Good documentaries

by texruski | created - 21 Aug 2017 | updated - 22 Aug 2017 | Public

Some pretty good documentaries and documentary-esque films, series, and specials

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1. The Men Who Built America (2012)

TV-14 | 295 min | Documentary, Biography, History

Miniseries shines a spotlight on the influential builders, dreamers and believers whose feats transformed the United States, a nation decaying from the inside after the Civil War, into the ... See full summary »

Stars: Campbell Scott, H.W. Brands, Mark Cuban, Donny Deutsch

Votes: 3,047

2. The Cars That Made America (2017– )

TV-PG | Documentary, History

The history and influence of cars in America.

Stars: Richard Bak, Michael Balzano III, H.W. Brands, Bob Casey

Votes: 130

3. Harley and the Davidsons (2016– )

60 min | Biography

Based on a true story, "Harley and the Davidsons" charts the birth of this iconic bike during a time of great social and technological change beginning at the turn of the 20th century. ... See full summary »

Stars: Michiel Huisman, Bug Hall, Robert Aramayo, Annie Read

Votes: 2,680

4. 2016: Obama's America (2012)

PG | 87 min | Documentary

28 Metascore

A documentary that examines the question, "If Barack Obama wins a second term, where will we be in 2016?"

Directors: Dinesh D'Souza, John Sullivan | Stars: Jay Bastian, Joe Biden, Cait Brasel, Gene Burris Jr.

Votes: 10,162 | Gross: $33.45M

5. The Greatest Movie Ever Sold (2011)

PG-13 | 90 min | Documentary, Comedy

66 Metascore

A documentary about branding, advertising and product placement that is financed and made possible by brands, advertising and product placement.

Director: Morgan Spurlock | Stars: J.J. Abrams, Peter Berg, Paul Brennan, Noam Chomsky

Votes: 14,240 | Gross: $0.64M

6. Point and Shoot (2014)

Not Rated | 83 min | Documentary

65 Metascore

An American sets out with his motorbike to find both adventure and his sense of manhood, leading him on an extraordinary journey he could not have imagined, including fighting in the Libyan Revolution.

Director: Marshall Curry | Stars: Matt Sager, Matthew Vandyke

Votes: 1,586

7. America: Imagine the World Without Her (2014)

PG-13 | 105 min | Documentary

15 Metascore

A story that questions the shaming of the US through revisionist history, lies and omissions by educational institutions, political organizations, Alinsky, Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton and other progressives to destroy America.

Directors: Dinesh D'Souza, John Sullivan | Stars: Dinesh D'Souza, Barack Obama, Josh Bonzie, Rich Bentz

Votes: 6,347 | Gross: $14.44M

8. Valkyrie (2008)

PG-13 | 121 min | Drama, History, Thriller

56 Metascore

A dramatization of the July 20, 1944 assassination and political coup plot by desperate renegade German Army officers against Adolf Hitler during World War II.

Director: Bryan Singer | Stars: Tom Cruise, Bill Nighy, Carice van Houten, Kenneth Branagh

Votes: 215,536 | Gross: $83.08M

9. Captain Phillips (2013)

PG-13 | 134 min | Biography, Drama, Thriller

83 Metascore

The true story of Captain Richard Phillips and the 2009 hijacking by Somali pirates of the U.S.-flagged MV Maersk Alabama, the first American cargo ship to be hijacked in two hundred years.

Director: Paul Greengrass | Stars: Tom Hanks, Barkhad Abdi, Barkhad Abdirahman, Catherine Keener

Votes: 391,141 | Gross: $107.10M

10. WWII in HD (2009– )

TV-PG | 60 min | Documentary, History, War

Follow the lives of soldiers who lived World War II, through previously unseen color footage.

Stars: Gary Sinise, Charles Scheffel, Justin Bartha, Ron Livingston

Votes: 1,755

11. Vietnam in HD (2011– )

360 min | Documentary, History, War

Vintage footage from the Vietnam war is presented in High Definition video format along with narration from both war veterans and Hollywood voice talent. The documentary follows key events ... See full summary »

Stars: Tempestt Bledsoe, Edward Burns, Dean Cain, Kevin Connolly

Votes: 1,262

12. American Sniper (2014)

R | 133 min | Action, Biography, Drama

72 Metascore

Navy S.E.A.L. sniper Chris Kyle's pinpoint accuracy saves countless lives on the battlefield and turns him into a legend. Back home to his wife and kids after four tours of duty, however, Chris finds that it is the war he can't leave behind.

Director: Clint Eastwood | Stars: Bradley Cooper, Sienna Miller, Kyle Gallner, Cole Konis

Votes: 406,009 | Gross: $350.13M

More of an adaptation of a biography than a doc

13. Lone Survivor (2013)

R | 121 min | Action, Biography, Drama

60 Metascore

Marcus Luttrell and his team set out on a mission to capture or kill notorious Taliban leader Ahmad Shah, in late June 2005. Marcus and his team are left to fight for their lives in one of the most valiant efforts of modern warfare.

Director: Peter Berg | Stars: Mark Wahlberg, Taylor Kitsch, Emile Hirsch, Ben Foster

Votes: 249,018 | Gross: $125.10M

another book adaptation

14. Bitter Harvest (2017)

R | 103 min | Drama, Romance, War

34 Metascore

Set in 1930s Ukraine, as Stalin advances the ambitions of communists in the Kremlin, young artist Yuri battles to save his lover Natalka from the Holodomor, the death-by-starvation program that ultimately killed millions of Ukrainians.

Director: George Mendeluk | Stars: Max Irons, Samantha Barks, Terence Stamp, Barry Pepper

Votes: 3,154 | Gross: $0.56M

15. Dogfights (2005– )

Documentary, History, War

Using modern computer animation, great aerial and modern naval battles are recreated. In the process, you learn about the history of military transportation technology, the tactics created and the people using them.

Stars: Phil Crowley, Frederick Blesse, Ralph Parr, Robinson Risner

Votes: 516

16. Killing Kennedy (2013 TV Movie)

PG-13 | 87 min | Drama, Thriller

Based on Bill O'Reilly and Martin Dugard's best seller comes this shocking thriller starring Rob Lowe and Ginnifer Goodwin. As John F. Kennedy (Lowe) rises to become U.S. president, a ... See full summary »

Director: Nelson McCormick | Stars: Rob Lowe, Will Rothhaar, Jack Noseworthy, Casey Siemaszko

Votes: 3,274

17. Black Hawk Down (2001)

R | 144 min | Drama, History, War

74 Metascore

160 elite U.S. soldiers drop into Somalia to capture two top lieutenants of a renegade warlord and find themselves in a desperate battle with a large force of heavily-armed Somalis.

Director: Ridley Scott | Stars: Josh Hartnett, Ewan McGregor, Tom Sizemore, Eric Bana

Votes: 342,853 | Gross: $108.64M

18. Zero Dark Thirty (2012)

R | 157 min | Drama, Thriller

95 Metascore

A chronicle of the decade-long hunt for al-Qaeda terrorist leader Osama bin Laden after the September 2001 attacks, and his death at the hands of the Navy S.E.A.L.s Team 6 in May 2011.

Director: Kathryn Bigelow | Stars: Jessica Chastain, Joel Edgerton, Chris Pratt, Mark Strong

Votes: 253,455 | Gross: $95.72M

19. Dunkirk (2017)

PG-13 | 106 min | Action, Drama, History

94 Metascore

Allied soldiers from Belgium, the British Empire, and France are surrounded by the German Army, and evacuated during a fierce battle in World War II.

Director: Christopher Nolan | Stars: Fionn Whitehead, Barry Keoghan, Mark Rylance, Tom Hardy

Votes: 477,252 | Gross: $188.37M

20. The Monuments Men (2014)

PG-13 | 118 min | Comedy, Drama, History

52 Metascore

An unlikely World War II platoon is tasked to rescue art masterpieces from Nazi thieves and return them to their owners.

Director: George Clooney | Stars: George Clooney, Matt Damon, Bill Murray, Cate Blanchett

Votes: 118,433 | Gross: $78.03M

21. Bridge of Spies (2015)

PG-13 | 142 min | Drama, History, Thriller

81 Metascore

During the Cold War, an American lawyer is recruited to defend an arrested Soviet spy in court, and then help the CIA facilitate an exchange of the spy for the Soviet captured American U2 spy plane pilot, Francis Gary Powers.

Director: Steven Spielberg | Stars: Tom Hanks, Mark Rylance, Alan Alda, Amy Ryan

Votes: 265,824 | Gross: $72.31M

22. Patriots Day (2016)

R | 133 min | Action, Crime, Drama

69 Metascore

The story of the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing and the aftermath, which includes the city-wide manhunt to find the terrorists responsible.

Director: Peter Berg | Stars: Mark Wahlberg, Michelle Monaghan, J.K. Simmons, John Goodman

Votes: 77,765 | Gross: $31.89M

23. Unbroken (I) (2014)

PG-13 | 137 min | Biography, Drama, Sport

59 Metascore

After a near-fatal plane crash in WWII, Olympian Louis Zamperini spends a harrowing 47 days in a raft with two fellow crewmen before he's caught by the Japanese navy and sent to a prisoner-of-war camp.

Director: Angelina Jolie | Stars: Jack O'Connell, Miyavi, Domhnall Gleeson, Garrett Hedlund

Votes: 131,459 | Gross: $115.64M

24. Soul Surfer (2011)

PG | 112 min | Biography, Drama, Family

53 Metascore

Teenage surfer Bethany Hamilton overcomes the odds and her own fears of returning to the water after losing her left arm in a shark attack.

Director: Sean McNamara | Stars: AnnaSophia Robb, Dennis Quaid, Helen Hunt, Carrie Underwood

Votes: 42,112 | Gross: $43.85M

25. Hatfields & McCoys (2012)

TV-14 | 290 min | Drama, History, Romance

Dramatization of the bitter blood feud between the two families on the West Virginia/Kentucky border in the years after the Civil War.

Stars: Kevin Costner, Bill Paxton, Matt Barr, Tom Berenger

Votes: 22,579

26. The Alamo (2004)

PG-13 | 137 min | Drama, History, War

47 Metascore

Based on the 1836 standoff between a group of Texan and Tejano men, led by Davy Crockett and Jim Bowie, and Mexican dictator Santa Anna's forces at the Alamo in San Antonio Texas.

Director: John Lee Hancock | Stars: Dennis Quaid, Billy Bob Thornton, Emilio Echevarría, Jason Patric

Votes: 18,722 | Gross: $22.41M

27. Gods and Generals (2003)

PG-13 | 219 min | Biography, Drama, History

30 Metascore

The rise and fall of legendary war hero Thomas "Stonewall" Jackson as he leads the Confederacy to great success against the Union from 1861 to 1863.

Director: Ron Maxwell | Stars: Stephen Lang, Robert Duvall, Jeff Daniels, Donzaleigh Abernathy

Votes: 14,615 | Gross: $12.87M

28. Letters from Iwo Jima (2006)

R | 141 min | Drama, History, War

89 Metascore

The story of the battle of Iwo Jima between the United States and Imperial Japan during World War II, as told from the perspective of the Japanese who fought it.

Director: Clint Eastwood | Stars: Ken Watanabe, Kazunari Ninomiya, Tsuyoshi Ihara, Ryo Kase

Votes: 147,183 | Gross: $13.76M

29. Red Tails (2012)

PG-13 | 125 min | Action, Adventure, Drama

46 Metascore

A crew of African American pilots in the Tuskegee training program, having faced segregation while kept mostly on the ground during World War II, are called into duty under the guidance of Col. A.J. Bullard.

Director: Anthony Hemingway | Stars: Cuba Gooding Jr., Gerald McRaney, David Oyelowo, Andre Royo

Votes: 31,977 | Gross: $49.88M

30. Flyboys (2006)

PG-13 | 140 min | Action, Drama, History

47 Metascore

The adventures of the Lafayette Escadrille, young Americans who volunteered for the French military before the U.S. entered World War I, and became the country's first fighter pilots.

Director: Tony Bill | Stars: James Franco, Jean Reno, Jennifer Decker, Scott Hazell

Votes: 39,704 | Gross: $13.08M

31. The Big Red One (1980)

R | 113 min | Drama, War

77 Metascore

A hardened sergeant and the four core members of his infantry unit try to survive World War II as they move from battle to battle throughout Europe.

Director: Samuel Fuller | Stars: Lee Marvin, Mark Hamill, Robert Carradine, Bobby Di Cicco

Votes: 17,537

32. We Were Soldiers (2002)

R | 138 min | Action, Drama, History

65 Metascore

The story of the first major battle of the American phase of the Vietnam War, and the soldiers on both sides that fought it, while their wives wait nervously and anxiously at home for the good news or the bad news.

Director: Randall Wallace | Stars: Mel Gibson, Madeleine Stowe, Greg Kinnear, Sam Elliott

Votes: 122,242 | Gross: $78.12M



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