Documentaries: Watch and learn

Let’s have a running thread of interesting documentaries. Any topic welcome.

I personally recommend Senna about the late, famous racing driver of the same name.

I also really liked OJ: Made in America which I just recently watched.

How about you?

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Welcome to Leith is a very difficult thing to watch, but it fantastic. It’s about a group of Nazis that attempted to take over a very small town, and it’s absolutely terrifying considering the current climate of the US.


The Act of Killing is haunting.


I could wax about all the really eye-opening docs I’ve seen but the one I’m most eager to recommend is one of the indiest, nichest, kitschest things ever made. Delivering Burt is a documentary about three friends who drive across the country to deliver a wax statue of Burt Reynolds, and make several Burt-themed detours along the way. By Mike Carano of the After Disaster podcast, which I listened to a lot of in college.

Been digging into the new PBS documentary drops on Netflix. I watched the Big Burn, which was a cool documentary on a big fire in the 1920s at the start of the forest service. Last night I watched Ruby Ridge, which was a brutal look at a standoff in Idaho in the 90s.

5 Came Back was a really cool series on film makers in ww2.(the last episode was a gut punch)
Planet Earth 2 was of course incredible.


Not only my fav doc, but probably one of the best things I’ve ever seen.

And Dial H-I-S-T-O-R-Y. Look it up!


The films coming out of the Harvard Sensory Ethnography Lab are super. Quite a bit different than your average documentary they nevertheless qualify. Sweet Grass, Leviathan, MANAKAMANA are probably the best known (and the ones I’ve seen and can highly recommend).

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Hope it’s cool to revive this thread because I’m almost done with “The Vietnam War: A Film by Ken Burns and Lynn Novick” on Netflix and it’s really good.

I didn’t learn a whole lot about the Vietnam War in school (spent way more time on the WW’s) and a lot of stuff I had watched on the History Channel was very biased towards the U.S. so listening to people talk about their first-hand accounts from all the different factions was really eye-opening about just how much more screwed up the whole thing was then I already thought. It also does a pretty good job I felt of making sure to point out that those hit hardest by the draft were minorities and lower class because they couldn’t dodge by going to college like the middle-class Americans could and that a large number of women were actively involved in the North that everyone seemingly never recognizes.

So if your education failed you on the subject like mine did I highly recommend it.


This! I randomly began watching it and was immediately hooked. Don’t watch documentaries very often but this one dug it’s hooks in deep. Some episodes are upwards of 2 hours but I was so immersed by that point it didn’t matter how long they were. I really like how it starts from the very beginning and walks you through history while letting all sides have a seat at the table.

Some years ago I got to see the very limited theatrical run of Jodorowsky’s Dune. If you’re into the mechanics of film production and the history of surrealist art from that era, it’s mind-blowing to imagine what this film could have been. But for everyone else, it’s still fascinating to see how this movie, even though it never got made, ended up influencing so much of what we understand of modern science fiction.

Wild Wild Country is a fantastic 10 hour ride through the rise and fall of a New Religious Movement that occupied a ranch in America. I love how ignorant the locals are to the ‘hippies’ that moved in next door and live in constant fear before anything scary happens… but eventually some serious goings on occur that lands the NRM in hot water.

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Caaaaan I throw in something a little different? The Defiant Ones from HBO is a miniseries about the parallel rises of Jimmy Iovine and Dr. Dre that was absolutely fascinating and had some tremendous production value. I consider it kind of popcorny, but it’s deeply enjoyable and some of the editing is :weary::ok_hand:.

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I just watched one of my favorite docs from a cancelled Discovery Series called Zero Hour, specifically the Chernobyl episode. It’s basically a show that covers modern disasters, terror attacks, and assassination plots with a framing device of the 24 style countdown. The reenactments are very well done, the narration keeps you engrossed, and they do an good job of editing their reenactments with real world footage and interviews.

I rewatched this after learning about HBO’s miniseries drama on the disaster.