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The Best Documentaries About Cults

Updated August 25, 2021 2.6k votes 1.8k voters 258.8k views27 items

List RulesVote up the best documentary films about cults and independent 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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    Holy Hell

    Will Allen, Dimitrius Pulido

    Released2016

    Directed byWill 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 typically...  more
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    50

    Released2006

    Directed byStanley 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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    60

    Jesus Camp

    Mike Papantonio, Lou Engle

    Released2006

    Directed byRachel 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
  • 4
    189
    45

    The Source Family

    Ahom Aquarian, Isis Aquarian

    Released2012

    Directed byJodi 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
    144
    26

    Leah Remini: Scientology and the Aftermath

    Leah Remini, Mike Rinder

    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.

  • 6

    Released2015

    Directed byAlex 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
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    I Escaped a Cult

    Brent Jeffs, Warren Jeffs

    Released2012

    Directed bySally Howell

  • 8
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    Sons of Perdition

    Bruce Barlow, Deloy Bateman

    Released2010

    Directed byJennilyn 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 is surrendered. For...  more
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    67
    33

    The Manson Family

    Sage Stallone, Jim Van Bebber

    Released2003

    Directed byJim 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....  more
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    The End of the World Cult

    Michael Travesser

    Released2007

    Directed byBen Anthony

  • 11
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    33

    Gates of Heaven

    Lucille Billingsley, Zella Graham

    Released1978

    Directed byErrol 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....  more
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    Deprogrammed

    Balavanta Das, Hridayananda Das Goswami

    Released2015

    Directed byMia Donovan

  • 13
    4
    0

    The Six Degrees of Helter Skelter

    Charles Manson, Craig Harvey

    Released2008

  • 14
    American Commune is 2013 documentary film written by Rena Mundo Croshere, and directed by Rena Mundo Croshere and Nadine Mundo....  more
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    20
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    Join Us

    Deborah Melz, Joaquin Sullivan

    Released2007

    Directed byOndi Timoner

  • 16
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    Searching for Sheela

    Ma Anand Sheela, Osho Rajneesh

    Released2021

    Directed byShakun Batra

    Searching For Sheela is an Indian 2021 biographical documentary film directed by Shakun Batra. Journalists and fans await Ma Anand Sheela as the infamous former Rajneesh commune's spokesperson...  more
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    26
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    Marjoe

    Marjoe Gortner, Sarah Kernochan

    Released1972

    Directed bySarah 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 Documentary...  more
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    Manson

    MANSON is a 1973 documentary film about Charles Manson and his followers. It was directed by Robert Hendrickson and Laurence Merrick....  more
  • 19

    Released1997

    Directed byWilliam Gazecki

    Waco: The Rules of Engagement is a 1997 documentary directed by William Gazecki about the 1993 "Waco Siege", a 51 day standoff beginning with the February 28 Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms...  more
  • 20
    Guerrilla: The Taking of Patty Hearst is a 2004 PBS documentary film about the 1974 kidnapping of Patty Hearst by the Symbionese Liberation Army left-wing revolutionary group. It was directed by...  more
  • 21
    David Wants to Fly is a 2010 documentary film written and directed by David Sieveking....  more
  • 22
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    My Scientology Movie

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    A

  • 24
    Mondo cane is a documentary written and directed by Italian filmmakers Paolo Cavara, Franco Prosperi and Gualtiero Jacopetti. The film consists of a series of travelogue vignettes that provide...  more
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    Me and the Cult Leader

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List Rules: Vote up the best documentary films about cults and independent religions.