• Entertainment

The Best HBO Documentaries of the Last Few Years

List RulesVote 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. 

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  • 1

    Mommy Dead and Dearest

    Erin Lee Carr
    54
    17

    ActorsDee Dee Blancharde, Gypsy Rose

    Released2017

    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 circumstances  ...more
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  • 2

    ActorsLawrence Wright, Mark Rathbun, Monique Rathbun, Mike Rinder, Jason Beghe

    Released2015

    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
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    #29 of 41 Every Alex Gibney Documentary, Ranked#13 of 16 The Most Controversial Documentaries Of All Time#10 of 57 The Best Intelligent Documentaries of All Time

  • 3
    Irene Taylor Brodsky
    31
    13

    ActorsMorgan Geyser, Anissa Weier, Angie Geyser

    Released2016

    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 attempt  ...more
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  • 4

    ActorsCarrie Fisher, Debbie Reynolds, Todd Fisher, Griffin Dunne

    Released2017

    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 relationship  ...more
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  • 5
    Jason Hehir
    22
    6

    ActorsAndré René Roussimoff, Vince McMahon, Hulk Hogan, Pat Patterson, Tim White

    Released2018

    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 André the Giant, featuring  ...more
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  • 6

    ActorsWade Robson, James Safechuck, Michael Jackson

    Released2019

    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 fans,  ...more
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    #238 of 315 The Best Movies Based On True Stories#148 of 506 The Greatest Documentaries of All Time#38 of 53 All The Things That Were A Thing In 2019, Ranked

  • 7

    ActorsErrol Morris, Elizabeth Holmes, Tyler Shultz

    Released2019

    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
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  • 8

    ActorsMuhammad Ali, Jim Brown, Diana Ross

    Released2019

    What’s My Name: Muhammad Ali is a 2019 documentary film, directed by Antoine Fuqua, based on the life of Muhammad Ali. One of the most iconic figures in athletic history, Muhammad Ali's incredible  ...more
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  • 9
    Laura Poitras
    16
    11

    ActorsEdward Snowden, Glenn Greenwald, William Binney, Jacob Appelbaum

    Released2015

    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
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  • 10
    16
    13

    ActorsAaron Burckhard, Chad Channing, Don Cobain, Jenny Cobain

    Released2015

    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
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  • 11

    Baltimore Rising

    Sonja Sohn
    16
    16

    ActorsFreddie Gray, Elijah Cummings, Kevin Davis

    Released2017

    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
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  • 12
    Andy Señor Jr., Victor Patrick Alvarez
    4
    0

    ActorsAndy Señor Jr.

    Released2021

    Revolution Rent is an 2021 American documentary film, directed by Andy Señor Jr. and Victor Patrick Alvarez. It follows Andy Señor Jr., as he prepares an adaption of Rent in Cuba, exploring his  ...more
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  • 13

    Class Divide

    Marc Levin
    9
    7

    ActorsBrandon, Hyisheem, Luc

    Released2016

    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 housing.  ...more
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  • 14

    How to Dance in Ohio

    Alexandra Shiva
    9
    8

    ActorsMarideth Bridges, Jessica Sullivan, Caroline McKenzie

    Released2015

    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 weeks  ...more
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  • 15
    David Modigliani
    5
    3

    ActorsBeto O'Rourke, Amy O'Rourke, Cynthia Cano

    Released2019

    Running with Beto is a 2019 American documentary directed by David Modigliani. The film follows Beto O'Rourke's campaign in the 2018 United States Senate election in Texas.  ...more
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  • 16

    3 1/2 Minutes, Ten Bullets

    Marc Silver
    8
    7

    ActorsLeland Brunson, Angela B. Corey, Ron Davis, John Guy

    Released2015

    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 well  ...more
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  • 17
    Daniel Lindsay, T.J. Martin
    3
    0

    ActorsAngela Bassett, Tina Turner, Oprah Winfrey

    Released2021

    Tina is an 2021 American-British music documentary film, directed by Dan Lindsay and T. J. Martin. A revealing and intimate look at the life and career of musical icon Tina Turner, charting her  ...more
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  • 18
    Hannah Olson
    3
    0

    ActorsQuincy Fortier, Wendi Babst, Brad Gulko

    Released2020

    Baby God is an 2020 American documentary film directed by Hannah Olson. A shocking examination into Las Vegas fertility specialist, Dr. Quincy Fortier, who assisted hundreds of couples struggling  ...more
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  • 19
    Rex Miller, Sam Pollard
    3
    0

    ActorsArthur Ashe, Jeanne Moutoussamy-Ashe, Johnnie Ashe, Billie Jean King, John McEnroe

    Released2021

    Citizen Ashe is an 2021 American-British documentary film directed by Rex Miller and Sam Pollard. Follows the life and career of Arthur Ashe.  ...more
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  • 20

    The Trans List

    Timothy Greenfield-Sanders
    15
    18

    ActorsKylar Broadus, Caroline Cossey, Amos Mac, Bamby Salcedo, Buck Angel

    Released2016

    The Trans List is a 2016 documentary film by Timothy Greenfield-Sanders. In this documentary group portrait, these eleven transgender people share their stories in their own words. The film shows the  ...more
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  • 21
    Roger Ross Williams
    4
    3

    ActorsJamie Foxx, Patti LaBelle, Smokey Robinson

    Released2019

    The Apollo is a 2019 American documentary directed by Roger Ross Williams. An in-depth look at the history of New York City's Apollo Theater in Harlem.  ...more
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  • 22
    Kirby Dick, Amy Ziering
    4
    3

    ActorsSil Lai Abrams, Tarana Burke, Kimberle Crenshaw

    Released2020

    On the Record (HBO Max, 2020) is a documentary film directed by Amy Ziering and Kirby Dick. The haunting story of music executive Drew Dixon as she grapples with her decision to become one of the  ...more
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    #62 of 128 Life-Changing Documentaries You've Got to See#312 of 330 The Best Movies Of 2020#35 of 38 The Best Documentary Movies of 2020

  • 23
    Leila Conners
    4
    3

    ActorsLeonardo DiCaprio

    Released2019

    Ice on Fire is a 2019 American documentary film directed by Leila Conners. The film explores potential ways to reverse climate change and the possible extinction-level event caused by arctic methane  ...more
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  • 24

    Solitary: Inside Red Onion State Prison

    Kristi Jacobson
    10
    12

    ActorsKristi Jacobson

    Released2016

    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, a  ...more
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  • 25

    The Diplomat

    David Holbrooke
    11
    13

    ActorsMadeleine Albright, Wesley Clark, Bill Clinton, Hillary Clinton, Tom Donilon

    Released2015

    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
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