Documenting the world

by MarcelTerrasse | created - 13 Apr 2014 | updated - 14 Nov 2016 | Public

and beyond

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1. Epic Java (2013)

30 min | Documentary, Short

Epic Java is a visual of the universe and human culture. A searching process of the mysteries of life and everything related to it. A contemplative depiction that will take us into God ... See full summary »

Director: Febian Nurrahman Saktinegara

Votes: 198

2. Baraka (1992)

Not Rated | 96 min | Documentary

A collection of expertly photographed scenes of human life and religion.

Director: Ron Fricke

Votes: 33,817 | Gross: $1.33M

3. Planet Earth (2006)

TV-PG | 538 min | Documentary

Emmy Award-winning, 11 episodes, five years in the making, the most expensive nature documentary series ever commissioned by the BBC, and the first to be filmed in high definition.

Stars: David Attenborough, Sigourney Weaver, Huw Cordey, Doug Allan

Votes: 154,521

5. Chronos (1985)

Not Rated | 43 min | Documentary, Short

Carefully picked scenes of nature and civilization are viewed at high speed using time-lapse cinematography in an effort to demonstrate the history of various regions.

Director: Ron Fricke

Votes: 2,992

6. Samsara (I) (2011)

PG-13 | 102 min | Documentary, Music

65 Metascore

Filmed over nearly five years in twenty-five countries on five continents, and shot on seventy-millimetre film, Samsara transports us to the varied worlds of sacred grounds, disaster zones, industrial complexes, and natural wonders.

Director: Ron Fricke | Stars: Balinese Tari Legong Dancers, Ni Made Megahadi Pratiwi, Puti Sri Candra Dewi, Putu Dinda Pratika

Votes: 30,520 | Gross: $2.67M

7. Anima Mundi (1991)

28 min | Documentary, Short

Image and music are intertwined in this third collaboration between director Godfrey Reggio and composer Philip Glass. The film was produced to celebrate the World Wildlife Fund's ... See full summary »

Director: Godfrey Reggio

Votes: 1,044

8. Microcosmos (1996)

G | 80 min | Documentary

A documentary on insect life in meadows and ponds.

Directors: Claude Nuridsany, Marie Pérennou | Stars: Kristin Scott Thomas, Jacques Perrin

Votes: 10,324 | Gross: $1.57M

9. Winged Migration (2001)

G | 89 min | Documentary

82 Metascore

Documentary on the migratory patterns of birds, shot over the course of three years on all seven continents.

Directors: Jacques Perrin, Jacques Cluzaud, Michel Debats | Stars: Jacques Perrin, Philippe Labro

Votes: 11,223 | Gross: $10.76M

10. Grizzly Man (2005)

R | 103 min | Documentary, Biography

87 Metascore

A devastating and heart-rending take on grizzly bear activists Timothy Treadwell and Amie Huguenard, who were killed in October of 2003 while living among grizzly bears in Alaska.

Director: Werner Herzog | Stars: Timothy Treadwell, Amie Huguenard, Werner Herzog, Carol Dexter

Votes: 49,196 | Gross: $3.17M

11. Koyaanisqatsi (1982)

Not Rated | 86 min | Documentary, Music

72 Metascore

A collection of expertly photographed phenomena with no conventional plot. The footage focuses on nature, humanity and the relationship between them.

Director: Godfrey Reggio | Stars: Marilyn Chambers, Lou Dobbs, Ted Koppel

Votes: 32,656 | Gross: $1.72M

12. Powaqqatsi (1988)

G | 99 min | Documentary, Music

An exploration of technologically developing nations and the effect the transition to Western-style modernization has had on them.

Director: Godfrey Reggio | Stars: Christie Brinkley, David Brinkley, Pope John Paul II, Dan Rather

Votes: 7,265 | Gross: $0.59M

13. Naqoyqatsi (2002)

PG | 89 min | Documentary, Music

59 Metascore

A visual montage portrait of our contemporary world dominated by globalized technology and violence.

Director: Godfrey Reggio | Stars: Belladonna, Marlon Brando, Elton John, Julia Louis-Dreyfus

Votes: 5,043 | Gross: $0.13M

14. Bodysong (2003)

83 min | Documentary

Simon Pummell's epic movie tells the story of a human life, using found footage from the last 100 years of cinema, cut to a powerful score by Jonny Greenwood of Radiohead.

Director: Simon Pummell

Votes: 683

15. Sans Soleil (1983)

Not Rated | 100 min | Documentary, Drama

A woman narrates the contemplative writings of a seasoned world traveler, focusing on contemporary Japan.

Director: Chris Marker | Stars: Florence Delay, Arielle Dombasle, Riyoko Ikeda, Charlotte Kerr

Votes: 8,618 | Gross: $0.03M

16. The Planets (1983 TV Movie)

50 min | Documentary, Music

Based on the famous Gustav Holst musical suite, this musical film takes watchers on a magnificent journey of the planets of the Solar System.

Director: Ken Russell

Votes: 85

17. Cosmos (1980)

TV-PG | 60 min | Documentary

Astronomer Carl Sagan leads us on an engaging guided tour of the various elements and cosmological theories of the universe.

Stars: Carl Sagan, Jaromír Hanzlík, Jonathan Fahn, Alan Belod

Votes: 32,929

18. Nostalgia for the Light (2010)

Not Rated | 90 min | Documentary

91 Metascore

A documentary about two different searches conducted in the Chilean Atacama Desert: one by astronomers looking for answers about the history of the cosmos, and one by women looking for the remains of loved ones killed by Pinochet's regime.

Director: Patricio Guzmán | Stars: Gaspar Galaz, Lautaro Núñez, Luís Henríquez, Miguel Lawner

Votes: 4,393

19. Powers of Ten (1977)

9 min | Documentary, Short

A scientific film essay, narrated by Phil Morrison. A set of pictures of two picnickers in a park, with the area of each frame one-tenth the size of the one before. Starting from a view of ... See full summary »

Directors: Charles Eames, Ray Eames | Star: Philip Morrison

Votes: 1,967

20. How to Grow a Planet (2012– )

Not Rated | 60 min | Documentary

Geologist Ian Stewart explain in three stages of natural history the crucial interaction of our very planet's physiology and its unique wildlife. Biological evolution is largely driven bu ... See full summary »

Stars: Iain Stewart, Norberto Asensio, Chris Austin, Katrina Hope

Votes: 482

21. The Silent World (1956)

86 min | Documentary

This pioneering nature documentary investigates aquatic habitats in various locations around the world. It doesn't shy away from the brutality present in the natural world, but it also ... See full summary »

Directors: Jacques-Yves Cousteau, Louis Malle | Stars: Frédéric Dumas, Albert Falco, Jacques-Yves Cousteau, François Saout

Votes: 1,271

22. Oceans (2009)

G | 84 min | Documentary, Drama

75 Metascore

An ecological drama/documentary, filmed throughout the globe. Part thriller, part meditation on the vanishing wonders of the sub-aquatic world.

Directors: Jacques Perrin, Jacques Cluzaud | Stars: Pierce Brosnan, Pedro Armendáriz Jr., Jacques Perrin, Matthias Brandt

Votes: 8,715 | Gross: $19.42M

23. Into the Mind (2013)

Not Rated | 82 min | Documentary, Sport

This is a story of rising to the ultimate challenge. Having the courage to risk fatal expo- sure and the perseverance demanded on the quest for achievement. These are not solely physical feats, they are mental conquests.

Directors: Eric Crosland, Dave Mossop | Stars: Callum Pettit, Kye Petersen, J.P. Auclair, Xavier De Le Rue

Votes: 1,751

24. Encounters at the End of the World (2007)

G | 99 min | Documentary

80 Metascore

Film-maker Werner Herzog travels to the McMurdo Station in Antarctica, looking to capture the continent's beauty and investigate the characters living there.

Director: Werner Herzog | Stars: Werner Herzog, Scott Rowland, Stefan Pashov, Doug MacAyeal

Votes: 16,374 | Gross: $0.94M

25. The Act of Killing (2012)

Not Rated | 117 min | Documentary, Biography, Crime

90 Metascore

A documentary which challenges former Indonesian death-squad leaders to reenact their mass-killings in whichever cinematic genres they wish, including classic Hollywood crime scenarios and lavish musical numbers.

Directors: Joshua Oppenheimer, Anonymous, Christine Cynn | Stars: Anwar Congo, Herman Koto, Syamsul Arifin, Ibrahim Sinik

Votes: 31,988 | Gross: $0.49M

26. Touching the Void (2003)

R | 106 min | Documentary, Adventure, Drama

82 Metascore

The true story of two climbers and their perilous journey up the west face of Siula Grande in the Peruvian Andes in 1985.

Director: Kevin Macdonald | Stars: Simon Yates, Joe Simpson, Brendan Mackey, Nicholas Aaron

Votes: 31,914 | Gross: $4.59M

27. Born Into Brothels: Calcutta's Red Light Kids (2004)

R | 85 min | Documentary, Biography, News

78 Metascore

Two documentary filmmakers chronicle their time in Sonagchi, Calcutta and the relationships they developed with children of prostitutes who work the city's notorious red light district.

Directors: Zana Briski, Ross Kauffman | Stars: Kochi, Avijit Halder, Shanti Das, Manik

Votes: 15,251 | Gross: $3.41M

28. God Grew Tired of Us (2006)

PG | 89 min | Documentary

72 Metascore

Four boys from Sudan embark on a journey to America after years of wandering Sub-Saharan Africa in search of safety.

Directors: Christopher Dillon Quinn, Tommy Walker | Stars: Panther Bior, John Bul Dau, Nicole Kidman, Daniel Abol Pach

Votes: 2,673 | Gross: $0.28M

30. Wheel of Time (2003)

Not Rated | 80 min | Documentary

65 Metascore

Wheel of Time is Werner Herzog's photographed look at the largest Buddhist ritual in Bodh Gaya, India.

Director: Werner Herzog | Stars: The Dalai Lama, Lama Lhundup Woeser, Takna Jigme Sangpo, Matthieu Ricard

Votes: 2,049

31. A Brief History of Time (1991)

G | 80 min | Documentary, Biography

78 Metascore

A film about the life and work of the cosmologist, Stephen Hawking, who despite his near total paralysis, was one of the great minds of all time.

Director: Errol Morris | Stars: Stephen Hawking, Isobel Hawking, Janet Humphrey, Mary Hawking

Votes: 4,889 | Gross: $2.28M

32. DMT: The Spirit Molecule (2010)

Not Rated | 75 min | Documentary

An investigation into the long-obscured mystery of dimethyltryptamine (DMT), a molecule found in nearly every living organism and considered the most potent psychedelic on Earth.

Director: Mitch Schultz | Stars: Joe Rogan, Ralph Abraham, Joel Bakst, Steven Barker

Votes: 4,233

33. Woodstock (1970)

R | 184 min | Documentary, History, Music

The film chronicle of the legendary 1969 music festival.

Director: Michael Wadleigh | Stars: Joan Baez, Richie Havens, Roger Daltrey, Joe Cocker

Votes: 15,146 | Gross: $50.00M

34. Pink Floyd: Live at Pompeii (1972)

G | 92 min | Documentary, Music

Live versions of the songs, filmed in an old Pompeii amphitheater. Songs included are Echoes (split into 2 parts), Careful with that axe, Eugene, A saucerful of secrets, One of those days, ... See full summary »

Director: Adrian Maben | Stars: David Gilmour, Roger Waters, Richard Wright, Nick Mason

Votes: 8,159

35. The T.A.M.I. Show (1964)

123 min | Documentary, Music

Surf pop duo, Jan and Dean host this showcase of performances by well-known Rock, R&B, and pop stars of the era.

Director: Steve Binder | Stars: The Beach Boys, The Barbarians, Chuck Berry, The Blossoms

Votes: 594

36. The Last Waltz (1978)

PG | 117 min | Documentary, Biography, Music

88 Metascore

A film account and presentation of the final concert of The Band.

Director: Martin Scorsese | Stars: Robbie Robertson, Muddy Waters, Neil Young, Van Morrison

Votes: 14,947 | Gross: $0.32M

37. Laya Project (2007)

Documentary

A musical, visual journey. Recorded and filmed on location, it resurrects ancient and forgotten folk music from Sri Lanka, Thailand, Indonesia, Maldives, India and Myanmar. The experience ... See full summary »

Director: Harold Monfils

Votes: 26

38. Soul Power (2008)

PG-13 | 92 min | Documentary, Music

76 Metascore

A filmed account of the Zaire 74 soul music festival, originally intended to be in concert with the famous Rumble in the Jungle bout in Kinshasa, Zaire in 1974.

Director: Jeffrey Kusama-Hinte | Stars: Muhammad Ali, James Brown, Don King, Afrisa

Votes: 726 | Gross: $0.21M

39. Style Wars (1983 TV Movie)

Not Rated | 69 min | Documentary, Music

A documentary that exposes the rich growing subculture of hip-hop that was developing in New York City in the late '70s and early '80s, specifically focusing on graffiti art and breakdancing.

Director: Tony Silver | Stars: Demon, Kase 2, Eric Haze, Spank

Votes: 2,497

40. Neil Young: Heart of Gold (2006)

PG | 103 min | Documentary, Music

85 Metascore

A film shot over during a two-night performance by Neil Young at Nashville's Ryman Auditorium.

Director: Jonathan Demme | Stars: Neil Young, Emmylou Harris, Pegi Young, Ben Keith

Votes: 2,722 | Gross: $1.83M

41. Something from Nothing: The Art of Rap (2012)

R | 106 min | Documentary, Music

66 Metascore

A documentary on rap music and its rise to global prominence.

Directors: Ice-T, Andy Baybutt | Stars: Ice-T, Dr. Dre, Chuck D, Snoop Dogg

Votes: 3,243 | Gross: $0.29M

42. Buena Vista Social Club (1999)

G | 105 min | Documentary, Music

81 Metascore

Aging Cuban musicians whose talents had been virtually forgotten following Castro's takeover of Cuba, are brought out of retirement by Ry Cooder, who travelled to Havana in order to bring the musicians together, resulting in triumphant performances of extraordinary music, and resurrecting the musicians' careers.

Director: Wim Wenders | Stars: Compay Segundo, Ibrahim Ferrer, Rubén González, Octavio Calderon

Votes: 15,597 | Gross: $7.00M

43. It Might Get Loud (2008)

PG | 98 min | Documentary, Music

70 Metascore

A documentary on the electric guitar from the point of view of three significant rock musicians: the Edge, Jimmy Page and Jack White.

Director: Davis Guggenheim | Stars: Jimmy Page, The Edge, Jack White, Dallas Schoo

Votes: 11,953 | Gross: $1.61M

44. Sigur Rós: Heima (2007)

97 min | Documentary, Music

In the summer of 2006, Sigur Rós returned home to play a series of free, unannounced concerts for the people of Iceland.

Director: Dean DeBlois | Stars: Amiina, Hildur Arsaelsdottir, Jon Thor Birgisson, Orri P. Dyrason

Votes: 7,609

45. Anvil: The Story of Anvil (2008)

Not Rated | 80 min | Documentary, Biography, Drama

82 Metascore

Since 1978, Anvil has become one of heavy metal's most influential yet commercially unsuccessful acts. In 2006, after a fledging European tour Anvil sets out to record their thirteenth album and continue to follow their dreams.

Director: Sacha Gervasi | Stars: Robb Reiner, Steve 'Lips' Kudlow, Tiziana Arrigoni, Scott Ian

Votes: 15,148 | Gross: $0.67M

46. Springsteen & I (2013)

Unrated | 124 min | Documentary

For 40 years Bruce Springsteen has influenced fans from all over. His songs defined more than a generation. This film gives the fans just as much time as The Boss himself, with never shown footage and live performances from his last tour.

Director: Baillie Walsh | Stars: Bruce Springsteen, Dyan McBride, Mitchell A.S. Hallock, Matt Sullivan

Votes: 1,482

47. Brooklyn Boheme (2011)

Not Rated | 75 min | Documentary

An intimate portrait of the black arts movement that exploded in Fort Greene from the mid 1980s through the 90s as told by writer, historian and Brooklyn resident Nelson George.

Directors: Nelson George, Diane Paragas | Stars: Rhonda F. Cowan, Spike Lee, Branford Marsalis, Rosie Perez

Votes: 106

48. 20 Feet from Stardom (2013)

PG-13 | 91 min | Documentary, Biography, Music

83 Metascore

Backup singers live in a world that lies just beyond the spotlight. Their voices bring harmony to the biggest bands in popular music, but we've had no idea who these singers are or what lives they lead, until now.

Director: Morgan Neville | Stars: Darlene Love, Merry Clayton, Lisa Fischer, Judith Hill

Votes: 11,526 | Gross: $4.95M

49. Freestyle: The Art of Rhyme (2000)

Not Rated | 60 min | Documentary, Music

7.6