Ten Documentaries that Will Change the Way You Think
Warning: Reader discretion advised
10. Bowling for Columbine
“Bowling for Columbine” is a 2002 American documentary film written, directed, and narrated by Michael Moore. The film explores what Moore suggests are the causes for the Columbine High School massacre in 1999 and other acts of violence with guns.
“Affluenza” is a 1997 one-hour television special that explores the high social and environmental costs of materialism and overconsumption.
8. The Bridge
“The Bridge” is a 2006 British-American documentary film by Eric Steel that consists of the results of one year’s filming of the Golden Gate Bridge in 2004, which captured a number of suicides, and additional filming of family and friends of some of the identified people who had thrown themselves from the bridge.
7. Dirty Wars
“Dirty Wars” is a 2013 American documentary film directed by Richard Rowley based on a screenplay written by Scahill and David Riker. Investigative journalist Jeremy Scahill travels to Afghanistan, Yemen, Somalia, and other countries where the United States has taken military action.
6. We Are Legion: The Story of the Hacktivists
“We Are Legion: The Story of the Hacktivists” is a 2012 documentary film about the workings and beliefs of the self-described “hacktivist” collective, Anonymous.
5. The Act of Killing
“The Act of Killing” is a 2012 documentary film directed by Joshua Oppenheimer, and co-directed by Christine Cynn and an anonymous Indonesian. “The Act of Killing” won best documentary at the 2014 BAFTA awards. In accepting the award, Oppenheimer asserted that the United States and the United Kingdom have “collective responsibility” for “participating in and ignoring” the crimes, which was omitted from the video BAFTA posted online. After a screening for US Congress members, Oppenheimer demanded that the US acknowledge its role in the killings.
4. The Cove
“The Cove” is a 2009 documentary film that analyzes and questions dolphin hunting practices in Japan. It was awarded the Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature in 2010. The film is a call to action to halt mass dolphin kills, change Japanese fishing practices, and to inform and educate the public about the risks, and increasing hazard, of mercury poisoning from dolphin meat.
3. Food, Inc.
“Food, Inc.” is a 2008 American documentary film directed by Emmy Award-winning filmmaker Robert Kenner. The film examines corporate farming in the United States, concluding that agribusiness produces food that is unhealthy, in a way that is environmentally harmful and abusive of both animals and employees.
2. Inside Job
“Inside Job” is a 2010 documentary film about the late-2000s financial crisis directed by Charles H. Ferguson. The film is described by Ferguson as being about “the systemic corruption of the United States by the financial services industry and the consequences of that systemic corruption”. In five parts, the film explores how changes in the policy environment and banking practices helped create the financial crisis.
“Earthlings” is a 2005 documentary film about humanity’s use of animals as pets, food, clothing, entertainment, and for scientific research. The film is narrated by Joaquin Phoenix, features music by Moby, was directed by Shaun Monson, and was co-produced by Maggie Q, all of whom are practicing vegans.