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The Best Documentaries About Cults 

Ranker Film
Updated May 11, 2020 3.3k votes 1.7k voters 250.5k views 41 items

List Rules Documentary films about cults and religions.

This list of the best documentaries about cults has been voted on by movie lovers. This list includes popular and recognizable titles, along with a lot of independent films about cults, with videos. What is the best documentary about cults? This list will give you a good idea.

With every vote, the order of the list will be changed to see which documentary about cults comes out on top. If you don't see your favorite on the list, add it along with the titles below so that others may vote on it as well. The list currently includes titles such as The Endless Summer, Burden of Dreams and Mondo Cane.

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. These documentaries about cults cover many different topics and types of cults.

Vote up your favorite cult documentaries below or add one that you found interesting that isn't already on the list. Then, check out our list of the best religious documentaries.

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list ordered by
1
Holy Hell is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best Documentaries About Cults
carlybobarly added Will Allen, Dimitrius Pulido, Phillipe Coquet

Released: 2016

Directed by: Will Allen

Holy Hell is a 2016 American documentary film by Will Allen about his experiences as a member of the Buddhafield cult for twenty-two years. The cult's leader, who has several names but is ...more
2
Jonestown: The Life and ... is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Documentaries About Cults
Rebecca Moore, Janet Shular, Tim Carter

Released: 2006

Directed by: Stanley Nelson Jr.

Jonestown: The Life and Death of Peoples Temple, is a 2006 documentary film made by Firelight Media, produced and directed by Stanley Nelson. The documentary reveals new footage of the incidents ...more

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3
Jesus Camp is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Documentaries About Cults
Mike Papantonio, Lou Engle, Becky Fischer

Released: 2006

Directed by: Rachel Grady, Heidi Ewing

Jesus Camp is a 2006 American documentary film directed by Rachel Grady and Heidi Ewing about a charismatic Christian summer camp, where children spend their summers being taught that they have ...more

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4
The Source Family is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Documentaries About Cults
The Source Family Ahom Aquarian, Isis Aquarian, Elena Michaels

Released: 2012

Directed by: Jodi Wille and Maria Demopoulos

The Source Family is a 2012 feature documentary film directed by Jodi Wille and Maria Demopoulos that recounts the story of Father Yod, Ya Ho Wa 13 and the Source Family. The Source Family was a ...more
5
Children of God is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Documentaries About Cults
Sylvia Padilla, Miriam Padilla, Helen Mirren

Released: 1994

Directed by: John Smithson

"Johnny, a white Bahamian artist from Nassau, is depressed and creatively uninspired. Under instructions from his teacher, he relocates to the rural island of Eleuthera, where he meets the ...more
6
Wild Wild Country is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Documentaries About Cults
Shabana Malone added
Wild Wild Country (Netflix, 2018) is a documentary series directed by Maclain and Chapman Way. When Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh AKA Osho, the world's most controversial guru, builds a utopian city ...more

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7
Scientology and the Afte... is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Documentaries About Cults
AlyssaBartoshevich added Scientology and the Aftermath Leah Remini, Mike Rinder, Chantal Dodson

In this hourlong docuseries, actress Leah Remini turns investigative reporter, she says, to "share the shocking truth about Scientology," the secretive, controversial church that Remini herself was a member of for years.

8
I Escaped a Cult is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Documentaries About Cults
I Escaped a Cult Brent Jeffs, Warren Jeffs, Rebekah Schmierer

Released: 2012

Directed by: Sally Howell

9
Going Clear: Scientology... is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Documentaries About Cults
Sue Freer Kameka added Lawrence Wright, Mark Rathbun, Monique Rathbun

Released: 2015

Directed by: 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
10
The Manson Family is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Documentaries About Cults
Sage Stallone, Jim Van Bebber, Marc Pitman

Released: 2003

Directed by: Jim Van Bebber

The Manson Family is a 2003 American crime drama film. The film covers the lives of Charles Manson and his "family" of followers.
11
Sons of Perdition is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Documentaries About Cults
Bruce Barlow, Deloy Bateman, Michelle Benward

Released: 2010

Directed by: Jennilyn Merten, Tyler Measom

"In the polygamist community cultivated by the notorious (and now incarcerated) "prophet" Warren Jeffs, women are a commodity, children are reared to be ignorant, and free thought ...more
12
The End of the World Cul... is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Documentaries About Cults
The End of the World Cult Michael Travesser

Released: 2007

Directed by: Ben Anthony

13
Gates of Heaven is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Documentaries About Cults
Lucille Billingsley, Zella Graham, Cal Harberts

Released: 1978

Directed by: Errol Morris

Gates of Heaven is a 1978 documentary film by Errol Morris about the pet cemetery business. It was made when Morris was unknown and did much to launch his career.
14
Triumph of the Will is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Documentaries About Cults

Released: 1935

Directed by: Leni Riefenstahl

Triumph of the Will is a 1935 propaganda film directed, produced, edited and co-written by Leni Riefenstahl. It chronicles the 1934 Nazi Party Congress in Nuremberg, which was attended by more ...more
15
deprogrammed is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Documentaries About Cults
blackdecaf added deprogrammed Balavanta Das, Hridayananda Das Goswami, Ted Patrick

Released: 2015

Directed by: Mia Donovan

16
Crumb is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Documentaries About Cults
Robert Crumb

Released: 1994

Directed by: Terry Zwigoff

Crumb is a 1994 documentary film about the noted underground cartoonist Robert Crumb and his family. Directed by Terry Zwigoff and produced by Lynn O'Donnell, it won widespread acclaim. It was ...more
17
American Commune is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Documentaries About Cults

Released: 2013

Directed by: Nadine Mundo, Rena Mundo Croshere

American Commune is 2013 documentary film written by Rena Mundo Croshere, and directed by Rena Mundo Croshere and Nadine Mundo.
18
Marjoe is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Documentaries About Cults
Marjoe Gortner, Sarah Kernochan

Released: 1972

Directed by: Sarah Kernochan, Howard Smith

Marjoe is a 1972 American documentary film produced and directed by Howard Smith and Sarah Kernochan about the life of evangelist Marjoe Gortner. It won the 1972 Academy Award for Best ...more
19
Haxan: Witchcraft Throug... is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Documentaries About Cults
William S. Burroughs, Benjamin Christensen, Elith Pio

Released: 1922

Directed by: Benjamin Christensen

This silent docu-horror masterpiece is a study of how superstition and the misunderstanding of diseases and mental illness led to the hysteria of witch-hunts.

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20
Ranker Video
Hail Satan?

Released: 2019

Directed by: Penny Lane

Hail Satan? is a 2019 American documentary directed by Penny Lane. An examination of The Satanic Temple, including its origins and grassroots political activism.
21
Fall From Grace is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Documentaries About Cults

Released: 2007

Directed by: K. Ryan Jones

22
Spaceship Earth is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Documentaries About Cults
John Allen, Tony Burgess, Jane Goodall

Released: 2020

Directed by: Matt Wolf

Spaceship Earth is a 2020 American documentary film directed by Matt Wolf. A look into the 1991 experiment that saw eight individuals spend two years quarantined inside of a self-engineered ...more
23
A Case For Murder is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Documentaries About Cults
Jennifer Grey

Directed by: Duncan Gibbins

24
Burden of Dreams is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Documentaries About Cults
Mick Jagger, Claudia Cardinale, Werner Herzog

Released: 1982

Directed by: Les Blank

Burden of Dreams is a feature-length documentary and making-of directed by Les Blank, shot during and about the chaotic production of Werner Herzog's 1982 film Fitzcarraldo, filmed in the ...more
25
Sparkle is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Documentaries About Cults
Whitney Houston, Jordin Sparks, Cee Lo Green

Released: 2012

Directed by: Salim Akil

Sparkle is a 2012 American musical film directed by Salim Akil and produced by Stage 6 Films. It was released on August 17, 2012 by TriStar Pictures. Inspired by The Supremes, Sparkle is a ...more

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