Entertainment

The Best HBO Documentaries of the Last Few Years  

Ranker Film
608 votes 136 voters 10.2k views 35 items

List Rules Vote for the best HBO original documentaries.

Over the years, a series of innovative and informative HBO documentary movies have left viewers captivated and curious. The best HBO documentaries feature topics such as true crime, animal cruelty, iconic historical figures, and political issues. What are the best recent HBO documentary films? This list will help decide. 

Which original HBO documentaries will you find here? If you're interested in true crime, you can check out Mommy Dead and Dearest. To explore topical political issues, try An Apology to Elephants or Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison Belief. For films about iconic figures, check out Bright Lights: Starring Carrie Fisher and Debbie Reynolds or Love, Marilyn.

This list of new HBO docs shows all the most acclaimed documentaries released by HBO since 2015. Which new HBO documentaries do you think stand out? Vote for the best documentaries below. 

list ordered by
1
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Alex Gibney
Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Belief is a 2015 documentary film directed by Alex Gibney. Deconstructing the church's claims by presenting a condensed history of Scientology and its ...more
2
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Mommy Dead and Dearest Erin Lee Carr
Mommy Dead and Dearest is a 2017 documentary film directed by Erin Lee Carr. In this documentary, the murder of Dee Dee Blancharde by her daughter Gypsy Rose is explored, as well as the ...more
3
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Irene Taylor Brodsky
Beware the Slenderman is a 2016 American documentary film directed by Irene Taylor Brodsky. The film discusses the incident in which two girls attempted to murder one of their friends in an ...more
4
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Alexis Bloom, Fisher Stevens
Bright Lights: Starring Carrie Fisher and Debbie Reynolds is a 2016 documentary film directed by Alexis Bloom and Fisher Stevens. An intimate portrait of actress Debbie Reynolds and her ...more
5
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Alex Gibney
The Inventor: Out for Blood in Silicon Valley is 2019 American documentary film, directed and produced by Alex Gibney. The story of Theranos, a multi-billion dollar tech company, its founder ...more
6
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Jason Hehir
André the Giant is a 2018 TV documentary film directed by Jason Hehir. The explores life of French professional wrestler and actor André René Roussimoff, better known as ...more
7
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Dan Reed
Leaving Neverland is a 2019 documentary film directed and produced by British filmmaker Dan Reed. Leaving Neverland describes how Michael Jackson allegedly began relationships with two young ...more
8
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An Apology to Elephants Amy Schatz
An Apology to Elephants is a 2013 documentary that explores purported abuse and brutal treatment of elephants. It showcases elephant training and the alleged psychological trauma and physical ...more
9
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Laura Poitras
Citizenfour is a 2014 documentary film directed by Laura Poitras. A documentarian and a reporter travel to Hong Kong for the first of many meetings with Edward Snowden to discuss the NSA spying ...more
10
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50 Children: The Rescue Mission of Mr & Mrs Kraus Steven Pressman
The film, directed by Steven Pressman, chronicles the story of the daring mission by the Krauses to travel to Nazi Germany in the spring of 1939, and their ultimate achievement of bringing 50 ...more
11
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Class Divide Marc Levin
Class Divide is a 2016 documentary film directed by Marc Levin. The film covers class division and gentrification in the West Chelsea neighborhood of New York City and its effects on public
12
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How to Dance in Ohio Alexandra Shiva
How to Dance in Ohio is a 2015 American documentary film directed by Alexandra Shiva. As a group of autistic teenagers in Columbus, Ohio prepare for their first spring formal, they spend 12 ...more
13
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Abortion: Stories Women Tell Tracy Droz Tragos
Abortion: Stories Women Tell is a 2016 American documentary film directed by Tracy Droz Tragos. The film centers on different women on either side of the abortion debate in the state of
14
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Baltimore Rising Sonja Sohn
Baltimore Rising is a 2017 documentary film directed by Sonja Sohn. Covering the death of Freddie Gray, the film also explores the Black Lives Matter protests and the perspective of activists, ...more
15
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Brett Morgen
Kurt Cobain: Montage of Heck is a 2015 documentary film directed by Brett Morgen. The documentary chronicles the life of Kurt Cobain from his birth in Aberdeen, Washington in 1967, through his ...more
16
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Solitary: Inside Red Onion State Prison Kristi Jacobson
Solitary: Inside Red Onion State Prison is a 2016 documentary film directed by Kristi Jacobson. The film follows Jacobson as she goes inside where no cameras are allowed: Red Onion State Prison, ...more
17
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Private Violence Cynthia Hill
Private Violence is a crime and drama documentary film directed by Cynthia Hill.
18
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Life According to Sam Sean Fine, Andrea Nix
LIFE ACCORDING TO SAM explores the remarkable world of Sam Berns and his family. Now a high-school junior about to turn 17, Sam embraces his circumstances with admirable courage, showing wisdom ...more
19
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Gideon's Army Dawn Porter
Gideon's Army is a 2013 documentary film written by Matthew Hamachek and Dawn Porter and directed by Dawn Porter.
20
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The Trans List Timothy Greenfield-Sanders
The Trans List is a 2016 documentary film directed by Timothy Greenfield-Sanders. Eleven transgender people share their stories from diverse perspectives of activists, artists, athletes, models, ...more
21
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The Diplomat David Holbrooke
The Diplomat is a 2015 biographical documentary film directed by David Holbrooke. The remarkable story of the life and legacy of Ambassador Richard Holbrooke, whose singular career spanned fifty ...more
22
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Manhunt: The Search for Bin Laden Greg Barker
Manhunt: The Search for Bin Laden is a 2013 documentary directed by Greg Barker that explores the CIA's investigation of Osama bin Laden starting from 1995 till his death in 2011. It was ...more
23
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The Case Against 8 Ryan White, Ben Cotner
The Case Against 8 is an American documentary film, which premiered at the 2014 Sundance Film Festival on January 18, 2014. Directed and produced by Ben Cotner and Ryan White, the film documents ...more
24
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3 1/2 Minutes, Ten Bullets Marc Silver
3 1/2 Minutes, 10 Bullets is a 2015 documentary film directed by Marc Silver. Based on the events surrounding the 2012 shooting of Jordan Russell Davis, the film examines the incident itself, as ...more
25
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Captivated: The Trials of Pamela Smart Jeremiah Zagar
Captivated: The Trials of Pamela Smart is a 2014 documentary directed by Jeremiah Zagar.