The Best Documentaries About Filmmaking 

Ranker Film
Updated June 2, 2020 243 votes 41 voters 5k views 42 items

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

This list of the best documentaries about filmmaking has been ranked by the community and includes popular and recognizable titles, along with some independent films. What is the best documentary about filmmaking? Vote up your favorite documentaries below, that look at the art of making movies.

As you vote, the order of the list will change to see which documentary about filmmaking is the best. This list currently includes titles such as Hearts of Darkness, Overnight, and Dangerous Days.

 Documentaries are nonfiction and made with the intention of displaying reality for historical purposes or to educate those watching the film. Most documentaries are driven by independent filmmakers and those passionate about the topics they are portraying.
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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.
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Vanessa Paradis

Released: 2002

Directed by: Louis Pepe, Keith Fulton

Lost in La Mancha is a 2002 documentary film about Terry Gilliam's unfinished film The Man Who Killed Don Quixote, a film adaptation of the novel Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes. It was shot ...more

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#17 of 19 These Documentaries Took A Hard Left Turn And Left Audiences Shocked And Confused #4 of 18 Documentaries About Movies That Are Better Than The Actual Movies #79 of 364 The Greatest Documentaries of All Time

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Mick Jagger, Claudia Cardinale, Werner Herzog

Released: 1982

Directed by: Les Blank

Burden of Dreams is a feature-length documentary and making-of directed by Les Blank, shot during and about the chaotic production of Werner Herzog's 1982 film Fitzcarraldo, filmed in the ...more
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Released: 1999

Directed by: Chris Smith

American Movie is a 1999 documentary directed by Chris Smith. The film chronicles the real 1996-1997 making of Coven, an independent horror film directed by an independent filmmaker named Mark ...more

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#523 of 710 The Best Movies Roger Ebert Gave Four Stars #11 of 18 Documentaries About Movies That Are Better Than The Actual Movies #84 of 135 The Best Movies About Movies

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Phillip Adams, Steve Bisley, Briony Behets

Released: 2008

Directed by: Mark Hartley

Not Quite Hollywood: The Wild, Untold Story of Ozploitation! is a 2008 Australian documentary film about the Australian New Wave of 1970s and '80s low-budget cinema. The film was written and ...more
Best Worst Movie is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Documentaries About Filmmaking
Christian Sellers

Released: 2009

Directed by: Michael Stephenson

Most people don't set out to produce a horrible film, so how exactly does it happen? This documentary about 1989's Troll 2 - often referred to as the "worst movie in history" - ...more
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Darren Aronofsky, Matt Stone, Atom Egoyan

Released: 2006

Directed by: Kirby Dick

This Film is Not Yet Rated is a 2006 American documentary film about the Motion Picture Association of America's rating system and its effect on American culture, directed by Kirby Dick and ...more
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Peter Bogdanovich, Paul Winfield, Robert Wise

Released: 1996

Directed by: Michael Epstein, Thomas Lennon

Orson Welles' movie stirs the ire of publisher William Randolph Hearst, the man who the film was patterned after.
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Buster Keaton

Released: 1965

Directed by: John Spotton, Gerald Potterton

Buster Keaton Rides Again is a 1965 documentary film about the filming of Buster Keaton's film The Railrodder, which was also released in 1965. Although it is a production documentary, this film ...more
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Iran: A Cinematographic Revolution

Released: 2007

Directed by: Nader T. Homayoun

Iran: A Cinematographic Revolution is a 2006 documentary film written by Nicolas Bertrand and Nader T. Homayoun and directed by Nader T. Homayoun.
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Released: 2004

Directed by: Daniel Anker

Imaginary Witness: Hollywood and the Holocaust is a 2004 documentary history film directed by Daniel Anker.
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Gerard Damiano

Released: 2005

Directed by: Fenton Bailey, Randy Barbato

Inside Deep Throat is a 2005 American documentary film about the 1972 adult film Deep Throat, at the forefront of the Golden Age of Adult Entertainment, and its effects on American society. The ...more
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Released: 2009

Directed by: Jeremiah Hayes, Neil Diamond, Catherine Bainbridge

The portrayal of Native Americans in cinema. / Cree filmmaker Neil Diamond takes an entertaining, insightful, and often humorous look at the Hollywood Indian, exploring the portrayal of North ...more
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Dangerous Days

Released: 2007

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Alexander Beyer, Rüdiger Vogler, Alex Sendrowitz

Released: 2010

Directed by: Yael Hersonski

This haunting film about a film examines a classic Nazi propaganda movie used by historians for decades to provide insight into the realities of life in the Warsaw Ghetto in 1942. The recent ...more
Document of the Dead is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Documentaries About Filmmaking
George A. Romero, Tom Savini, Ken Foree

Released: 1985

Directed by: Roy Frumkes

Document of the Dead is a 1979 documentary film by American filmmaker Roy Frumkes that was largely shot during the production of the 1978 film Dawn of the Dead. Originally a 66 minute feature, ...more
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Released: 2007

Directed by: Mike Jacobs

Audience of One is an award-winning 2007 documentary directed by Michael Jacobs that was premiered on 9 March 2007 at the South by Southwest Film Festival in Austin, Texas.
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Salma Hayek, George Clooney, Juliette Lewis

Released: 1998

Directed by: Sarah Kelly

Full Tilt Boogie is a 1997 documentary directed by Sarah Kelly. It chronicles the production of the 1996 film From Dusk Till Dawn. It features extensive interviews with the cast and crew ...more
Overnight is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Documentaries About Filmmaking
Rachel Blanchard, Anthony LaPaglia, James D'Arcy

Released: 2003

Directed by: Valerie Breiman, Mark Brian Smith, Tony Montana

Overnight is a 2010 comedy romance film directed and written by Valerie Breiman.
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Lars von Trier, Patrick Bauchau, Alexandra Vandernoot

Released: 2003

Directed by: Lars von Trier, Jørgen Leth

The Five Obstructions is a Danish film of 2003 by Lars von Trier and Jørgen Leth. The film is a documentary, but incorporates lengthy sections of experimental films produced by the ...more
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Killing Priscilla

Released: 2000

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Copyright Criminals

Released: 2009

Directed by: Benjamin Franzen, Kembrew McLeod

"Computers, software, and even mobile phones have radically altered our relationship to mass culture and technology—providing consumers with the tools to become producers (or “remixers”) of ...more
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Bérénice Bejo, Romy Schneider, Jacques Gamblin

Released: 2009

Directed by: Ruxandra Medrea, Serge Bromberg

"The French director Henri-Georges Clouzot is renowned for suspenseful classics such as Le Salaire de la peur (in English, The Wages of Fear) and Diabolique. Now this incredible documentary ...more
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Sylvester Stallone, Audrey Hepburn, Ava Gardner

Released: 2010

Directed by: Craig McCall

Cameraman: The Life and Work of Jack Cardiff is a 2010 documentary film that explores the work of the cinematographer Jack Cardiff. It reviews his work and with the input of many of his ...more
Side By Side is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Documentaries About Filmmaking
Stephan Metzbauer added

Released: 2012

Directed by: Christopher Kenneally

Side by Side is a 2012 American documentary film directed by Christopher Kenneally. It was produced by Justin Szlasa and Keanu Reeves. It premiered at the 62nd Berlin International Film Festival ...more