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167 voters

The Best HBO Documentaries of the Last Few Years

Updated May 28, 2021 864 votes 167 voters 12.4k views40 items

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

    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
  • 2
    53
    19

    Mommy Dead and Dearest

    Erin Lee Carr

    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
  • 3

    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
  • 4
    30
    14

    Beware the Slenderman

    Irene Taylor Brodsky

    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
  • 5
    22
    7

    André the Giant

    Jason Hehir

    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
  • 6

    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
  • 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
  • 8
    16
    9

    An Apology to Elephants

    Amy Schatz

    Released2013

    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 damage...  more
  • 9
    17
    10

    50 Children: The Rescue Mission of Mr & Mrs Kraus

    Steven Pressman

    Released2013

    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 doomed...
  • 10
    17
    12

    Citizenfour

    Laura Poitras

    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
  • 11
    14
    8

    The Case Against 8

    Ryan White, Ben Cotner

    Released2014

    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 the...  more
  • 12

    Released2019

    What’s My Name: Muhammad Ali is a 2019 documentary film, directed by Antoine Fuqua, based on the life of Muhammad Ali....  more
  • 13
    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
  • 14
    17
    15

    Baltimore Rising

    Sonja Sohn

    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
  • 15
    16
    13

    Abortion: Stories Women Tell

    Tracy Droz Tragos

    Released2016

    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 Missouri....  more
  • 16
    12
    10

    Private Violence

    Cynthia Hill

    Released2014

    Private Violence is a crime and drama documentary film directed by Cynthia Hill....  more
  • 17
    10
    8

    How to Dance in Ohio

    Alexandra Shiva

    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
  • 18
    9
    7

    Class Divide

    Marc Levin

    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
  • 19
    15
    16

    The Trans List

    Timothy Greenfield-Sanders

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

    Released2016

  • 20
    2
    0

    Tina

    Daniel Lindsay, T.J. Martin

    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
  • 21

    ActorsPatrick Radden Keefe, Andrew Kolodny, Mark Ross, Anne Lembke, Lynn Webster

    Released2021

    The Crime of the Century is a 2021 American documentary film directed by Alex Gibney. The film follows the opioid epidemic in the United States, and the political operatives, government regulations...  more
  • 22
    9
    7

    3 1/2 Minutes, Ten Bullets

    Marc Silver

    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
  • 23

    ActorsJoan Ganz Cooney, Jim Henson, Jon Stone

    Released2021

    Street Gang: How We Got to Sesame Street is a 2021 American documentary film directed by GMarilyn Agrelo. The film takes us inside the minds and hearts of the Sesame Street creators, artists,...  more
  • 24
    10
    10

    Gideon's Army

    Dawn Porter

    Released2013

    Gideon's Army is a 2013 documentary film written by Matthew Hamachek and Dawn Porter and directed by Dawn Porter....  more
  • 25
    10
    10

    Life According to Sam

    Sean Fine, Andrea Nix

    Released2013

    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