The Best Documentaries About Immigration 

Ranker Film
Updated October 9, 2019 323 votes 143 voters 22.7k views 37 items

List Rules Documentaries about immigration and immigrants.

This list of the best documentary about immigration has been ranked by the community and includes popular and recognizable titles, along with independent films. What is the best documentary about Immigration? Vote up the docs you thought were the best when it comes to the subject of immigration.

As you vote, the order of the list will be changed to see which documentary about immigration comes out on top. If you do not see your favorite on the list, add it along with the titles below so that others may vote on it as well.

Documentaries are nonfiction and made with the intention of displaying reality for historical purposes and 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: 2009

Directed by: Roy Germano

The Other Side of Immigration is a 2010 documentary film directed by Roy Germano that explores why so many people leave the Mexican countryside to work in the United States and what happens to ...more
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Released: 2009

Directed by: Rebecca Cammisa

Which Way Home is a 2009 film directed by Rebecca Cammisa. "As the United States continues to build a wall between itself and Mexico, Which Way Home shows the personal side of immigration ...more
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The New Americans

Released: 2004

Directed by: Renee Tajima-Peña, Steve James, Jerry Blumenthal, Laura Angelica Simon, Gordon Quinn, + more

The New Americans is a seven-hour American documentary, produced by Kartemquin Films, that was originally broadcast on American television over three nights on the Public Broadcasting Service in ...more
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Released: 2013

Directed by: Marco Williams

The Undocumented is a 90-minute documentary film from director Marco Williams, which investigates the causes and effects of migrant deaths along the Arizona-Mexico border.
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Released: 1986

Directed by: Louis Malle

And the Pursuit of Happiness is a 1986 documentary film directed by Louis Malle about the experiences of immigrants in the United States during the 1980s. It was screened in the Un Certain ...more
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90 Miles

Released: 2001

Directed by: Juan Carlos Zaldívar

90 Miles is a 2001 documentary film written and directed by Juan Carlos Zaldívar. The film is a recounting of the events that lead Zaldívar to become a Marielito and leave Cuba for ...more
Swedes in America is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Documentaries About Immigration
Ingrid Bergman

Released: 1943

Directed by: Irving Lerner

Swedes in America is a 1943 American short documentary film directed by Irving Lerner and produced by the Overseas Motion Picture Bureau of the United States Office of War Information. It was ...more
Against Wind and Tide: A... is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Documentaries About Immigration
Against Wind and Tide: A Cuban Odyssey

Released: 1981

Against Wind and Tide: A Cuban Odyssey is a 1981 American documentary film about the Mariel boatlift, which was first broadcast on PBS the week of June 1, 1981. Written by John Brousek, the film ...more
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The State of Arizona

Released: 2013

Directed by: Carlos Sandoval, Catherine Tambini

The State of Arizona is a documentary film directed by Carlos Sandoval and Catherine Tambini.
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De Nadie

Released: 2005

Directed by: Tin Dirdamal

De Nadie is a documentary by Mexican filmmaker Tin Dirdamal on the impoverished Central Americans who leave their countries in hope of a better life in the United States. It premiered in 2005 ...more
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Third World California

Released: 2006

Directed by: Otávio Juliano

Third World California is a 2006 documentary film by Otavio Juliano. It depicts the substandard living conditions of undocumented immigrants living within an Indian reservation in the Lower ...more
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Released: 2004

Directed by: Tommy Davis

Mojados: Through the Night is a 2004 documentary film directed by Tommy Davis. The film documents the journey of four men as they trek 120 miles across the Texas desert.
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Released: 2007

Directed by: Almudena Carracedo

Made in L.A. is a 2007 documentary film that tells the story of three Latina immigrants as they wage a battle against their employer, a Los Angeles garment factory. After years of domestic abuse ...more
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Robert MacNeil

Released: 2005

Do You Speak American? is a documentary film and accompanying book about journalist Robert MacNeil's investigation into how different people throughout the United States of America speak. The ...more
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Released: 2006

Directed by: Kevin Knoblock

Border War: The Battle Over Illegal Immigration is a 2006 documentary film, written, produced and directed by Kevin Knoblock. The film tells the stories of five people whose lives have been ...more
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Culture Clash in AmeriCCa

Released: 2005

Directed by: Emilio Estevez

Culture Clash in AmeriCCa is a 2005 documentary film directed by Emilio Estevez. It is an anthology of fun and thought-provoking skits and monologues portraying diverse American immigrants. ...more
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Family Gathering Keith Hamilton Cobb

Released: 1989

Directed by: Lise Yasui, Ann Tegnell

Family Gathering is a 1988 American short documentary film by Lise Yasui, exploring three generations of her Japanese-American family, from their immigration to Oregon in the early 20th century ...more
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Released: 2000

Directed by: Shari Robertson, Michael Camerini

Well-Founded Fear is a 2000 documentary film from directors Shari Robertson and Michael Camerini. The film takes its title from the formal definition of a refugee under the UN Convention ...more
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Immigrant Nation! The Battle for the Dream

Released: 2010

Directed by: Esau Melendez

Immigrant Nation! The Battle for the Dream is a 2010 feature documentary movie by Esaú Meléndez about the immigrant rights movement from 2006 to 2009 and Elvira Arellano's ...more
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Catherine Scorsese, Charles Scorsese

Released: 1974

Directed by: Martin Scorsese

Italianamerican is a 1974 documentary directed by Martin Scorsese and featuring Scorsese's parents, Catherine and Charles. The Scorseses talk about their experiences as Italian immigrants in New ...more
Monkey Dance is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Documentaries About Immigration
Monkey Dance

Released: 2004

Directed by: Julie Mallozzi

Monkey Dance is a 2004 documentary film by Julie Mallozzi, a filmmaker based in Boston. The film follows three Cambodian-American teens growing up in Lowell, Massachusetts as they face the ...more
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Kareena Kapoor, Abhishek Bachchan, Anupam Kher

Released: 2000

Directed by: J. P. Dutta

Refugee is a 2000 Indian film written and directed by J. P. Dutta. The film marked the debuts of Abhishek Bachchan, son of popular actor Amitabh Bachchan, and Kareena Kapoor, the younger sister ...more
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Released: 2007

Directed by: Anne Makepeace

Rain in a Dry Land is a 2006 documentary film directed by Anne Makepeace and filmed by Joan Churchill & Barney Broomfield that chronicles the experiences of two Bantu as they are transported ...more
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Released: 1998

Africans in America: America's Journey Through Slavery is a 1998 American television series.
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New Year Baby

Released: 2006

Directed by: Socheata Poeuv

New Year Baby is a 2006 documentary film that tells the story of a family that survived the Cambodian genocide, and started a new life in the United States. The film was directed by Socheata ...more