The Best Documentaries About Filmmaking

List Rules
Documentaries about filmmaking, filmmakers, and the film industry.

What is the best filmmaking documentary? The best documentary movies about filmmaking offer strong stories, memorable characters, and emotional payoffs that stick with you long after they're over. They focus on a variety of subjects and approach the craft of making movies in both subtle and more overt manners. They come from big studios and independent distributors.

The best documentary movies about filmmaking, like Cameraperson and Hearts of Darkness, have even found themselves nominated for, or winning, awards. In every way, these are some of the most important movies of our time. A lot of these filmmaking docus are available on streaming services like Netflix, HBO Max, Hulu, and Amazon Prime.

This list includes documentary films about filmmaking. Vote up the best filmmaking documentary films to make sure they make it to the top of the list. Be sure to check back for new filmmaking docs as they are added to the list upon release.

Ranked by
  • Side By Side
    Keanu Reeves
    5 votes
    • Released: 2012
    • Directed by: Christopher Kenneally
    Directors James Cameron, David Fincher, Martin Scorsese, Christopher Nolan and others discuss digital technology's impact on filmmaking.

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  • Hearts of Darkness: A Filmmakers's Apocalypse
    Dennis Hopper, Martin Sheen, Marlon Brando
    21 votes
    • Released: 1991
    • Directed by: Eleanor Coppola, George Hickenlooper, Fax Bahr
    Hearts of Darkness: A Filmmaker's Apocalypse is a 1991 documentary film about the production of the 1979 feature film Apocalypse Now.
  • Lost in La Mancha
    Vanessa Paradis
    14 votes
    • Released: 2002
    • Directed by: Keith Fulton, Louis Pepe
    Visionary director Terry Gilliam has a dream. He wants to film the classic story of Don Quixote by recasting it as a trippy, time-traveling, mistaken-identity adventure with Johnny Depp as Quixote. ...more

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  • This Film Is Not Yet Rated
    Darren Aronofsky, Matt Stone, Atom Egoyan
    14 votes
    • Released: 2006
    • Directed by: Kirby Dick
    Filmmakers Kimberly Peirce, Wayne Kramer, Michael Tucker and Matt Stone are among those who give commentary in Kirby Dick's examination of the Motion Picture Association of America and the standards ...more
  • Cameraperson


    Kirsten Johnson, Michael Moore, Jacques Derrida
    28 votes
    • Released: 2016
    • Directed by: Kirsten Johnson
    Cameraperson is a 2016 autobiographical collage documentary film by director Kirsten Johnson about her life and career as a cinematographer. It relies on footage shot by Johnson across the years in ...more
  • Burden of Dreams
    Claudia Cardinale, Mick Jagger, Klaus Kinski
    15 votes
    • Released: 1982
    • Directed by: Les Blank
    German director Werner Herzog begins work on his 1982 epic "Fitzcarraldo" but soon runs into serious setbacks, from casting problems to his own stubborn refusal to use special effects. After having ...more

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