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Post by Rowley on Fri 06 Sep 2013, 2:18 pm

Inspired by STC’s thread about a film I have never heard of and in the spirit of the culture cup which seems intent on establishing how uncultured we all are thought I would ask people what their favourite documentaries were. Got to be honest I do love a documentary but don’t watch anywhere near as many as I would like to. However from the ones I have watched ones I would highly recommend are Capturing the Friedmans and Bobby Fischer vs the World.

The first deals with the slightly uncomfortable subject of a family accused of child molestation (so not exactly laugh a minute) and what makes it so fascinating is the family were huge fans of videoing themselves in and around the house and so the film contains a mountain of footage of them in their regular lives and around the time they were accused. It also does not rush to judgements but presents the arguments for and against their guilt and allows you to make your own mind up. Brilliant but frequently uncomfortable viewing.

The second film is about the life of brilliant but flawed chess genius Bobby Fischer. Despite being absolutely rubbish at it the game of chess has always fascinated me and Fischer is about the most fascinating character in the game. The oft repeated comment about the line between genius and madness is something of a cliché but could have been written with Fischer in mind. The film inevitably takes as its centrepiece the famous match in Iceland between Fischer and Boris Spasky.

Is hard to imagine now how big this game was. As most of us know the Russians take the game of chess extremely seriously and took their dominance of this as a badge of superiority during the cold war so when Fischer emerged as a genuine threat to that hegemony the game took on proportions way beyond a mere game of chess. Brilliant film about a flawed but fascinating man, a herculean game and the oddness of the whole cold war period.

Do any of the rest of us watch documentaries or have any favourites they would care to recommend.

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Post by superflyweight on Fri 06 Sep 2013, 2:31 pm

Hoop Dreams is still my favourite documentary.  

It follows (over a number of years) 2 African American kids who are plucked from the Chicago ghettos and put on scholarships to play basketball for a private school located way out in the suburbs.  Incredible film about the American white middle classes pulling the black underclasses into their system and then spitting them out again.  

It's about so much more than basketball and the scene where one of the kids is playing basketball with his friends on his local court and sees his crack addict dad trying to buy drugs is heartbreaking.  

It also has a real life villian in the private school's domineering basketball coach.  

Brilliant film and recommeded to everyone and a great example of a documentary maker just watching the events rather than putting themselves in the middle  of them (I'm looking at you, Moore, ya big fat fanny).

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Post by JuliusHMarx on Fri 06 Sep 2013, 2:32 pm

Surely this is a future round for the Culture cup?

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Post by Rowley on Fri 06 Sep 2013, 2:32 pm

Will give it a go Super, believe it is on netflix which seems to be pretty good for docs. The Fischer one is certainly on there. Moore is a tool, perhaps a well meaning one but a tool none the less.

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Post by Rowley on Fri 06 Sep 2013, 2:33 pm

JuliusHMarx wrote:Surely this is a future round for the Culture cup?
Yeah but if Tina does it, it will be favourite docs since 2000.

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Post by Mind the windows Tino. on Fri 06 Sep 2013, 2:35 pm

I don't watch a huge amount of documentaries, Jeff, but I have been enjoying 20th Century Battlefields with Dan and Peter Snow that is currently on BBC4. WWII in colour was also excellent.

I always like the Louis Theroux programmes as well. Just a personal preference for his kind of disarming charm. The one with the Westboro Baptist Church was good but the one with Eugene Terre'Blanche was the best. Terrifying man.

I'm sure you'll get some much better examples than mine but I will check out the two you have listed.

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Post by Mind the windows Tino. on Fri 06 Sep 2013, 2:37 pm

Rowley wrote:
JuliusHMarx wrote:Surely this is a future round for the Culture cup?
Yeah but if Tina does it, it will be favourite docs since 2000.
Shut your cake hole.

Genuinely, I do have it pegged as the next TV round after this.

I might now limit it to documentaries from the year 2012 just to spite you and Julius.

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Post by TRUSSMAN66 on Fri 06 Sep 2013, 2:38 pm

Bobby Fischer was a king sized pain in the rump..........Lucky that Spassky and Fischer happened at all with all the tantrums and bs there was beforehand.....

Fischer was like a lot of child-genuises very high strung...and it's the one time the Russian has come out wioth more class !!!

Haven't seen your documentary but do know he laughed and praised Bin laden when the towers came down...

Bit of a shame he didn't defend against Karpov..........The master of defence..........vs Fischer the master of attack....

Think by that time he was probably too far gone....

Fischer is a dirty word in America..............As big as a chess player can be back there I suppose..

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Post by Adam D on Fri 06 Sep 2013, 2:39 pm

Beyond the Mat is a very good wrestling documentary as is supposedly "The Last of McGuiness" which has had rave reviews (and we had him on the podcast).

I always fancied this one - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_King_of_Kong:_A_Fistful_of_Quarters

Anyone see it?

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Post by JuliusHMarx on Fri 06 Sep 2013, 2:43 pm

When We Were Kings is great, and of course The Marx Brothers in a Nutshell.

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Post by Rowley on Fri 06 Sep 2013, 2:43 pm

The documentary does go into his breakdown at the end of his life Truss. As you say beyond the pale in terms of tastelessness but also heartbreakingly tragic. So much talent going to waste. He was still young by chess standards at the time of the Spasky game. He could have gone on to be champion and figurehead for the game for many a year and as you have said could have been involved in some brilliant battles.

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Post by Galted on Fri 06 Sep 2013, 2:44 pm

Searching for Sugar Man is pretty good.  May have received more votes in the music cup if more posters had watched it.  World At War is my favourite documentary though, a class apart.  Found the narration quite stirring as well as the poignant way the final scene would turn into a still.
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Post by superflyweight on Fri 06 Sep 2013, 2:47 pm

World At War is my favourite documentary though, a class apart. Found the narration quite stirring as well as the poignant way the final scene would turn into a still..
World at War was amazing.

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Post by superflyweight on Fri 06 Sep 2013, 2:49 pm

Rowley wrote:Will give it a go Super, believe it is on netflix which seems to be pretty good for docs. The Fischer one is certainly on there. Moore is a tool, perhaps a well meaning one but a tool none the less.
Go to it, jeff, it really is brilliant. Worth going a google search on the 2 kids in question after you've seen it as the story continues for them in fairly dramatic terms!

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Post by JuliusHMarx on Fri 06 Sep 2013, 2:50 pm

I watched Carl Sagan's Cosmos in the early 1980s - Thursday evenings I think - it was interesting but his voice somehow always sent me to sleep, so I ended up napping through much of it.

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Post by TRUSSMAN66 on Fri 06 Sep 2013, 2:52 pm

Rowley wrote:The documentary does go into his breakdown at the end of his life Truss. As you say beyond the pale in terms of tastelessness but also heartbreakingly tragic. So much talent going to waste. He was still young by chess standards at the time of the Spasky game. He could have gone on to be champion and figurehead for the game for many a year and as you have said could have been involved in some brilliant battles.
Karpov was very much an establishment-communist figure....and Russia's national sport is/was CHESS !!..Believe it or not on most lampposts you will see graffiti like "Karpov rules"..."Kasparov Forever etc" ... Have no doubts Fischer was being screwed over a little in the negotiation side of the game.....Spassky was shunned for years after losing the title..

Kasparov was screwed over before he beat Karpov...........Kasparov is a hugely charismatic figure and capitalist and he at one time was on Putin's black list I believe........Kasparov-Karpov was a real grudge match..

Fairplay to Karpov though when Fischer died he complimented him on " being a great player and despite Karpov being favorite said it's a shame we didn't play as it would have been a huge challenge..."..

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Post by compelling and rich on Fri 06 Sep 2013, 3:05 pm

Rowley wrote:Will give it a go Super, believe it is on netflix which seems to be pretty good for docs. The Fischer one is certainly on there. Moore is a tool, perhaps a well meaning one but a tool none the less.
my bloody name sake!! of all the people to share a name with

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Post by Rowley on Fri 06 Sep 2013, 3:09 pm

compelling and rich wrote:
Rowley wrote:Will give it a go Super, believe it is on netflix which seems to be pretty good for docs. The Fischer one is certainly on there. Moore is a tool, perhaps a well meaning one but a tool none the less.
my bloody name sake!! of all the people to share a name with
Could be worse mate, have no intention of telling you my surname because I am not coxy but I share my surname with a mass murderer. Lovely, if I had a pound for every time I was asked "any relation" I would have £42.56

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Post by compelling and rich on Fri 06 Sep 2013, 3:11 pm

i haven't seen many documentary's other than sport ones, watched a fair few of the boxing ones.

does this is spinal tap count? seeing though most people at the time thought it was real!!

would have to put senna up there aswell

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Post by Rowley on Fri 06 Sep 2013, 3:15 pm

There is a story which may well be apocryphal but I dearly hope is true that the HEAVY METAL band THE SKORPIONS walked out of the premiere of This Is Spinal Tap as they felt it was mocking them (which it was obviously)

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Post by superflyweight on Fri 06 Sep 2013, 3:32 pm

Rowley wrote:
compelling and rich wrote:
Rowley wrote:Will give it a go Super, believe it is on netflix which seems to be pretty good for docs. The Fischer one is certainly on there. Moore is a tool, perhaps a well meaning one but a tool none the less.
my bloody name sake!! of all the people to share a name with
Could be worse mate, have no intention of telling you my surname because I am not coxy but I share my surname with a mass murderer. Lovely, if I had a pound for every time I was asked "any relation" I would have £42.56
Are you one of the Rotherham Stalins?

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Post by Adam D on Fri 06 Sep 2013, 3:34 pm

I also believe that the Anvil! doc is very good too.

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Post by Rowley on Fri 06 Sep 2013, 3:41 pm

It is Adam, I am not a fan of METAL but it is worth a watch, they come across as pretty likeable guys who everyone seems to be into and respect but for some reason seem to have avoided ever being successful.

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Post by JuliusHMarx on Fri 06 Sep 2013, 4:02 pm

Rowley wrote:
compelling and rich wrote:
Rowley wrote:Will give it a go Super, believe it is on netflix which seems to be pretty good for docs. The Fischer one is certainly on there. Moore is a tool, perhaps a well meaning one but a tool none the less.
my bloody name sake!! of all the people to share a name with
Could be worse mate, have no intention of telling you my surname because I am not coxy but I share my surname with a mass murderer. Lovely, if I had a pound for every time I was asked "any relation" I would have £42.56
Unfortunate. Presumably Mrs. Ripper's not too happy about it either?

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Post by jimmyinthewell68 on Fri 06 Sep 2013, 5:25 pm

does horrible histories count Wink 

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Post by Guest on Fri 06 Sep 2013, 5:30 pm

superflyweight wrote:
Rowley wrote:
compelling and rich wrote:
Rowley wrote:Will give it a go Super, believe it is on netflix which seems to be pretty good for docs. The Fischer one is certainly on there. Moore is a tool, perhaps a well meaning one but a tool none the less.
my bloody name sake!! of all the people to share a name with
Could be worse mate, have no intention of telling you my surname because I am not coxy but I share my surname with a mass murderer. Lovely, if I had a pound for every time I was asked "any relation" I would have £42.56
Are you one of the Rotherham Stalins?
Bloody snobs that lot, think they're better than the Barnsley Hitlers

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Post by compelling and rich on Fri 06 Sep 2013, 5:52 pm

DAVE667 wrote:
superflyweight wrote:
Rowley wrote:
compelling and rich wrote:
Rowley wrote:Will give it a go Super, believe it is on netflix which seems to be pretty good for docs. The Fischer one is certainly on there. Moore is a tool, perhaps a well meaning one but a tool none the less.
my bloody name sake!! of all the people to share a name with
Could be worse mate, have no intention of telling you my surname because I am not coxy but I share my surname with a mass murderer. Lovely, if I had a pound for every time I was asked "any relation" I would have £42.56
Are you one of the Rotherham Stalins?
Bloody snobs that lot, think they're better than the Barnsley Hitlers
there's me thinking rowleys surname was always mugabe picard 

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Post by ONETWOFOREVER on Fri 06 Sep 2013, 6:19 pm

The Panama deception

1 of the best documentaries out there even won a couple of Oscars but swept under the carpet commercially.Years before the US went after Saddam Hussein, the White House had Manuel Noriega, another former ally, in its sights.
In their Oscar-winning documentary, director Barbara Trent and writer/editor David Kasper (Cover Up: Behind the Iran Contra Affair) contrast media coverage of the 1989 invasion with expert testimony.
The filmmakers backtrack to America’s turn-of-the-century takeover of the Panama Canal–and volatile aftermath–before flashing forward to the reform-minded Carter era. When the CIA-supported Noriega comes to power, reform gives way to repression, and Reagan calls for the dictator’s ouster.
His successor, Bush, brings in the troops. It would be one thing if they only targeted military facilities, but witnesses claim soldiers also fired on civilians and residential property (a Pentagon spokesman denies the accusation).
Depending on the source, casualties ranged from 250 to 4,000. Narrated by Elizabeth Montgomery, Panama Deception was shot on video–and looks it–but content is king

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Post by Cyril on Fri 06 Sep 2013, 6:22 pm

Man On Wire (about Philippe Petit, the high-wire walker who crossed between the Twin Towers of New York's World Trade Center in 1974) is brilliant.

Having said that I get pretty bad vertigo so watching it is quite an ordeal for me.

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Post by Stella on Sun 08 Sep 2013, 7:38 am

Jeff Blair?

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Post by kingjohn7 on Sun 08 Sep 2013, 10:25 pm

Cyril got in before me. Thought Man on Wire was fantastic, really grabbed my imagination(whatever that phrase means)

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Post by bhb001 on Mon 09 Sep 2013, 10:11 am

Accepting that Moore is a tool, his first documentary, Roger and Me was superb. The first and only documentary that got me to go see it in the cinema.

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Post by STC on Mon 09 Sep 2013, 1:41 pm

Adam D wrote:I always fancied this one - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_King_of_Kong:_A_Fistful_of_Quarters

Anyone see it?
Yes. It's an absolute work of art. My favourite documentary.
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Post by Shot 21 LCFC on Mon 09 Sep 2013, 1:44 pm

I recommend Tupac Resurrection.

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Post by VTR on Mon 09 Sep 2013, 1:57 pm

"King of Kong" and "Man on Wire" are my top two longer documentaries.

For a TV series "The Nazis: A Warning From History" is one of the best TV programmes ever made

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Post by Guest on Mon 09 Sep 2013, 2:06 pm

VTR wrote:"King of Kong" and "Man on Wire" are my top two longer documentaries.

For a TV series "The Nazis: A Warning From History" is one of the best TV programmes ever made
Agreed, you can catch it on the History Channel basically every week.

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Post by STC on Mon 09 Sep 2013, 2:06 pm

'King of Kong' and 'Dear Zachary' are the best documentaries I've seen.

'King of Kong' is a great story with great characters. It's a very uplifting film and I loved the ending, it's perfect.

'Dear Zachary' is similar except it's the polar opposite of uplifting. It's an incredible story, but truly heartbreaking.
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Post by Scottrff on Wed 11 Sep 2013, 1:46 pm

From memory, a rough order of some of the better ones:
 
Inside Job
Dear Zachary
Murder on a Sunday Morning
Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room
The Cove
Food Inc
No End in Sight
King of Kong
Sergio
Taxi to the Dark Side
Capturing the Friedmans
Sicko
Grizzly Man
 
Made a list before, more comprehensive if I can find it.

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Post by Il Gialloblu on Wed 11 Sep 2013, 1:59 pm

About the bloke that only got 56% of the question out, rowley. He, er, still around is he?  Whistle
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Post by Il Gialloblu on Wed 11 Sep 2013, 2:15 pm

Anyway, I'd recommend:
 
Solitary Endeavour on the Southern Ocean and Bulgaria's Abandoned Children. Both of which are among the saddest things I've ever seen.
 
Most of the ESPN 30 for 30 series was good too, especially Once Brothers, The Two Escobars, Pony Excess, and others about American sportsmen I'd never heard of but had great stories to be told.
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Post by Scottrff on Wed 11 Sep 2013, 2:16 pm

Yeah Two Escobars is really good.

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Post by dummy_half on Wed 11 Sep 2013, 3:38 pm

Il Gialloblu wrote:Anyway, I'd recommend:
 
... 
Most of the ESPN 30 for 30 series was good too, especially Once Brothers, The Two Escobars, Pony Excess, and others about American sportsmen I'd never heard of but had great stories to be told.
Agree about the 30 for 30 series (OK, there are a few duds, but mostly excellent). Even though not particularly a basketball fan, Once Brothers is a brilliant and evocative film. I also liked 'The 16th Man', the story of the SA RWC victory in 1995 (basically the factual documentary version of Invictus, and without Matt Damon failing to play Francois Pienaar).

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Post by WhiteCamry on Wed 11 Sep 2013, 5:43 pm

JuliusHMarx wrote:I watched Carl Sagan's Cosmos in the early 1980s - Thursday evenings I think - it was interesting but his voice somehow always sent me to sleep, so I ended up napping through much of it.
Nor was Vangelis' "Heaven" as the show's theme music what you'd call a toe-tapper.  Lovely, though.


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Post by WhiteCamry on Wed 11 Sep 2013, 5:45 pm

I like this take on the Resurrection myth:


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Post by WhiteCamry on Wed 11 Sep 2013, 5:48 pm

"Our Brand is Crisis" is a nice take on American electioneering/cultural-imperialism/what-you-will:


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Post by Scottrff on Wed 11 Sep 2013, 6:46 pm

Most I've seen in some sort of order:

Inside Job
Dear Zachary: A Letter to a Son About His Father
Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room
Murder on a Sunday Morning
I Have Never Forgotten You: The Life and Times of Simon Wiesenthal
Senna
Food Inc.
The Cove
Touching the Void
Restrepo
Ring of Fire
Cocaine Cowboys
The Two Escobars
Sergio
The Flaw
King of Kong
Waiting For Superman
Sicko
Taxi to the Dark Side
Bowling for Columbine
Unlawful Killing
Searching for Sugarman
Being Elmo
An Inconvenient Truth
A Crude Awakening
More than a Game
Paper Clips
Mr. Untouchable
Paradise Lost
The Falling Man
The End of the Line
The Fog of War
Capturing the Friedmans
The Beckoning Silence
When We Were Kings
No End in Sight
The Most Dangerous Man in America: Daniel Ellsberg and the Pentagon Papers
Inheritance
The Bridge
Gasland
Hoop Dreams
Grizzly Man
Sound and Fury
Supersize Me
Sister Helen
Murderball
Capitalism: A Love Story
Pulling John
Cave of Forgotten Dreams
Into the Abyss
The Shock Doctrine
If a Tree Falls: The Story of the Earth Liberation Front
Page One: Inside the New York Times
For the Bible Tells Me So
The Battle of Chernobyl
Indie Game: The Movie.
Everest
Trekkies
Radio Bikini
The Yes Men Fix the World
Enemies of the People
Tibet: The Cry of the Snow Lion
Man on Wire
Home
One Day in September
I Know What I Saw
Wal-Mart: The High Cost of Low Price
Bobby Fischer Against the World
Tour of Duty- Australias Secret War
Life in a Day
Hearts and Minds
Brother's Keeper
Aileen: A Life and Death of a Serial Killer
Encounters at the End of the World
Vernon, Florida
Spellbound
Jesus Camp
Gates of Heaven
We Live in Public
Zoo
Bouncers

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Post by The Saint on Wed 11 Sep 2013, 7:37 pm

Pumping Iron Smile.

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Post by SharkSoul on Fri 13 Sep 2013, 10:43 am

Scottrff wrote:Most I've seen in some sort of order:

Inside Job
Dear Zachary: A Letter to a Son About His Father
Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room
Murder on a Sunday Morning
I Have Never Forgotten You: The Life and Times of Simon Wiesenthal
Senna
Food Inc.
The Cove
Touching the Void
Restrepo
Ring of Fire
Cocaine Cowboys
The Two Escobars
Sergio
The Flaw
King of Kong
Waiting For Superman
Sicko
Taxi to the Dark Side
Bowling for Columbine
Unlawful Killing
Searching for Sugarman
Being Elmo
An Inconvenient Truth
A Crude Awakening
More than a Game
Paper Clips
Mr. Untouchable
Paradise Lost
The Falling Man
The End of the Line
The Fog of War
Capturing the Friedmans
The Beckoning Silence
When We Were Kings
No End in Sight
The Most Dangerous Man in America: Daniel Ellsberg and the Pentagon Papers
Inheritance
The Bridge
Gasland
Hoop Dreams
Grizzly Man
Sound and Fury
Supersize Me
Sister Helen
Murderball
Capitalism: A Love Story
Pulling John
Cave of Forgotten Dreams
Into the Abyss
The Shock Doctrine
If a Tree Falls: The Story of the Earth Liberation Front
Page One: Inside the New York Times
For the Bible Tells Me So
The Battle of Chernobyl
Indie Game: The Movie.
Everest
Trekkies
Radio Bikini
The Yes Men Fix the World
Enemies of the People
Tibet: The Cry of the Snow Lion
Man on Wire
Home
One Day in September
I Know What I Saw
Wal-Mart: The High Cost of Low Price
Bobby Fischer Against the World
Tour of Duty- Australias Secret War
Life in a Day
Hearts and Minds
Brother's Keeper
Aileen: A Life and Death of a Serial Killer
Encounters at the End of the World
Vernon, Florida
Spellbound
Jesus Camp
Gates of Heaven
We Live in Public
Zoo
Bouncers
Great list of documentaries there Scott.

A few more I would throw in of a similar calibre are as follows:

The Tillman Story
The Invisible War
Armadillo
Standard Operating Procedure
The Imposter
The Gatekeepers
The Act of Killing

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Post by Adam D on Fri 13 Sep 2013, 12:59 pm

Has anyone seen King of Kong? I really fancy it.

Trekkies was awful. Was wanting to like it but it felt like a high school project.

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Post by STC on Fri 13 Sep 2013, 1:12 pm

Adam D wrote:Has anyone seen King of Kong? I really fancy it.
Yes, it's brilliant.
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