• Entertainment

The Best Documentaries About Los Angeles

List RulesDocumentaries about the city of Los Angeles, California.

What is the best documentary about Los Angeles documentary film? This list of documentaries about Los Angeles includes popular and recognizable titles, along with independent films. Many documentaries set in LA feature the city's film, music, and culture scenes. Some are even documentaries about Hollywood. What is the best documentary about Los Angeles? 

Some of the best LA documentaries include titles such as Los Angeles Plays Itself, LA Originals, and LA '92. There's also great documentaries about the L.A. music scenes, such as Wattstax, Sound City, and The Decline of Western Civilization

Vote up your favorite LA-centric documentaries and help decide what is the best documentary about Los Angeles. 

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  • Christopher Dennis, Jennifer Wenger
    30
    0

    Released2007

    Directed byMatthew Ogens

    Confessions of a Superhero is a 2007 documentary film directed by Matthew Ogens about costumed superheroes on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. The film focuses in particular on Christopher Dennis,  ...more
  • Sean Penn, Jay Adams
    23
    0

    Released2001

    Directed byStacy Peralta

    "Dogtown and Z-Boys," directed and co-written by skateboard legend-turned-filmmaker Stacy Peralta, is the story of a group of accidental revolutionaries, gifted kids who inadvertently changed the  ...more
  • Exene Cervenka, Billy Zoom
    23
    0

    Released1981

    Directed byPenelope Spheeris

    The Decline of Western Civilization is an American documentary film filmed through 1979 and 1980. The movie is about the Los Angeles punk rock scene and was directed by Penelope Spheeris. In 1981,  ...more
  • 4

    This Is the Life

    Chali 2na, Pigeon John
    16
    0

    Released2008

    Directed byAva DuVernay

    This is the Life is a 2008 documentary film directed by Ava DuVernay, which chronicles the alternative hip hop movement that flourished in 1990's Los Angeles and its legendary center, the Good Life  ...more
  • 5

    Dive!

    Jeremy Seifert
    9
    0

    Released2009

    Directed byJeremy Seifert

    Dive! is an 2010 American documentary film directed by Jeremy Seifert. The film follows director Jeremy Seifert and his friends as they dumpster dive behind several grocery stores in the Los Angeles  ...more
  • 6

    Off the Menu: The Last Days of Chasen's

    Elizabeth Taylor, Raymond Bilbool
    9
    0

    Released1997

    Directed byRobert Pulcini, Shari Springer Berman

    Off the Menu: The Last Days of Chasen's is a 1997 American documentary film directed by Shari Springer Berman and Robert Pulcini. In 1995, Chasen's closed its doors after 60 years of serving chili to  ...more
  • Brian Wilson, Micky Dolenz
    9
    0

    Released2008

    Directed byDenny Tedesco

    The Wrecking Crew is a 2008 American documentary film directed by Denny Tedesco. It covers the story of the Los Angeles-based group of session musicians known as The Wrecking Crew, famed for having  ...more
  • Encke King, Ben Alexander
    60
    9

    Released2003

    Directed byThom Andersen

    Consisting mostly of shots from other films, this documentary discusses the many representations of the city of Los Angeles in film and on television. Professor Thom Andersen compares the city as it  ...more
  • 9

    Redefining the West

    46
    9
  • 10

    Chain Camera

    Ethan Adagio, Silva Arzunyan
    30
    7

    Released2001

    Directed byKirby Dick

    Documentary filmmaker Kirby Dick gave small portable video cameras to 10 students at John Marshall High School in the upper-middle-class Los Feliz section of Los Angeles, instructing them to film
  • Released2004

    Directed byMel Stuart

    The Hobart Shakespeareans of Hobart Boulevard Elementary School is a 2005 documentary film that tells the story of the inspirational inner-city Los Angeles school teacher Rafe Esquith whose rigorous  ...more
  • Robert Altman, Paul Verhoeven
    23
    7

    Released2004

    Directed byAlexandra Cassavetes

    Z Channel: A Magnificent Obsession is a documentary about Los Angeles pay cable channel Z Channel which was directed by Xan Cassavetes, daughter of Hollywood director and actor John Cassavetes. It  ...more
  • James Alexander, Raymond Allen
    23
    7

    Released1973

    Directed byMel Stuart

    In 1972 at the Los Angeles Coliseum, director Mel Stuart captures the performances of the Watts Summer Festival. Organized by Stax Records, the festival is a gathering of musicians and entertainers  ...more
  • 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 and  ...more
  • 15

    Bastards of the Party

    Rodney King, Daryl Gates
    37
    14

    Released2005

    Directed byCle Shaheed Sloan

    Bastards of the Party is a 2005 documentary film produced by Alex Demyanenko and directed by former Bloods gang-member Cle Sloan. The film explores the creation of two of Los Angeles’s most notorious  ...more
  • Pat Briggs, Brett Coons
    37
    14

    Released2000

    Directed byFenton Bailey, Randy Barbato

    101 Rent Boys is a 2000 documentary film that explores the West Hollywood hustler scene. The producers recruited 101 hustlers from on and around Santa Monica Boulevard and paid each of them $50 for  ...more
  • 17

    Street Dogs of South Central

    Queen Latifah, Elsie
    3
    0

    Released2013

    Directed byBill Marin

    Street Dogs of South Central is a 2013 American documentary film directed by Bill Marin. Narrated by Queen Latifah, it is a nature documentary depicting the lives of stray dogs on the streets of  ...more
  • 18

    The Reinactors

    Christopher Dennis, Maxwell Allen
    30
    14

    Released2008

    Directed byDave Markey

    The Reinactors is a [2008] documentary film about the lives of film character impersonators and celebrity look-a-likes on the Walk Of Fame of Hollywood, CA. The film was well received by critics and  ...more
  • 19

    Crips & Bloods: Made in America

    Bo Taylor, Jim Brown
    16
    7

    Released2008

    Directed byStacy Peralta

    Crips and Bloods: Made in America is a 2008 documentary by Stacy Peralta that examines the rise of the Crips and Bloods, prominent gangs in America. The documentary focuses on the external factors  ...more
  • 20

    Twilight: Los Angeles

    Anna Deavere Smith
    16
    7

    Released2000

    Directed byMarc Levin

    Twilight: Los Angeles is an American film starring Anna Deavere Smith and directed by Marc Levin.  ...more
  • 21

    OT: Our town

    Catherine Borek, Ebony Starr Norwood-Brown
    16
    7

    Released2002

    Directed byScott Hamilton Kennedy

    In the impoverished Los Angeles neighborhood of Compton, a group of intrepid inner-city students and two courageous teachers attempt to do what has not been done in more than 20 years: put on a
  • Released1988

    Directed byPenelope Spheeris

    In this follow-up to the 1981 punk rock documentary "The Decline of Western Civilization," filmmaker Penelope Spheeris dissects the world of heavy metal. Through live performance footage and  ...more
  • Released1998

    Directed byPenelope Spheeris

    The Decline of Western Civilization III is a 1998 documentary film directed by Penelope Spheeris that chronicles the gutter punk lifestyle of homeless teenagers. It is the third film of a trilogy by  ...more
  • Daryl Hannah, Danny Glover
    23
    15

    Released2008

    Directed byScott Hamilton Kennedy

    The South Central Farm is a 14-acre community garden that was established in the ruins of the L.A. riots in 1992. After the lush garden thrived for a decade, the urban farmers were notified that they  ...more
  • 25

    16 Days of Glory

    Michael Gross, Carl Lewis
    30
    21

    Released1986

    Directed byBud Greenspan

    In this documentary, Los Angeles plays host to the XXIII Summer Olympiad in 1984 and captures the attention of the world with its spectacular opening ceremony, high-profile athletes and inspiring