Some of my favorite films are “Planet Earth” and documentaries about the natural world, but I also find the passing of great, inspirational figures like Steve Jobs and Kurt Cobain to be deeply sad. Here are some of the greatest documentaries ever produced.
The Cove (2009)
Using state-of-the-art equipment, a group of activists, led by renowned dolphin trainer Ric O’Barry, infiltrated a cove near Taijii, Japan, to expose a shocking instance of animal abuse and a severe threat to human health.
Cobain: Montage of Heck (2015)
An authorized documentary on the late musician Kurt Cobain, from his early days in Aberdeen, Washington, to his success and downfall with the grunge band Nirvana.
Team Foxcatcher (2016)
Filmmaker Jon Greenhalgh examines the life of Dave Schultz, a professional wrestler part of Team Foxcatcher, funded by philanthropist John E du Pont.
A documentary following the controversial captivity of killer whales and its dangers for both humans and whales.
Young filmmakers document their colleague’s budding online friendship with a young woman and her family, leading to an unexpected discovery.
Living on One Dollar (2013)
An award-winning film called “A Must Watch” by Nobel Laureate Muhammad Yunus and Director of The Hunger Games, Gary Ross. Living on One Dollar follows the journey of four.
The True Cost (2015)
The True Cost is a documentary film exploring the impact of fashion on people and the planet.
Dear Zachary: A Letter to a Son About His Father (2008)
A filmmaker decides to memorialize a murdered friend when his friend’s ex-girlfriend announces she is expecting his son.
Dior and I (2014)
Dior and I bring the viewer inside the storied world of the Christian Dior fashion house with a privileged, behind-the-scenes look at the creation of Raf Simons’ first haute couture.
The Queen of Versailles (2012)
A documentary that follows a billionaire couple as they begin construction on a mansion inspired by Versailles. During the next two years, their empire, fueled by the real estate bubble and cheap money, falters due to the economic crisis.
Alive Inside (2014)
Dan Cohen, the founder of Music & Memory, fights against a broken healthcare system to demonstrate music’s ability to combat memory loss and restore a deep sense of self to those suffering from it.
The Bridge (2006)
People suffer largely unnoticed while the rest of the world does business. This documentary explores the mythic beauty of the Golden Gate Bridge, the most popular.
Killing Oswald (2013)
Killing Oswald examines how and why John F. Kennedy and Lee Harvey Oswald were assassinated in 1963.
Following Oswald’s strange transformation from US Marine radar operator in Japan, monitoring U2 spy planes over Russia, to 20-year-old Marxist defector in Moscow, threatening to share military secrets with the KGB, to pro-Castro activist in New Orleans and self-proclaimed patsy in Dallas.
The film features interviews with authors John Newman, Dick Russell, David Kaiser and Joan Mellen, Cuban exile Antonio Veciana and Watergate burglar Eugenio Martinez; alongside rare archive film and audiotapes of Oswald and his alleged CIA handlers George de Mohrenschildt and David Atlee Phillips.
Dreams of a Life (2011)
A filmmaker sets out to discover the life of Joyce Vincent. Who died in her bedsit in North London in 2003. Her body wasn’t discovered for three years, and newspaper reports offered few details of her life – not even a photograph.