Best HBO Documentary Movies

These are the best HBO documentaries of all time. This list is constantly updated as HBO or Max produces more documentaries. You will find most of the titles on (HBO) Max, but some of the content may have been re-distributed to other platforms of available only in selected regions.

# Name Year Genre Country IMDb
1 We Stand Alone Together 2001 Documentary USA 86%
We Stand Alone Together Compiled over two years, an 'on-camera oral history' of Easy Company, told by the veterans themselves. Accompanies the mini-series Band of Brothers. Trailer Watch
2 Life Of Crime 1984-2020 2021 Documentary USA 84%
Life Of Crime 1984-2020 Trailer Watch
3 White Light/Black Rain: The Destruction of Hiroshima and Nagasaki 2007 Documentary USA 82%
White Light/Black Rain: The Destruction of Hiroshima and Nagasaki Steven Okazaki presents a deeply moving look at the painful legacy of the first -- and hopefully last -- uses of thermonuclear weapons in war. Featuring interviews with fourteen atomic bomb survivors - many who have never spoken publicly before - and four Americans intimately involved in the bombings, White Light/Black Rain provides a detailed exploration of the bombings and their aftermath. Trailer Watch
4 Toto and his Sisters 2014 Documentary Romania 81%
Toto and his Sisters Totonel (10) and his sisters, Andreea (14) and Ana (17), are waiting for their mother to come back home from prison. As they grow up, each of them learns how to survive on their own, hoping that when their mother returns, the family will be reunited. Trailer Watch
5 Collective 2019 Documentary Romania 81%
Collective In the aftermath of a tragic fire in a Romanian club, burn victims begin dying in hospitals from wounds that were not life threatening. A team of investigative journalists move into action uncovering the mass corruption of the health system and of the state institutions. Collective follows journalists, whistle blowers, and authorities alike. An immersive and uncompromising look into a dysfunctional system, exposing corruption, propaganda, and manipulation that nowadays affect not only Romania, but societies around the world. Trailer Watch
6 Death in Gaza 2004 Documentary United Kingdom 80%
Death in Gaza Death In Gaza is an Emmy-award winning 2004 documentary film about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, opening in the West Bank but then moving to Gaza and eventually settling in Rafah where the film spends most of its time. It concentrates on 3 children, Ahmed (age 12), Mohammed (age 12) and Najla (age 16). Trailer
7 An Apology to Elephants 2013 Documentary USA 80%
An Apology to Elephants Elephants are among the most majestic and intelligent creatures on Earth--but for hundreds of years, they have suffered at the hands of humans. Narrated by Lily Tomlin, this documentary short traces our long history with elephants and explores the many problems that arise when they are brought to live in captivity in zoos and circuses. Trailer Watch
8 Baghdad ER 2006 Documentary USA 80%
Baghdad ER Produced and directed by 11-time Emmy Award-winner Jon Alpert, this 64-minute verite documentary takes an unforgettable look inside the 86th Combat Support Hospital (CSH), the U.S. Army's premier medical facility in Iraq and former site of one of Saddam Hussein?s elite medical facilities. Shot over two months in the summer of 2005, the film puts a human face on the war's cold casualty statistics, as doctors and nurses fight to save the lives of wounded soldiers who are Medevaced (helicoptered) in a numbingly routine basis. Trailer Watch
9 Trading Germans 2014 Documentary Germany 80%
Trading Germans A first hand account of one of the biggest cases of human trafficking during the Cold War. A story of greed, courage, hope and remorse. Trailer Watch
10 The Other Side of Everything 2017 Documentary Serbia 80%
The Other Side of Everything For Serbian filmmaker Mila Turajlic, a locked door in her mother's apartment in Belgrade provides the gateway to both her remarkable family history and her country's tumultuous political inheritance. Trailer Watch
11 Breslin and Hamill: Deadline Artists 2018 Documentary USA 80%
Breslin and Hamill: Deadline Artists Directors Jonathan Alter, John Block and Steve McCarthy bring New York columnists Jimmy Breslin and Pete Hamill’s courageous writing to life, celebrating the acclaimed journalists and the city they loved. Trailer Watch
12 At the Heart of Gold: Inside the USA Gymnastics Scandal 2019 Documentary USA 80%
At the Heart of Gold: Inside the USA Gymnastics Scandal A look inside the USA gymnastics sexual abuse scandal that shook the sports world in 2017 depicting a landscape in which women spend their youth seeking victory on a world stage, juxtaposed against a culture where abuse prevails and lives are damaged forever. Trailer Watch
13 The Bee Gees: How Can You Mend a Broken Heart 2020 Documentary USA 80%
The Bee Gees: How Can You Mend a Broken Heart The Bee Gees: How Can You Mend a Broken Heart chronicles the rise of the legendary band and the evolution of their music over the years. Trailer
14 David Holmes: The Boy Who Lived 2023 Documentary USA 80%
David Holmes: The Boy Who Lived As Daniel Radcliffe’s stunt double in the Harry Potter films, David Holmes’ work has been seen worldwide by millions of people. Tragically an on-set accident ended what David calls “the best job in the world,” leaving him paralyzed and confined to a wheelchair. Like the on-screen character he helped bring to life, David is determined to continue seeking adventure and living life to the fullest despite mounting obstacles. Trailer
15 Deep Love 2013 Documentary Poland 79%
Deep Love Janusz, a self-confident 60-year old, an incredibly active person and an accomplished diver, suffers a stroke which leaves him paralyzed. Rehabilitation and assistance of his partner Asia help him regain mobility and improve his functions. He is still struggling with speech and the only person who understands what he says is Asia who interprets him for the world. What keeps Janusz going and motivates to carry on is his big dream - he would like to dive again, despite major hazard for his health and life. His goal is to travel to beautiful but perilous Blue Hole in Dahab, Egypt which poses a challenge even to fit divers. Trailer Watch
16 Six by Sondheim 2013 Documentary USA 79%
Six by Sondheim Directed by Tony Award-winner and frequent Sondheim collaborator James Lapine, SIX BY SONDHEIM is a highly personal profile of a great American artist as revealed through the creation and performance of six of his iconic songs. Told primarily in Sondheim’s own words, this feature documentary weaves together dozens of interviews with the composer, rarely seen archival material spanning more than half a century (including newly discovered footage of Ethel Merman performing “Gypsy”) and re-stagings of three songs produced especially for the film. Trailer Watch
17 A Good Job: Stories of the FDNY 2014 Documentary USA 79%
A Good Job: Stories of the FDNY Acclaimed actor and FDNY veteran Steve Buscemi looks at what it's like to work as a New York City firefighter. Utilizing exclusive behind-the-scenes footage and firsthand accounts from past and present firefighters, this special explores life in one of the world's most demanding fire departments while illuminating the lives of the often 'strong and silent' heroes. Trailer Watch
18 Miss You Can Do It 2013 Documentary USA 79%
Miss You Can Do It Miss You Can Do It chronicles Abbey Curran, Miss Iowa USA 2008 and the first woman with a disability to compete at the Miss USA Pageant, and eight girls with various physical and intellectual disabilities as the girls participate in the Miss You Can Do It Pageant. Abbey founded the annual Miss You Can Do It Pageant in 2004 and girls and their families travel from all around the country to participate in this one night where their inner beauty and abilities reign. Trailer Watch
19 Bright Lights: Starring Carrie Fisher and Debbie Reynolds 2016 Documentary USA 79%
Bright Lights: Starring Carrie Fisher and Debbie Reynolds An intimate portrait of Hollywood royalty featuring Debbie Reynolds, Todd Fisher, and Carrie Fisher. Trailer Watch
20 TINA 2021 Documentary USA 79%
TINA Tina Turner overcame impossible odds to become one of the first female African American artists to reach a mainstream international audience. Her road to superstardom is an undeniable story of triumph over adversity. It’s the ultimate story of survival – and an inspirational story of our times. Trailer Watch
21 Insecure: The End 2021 Documentary USA 79%
Insecure: The End A documentary which follows the cast and crew of HBO’s Insecure throughout the filming of the final season, tracing the show’s cultural impact. Trailer Watch
22 Spring Awakening: Those You've Known 2022 Documentary USA 79%
Spring Awakening: Those You've Known Fifteen years after the smash, Tony-winning Broadway run of Spring Awakening, the original cast and creative team reunite for a spectacular, one-night only reunion concert to benefit The Actors Fund. Chronicling their whirlwind journey back to the stage, this documentary follows the players as they reconnect and rediscover the beauty and timelessness of the hit musical. Trailer Watch
23 For Neda 2010 Documentary USA 78%
For Neda On June 20, 2009, Neda Agha-Soltan was shot and killed on the streets of Tehran during the turmoil that followed the Iranian presidential contest. Within hours, images of her dying moments, captured on cell phones, appeared on computer screens across the world, focusing the world's attention on mass protests against the rigged elections in Iran. Featuring previously unseen footage of Neda with friend and family, as well as exclusive video of her recorded the day she died, \For Neda\ debuts just before the anniversary of her death. Trailer Watch
24 Triangle: Remembering The Fire 2011 Documentary USA 78%
Triangle: Remembering The Fire null Trailer Watch
25 Orphans of Ebola 2016 Documentary USA 78%
Orphans of Ebola Ben Steele’s ORPHANS OF EBOLA follows Abu, a 12-year-old boy from a Sierra Leone village, who loses eight members of his family and must restart his life elsewhere. Filmed over a period of four months, beginning just after the height of the epidemic in Dec. 2014 through the reopening of the country’s schools in April 2015, Abu’s story illustrates the incredible bravery of the thousands of children who have been orphaned by Ebola as they reconcile with the past and forge new lives. Trailer
26 Night Sweat 2008 Documentary Austria 78%
Night Sweat The sky’s blue hanging above the black of a forest. Lightning flashes over a clearing. And the white ball of the moon with dark spots. These are the three suggestions that make Night Sweat an examination of a visual effect’s technical aspects. The film was shot in analog Hi-8 video. Its poor resolution, especially in precarious light conditions, occupies the foreground in the first and third chapters. At the same time the musical accompaniment matches perfectly, with scattering beats, dubby wisps of sound and intensifying distortion effects. Trailer
27 Houston, We Have a Problem! 2016 Documentary Slovenia 78%
Houston, We Have a Problem! The cold war, the space race, and NASA’s moon landing are landmark events that defined an era. But they are also fodder for conspiracy theories.\r In Houston, We Have a Problem! filmmaker Žiga Virc adds new material to the discussion on both fronts. This intriguing docu-fiction explores the myth of the secret multi-billion-dollar deal behind America’s purchase of Yugoslavia’s clandestine space program in the early 1960s. Trailer Watch
28 The Strange History of Don't Ask, Don't Tell 2011 Documentary USA 77%
The Strange History of Don't Ask, Don't Tell The history of the controversial \don't ask, don't tell\ policy in the United States Armed Forces Trailer
29 Wartorn: 1861-2010 2010 Documentary USA 77%
Wartorn: 1861-2010 With suicide rates among active military servicemen and veterans currently on the rise, the HBO special WARTORN 1861-2010 brings urgent attention to the invisible wounds of war. Drawing on personal stories of American soldiers whose lives and psyches were torn asunder by the horrors of battle and PTSD, the documentary chronicles the lingering effects of combat stress and post-traumatic stress on military personnel and their families throughout American history, from the Civil War through today's conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan. Trailer Watch
30 Cain's Children 2014 Documentary France 77%
Cain's Children Three boys, they all committed murder. After discovering their haunting faces and disturbing stories in a banned prison documentary from 1984, the filmmaker goes out to find them and discovers untold secrets and a Hungary he has never known. Trailer Watch
31 Larry Kramer In Love & Anger 2015 Documentary USA 77%
Larry Kramer In Love & Anger From the onset of the AIDS epidemic, author Larry Kramer emerged as a fiery activist, an Old Testament-style prophet full of righteous fury who denounced both the willful inaction of the government and the refusal of the gay community to curb potentially risky behaviors. Co-founder of both the service organization Gay Men's Health Crisis and the direct action protest group ACT UP, Kramer was vilified by some who saw his criticism to be an expression of self-hatred, while lionized by others who credit him with waking up the gay community-and, eventually, the government and medical establishment-to the devastation of the disease. Trailer Watch
32 Coma 2007 Documentary USA 77%
Coma Four young Americans who've each suffered a Traumatic Brain Injury emerge from their comas at a New Jersey medical facility. Their eyes may be open, but now the real challenge for each of the patients, their families, their doctors and their therapists begins. Brain healing isn't predictable, we're told, and certainly is not guaranteed. So with each 'major' step forward that is observed (opening one's eyes, bending a thumb upon command, vocalizing a word, answering a question correctly) comes a sense of jubilant relief and hope from the families of these patients, but as we soon see, the more a patient progresses, the more difficult things can be for all involved. Moments of faith & hope contrast with disappointments & frustrations, moments of confidence with moments of doubt. It's difficult to watch, and unimaginable to have to ever live through. Trailer Watch
33 Open Your Eyes 2015 Documentary USA 77%
Open Your Eyes Living under the Himalayan sun, their eyes have slowly gone milky white. Manisara and Durga have cataracts, and their mountain home in Nepal has become a warren of darkness. Shot over three days, Open Your Eyes follows their extraordinary journey down the mountain for a chance to see again. Trailer Watch
34 Spielberg 2017 Documentary USA 77%
Spielberg A retrospective on the career of director Steven Spielberg. Trailer Watch
35 Visiting Room 2011 Documentary Romania 77%
Visiting Room The Romanian penitentiary system allows, from 2006, the marriage of people sentenced to serve time in prison. Most of the inmates cultivate the pre-existing relationships with the concubines or partners who live outside the prison walls. Though, there is a special category, of those who find a life partner during their time in prison. VISITING ROOM follows the stories of some prisoners found in different penitentiaries across the country, who have found their life partner during their sentence time. The one is either a person from outside, or as them, a person who is serving time in prison. Our intention was to talk to the people found in the special situation of being deprived of freedom, to whom love becomes a substitute for freedom and represents maybe their only hope for a better future. Trailer Watch
36 Nothing Left Unsaid: Gloria Vanderbilt & Anderson Cooper 2016 Documentary USA 77%
Nothing Left Unsaid: Gloria Vanderbilt & Anderson Cooper Born into one of the wealthiest and best-known families in American history, Gloria Vanderbilt has lived in the public eye for more than 90 years, unapologetically pursuing love, family and career, while experiencing extreme tragedy and tremendous success side by side. This documentary features a series of candid conversations as Vanderbilt and her youngest son, Anderson Cooper, look back at her remarkable life. Trailer Watch
37 The Iceman and the Psychiatrist 2004 Documentary USA 77%
The Iceman and the Psychiatrist For the third time, HBO cameras go inside Trenton State Maximum Security Prison--and inside the mind of one of the most prolific killers in U.S. history--in this gripping documentary. Mafia hit man Richard Kuklinski freely admits to killing more than 100 people, but in this special, he speaks with top psychiatrist Dr. Park Dietz in an effort to face the truth about his condition. Filled with more never-before-revealed confessions, it's the most chillingly candid Iceman special yet as it combines often-confrontational interview footage between Kuklinski and Dietz with photos, crime reenactments and home movies that add new layers to this evolving and fascinating story. Trailer Watch
38 The Iceman Confesses: Secrets of a Mafia Hitman 2001 Documentary USA 76%
The Iceman Confesses: Secrets of a Mafia Hitman The second HBO documentary on former mafia enforcer Richard Kuklinski will chill you to the bone. Speaking in the monotonous drone of a man who has numbed himself with remorseless brutality, Kuklinski was first interviewed in 1991, five years after receiving consecutive life sentences for multiple murders. Specializing in the tidy use of cyanide, Kuklinski lived a double life, like the fictional hitmen in The Sopranos and Road to Perdition, passing as a “businessman” and devoted husband and father. While leading the life of a happy family man in the New Jersey suburbs Richard Kuklinski was also living a bizarre double-life as a Mafia hit man. Kuklinski tells first hand how he brutally murdered men at close range dismembered and disposed of them before returning home to his family. This film offers extraordinary insight into the cold-heart of a killer. Trailer Watch
39 Glickman 2013 Documentary USA 76%
Glickman Before Marv Albert and Bob Costas, there was Marty Glickman. A gifted Jewish-American athlete who was denied the chance to represent the U.S. at the 1936 Berlin Olympics, he went on to become one of the most revered and influential sportscasters in history, pioneering many of the techniques, phrases and programming innovations that are commonplace in sports reporting today. Trailer
40 Little Rock Central: 50 Years Later 2007 Documentary USA 76%
Little Rock Central: 50 Years Later To mark the 50th anniversary of the forced integration of Central High School, Little Rock natives Brent and Craig Renaud provide a candid look at the lives of contemporary Central High students. Filmed over the course of a year, this documentary also follows teachers, administrators and community leaders while sharing the stories of both black and white students. Trailer Watch
41 50 Children: The Rescue Mission of Mr. and Mrs. Kraus 2013 Documentary USA 76%
50 Children: The Rescue Mission of Mr. and Mrs. Kraus In the spring of 1939, Gilbert and Eleanor Kraus embarked on a risky and unlikely mission. Traveling into the heart of Nazi Germany, they rescued 50 Jewish children from Vienna and brought them to the United States. Trailer Watch
42 SCHMATTA: RAGS TO RICHES TO RAGS 1900 Documentary USA 76%
43 Gasland Part II 2013 Documentary USA 76%
Gasland Part II Two years ago, Josh Fox introduced us to hydraulic fracturing with his Oscar®-nominated exposé Gasland. Now this once-touted energy source has become a widely discussed, contentious topic. In his follow-up, Fox reveals the extreme circumstances facing those affected by fracking, from earthquakes to the use of federal anti-terror psychological operations tactics. Gasland Part II is the definitive proof that issues raised by fracking cannot be ignored for long. Trailer Watch
44 The Number on Great-Grandpa's Arm 2018 Documentary USA 76%
The Number on Great-Grandpa's Arm When ten-year-old Elliott asks his 90-year-old great-grandfather, Jack, about the number tattooed on his arm, he sparks an intimate conversation about Jack’s life that spans happy memories of childhood in Poland, the loss of his family, surviving Auschwitz and finding a new life in America. Trailer Watch
45 I Am Evidence 2017 Documentary USA 76%
I Am Evidence The modern criminal justice system is hindered by the fact that countless rape kits remain untested in police evidence storage facilities across the United States. Only eight states currently have laws requiring mandatory testing of rape kits. Trailer Watch
46 Kill Chain: The Cyber War on America's Elections 2020 Documentary USA 76%
Kill Chain: The Cyber War on America's Elections In advance of the 2020 Presidential election, Kill Chain: The Cyber War on America's Elections takes a deep dive into the weaknesses of today's election technology, investigating the startling vulnerabilities in America's voting systems and the alarming risks they pose to our democracy. Trailer
47 In the Same Breath 2021 Documentary USA 76%
In the Same Breath How did the Chinese government turn pandemic cover ups in Wuhan into a triumph for the Communist party? Trailer Watch
48 The Janes 2022 Documentary USA 76%
The Janes Defying the state legislature that outlawed abortion, the Catholic Church that condemned it, and the Chicago Mob that was profiting from it, the members of “Jane” risked their personal and professional lives to support women with unwanted pregnancies. In the pre-Roe v. Wade era — a time when abortion was a crime in most states and even circulating information about abortion was a felony in Illinois — the Janes provided low-cost and free abortions to an estimated 11,000 women. Trailer Watch
49 Escape from Kabul 2022 Documentary United Kingdom 76%
Escape from Kabul Unfolding over 18 monumental days in August 2021, this deeply immersive and emotional documentary combines never-before-seen archival footage from those on the ground at the airport with exclusive interviews with people who were there throughout the period, including Afghan citizens attempting to flee, U.S. Marines tasked with managing the evacuation, and Taliban commanders and fighters who had recently taken the city. Trailer Watch
50 Mondays at Racine 2012 Documentary USA 75%
Mondays at Racine Every third Monday of the month, two bold, brassy sisters open the doors of their Long Island hair salon to women diagnosed with cancer. As locks of hair fall to the floor, women gossip, giggle, weep, face their fears, and discover unexpected beauty. Trailer Watch

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