 4 in the UK produced a doc series called Hollywood: A Celebration of the American Silent Film. It’s probably only on VHS (or BitTorrent), but it’s the last time some of the great stars of the silent era were interviewed.

YARNLADY's avatar

@ninjacolin very good link – thank you.

ninjacolin's avatar

:) welcome!
from that link i recommend The Human Mind, If we had no moon, and The boy with the incredible brain

aprilsimnel's avatar

Oh! The doc I worked on in 2000 – Into The Arms Of Strangers: Stories Of The Kindertransport

AstroChuck's avatar

King Corn
Food, Inc

ubersiren's avatar

@aprilsimnel Well now I have to see that one for sure! What did you do on the film?

aprilsimnel's avatar

I was the Production Assistant/Coordinator for the New York area shoot. The woman who produced it was one of the executive producers of The Drew Carey Show, and her mother had been one of these rescued children.

janbb's avatar

@aprilsimnel I saw that movie at a program run by the Holocaust Center I was on the board of. One of the members watching suddenly said, “There’s my brother!” He had known his brother but not realized he was in the film and his brother was now dead. That was a very moving moment for me.

filmfann's avatar

The King of Kong: Fistfull of Quarters
It’s about 2 guys trying to prove they are the best at Donkey Kong.

johninttown's avatar

Crossing the Line
It’s a documentary about a US soldier that was stationed in South Korea in the 1960s and defected to North Korea. He’s been there ever since. Besides talking about him, the documentary shows an interesting view into the hermit kingdom of North Korea.

A State of Mind
This is another documentary that uncovers parts of North Korea that most people never see. It’s about a couple of girls that are preparing for the gymnastics spectacular called the Mass Games. Very interesting as it shows the daily lives of the girls.

Keep in mind that these documentaries don’t really show the life of an average North Korean citizen. The people covered in the films are considered some of the more privileged people in their country. Nevertheless, the documentaries are very interesting to watch.

ubersiren's avatar

@filmfann I saw that one! It was grrrreat. It’s the arrogant anal retentive jerk vs. the laid back nice guy. Loved it.

I also saw Grizzly Man which someone suggested. Little too depressing for me. Just kept getting darker and darker. I also LOVE the Planet Earth series that @jeffgoldblumsprivatefacilities mentioned. I definitely like stuff like that.

Thanks for everything so far, everyone!

shpadoinkle_sue's avatar

Expelled. Very smart, very fair, very well executed. Fired and Maxed Out are pretty good as well. They make me feel better.

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