Off Topic: Recommend Some Documentaries!

I've been travelling around a lot recently — for work, on holiday. It's the reason that most of my gaming has been done on handhelds recently. But I've also gone on a massive documentary kick. So what I would like you to do today is talk documentaries! What are your favourites? Drop some recommendations in the comments below.

Some of the docus I've watched recently as loved are Fog of War — a look at the life of Robert S. McNamara, the Secretary of Defence for the US during the Cold War. That was fantastic. I also enjoyed Jiro Dreams of Sushi which explored the perfectionist mentality of the greatest Sushi chef in Japan. That was inspiring.

Right now, however, I'm in the midst of watching Ken Burns' The Civil War, a documentary series so good that it almost feels overwhelming and demoralising. It's that good. It leaves you with the feeling that, whatever you do in life, whatever you create, you'll never be able to top this. Outstanding in scope, detail and storytelling. Comes thoroughly recommended by me.


    9/11 by the Naudet Brothers!

    Fog of War is awesome.
    I just watched an episode of Planet Dinosaur. Has recent (past decade) fossil discoveries, and some awesome CGI. Dinosaur doco's plus cutting edge computer graphics = win.

    Definitely check out the HBO TV series of Vice. And along the same lines, Witness.

      vice is awesome - check out their youtube channel

    Jiro dreams of Sushi- the pursuit of perfection in sushi and a father's relationship with his sons

    The BBC's Story of Science is very good- traces the history of scientific discoveries

    Jesus Camp. Scary as all hell

    Westway to the World- personal favourite, a history of The Clash

    Glass: A Portrait of Philip in 12 parts by Aussie filmmaker Scott Hicks about composer Philip Glass

      Jiro is amazing.

      I would also suggest Searching for Sugarman.

    Walking with Dinosaurs is the best documentary.

    I've never really watched it, but my Dad loved Seven Wonders of the Industrial World.

    The Crash Reel, The Staircase, Dear Zachary, Capturing the Friedmans, Armadillo, Senna, Into the Abyss, Waste Land, Grizzly Man, The Act of Killing

    I thought that Head First on ABC 2 recently was a really interesting look at some lesser known corners of Australian life. Well worth a look!

      yeah, i liked this too - i felt at times that he was feeding his interviewees lines a bit, rather than letting them talk for themselves, but a good show - worth watching

    I'm halfway through Oliver Stone's Untold History of the United States.
    It's very concise and well put together. Most of the time it's also quite shocking but I won't get into the content of it. If you have any interest in 20th century history and/or WWII and Cold War history, check it out!

      I'd worry about any doco done by Oliver Stone- dude's got a very specific axe to grind, I wouldn't trust him to be an objective filmmaker

      Just bought this the other day, but haven't had a chance to watch it yet.

    Heavy Metal Junior: A Portrait of Pre-Teen Rebellion (I think that's the title).
    It was so funny I thought it was a mockumentary.

    Doctor Who is a great documentary.
    Any series by Louis Theroux.
    King of Kong.

    Hoop Dreams
    Fast, Cheap & Out of Control
    and various features by Berlinger and Sinofsky

    King of Kong!

    Edit: Ha! Also I swear there was another one I saw that was really good but I can't for the life of me think what it would have been.

    Last edited 13/08/13 11:24 am

    There's a great doco made by BBC on the Church of Scientology.. I really found that amazing... then there is always the Great Sir David Attenborough as well.. anything by him is wonderful...

    Civil War from Ken Burns? I own that on VHS! Such a well made production.

    Dear Zachary: A Letter to a Son About His Father is fantastic, but absolutely crushing.

    I'm guessing people might be over WW2 docos, but I still highly recommend the two-parter Rise and Fall of the Third Reich by the History Channel. Mainly because it's not really about the war, and more about how the Nazis operated as a political and cultural force, both during peacetime and war. Also, you know, it's not about aliens or Atlantis.

    Oh wait, Indie Game: The Movie. I liked that.

    The Corporation was a good one from a few years back.

      The Corporation is a must watch, a real eye-opener

    Here are a couple I've seen recently that I enjoyed:

    Basically about the rise and fall of Napster

    How to make money selling drugs
    The war on drugs, interviews with street dealers all the way through to guys raking in millions a day

    About the Klitschko brothers, heavyweight boxing champs

    TPB AFK: The Pirate Bay Away from Keyboard
    About the Pirate Bay founders. Actually haven't watched this yet, on my list.

    Inside Job
    Takes a look at the scumbags that caused the GFC. Greed, power, dodgy people in high ranking positions.

    EDIT: Almost forgot Inside Job, a must watch

    Last edited 13/08/13 11:41 am

    The Act of Killing - See if you can get the extended directors cut. It runs for 2 hours and 45 minutes i saw it at the Melbourne International Film Festival last week.

    A World Not Ours - Palestinian Refugees in Lebanon filmed over 30 years.

    The Stone Roses: Made of Stone - Like any english man of our age, the Stone Roses would have meant something to you @markserrels (i'm just assuming here)

      Dude -- you have no idea how important The Stone Roses were to me. My brother and all my friends from Scotland went to those first gigs. It killed me that I couldn't be there.

        I saw the film the other day and i finally got the hysteria, from my recollection they weren't ever that massive in Australia (they were probably Arcade Fire sized (now) back in 1995 when they toured last before they broke up). I was 7 in 1995 though but still I used to watch Music shows every week since i was 3 years old so i knew QUITE a bit about music at that age.

        I'm glad i went and saw them this year at Future Music Festival.

        Do yourself a favour and watch the film, it was shown as part of the Film Festival in Melbourne (sold out all sessions) but I'm sure it'll get released generally or you could find it by other means.

        it ends with the 20 minute version of Fools Gold live at Heaton Park in their comeback show. I had chills down my spine during it.

        Also not a documentary but you should watch Good Vibrations - a film about Terry Hooley and the Belfast Punk Scene.

    I'm just cut and pasting descriptions here. I've watched all of these on Netflix

    Beautiful Losers: This documentary profiles a collective of underground artists and filmmakers whose work made an indelible mark on mainstream culture in the 1990s. (really cool art)

    Beauty is Embarrasing: Get to know Wayne White, one of America's most unusual and arresting artists, with this snappy documentary that traces his eclectic career. (this guy did prop design on PeeWee's playhouse)

    Bone Brigade: An Autobiography: This documentary follows six teenagers who formed a skateboarding team in the 1980s, revitalizing the sport and becoming its top athletes.

    My 3 yr old son just walked in and asked to watch a documentary. ha.
    He wants to watch a doco called "Happy People: A Year in Taiga". Netflix description: This documentary explores life along the River Yenisei in Russia, where the industrious inhabitants of a rural village truly live off the land.

    Last edited 13/08/13 11:41 am

    For the geeky stuff:
    - King of Kong - About two guys trying to beat each other to get the world record in Donkey Kong
    - Comic-Con: A Fan's Hope - Follows a number of Comic-Con attendees
    - Second Skin - Explores the people who play MMOs and how the games affect their lives
    - My Other Me - About a few cosplayers and their hobby

    - Louis Theroux does some interesting documentaries that cover a variety of topics including the Westboro Baptist Church and people who believe in aliens and UFOs
    - Catfish - Follows a guy who travels to see a girl he meets online

      Catfish wasn't a docco. It was a movie shot in docco style.

    No one else mentioned Carl Sagans Cosmos??? Though it might pay to just wait for the revised one with Niel DegrassTyson (probably not how it's spelt))

      This. Cosmos is the best general science documentary ever produced.

      I'm also surprised no one has mentioned Planet Earth yet. That's basically the nature documentary.

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