Truth is stranger than fiction, which is something you’ll quickly realize from many of the best documentaries on IMDb TV. From stories recounting the lives of influential people to recollections of historical events to issue-driven films, there are plenty of documentaries to enjoy and learn from on IMDb TV.
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Here are some of the best documentaries on IMDb TV right now.
Being Evel (2015)
Evel Knievel defied death numerous times with his famous stunts, becoming an American icon in the process. Documentarian Daniel Junge looks past the stars-and-stripe suit and at the real story of Robert Knievel beyond his alter ego persona.
Being Evel features archival footage of Evel Knievel, as well as interviews with family members Kelly and Linda Knievel, and celebrities that include George Hamilton, Johnny Knoxville and Travis Pastrana.
The Booksellers (2020)
If you consider yourself a book lover, you are going to want to watch The Booksellers. The documentary examines the world of rare book stores and collectors in New York City.
The Booksellers gives viewers a broader understanding of the history of bookstores and the passion for collecting rare books; the struggles that the internet and other modern day challenges have presented; and the hope that a younger generation is bringing to the literary community.
Bones Brigade: An Autobiography (2012)
Things like the X Games and the Tony Hawk video game series made skateboarding a well known sport from the ‘90s to today, but prior to that skateboarding received little attention from the broader sports community. Bones Brigade: An Autobiography tells the story of a group of skaters who helped change that.
Featuring interviews with Tony Hawk, Steve Caballero, Tony Alva, Fred Durst, Shepard Fairey, Ben Harper and more, the documentary chronicles how the original members of the Bones Brigade became some of the most influential figures in the skateboarding community.
Check It (2016)
Even as the broader culture has opened up to the LGBTQ+ community, we know there are still those that treat it with prejudice, bullying and harassment. To help combat this, Check It was formed, a group of gay Black people in Washington, D.C.
The Check It documentary follows the group — they call themselves a gang — and discusses the issues that they’ve dealt with, how Check It has helped them and how they plan to move forward.
Citizenfour is the Oscar-winning documentary that chronicled documentarian Laura Poitras’ meetings in Hong Kong with NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden after he reached out to her using the alias “Citizenfour.”
The information that Snowden provided in leaked documents and described in the documentary revealed the level to which American Intelligence agencies surveillance internet and phone data of millions of Americans, actions that have resulted in him being charged for espionage.
Deliver Us from Evil (2006)
Amy Berg’s Oscar-nominated documentary Deliver Us from Evil chronicles instances of abuse of power in the Catholic church that saw members of the clergy sexually assault young children and the lengths that it would go to cover it up.
Deliver Us from Evil features both interviews from survivors and their families, as well as testimony from Father Oliver O’Grady, a priest who was moved from parish to parish to try and conceal his actions.
Dinosaur 13 (2014)
Who doesn’t love dinosaurs? In fact, it was the fascination and potential profit surrounding the ancients species that leads to the main conflict in the Todd Douglas Miller (Apollo 11) documentary Dinosaur 13.
The documentary chronicles the discovery of the largest Tyrannosaurus Rex fossil ever found. Dug up in the Black Hills of South Dakota, paleontologist Peter Larson and his team must fight to protect their discovery from the U.S. government, museums, Native American tribes and others.
It may not have CGI creations of dinosaurs like Jurassic Park, but Dinosaur 13 is a compelling story over these legendary creatures and the intrigue they have throughout our society.
First to the Moon (2018)
We rightly celebrate Apollo 11 crew members Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins, the first manned NASA mission to land on the surface of the moon. However, their path was blazed by the crew of Apollo 8.
The Apollo 8 mission was made up of Frank Borman, Bill Anders and Jim Lovell, who seven months before Apollo 11 blasted off into space to become the first people to leave Earth’s orbit and reach and orbit the moon. First to the Moon tells their story.
Harry & Snowman (2015)
People go nuts over the bond between a person and animal, so viewers are bound to fall in love with this story of a Polish immigrant and an Amish blow horse that took the show jumping world by storm and formed a deep connection.
Harry & Snowman tells the story of Harry DeLeyer and his horse Snowman, who he rescued just before he was about to be slaughtered. Together they would go on to win just about every major show jumping tournament there is. But more than that, they were lifelong friends.
The Imposter (2012)
Catfishing has become a well known term in the world, the practice of luring someone in using a fake persona. The Imposter follows a particularly distressing example of this as a young man in Europe who claimed to be the son of a Texas family who had been missing for three years.
The Imposter was one of the most well reviewed docs of 2012, and director Bart Lyton would use the film to springboard to his next project, the doc/narrative hybrid film American Animals.
Allen Iversion is one of the most popular basketball players of the 2000s, and in this eponymously titled documentary, his fans can get a look at the NBA Hall of Famer’s life from his upbringing to his success on the court and as a cultural figure.
In addition to Iverson, the documentary features testimony from Dwayne Wade, Carmelo Anthony, Larry Brown, Chris Rock, Stephen A. Smith, Tom Brokaw and more.
Love, Antosha (2019)
The film community lost a bright young star when actor Anton Yelchin tragically died at the age of 27 in 2016. He made a name for himself with starring roles in films like Star Trek, Like Crazy, The Green Room and more, but the last movie to feature the young actor is the documentary Love, Antosha.
Garret Price (Woodstock 99: Peace, Love and Rage) directed the film which chronicles Yelchin’s life and career, including interviews from his peers and friends, like J.J. Abrams, Sofia Boutella, Nicolas Cage, John Cho, Willem Dafoe, Drake Doremus, Jodie Foster, Jake Gyllenhall and more.
Man in the Red Bandana (2017)
Americans are marking the 20th anniversary of 9/11 this year, remembering all of those that we lost that day and the courageous efforts of so many heroes. One such hero quickly became known as the man in the red bandana, and this documentary tells his story.
The man in the red bandana’s real name was Welles Remy Crowther. On 9/11 he saved at least 10 people from the site of the World Trade Center, tragically sacrificing his own life in the process. The documentary shows how his selfless and courageous actions have inspired so many people.
Requiem for the American Dream (2015)
The wealth gap in the U.S. is a continuing debate that Requiem for the American Dream tried to touch upon in greater detail back in 2015, featuring renowned academic and author Noam Chomsky to provide greater insight.
The documentary hits upon 10 principles related to the concentration of wealth and power that the filmmakers argue has led to the hollowing out of the American middle class.
Sign O’ the Times (1987)
The concert film is a subgenre of documentaries, giving music fans a cinematic look of performances from some of their favorite artists, and in some instances some additional behind-the-scenes content. Sign O’ the Times does so for the legendary Prince.
For those of you lucky enough to have seen Prince live in concert, this movie featuring footage of his 1987 European concert tour can be a trip down memory lane. But for those of us who were never able to see a Prince concert, it can be a taste of what made the late musician such a popular act.
Super Size Me (2004)
Morgan Spurlock’s examination of the fast food industry made headlines when it came out because of the premise that it would follow him as he experimented with eating only fast food for a whole month. But Super Size Me is more than just Spurlock stuffing his face with Chicken McNuggets, it is a wider look at fast food culture and the impact it had at the time.
IMDb TV also has his follow up to Super Size Me from 2017, Super Size Me 2, where he once again tackles the fast food industry, this time attempting to open his own fast food restaurant.
The Tillman Story (2010)
Pat Tillman became an American hero when he decided to walk away from millions of dollars for playing in the NFL to join the Army after the events of 9/11. Tragically, he was killed in Afghanistan, but the fact that his death came as a result of friendly fire was kept secret for a long time.
The Tillman Story looks at both the life of Pat Tillman and the circumstances surrounding his death, including the military’s efforts to use his death as propaganda.
We Could Be King (2014)
Sports stories are great sources of inspiration, and that is certainly the case with the documentary We Could Be King, which tells the story of a high school football team in the Philadelphia area.
After budget cuts force multiple schools across Philadelphia to close, two schools that have been bitter rivals for 40 years are forced to merge. A 27-year-old head coach and a new principal work to unite the young men on the newly combined football team, overcoming their differences and animosity to find success.
What We Left Behind: Star Trek DS9 (2018)
Since the original Star Trek series debuted in the 1960s, it has inspired a passionate fan base across multiple series and movies. This includes Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, which has a unique presence in the Star Trek universe because of its characters, its setting and the complicated stories it told.
Ira Steven Behr, who wrote numerous episodes of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, dives into the series’ legacy and the impact it had not only on fans but those involved in making it as well.
Wild Horse, Wild Ride (2012)
Every year, the federal government rounds up wild mustangs to remove them from public lands and makes them available for adoption. This has led to the creation of events like the Extreme Mustang Makeover Challenge where horse enthusiasts have 100 days to train them.
Wild Horse, Wild Ride offers a glimpse into the Extreme Mustang Makeover Challenge, focusing on multiple trainers and the struggles and bonds that they create with these wild horses.
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Michael Balderston is a DC-based entertainment and assistant managing editor for What to Watch, who has previously written about the TV and movies with TV Technology, Awards Circuit and regional publications. Spending most of his time watching new movies at the theater or classics on TCM, some of Michael's favorite movies include Casablanca, Moulin Rouge!, Silence of the Lambs, Children of Men, One Flew Over the Cuckoos Nest and Star Wars. On the TV side he enjoys Peaky Blinders, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, Saturday Night Live, Only Murders in the Building and is always up for a Seinfeld rerun. Follow on Letterboxd (opens in new tab).
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