Top Film Study Documentary

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1. Century of Cinema (1995–1998)
Episode: A Personal Journey with Martin Scorsese Through American Movies (1995)

225 min | Documentary

Martin Scorsese describes his initial and growing obsession with films from the 1940s and 50s as the art form developed and grew with clips from classics and cult classics.

Directors: Martin Scorsese, Michael Henry Wilson | Stars: Martin Scorsese, Allison Anders, Kathryn Bigelow, Francis Ford Coppola

Votes: 4,477

2. Room 237 (I) (2012)

Not Rated | 102 min | Documentary

80 Metascore

An exploration of various interpretations of Stanley Kubrick's horror film, The Shining (1980).

Director: Rodney Ascher | Stars: Bill Blakemore, Geoffrey Cocks, Juli Kearns, John Fell Ryan

Votes: 20,054 | Gross: $0.26M

3. 78/52: Hitchcock's Shower Scene (2017)

Not Rated | 91 min | Documentary

74 Metascore

An unprecedented look at the iconic shower scene in Alfred Hitchcock's Psycho (1960), the "man behind the curtain", and the screen murder that profoundly changed the course of world cinema.

Director: Alexandre O. Philippe | Stars: Marli Renfro, Alfred Hitchcock, Tere Carrubba, Alan Barnette

Votes: 2,587 | Gross: $0.04M

4. Mark Kermode's Secrets of Cinema (2018– )

Documentary

British film critic Mark Kermode presents his guide to cinema.

Star: Mark Kermode

Votes: 212

5. The Pervert's Guide to Cinema (2006)

150 min | Documentary

Slavoj Zizek examines famous films in a philosophical and a psychoanalytic context.

Director: Sophie Fiennes | Star: Slavoj Zizek

Votes: 5,886

6. The Pervert's Guide to Ideology (2012)

Not Rated | 136 min | Documentary

71 Metascore

Philosopher Slavoj Zizek examines the hidden themes and existential questions asked by world renowned films.

Director: Sophie Fiennes | Star: Slavoj Zizek

Votes: 5,766 | Gross: $0.07M

7. Eli Roth's History of Horror (2018)

TV-MA | 296 min | Documentary, Horror

An in-depth look at the history and pop cultural significance of horror films.

Stars: Eli Roth, Greg Nicotero, Rob Zombie, Alan Maxson

Votes: 845

8. Side by Side (2012)

Not Rated | 99 min | Documentary

82 Metascore

The documentary investigates the history, process and workflow of both digital and photochemical film creation.

Director: Christopher Kenneally | Stars: Derek Ambrosi, Michael Ballhaus, Andrzej Bartkowiak, Dion Beebe

Votes: 12,631 | Gross: $0.03M

9. Electric Boogaloo: The Wild, Untold Story of Cannon Films (2014)

R | 106 min | Documentary, Biography, History

The history of the independent film company, The Cannon Film Group, Inc..

Director: Mark Hartley | Stars: Sam Firstenberg, David Paulsen, Luigi Cozzi, Menahem Golan

Votes: 4,767

10. Score: A Film Music Documentary (2016)

Not Rated | 93 min | Documentary, Music

67 Metascore

A look at the cinematic art of the film musical score, and the artists who create them.

Director: Matt Schrader | Stars: Marco Beltrami, Jon Burlingame, Leonard Maltin, Bill Field

Votes: 3,458 | Gross: $0.10M

11. Going to Pieces: The Rise and Fall of the Slasher Film (2006)

Unrated | 88 min | Documentary, Horror

A documentary on the history of the slasher film.

Director: Jeff McQueen | Stars: Ed Green, Wes Craven, John Carpenter, Joseph Stefano

Votes: 3,187

12. Video Nasties: Moral Panic, Censorship & Videotape (2010)

Not Rated | 72 min | Documentary

A documentary analyzing the furore which so-called "video nasties" caused in Britain during the 1980s.

Director: Jake West | Stars: Julian Petley, Marc Morris, Andy Nyman, Xavier Mendik

Votes: 1,090

13. Bullets Over Hollywood (2005 TV Movie)

Documentary, History

"Bullets Over Hollywood" chronicles the blood-soaked landscape and enduring appeal of the American gangster movie - - from its origins in the silent film era to modern times.

Director: Elaina Archer | Stars: Warren Beatty, Humphrey Bogart, Marlon Brando, Joseph I. Breen

Votes: 131

14. The People vs. George Lucas (2010)

Not Rated | 93 min | Documentary, Comedy

55 Metascore

An examination of the widespread fan disenchantment with George Lucas.

Director: Alexandre O. Philippe | Stars: Joe Nussbaum, Daryl Frazetti, Doug Jones, Damian Hess

Votes: 4,338

15. Easy Riders, Raging Bulls: How the Sex, Drugs and Rock 'N' Roll Generation Saved Hollywood (2003)

TV-14 | 119 min | Documentary

A look at 1970s Hollywood when it was known as New Hollywood, and the director was the star of the movie.

Director: Kenneth Bowser | Stars: Martin Scorsese, Dennis Hopper, Peter Bogdanovich, Sam Peckinpah

Votes: 2,533

16. Not Quite Hollywood: The Wild, Untold Story of Ozploitation! (2008)

R | 103 min | Documentary

76 Metascore

The story of the Australian exploitation genre cinema of 1970s and 80s.

Director: Mark Hartley | Stars: Phillip Adams, Glory Annen, Christine Amor, Victoria Anoux

Votes: 3,784 | Gross: $0.02M

17. Baadasssss! (2003)

R | 109 min | Biography, Drama

75 Metascore

Mario Van Peebles' half-documentary/half-homage to his father Melvin Van Peebles' movie Sweet Sweetback's Baadasssss Song (1971).

Director: Mario Van Peebles | Stars: Mario Van Peebles, Nia Long, Joy Bryant, Ossie Davis

Votes: 4,580 | Gross: $0.37M

18. Visions of Light (1992)

92 min | Documentary, History

Cameramen and women discuss the craft and art of cinematography and of the "DP" (the director of photography), illustrating their points with clips from 100 films, from Birth of a Nation to... See full summary »

Directors: Arnold Glassman, Todd McCarthy, Stuart Samuels | Stars: Conrad L. Hall, John Bailey, Vilmos Zsigmond, Charles Lang

Votes: 2,916 | Gross: $0.80M

19. Nightmares in Red, White and Blue: The Evolution of the American Horror Film (2009)

Unrated | 96 min | Documentary, Horror

An exploration of the appeal of horror films, with interviews of many legendary directors in the genre.

Director: Andrew Monument | Stars: Lance Henriksen, Larry Cohen, Joe Dante, John Carpenter

Votes: 2,435

20. Seduced and Abandoned (2013)

Not Rated | 98 min | Documentary

77 Metascore

An exploration of several interconnected subjects: The Cannes Film Festival, cinema art, money, glamor and death.

Director: James Toback | Stars: James Toback, Alec Baldwin, Jessica Chastain, Bérénice Bejo

Votes: 1,726

21. These Amazing Shadows (2011)

Not Rated | 88 min | Documentary

Tells the history and importance of The National Film Registry, a roll call of American cinema treasures that reflects the diversity of film, and indeed the American experience itself.

Directors: Paul Mariano, Kurt Norton | Stars: Jeff Adachi, James H. Billington, Robin Blaetz, Brooks Boliek

Votes: 1,540

22. Inside Deep Throat (2005)

NC-17 | 89 min | Documentary, Biography, History

64 Metascore

An examination of the infamous pornographic film Deep Throat (1972), covering aspects from the film's creation to its cultural impact.

Directors: Fenton Bailey, Randy Barbato | Stars: Linda Lovelace, Harry Reems, Dennis Hopper, Gerard Damiano

Votes: 6,319 | Gross: $0.65M

23. Great Directors (2009)

Not Rated | 90 min | Documentary

49 Metascore

Great Directors, directed by Angela Ismailos, features conversations with ten of the world's greatest living directors: Bernardo Bertolucci, David Lynch, Liliana Cavani, Stephen Frears, ... See full summary »

Director: Angela Ismailos | Stars: David Lynch, Catherine Breillat, Bernardo Bertolucci, Liliana Cavani

Votes: 437 | Gross: $0.02M

24. Cinematographer Style (2006)

86 min | Documentary

110 of the world's top cinematographers discuss the art of how and why films look the way they do.

Director: Jon Fauer | Stars: Remi Adefarasin, Russ T. Alsobrook, Howard A. Anderson III, Howard A. Anderson

Votes: 309

25. Edge of Outside (2006)

TV-14 | 65 min | Documentary

An hour-long documentary designed to celebrate the spirit of the independent filmmaker from D.W. Griffith to Quentin Tarantino. Interview footage and film clips are blended together to form... See full summary »

Director: Shannon Davis | Stars: Peter Biskind, Robert Townsend, Edward Burns, Paul Auster

Votes: 90

26. The Cutting Edge: The Magic of Movie Editing (2004)

TV-PG | 98 min | Documentary

Documentary about the art of film editing. Clips are shown from many groundbreaking films with innovative editing styles.

Director: Wendy Apple | Stars: Kathy Bates, Zach Staenberg, Jodie Foster, Michael Tronick

Votes: 2,469

27. A Decade Under the Influence (2003)

R | 138 min | Documentary

67 Metascore

A documentary examining the decade of the 1970s as a turning point in American cinema. Some of today's best filmmakers interview the influential directors of that time.

Directors: Ted Demme, Richard LaGravenese | Stars: Francis Ford Coppola, William Friedkin, Robert Altman, John G. Avildsen

Votes: 2,434 | Gross: $0.03M

28. American Grindhouse (2010)

Not Rated | 80 min | Documentary, Action, Comedy

A documentary about the history of exploitation movies, from the silent movie era to the 1970s.

Director: Elijah Drenner | Stars: Robert Forster, Eric Schaefer, Eddie Muller, John Landis

Votes: 2,096 | Gross: $0.01M

29. Classified X (1998 TV Movie)

PG-13 | 53 min | Documentary

A history of the racially stereotyped portrayal of African Americans in cinema.

Director: Mark Daniels | Stars: Melvin Van Peebles, Margaret Barker, Joanna Barnes, Ethel Barrymore

Votes: 203 | Gross: $0.00M

31. Ethnic Notions (1986)

Not Rated | 57 min | Documentary

This documentary traces the deep-rooted stereotypes which have fueled anti-black prejudice.

Director: Marlon Riggs | Stars: Barbara T. Christian, George Frederickson, Carlton Moss, Esther Rolle

Votes: 203

32. The American Nightmare (2000)

Not Rated | 73 min | Documentary, Horror

An examination into the nature of 1960s-'70s horror films, the artists involved, and how they reflected contemporary society.

Director: Adam Simon | Stars: George A. Romero, John Carpenter, Tom Savini, David Cronenberg

Votes: 1,760

33. Horror Noire: A History of Black Horror (2019)

Not Rated | 83 min | Documentary

An look at the history of black horror films and the role of African Americans in the film genre from the very beginning.

Director: Xavier Burgin | Stars: Meosha Bean, Ashlee Blackwell, Robin R. Means Coleman, William Crain

Votes: 516

34. Room 666 (1982 TV Movie)

45 min | Documentary

During the '35th Cannes International Film Festival' (14th-26th May 1982), German director Wim Wenders asked a sample of 15 other international film directors to get, each one at a time, ... See full summary »

Director: Wim Wenders | Stars: Wim Wenders, Michelangelo Antonioni, Maroun Bagdadi, Ana Carolina

Votes: 981

35. A Century of Black Cinema (2003 Video)

TV-PG | 120 min | Documentary

This film highlights moments in the long and rich African American cinema history in relation to social and political events, and how it affected black viewers of the time.

Director: Ted Newsom | Stars: Kim Delgado, Muhammad Ali, Angela Bassett, Harry Belafonte

Votes: 21

36. Baadasssss Cinema (2002 TV Movie)

58 min | Documentary

Filmmaker Isaac Julien uses film clips and interviews to illustrate the history of the so-called "blaxploitation" genre.

Director: Isaac Julien | Stars: Pam Grier, Fred Williamson, Melvin Van Peebles, Elvis Mitchell

Votes: 635

37. The Wolfpack (2015)

R | 90 min | Documentary, Biography

75 Metascore

Confined in an apartment from a New York housing project, the six Angulo brothers learned everything they know about the world through watching films and spend their time reenacting their favorite movies with intricate homemade costumes.

Director: Crystal Moselle | Stars: Bhagavan Angulo, Govinda Angulo, Jagadisa Angulo, Krsna Angulo

Votes: 11,298 | Gross: $1.30M

38. You're So Cool, Brewster! The Story of Fright Night (2016)

Not Rated | 217 min | Documentary

An extensive look at the making of Fright Night (1985) and Fright Night Part 2 (1988) featuring exclusive interviews with cast and crew members, rare photographs, behind-the-scenes footage and more.

Director: Chris Griffiths | Stars: Chris Sarandon, Brian Thompson, Jon Gries, Ernie Sabella

Votes: 225

39. Still Screaming: The Ultimate Scary Movie Retrospective (2011)

Not Rated | 90 min | Documentary

A year in the making, Still Screaming is the definitive documentary on the making of the iconic Scream movies. Dive into the fascinating success story of the classic trilogy with on-set ... See full summary »

Director: Ryan Turek | Stars: David Arquette, Brian Avery, Lisa Beach, Marco Beltrami

Votes: 338

40. Midnight Movies: From the Margin to the Mainstream (2005)

TV-14 | 86 min | Documentary

From 1970-1977, six low budget films shown at midnight transformed the way we make and watch films.

Director: Stuart Samuels | Stars: John Waters, Ben Barenholtz, Alejandro Jodorowsky, Alan Douglas

Votes: 1,377

41. Halloween: 25 Years of Terror (2006 Video)

Not Rated | 83 min | Documentary, Horror

A retrospective documentary about the Halloween movie franchise.

Director: Stefan Hutchinson | Stars: P.J. Soles, Irwin Yablans, Moustapha Akkad, John Carpenter

Votes: 1,635

42. Tales from the Script (2009)

Not Rated | 105 min | Documentary

War stories and life lessons from the industry's top writers.

Director: Peter Hanson | Stars: Allison Anders, Jane Anderson, Doug Atchison, John August

Votes: 1,405 | Gross: $0.01M

43. Doc of the Dead (2014)

TV-14 | 81 min | Documentary

The definitive zombie culture documentary, brought to the screen by the makers of THE PEOPLE vs. GEORGE LUCAS.

Director: Alexandre O. Philippe | Stars: Kyle William Bishop, Charlie Adlard, Joanna Angel, Steven Barton

Votes: 1,190

44. Birth of the Living Dead (2013)

Not Rated | 76 min | Documentary

65 Metascore

A documentary that shows how George A. Romero gathered an unlikely team of Pittsburghers to shoot his seminal film: Night of the Living Dead (1968).

Director: Rob Kuhns | Stars: George A. Romero, Fred Rogers, H. Rap Brown, Mark Harris

Votes: 1,491 | Gross: $0.01M

45. Century of Cinema (1995–1998)
Episode: 40,000 years of dreaming (1997)

67 min | Documentary

Australian born film maker George (Mad Max) Miller offers a personal view of Australian films. He suggests that they can be regarded as visual music, public dreaming, mythology, and ... See full summary »

Director: George Miller | Stars: Harvey Adams, Elizabeth Alexander, Dorothy Alison, Jack Allen

Votes: 113