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.
CamerapersonKirsten Johnson, Michael Moore
Directed by: Kirsten JohnsonCameraperson 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
Directed by: Eleanor Coppola, George Hickenlooper, Fax BahrHearts of Darkness: A Filmmaker's Apocalypse is a 1991 documentary film about the production of the 1979 feature film Apocalypse Now.... more
Directed by: Louis Pepe, Keith FultonLost 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 in... more
Directed by: Les BlankBurden 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 jungles of... more
Directed by: Chris SmithAmerican 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
Directed by: Michael StephensonMost 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" - attempts to answer... more
Directed by: Mark HartleyNot 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 directed... more
Directed by: Kirby DickThis 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 produced... more
Directed by: Michael Epstein, Thomas LennonOrson Welles' movie stirs the ire of publisher William Randolph Hearst, the man who the film was patterned after.... more
Directed by: Fenton Bailey, Randy BarbatoInside 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 film... more
Directed by: John Spotton, Gerald PottertonBuster 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 is... more
- Imaginary Witness: Hollywood and the Holocaust is a 2004 documentary history film directed by Daniel Anker.... more
Iran: A Cinematographic RevolutionIran: A Cinematographic Revolution is a 2006 documentary film written by Nicolas Bertrand and Nader T. Homayoun and directed by Nader T. Homayoun....
Directed by: Yael HersonskiThis 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
Directed by: Lars von Trier, Jørgen LethThe 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 filmmakers. The... more
Directed by: Jeremiah Hayes, Neil Diamond, Catherine BainbridgeThe 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
Directed by: Roy FrumkesDocument 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, it has... more
- 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.... more
Directed by: Sarah KellyFull 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 covering a... more
Directed by: Tony Montana, Mark Brian SmithOvernight is a 2003 American documentary film by Tony Montana and Mark Brian Smith. The film details the rise and stumble of filmmaker and musician Troy Duffy, the writer-director of The Boondock... more
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 gives us... more
Directed by: Craig McCallCameraman: 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
- The Pervert's Guide to Cinema is a 2006 documentary directed and produced by Sophie Fiennes, scripted and presented by Slavoj Žižek. It explores a number of films from a psychoanalytic theoretical... more
Directed by: Malcolm Clarke, Stuart SenderPrisoner of Paradise is a 2002 documentary film directed by Malcolm Clarke and Stuart Sender, and produced as a British-Canadian-American collaboration. The film tells the true story of Kurt Gerron,... more
- It's All True is an unfinished Orson Welles feature film comprising three stories about Latin America. "My Friend Bonito" was supervised by Welles and directed by Norman Foster in Mexico in 1941.... more