Documentary The Best Documentaries About Writers  

209 votes 65 voters 15.3k views 63 items Embed

List Rules Documentary films about authors, journalists, novelists, poets, playwrights, and any other types of writers

There are many documentaries out there today that look at writers throughout history, specifically with a focus on their personal lives, struggles, inspirations, and motivations in the artistic arena. This list of the best documentaries about writers will shed light on the life and craft of many different writers and authors.
 
The films featured on this list have been ranked by the community as the best documentaries that feature the stories of writers, their personal lives, struggles, and accomplishments. These films address the historical aspects of what shaped their lives in the early years, the successes and failures of their careers, what influenced their personal stories, awards they received, and how they made an impact on society through their works.

 What are the best documentaries about writers? This list has them all, including: Alice Walker: Beauty in Truth, Charles Dickens’s England, Dreams With Sharp Teeth, Finding Farley, An Impression with John Steinbeck: Writer, In the Wake of the Flood, and Breakfast with Hunter. Vote up for your favorite writer documentary or add one you love that isn't already on the list.

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looksharp added Salinger Salinger is a 2013 documentary film about the writer J. D. Salinger, written and directed by Shane Salerno.

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Life Itself is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Documentaries About Writers
Life Itself Life Itself is a 2014 American biographical documentary film about film critic Roger Ebert, directed by Steve James and produced by Zak Piper, Steve James and Garrett Basch. The film is based on Ebert's 2011 memoir of the same name. It ...more

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The Charles Bukowski Tapes The Charles Bukowski Tapes are a collection of short interviews with the American writer/poet Charles Bukowski, filmed and assembled by Barbet Schroeder and first published in 1987 in the USA. Today, the video documentary is considered a cult ...more

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Dreams with Sharp Teeth Robin Williams, Neil Gaiman, Harlan Ellison Dreams with Sharp Teeth is a 2008 biographical documentary film about writer Harlan Ellison. It is composed of original and archive footage of Ellison and talking head segments from colleagues and fans including Robin Williams, Peter David, and ...more

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Volcano: An Inquiry into the Life and Death of Malcolm Lowry Volcano: An Inquiry into the Life and Death of Malcolm Lowry is a 1976 Canadian documentary film about writer Malcolm Lowry. Written and directed by Donald Brittain and John Kramer, it was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Documentary ...more

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dancolliergay added Cooper & Hemingway: The True Gen Sam Waterston, Len Cariou, Elmore Leonard

Explores author Ernest Hemingway's 20-year friendship with actor Gary Cooper.

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Breakfast with Hunter Breakfast with Hunter is a 2003 documentary film directed by Wayne Ewing.

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Gonzo: The Life and Work of Dr. Hunter S. Thompson Gonzo: The Life and Work of Dr. Hunter S. Thompson is a 2008 documentary film directed by Alex Gibney. It details Hunter S. Thompson's landmark writings on music and politics. Friends and family provide interviews to help describe the mythos of ...more

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102 Years in the Heart of Euro... is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Documentaries About Writers

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Hubert Selby Jr: It'll Be Better Tomorrow Robert Downey Jr., Lou Reed, Ellen Burstyn Hubert Selby Jr: It/ll Be Better Tomorrow is a 2005 documentary film about writer Hubert Selby, Jr.. The film's title It/ll Be Better Tomorrow is taken from Selby's novel, The Demon, the slash is included in Selby's typography. In the film, ...more

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The Dialogues With Solzhenitsyn The Dialogues with Solzhenitsyn is a Russian television documentary by Russian filmmaker Alexander Sokurov on Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn. The documentary shot in Solzhenitsyn’s home shows his everyday life and covers his reflections on Russian ...more

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Gore Vidal: The Man Who Said No Gore Vidal: The Man Who Said No is a documentary film directed, produced, and edited by Gary Conklin. The film follows famed American writer and political gadfly Gore Vidal in his quixotic campaign against incumbent California Governor Jerry ...more

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And Everything Is Going Fine And Everything Is Going Fine is a 2010 documentary film directed by Steven Soderbergh about the life of the late monologuist Spalding Gray. It premiered at the 2010 Slamdance Film Festival and was screened at the 2010 SXSW Film Festival and the ...more

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Charles Dickens's England Derek Jacobi Charles Dickens's England is a feature documentary written and produced by David Nicholas Wilkinson, directed by Julian Richards and presented by Derek Jacobi. Other participants include Roy Hattersley, Adrian Wootton, Tony Williams, Thelma ...more

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Far Out Isn’t Far Enough: The Tomi Ungerer Story Far Out Isn't Far Enough: The Tomi Ungerer Story is a 2012 documentary film written and directed by Brad Bernstein.

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The Political Dr. Seuss The Political Dr. Seuss is a 2004 documentary film written by Ron Lamothe, Eric Martin and Lois Vossen, and directed by Ron Lamothe.

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Trumbo Trumbo is a 2007 American documentary film directed by Peter Askin, produced by Will Battersby, Tory Tunnell, and Alan Klingenstein, and written by Christopher Trumbo. It is based on the letters of Trumbo's father, Dalton Trumbo, an ...more

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Rudyard Kipling: A Remembrance Tale Rudyard Kipling: A Remembrance Tale was a 1-hour 2006 BBC documentary on the life of Rudyard Kipling, particularly as relating to his loss of his son during the First World War. It was presented by Griff Rhys Jones and starred Peter Guinness as ...more

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Looking for Richard Al Pacino, Alec Baldwin, Kevin Spacey Looking for Richard is a 1996 documentary, drama film directed by Al Pacino.

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Alice Walker: Beauty in Truth Alice Walker: Beauty in Truth is an documentary film directed by Pratibha Parmar, made by Kali Films production company. The film follows the life of the Pulitzer Prize-winning author, poet and activist Alice Walker. Shooting began in May 2011. ...more

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The Art of Catching Lobsters is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Documentaries About Writers

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William S. Burroughs: A Man Within Patti Smith, Iggy Pop, William S. Burroughs "As director John Waters puts it in Yony Leyser’s long-awaited documentary, William S. Burroughs became famous “for all the things you were supposed to hide: He was gay; he was a junkie; he shot his wife.” William S. Burroughs: A Man ...more

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Chris & Don: A Love Story Liza Minnelli, Leslie Caron, Michael York Chris Don: A Love Story is a 2007 film directed by Tina Mascara and Guido Santi.

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Adventures of a Brown Man in Search of Civilization Adventures of a Brown Man in Search of Civilization is a 54-minute color documentary based on the life and thoughts of Nirad C. Chaudhuri. It was made in 1972 and was directed by James Ivory. In this, Chaudhuri expounds his views on culture, ...more

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José and Pilar José and Pilar is a Portuguese documentary directed by Miguel Gonçalves Mendes following the last years of the Nobel Prize winner José Saramago, chiefly through his relationship with his resolute wife, Pilar del Río. ...more

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Manufacturing Consent: Noam Chomsky and the Media Manufacturing Consent: Noam Chomsky and the Media is a documentary film that explores the political life and ideas of Noam Chomsky, a linguist, intellectual, and political activist. Created by two Canadian filmmakers, Mark Achbar and Peter ...more

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Bartleby en coulisses Bartleby en coulisses is a documentary film shot in 2009 by the filmmaker Jérémie Carboni.

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Dominick Dunne: After the Party Joan Didion, Robert Evans, Griffin Dunne Dominick Dunne: After the Party is a 2008 documentary directed by Kirsty de Garis and Timothy Jolley. Hollywood outcast, top-selling author and reporter, Dominick Dunne is a prominent columnist and society correspondent. This biographical ...more

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Harto The Borges Osvaldo Bayer Harto The Borges is a documentary film created by Eduardo Montes-Bradley. Harto The Borges escapes the unwritten rule of biographical films on Latin American writers by exploring the narcissistic side of the author, his frequent and often ...more

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Love Always, Carolyn Love Always, Carolyn is a 2011 English-language Swedish documentary film written and directed by Malin Korkeasalo and Maria Ramström. The film is about Carolyn Cassady's recollection of life with husband Neal Cassady and Jack Kerouac, and ...more

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Tell Them Anything You Want: A Portrait of Maurice Sendak Meryl Streep, James Gandolfini, Catherine Keener Tell Them Anything You Want: A Portrait of Maurice Sendak is a 2009 television documentary film directed by Lance Bangs and Spike Jonze about children's author Maurice Sendak.

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Rwanda pour mémoire Rwanda pour mémoire is a 2003 documentary film about the Rwandan Genocide.

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Plimpton! Starring George Plimpton As Himself Plimpton! Starring George Plimpton as Himself is a 2013 American documentary film directed by Tom Bean and Luke Poling about the writer George Plimpton, who was a co-founder of The Paris Review and contributor to the participatory journalism ...more

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Fear and Loathing On the Road ... is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Best Documentaries About Writers

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Dave Burian added Born Into This

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Waldo Salt: A Screenwriter's Journey Waldo Salt: A Screenwriter's Journey is a 1990 American documentary film directed by Eugene Corr. It was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature. The film was screened at the 1990 Sundance Film Festival and is a part of the ...more

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From No. 37 From No. 37 is an Iranian documentary about the 20th century Persian author Sadegh Hedayat. It was directed by Mohsen Shahrnazdar and Sam Kalantari. From No. 37 lasts for 90 minutes and was filmed in France, Iran, Norway and the United Kingdom. ...more

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Sacred Poet Sacred Poet is a feature length documentary film on Italian poet, filmmaker and intellectual, Pier Paolo Pasolini. The film explores, through a series of dialogues and reminiscences, the work of this controversial Italian cultural figure and ...more

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The Ten-Year Lunch Helen Hayes, Ruth Gordon, Margalo Gillmore The Ten-Year Lunch: The Wit and Legend of the Algonquin Round Table is a 1987 American documentary film about the Algonquin Round Table, a floating group of writers and actors in the "Roaring Twenties" in New York City, which included ...more

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Amos Oz: The Nature of Dreams Amos Oz: The Nature of Dreams is an Israeli documentary film, written, directed and produced by Yonathan and Masha Zur. It is a portrait of Israeli author Amos Oz, author of the memoir A Tale of Love and Darkness, and his efforts toward peace ...more

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An Impression of John Steinbeck: Writer Henry Fonda, Peter Haskell An Impression of John Steinbeck: Writer is a 1969 American short documentary film directed by Donald Wrye, about John Steinbeck. It was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Documentary Short.

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Margaret Atwood: Once in August Margaret Atwood Margaret Atwood: Once in August is a 1984 documentary film about Canadian writer Margaret Atwood, directed by Michael Rubbo and produced by the National Film Board of Canada. The film was made in Rubbo's trademark style of self-conscious ...more

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Finding Farley Finding Farley is a 2009 documentary directed by Leanne Allison as she and her husband Karsten Heuer travel across Canada in the literary footsteps of Canadian writer Farley Mowat. Heuer, a biologist and author, had written a book on his ...more

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In the Wake of the Flood Margaret Atwood In the Wake of the Flood is a 2010 documentary film produced in Canada by director Ron Mann and featuring author Margaret Atwood. The film follows Atwood on her unusual book tour for her novel The Year of the Flood. The film premiered in Canada ...more

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Escapade romaine Escapade romaine is a 2010 documentary film by Jérémie Carboni during the tour of Daniel Pennac's reading.

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Lovecraft: Fear of the Unknown Neil Gaiman, John Carpenter, Stuart Gordon H.P. Lovecraft was the forefather of modern horror fiction having inspired such writers as Stephen King, Robert Bloch and Neil Gaiman. The influence of his Cthulhu mythos can be seen in film (Re-Animator, Hellboy, and Alien), games (The Call of ...more

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Ladies and Gentlemen... Mr. Leonard Cohen Ladies and Gentlemen... Mr. Leonard Cohen is a 1965 documentary about Leonard Cohen, co-directed by Don Owen and Donald Brittain, and written by Brittain. Produced by John Kemeny for the National Film Board of Canada, the film received the ...more

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Words of Advice: William S. Burroughs on the Road William S. Burroughs, Hal Willner, John Giorno Words of Advice: William S. Burroughs on the Road, is a 2007 documentary about William S. Burroughs directed by Lars Movin and Steen Møller Rasmussen and produced in Denmark. The documentary is based on never-before-seen footage from his ...more

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A Note of Triumph: The Golden Age of Norman Corwin A Note of Triumph: The Golden Age of Norman Corwin is a 2005 documentary short subject about writer Norman Corwin. In addition to Corwin, the cast includes Robert Altman, Norman Lear, Walter Cronkite, Studs Terkel, and radio historians Timothy ...more