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The Best Biographical Documentary Series

Updated December 3, 2020 57 votes 12 voters40 items

List RulesVote up the best documentary shows about a person or a specific group of people.

The best television documentary biographies are as engaging as a scripted series, while also sharing real lives. The best biography documentary series ever shown on television tell the tales of people - from celebrities to average folks who led extraordinary lives. If you’ve been looking for the best biography documentaries to add some enjoyable education to your TV nights, this list of the best art and art history documentary series of all time will help you figure out what needs to go into your queue.

Some documentary biography series follow individuals for the full run of the show, such as The Defiant Ones, or any documentary series that follows the life of historical figures such as Churchill or Napoleon. Many other documentary biography series use an anthology format and tell the story of different people each episode. 30 for 30, Behind the Music, and even E! True Hollywood Story tell peoples' stories with a mix of reenactment, file footage, and information from experts in the field.

Which shows do the best job sharing information about the lives of famous people? Vote up the best biography documentary shows and add any biographical documentary series that are missing.

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  • 1
    American Experience
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    American Experience

    David McCullough, David Ogden Stiers

    Premiered1988

    American Experience is a television program airing on the Public Broadcasting Service Public... more on Wikipedia
  • 2
    American Masters
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    American Masters

    Julianna Margulies, Laura Linney

    Premiered1986

    American Masters is a PBS television show which produces biographies on artists, actors and... more on Wikipedia
  • 3
    Behind the Music
    ehind the Music is a television series on VH1. It originally ran from 1997 to 2006, before it... more on Wikipedia
  • 4
    E! True Hollywood Story
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    E! True Hollywood Story

    Don Morrow, Neil Ross

    Premiered1996

  • 5
    Final 24
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    Final 24

    Danny Wallace, Dave McRae

    Premiered2006

    Final 24 is a Canadian documentary series which airs on the Discovery Channel and Global... more on Wikipedia
  • 6
    Biography
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    Biography

    Joan Lunden, Peter Graves

    Premiered1987

    Biography is a documentary television series that had three original runs, twice on CBS and... more on Wikipedia
  • 7
    Private Century
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    Private Century

    Private Century is a 2007 biographical documentary TV miniseries written and directed by Jan...
  • 8
    Paul Merton's Silent Clowns
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    Paul Merton's Silent Clowns

    Silent Clowns (BBC Four, 2006), also known as Paul Perton's Silent Clowns, is a documentary... more on Wikipedia
  • 9
    30 for 30
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    30 for 30

    Dan Rather, Magic Johnson

    Premiered2009

    30 for 30 is the umbrella title for a series of documentary films airing on ESPN and its... more on Wikipedia
  • 10
    The Churchills
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    The Churchills

    The Churchills is a documentary series presented by David Starkey. He tells the story of the... more on Wikipedia
  • 11
    Beethoven
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    Beethoven

    Paul Rhys, Charles Hazlewood

    Premiered2005

    Beethoven (BBC, 2005) is a British dramatized television documentary series. The show follows... more on Wikipedia
  • 12
    Persons of Interest
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    Persons of Interest

    Mercia Deane-Johns, Haydn Keenan

    Premiered2013

    Persons of Interest (2013) is an Australian biographical documentary television series. In... more on Wikipedia
  • 13
    Five Came Back
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    Five Came Back

    Meryl Streep, Steven Spielberg
    Five Came Back (2017, Netflix) is a three-part American documentary based on the 2014 book... more on Wikipedia
  • 14
    Roman Empire
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    Roman Empire

    Sean Bean, Aaron Jakubenko

    Premiered2016

    Roman Empire (Netflix, 2016) is an American/Canadia docuseries directed by Richard Lopez, and... more on Wikipedia
  • 15
    The Defiant Ones
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    The Defiant Ones

    Dr. Dre, Jimmy Iovine

    Premiered2017

    The Defiant Ones (HBO, 2017) is an American documentary miniseries directed by Allen Hughes.... more on Wikipedia
  • 16
    Bobby Kennedy for President
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    Bobby Kennedy for President

    Robert F. Kennedy, Harry Belafonte
    Bobby Kennedy for President (Netflix, 2018) is a documentary series. This four-part...
  • 17
    The Naked Director
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    The Naked Director

    Takayuki Yamada, Shinnosuke Mitsushima

    Premiered2019

  • 18
    I'm With The Band: Nasty Cherry
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    I'm With The Band: Nasty Cherry

    Gabrielle Bechtel, Chloe Chaidez

    PremieredNovember 15, 2019

    I'm With The Band: Nasty Cherry is an unscripted documentary series executive produced by... more on Wikipedia
  • 19
    The Most Dangerous Animal of All
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    The Most Dangerous Animal of All

    Kyle DeCamp, Katelyn Kapocsi

    Premiered2020

    The Most Dangerous Animal of All (FX, 2020) is a television mini-series created by Kief... more on Wikipedia
  • 20
    Hillary
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    Hillary

    Hillary Clinton

    PremieredMarch 6, 2020

    Hillary (Hulu, 2020) is a documentary miniseries directed by Nanette Burstein. A look at the... more on Wikipedia
  • 21
    The Last Dance
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    The Last Dance

    Michael Jordan, Phil Jackson

    Premiered2020

    The Last Dance (ESPN, 2020) is an American sports documentary miniseries directed by Jason... more on Wikipedia
  • 22
    Becoming
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    Becoming

    Michelle Obama, Phoebe Robinson

    Premiered2020

    Becoming (Netflix, 2020) is a documentary television series directed by Nadia Hallgren. Former... more on Wikipedia
  • 23
    Grant
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    Grant

    Francis Chouler, Gabriel Harry Meltz

    Premiered2020

    Grant (History, 2020) is a historical documentary series produced by Lionsgate Television. The... more on Wikipedia
  • 24
    I'll Be Gone in the Dark
    I'll Be Gone in the Dark (HBO, 2020) is a true crime docudrama television series directed by... more on Wikipedia
  • 25
    Dear...
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    Dear...

    Audra Milos, Taylor Lee

    Premiered2020

    Dear... (Apple TV+, 2020) is an American documentary television series. Inspired by Apple's... more on Wikipedia