15 Great Documentaries You Might Find Interesting


Ah, documentaries. The category during the Oscar ceremony where most people get up and pee. In truth, they always sound interesting to me, but with so many Spiderman remakes to see, who has the time?

Photo Credit: Columbia Pictures

That was sort of tongue-in-cheek because dear heavens, no one has really seen all of the Spidermans, right?

I guess that’s a moot point. Or at least, not a relevant one. Because what we’re talking about today is 15 documentaries you’ll not only be glad you watched, but you’ll want to pass along to your friends, as well. And everyone will be smarter for it.

Unlike, well. You know.

#15. The Pervert’s Guide to Ideology

Philosopher Slavoj Zizek takes a hard look at the subliminal messaging coming out of Hollywood and makes no bones about the fact that if we want to change the coming global and ecological destruction, we’re going to have to change more than just ourselves.

Photo Credit: Blinder Films

Watch it here.

#14. Iceman

It has taken science years to accept that the human mind, through meditation, may be able harness internal systems like blood and temperature control and our immune system. They have started to acknowledge the facts, some of which are on display in the powerful example of pioneer Wim (The Iceman) Hof.

Photo Credit: Vice

Check it out here.

#13. The Fog of War

Filmed in a unique “interrogation” style, this film consists of an intimate interview with Robert McNamara, who, as Secretary of Defense, had a front-row seat to both the Cuban missile crisis and the Vietnam War.  In the film, he talks frankly about the tragic flaws of human nature – and the reasons war will never be a thing of the past.

Photo Credit: Sony Pictures

Check it out here.

#12. The Look of Silence

Gut-wrenching and real, The Look of Silence looks at the military overthrow of the Indonesian government  in 1965 that resulted in the deaths of over a million people. The documentary was hard to film, considering that the survivors remain haunted and scared – many too scared to speak about what happened.

Photo Credit: Anonymous Productions

The movie will make you question who is good, who is evil, what is right, what is easy, and what is good…and what happens when those things are hard to untangle.

Watch this here.

#11. Dead Birds

Dead Birds is a hard one to find, but is certainly worth the watch if you do. It was filmed in 1961 New Guinea, among the Dani people – before they were introduced to the modern world. You can watch the tribe as they farm, harvest, carve arrows, and participate in ritual warfare in a society that seems as familiar as it is alien.

You can check it out here, if you’re up for the investment.

#10. Being in the World

Have you ever wondered what it takes to create in different mediums? What it costs, where ideas come from, how deeply you have to feel to make something come to life? Based on “What Computers Can’t Do” by Hubert Dreyfus, this can’t miss documentary follows masters at various crafts while diving deep into the murky topic of what it means to be human in our world full of technology.

Photo Credit: Mangu

Watch it here.

#9. Cave of Forgotten Dreams

There’s a cave in France where the walls are adorned by paintings depicting animals and our human ancestors alike – and contains the bones of lions, bears, horses, and other Paleolithic era animals life further back in the adjoining space. One lonely, red handprint seems to express a common human need, to say “I was here.”

Photo Credit: Creative Differences

The only way you’ll get to check out these pretty cool wonders is on film, because the cave is closed to the public.

See it here.

#8. The Culture High

This one takes an in-depth look at the corporate interests in the war on drugs, and what our future could look like if we could manage to untangle politics from medicine when it comes to cannabis. It bites off a lot, attempting to take a look at the status quo from all angles, how society views altered consciousness, the way we stigmatize drug users, and the way we’re still not sure what to make of the legalization debate.

Photo Credit: Wikipedia

You might think you’ve heard and meditated on all of this before, but I’m guessing you haven’t. Not like this.

Watch it here.

#7. In the Shadow of the Moon

The race to the moon defined a generation, and in this documentary, the men who actually walked on extraterrestrial ground return to talk about their experiences. Not only that, but it delves into the concepts of space, evolution, and the possibility of finding intelligent life out in the void. It’s pretty amazing.

Photo Credit: Wikipedia

Watch it here.

#6. An Honest Liar – Truth and Deception in the Life of James “The Amazing” Randi

Is it ever right to deceive other people? If so, where is the line? When is it okay?

These are just some of the questions asked by this documentary that follows magician and escape artist James Randi, probably most famous for his crusade to expose fakers who claim to have supernatural powers. More than that, it delves into the human psyche and the fundamental truth that people who want to be fooled are easy targets – and that plenty of others will line up to take advantage.

Photo Credit: Left Turn Films

Watch it here.

#5. Citizenfour

This is one you’ve probably heard of, but that certainly doesn’t mean it isn’t worth watching. Citizenfour is terrifying in the manner of horror movies that seem a little too real – I mean, learning that the government can (and sometimes may be) watching your every move isn’t going to help anyone sleep better at night.

Photo Credit: Praxis Films

In case you’re not sure what this one is about, it follows the saga of whistleblower Edward Snowden as he makes contact with the journalists he trusted to pass his information along to the public.

Watch it here.

#4. Are All Men Pedophiles?

The topic may be controversial, but since we live in a time where the youngest of girls is sexualized, a discussion is certainly warranted. This documentary traverses cultures and time, presenting a crash course in human sexuality that is not easy to watch. But it’s worth it.

Photo Credit: JW Productions

Watch it here.

#3. The Secret Life of Chaos

If you’re only exposure to Chaos Theory is Jurassic Park (the original) then this movie is going to blow you away – it explains how one single theory can help us understand any number of natural phenomena, and why “anarchy is order” is not incompatible with physics. This one will change the way you look at everything.

Photo Credit: Wikipedia

Watch it here.

#2. The Grammar of Happiness

Take a journey into the Amazon and meet the Piraha tribe, a group of indigenous people long thought to have a totally unique language. They have no words for colors or numbers, or any way to refer to the past or the future. Which is to say, they live entirely in the present, and there’s no doubt that they have a lot to teach the rest of the world.

Check it out here.

#1. Bitter Lake

This documentary takes a hard look at the bitter realities of the lives of people in places like Afghanistan and Saudi Arabia, and at the hard truth that world’s “leaders” can’t hope to understand the complexity of the human experience – nor are they even really trying.

Photo Credit: BBC

Check it out on YouTube, here.