Best HBO Documentary Shows

These are the best HBO documentary shows of all time. This list is constantly updated as HBO or Max produces more shows. 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 STAX: Soulsville, U.S.A. 2024 Documentary USA 90%
STAX: Soulsville, U.S.A. Tells the story of an underdog, interracial record label that ushered in groundbreaking music. Trailer
2 The Jinx: The Life and Deaths of Robert Durst 2015 Documentary USA 86%
The Jinx: The Life and Deaths of Robert Durst Robert Durst, scion of one of New York’s billionaire real estate families, has been accused of three murders but never convicted. Brilliant, reclusive, and the subject of relentless media scrutiny, he’s never spoken publicly—until now. During interviews with Andrew Jarecki, he reveals secrets of the case that baffled authorities for 30 years. In 2010, Jarecki made the narrative film All Good Things based on the infamous story of Robert Durst. After Durst saw the film, he contacted Jarecki wanting to tell his story. What began as a feature documentary ultimately became a six-part series as more and more of his incredible story was revealed. Trailer Watch
3 When the Levees Broke: A Requiem in Four Acts 2006 Documentary USA 85%
When the Levees Broke: A Requiem in Four Acts In August 2005, the American city of New Orleans was struck by the powerful Hurricane Katrina. Although the storm was damaging by itself, that was not the true disaster. That happened when the city's flooding safeguards like levees failed and put most of the city, which is largely below sea level, underwater. This film covers that disastrous series of events that devastated the city and its people. Furthermore, the gross incompetence of the various governments and the powerful from the local to the federal level is examined to show how the poor and underprivileged of New Orleans were mistreated in this grand calamity and still ignored today. Trailer Watch
4 The Defiant Ones 2017 Documentary USA 85%
The Defiant Ones A four-part documentary series that tells the stories of Jimmy Iovine and Dr. Dre -- one the son of a Brooklyn longshoreman, the other straight out of Compton?- -- and their improbable partnership and surprising leading roles in a series of transformative events in contemporary culture. Trailer
5 The Zen Diaries of Garry Shandling 2018 Documentary USA 84%
The Zen Diaries of Garry Shandling The story of legendary comedian Garry Shandling, featuring interviews from nearly four dozen friends, family and colleagues; four decades’ worth of television appearances; and a lifetime of personal journals, private letters and home audio and video footage. Trailer Watch
6 George Carlin's American Dream 2022 Documentary USA 83%
George Carlin's American Dream This two-part documentary chronicles the life and work of the legendary comedian, tracking George Carlin’s rise to fame and opens an intimate window into Carlin’s personal life, including his childhood in New York City, his long struggle with drugs that took its toll on his health, his brushes with the law, his loving relationship with Brenda, his wife of 36 years, and his second marriage to Sally Wade. Intimate interviews with Carlin and Brenda’s daughter, Kelly Carlin, offer unique insight into her family’s story and her parents enduring love and partnership. Trailer Watch
7 Hard Knocks: Arizona Cardinals 2022 Documentary USA 82%
Hard Knocks: Arizona Cardinals Trailer
8 The Crime of the Century 2021 Documentary USA 81%
The Crime of the Century A searing indictment of Big Pharma and the political operatives and government regulations that enable over-production, reckless distribution and abuse of synthetic opiates. Trailer Watch
9 100 Foot Wave 2021 Documentary USA 81%
100 Foot Wave The decade-long odyssey of surfing pioneer Garrett McNamara, who, after visiting Nazaré, Portugal in hopes of conquering a 100-foot wave, pushed the sport to ever-greater heights and alongside locals helped transform the small fishing village into the world’s preeminent big-wave surfing destination. Trailer Watch
10 Hostages 2022 Documentary USA 80%
Hostages On November 4, 1979, Iranian student activists stormed the U.S. embassy in Tehran, taking over 60 Americans hostage. What was planned as a 48-hour sit-in to protest American imperialism, ballooned into an international crisis and 24/7 media event that would last 444 days. With never-before-seen archival footage and revelatory new interviews with the American hostages and Iranian hostage-takers alike, the series is a gripping chronicle of one of the most dramatic international deadlocks in American history, a deep dive into the geo-political history that led to the crisis, and an exploration of the political fallout that reverberates today. Trailer Watch
11 The Movies 2019 Documentary USA 78%
The Movies Explore American cinema through the decades and the cultural, societal and political shifts that framed its evolution. Trailer
12 Music Box 2021 Documentary USA 78%
Music Box Signature music acts, labels, albums, eras, or trends. Trailer Watch
13 The Alzheimer's Project 2009 Documentary USA 77%
The Alzheimer's Project Alzheimer's disease is the second-most-feared illness in America, after cancer. Is our anxiety justified? HBO presents this multi-part campaign that looks at the causes, symptoms, treatments and possible cures for this insidious disease. Trailer Watch
14 Painting With John 2021 Documentary USA 77%
Painting With John Part meditative tutorial, part fireside chat, each episode finds artist John Lurie ensconced at his worktable, where he hones his intricate watercolor techniques and shares his reflections on what he’s learned about life. Trailer Watch
15 Justice, USA 2024 Documentary USA 77%
Justice, USA A compelling 360-degree insider's view of Nashville's criminal justice system, offering unprecedented access to the men's, women's, and juvenile jails, as we watch inmates, deputies, lawyers, and judges confront issues of incarceration, mental illness, and addiction. Trailer
16 I Love You, Now Die: The Commonwealth v. Michelle Carter 2019 Documentary USA 75%
I Love You, Now Die: The Commonwealth v. Michelle Carter Teen Michelle Carter’s actions shocked a nation — but what really happened behind closed doors? Trailer Watch
17 Q: Into the Storm 2021 Documentary USA 75%
Q: Into the Storm A six-part documentary series that dives into the conspiracy theory that has rocked and riveted the U.S. political sphere for the past few years. Trailer Watch
18 I'll Be Gone in the Dark 2020 Documentary USA 74%
I'll Be Gone in the Dark Gripping examination of the unsolved crimes of the Golden State Killer who terrorized California in the 1970s and 1980s. Trailer Watch
19 Murder on Middle Beach 2020 Documentary USA 74%
Murder on Middle Beach A four-part documentary series revolving around the case of single mother Barbara Hamburg, who was brutally murdered in 2010 near her home in the upper-middle class enclave of Madison, Connecticut. The series presents first-time filmmaker Madison Hamburg’s complicated journey as a young man determined to solve an unspeakable crime and absolve the people he loves, while looking for answers within his fractured family and community. Trailer Watch
20 NYC Epicenters 9/11➔2021½ 2021 Documentary USA 74%
NYC Epicenters 9/11➔2021½ An unprecedented, sweeping portrait of New Yorkers as they rebuild and rebound, from a devastating terrorist attack through the ongoing global pandemic, weaving together visual imagery and first-hand accounts from a variety of New Yorkers. Trailer Watch
21 Edge of the Earth 2022 Documentary USA 74%
Edge of the Earth Follow four groups of elite action-adventure athletes on four unique, never-before-accomplished missions taking place around the globe, within awe-inspiring, undiscovered realms of nature. Trailer Watch
22 Project Greenlight 2001 Documentary USA 73%
Project Greenlight Project Greenlight is a television series focusing on first-time filmmakers being given the chance to direct a feature film. It was created by Alex Keledjian, developed by Eli Holzman and produced by Ben Affleck, Matt Damon, Sean Bailey, and Chris Moore through their production company LivePlanet, along with Miramax Films. Project Greenlight first aired on HBO for two seasons before moving to Bravo for season three. Trailer Watch
23 On Freddie Roach 2012 Documentary USA 73%
On Freddie Roach On Freddie Roach is a documentary series about boxer and trainer Freddie Roach, produced by Jim Lampley. The six-part series began airing on HBO on January 20, 2012. Trailer
24 Agents of Chaos 2020 Documentary USA 73%
Agents of Chaos This two-part documentary pulls back the curtain on Russian collusion in the 2016 U.S. presidential election. Trailer Watch
25 The Many Lives of Martha Stewart 2024 Documentary USA 73%
The Many Lives of Martha Stewart From caterer to media mogul, this docuseries explores Martha Stewart's explosive rise, formidable challenges, and remarkable comeback, unveiling the woman behind the legendary icon with unseen images, archival footage, and exclusive interviews. Trailer
26 McMillion$ 2020 Documentary USA 72%
McMillion$ A detailed account of the McDonald's Monopoly game scam during the 1990s as told by the participants in the case, including the prizewinners and the FBI agents who caught the security officer who orchestrated the entire scheme. Trailer Watch
27 Expecting Amy 2020 Documentary USA 72%
Expecting Amy Behind-the-scenes as Schumer goes through an extraordinarily difficult pregnancy while touring to prepare for a stand-up special. Trailer Watch
28 The Vow 2020 Documentary USA 72%
The Vow The docuseries follows people deeply involved in the group NXIVM — which is faced with various charges, including sex trafficking and racketeering conspiracy — over the course of several years. Trailer Watch
29 Catch and Kill: The Podcast Tapes 2021 Documentary USA 72%
Catch and Kill: The Podcast Tapes An expansion of the hit podcast and bestselling book, Catch and Kill: The Podcast Tapes brings to life the intimate interviews that broke Hollywood's most infamous story. Trailer Watch
30 Nuclear Family 2021 Documentary USA 72%
Nuclear Family Ry Russo-Young turns the camera on her own past to explore the meaning of family. In the late 70s/early 80s, when the concept of a gay family was inconceivable to most, Ry and her sister Cade were born to two lesbian mothers through sperm donors. Ry’s idyllic childhood was threatened by an unexpected lawsuit which sent shockwaves through her family’s lives and continues to reverberate today. Trailer Watch
31 Phoenix Rising 2022 Documentary USA 72%
Phoenix Rising Actress and activist Evan Rachel Wood takes her experience as a survivor of domestic violence and pursues justice, heals generational wounds, and reclaims her story. Almost a decade after escaping a dangerous relationship, Wood co-authors and successfully lobbies for passage of The Phoenix Act, legislation that extends the statute of limitations for domestic violence cases in California. Trailer Watch
32 Mind Over Murder 2022 Documentary USA 72%
Mind Over Murder Chronicles the bizarre and psychologically complex story of six individuals who were convicted for the 1985 murder of a beloved 68- year-old grandmother, Helen Wilson, in Beatrice, Nebraska. Trailer Watch
33 Last Call: When a Serial Killer Stalked Queer New York 2023 Documentary USA 71%
Last Call: When a Serial Killer Stalked Queer New York In the early 1990s, with homophobia and hate crimes on the rise as the AIDS crisis worsens, a serial killer preys upon gay men in New York City, infiltrating queer nightlife to find his victims. Trailer Watch
34 United States of Scandal 2024 Documentary USA 71%
United States of Scandal CNN's Jake Tapper dissects six of America's iconic political scandals, sitting down with some of the most famous and infamous figures in US politics. Trailer
35 Leaving Neverland 2019 Documentary USA 70%
Leaving Neverland Explores the experiences of James Safechuck and Wade Robson, who were both befriended and sexually abused by singer Michael Jackson, and the complicated feelings that led them both to confront their experiences. Trailer
36 The Way Down: God, Greed, and the Cult of Gwen Shamblin 2021 Documentary USA 70%
The Way Down: God, Greed, and the Cult of Gwen Shamblin Explore how the late Gwen Shamblin Lara, who founded the controversial Remnant Fellowship Church and created the Christian weight loss program The Weigh Down Workshop, rose to fame as a diet guru and church leader. Trailer Watch
37 Real Sex 1990 Documentary USA 69%
Real Sex Real Sex is a documentary television series broadcast on and a production of HBO. As its name implies, Real Sex is a sexually explicit magazine which explores sex '90s style. Real Sex explores human sexuality, from the latest sexual fads to casual sex festivals and home production of pornographic movies. The show typically explores three to four topics each episode. Segments are separated by street interviews with random people, relating to the episode's topics. Episodes of the show investigate RealDolls, Swingstock, a cunnilingus seminar, a perpetual sex machine for women, and lovemaking in chocolate. The last Real Sex episode aired in 2009. Older episodes as well as best-of episodes are frequently re-aired during late nights on HBO. It spawned a spin-off series called Pornucopia. Trailer
38 The Shop 2018 Talk Show USA 69%
The Shop A one-of-a-kind barbershop experience with unfiltered conversation and debate from the biggest names in sports and entertainment. Trailer Watch
39 The Lady and the Dale 2021 Documentary USA 69%
The Lady and the Dale This documentary series explores an audacious 1970s auto scam centered around mysterious transgender entrepreneur Elizabeth Carmichael, who rose to prominence when she released the Dale, a fuel-efficient three-wheeled vehicle during the 1970s gas crisis. Trailer Watch
40 Black and Missing 2021 Documentary USA 69%
Black and Missing Sisters-in-law and Black and Missing Foundation founders Derrica and Natalie Wilson fight an uphill battle to bring awareness to the Black missing persons cases that are marginalized by law enforcement and national media. Trailer Watch
41 Back on the Record with Bob Costas 2021 Documentary USA 68%
Back on the Record with Bob Costas In-depth interviews with the biggest names in sports, entertainment, and popular culture, and discussions led by Bob Costas that addresses the most topical issues in sports. Trailer Watch
42 The Case Against Adnan Syed 2019 Documentary USA 67%
The Case Against Adnan Syed Explore the 1999 disappearance and murder of 18-year-old Baltimore County high school student Hae Min Lee, and the subsequent conviction of her ex-boyfriend, Adnan Syed, a case brought to global attention by the hugely popular Serial podcast. Trailer Watch
43 Allen v. Farrow 2021 Documentary USA 67%
Allen v. Farrow The story of one Hollywood's most notorious and public scandals: the accusation of sexual abuse against Woody Allen involving Dylan, his then 7-year-old daughter with Mia Farrow; their subsequent custody trial, the revelation of Allen’s relationship with Farrow’s daughter, Soon-Yi; and the controversial aftermath in the years that followed. Trailer Watch
44 Obama: In Pursuit of a More Perfect Union 2021 Documentary USA 67%
Obama: In Pursuit of a More Perfect Union This multi-part documentary explores the journey of Barack Obama from his early upbringing to the 44th U.S. President, set against the backdrop of the country’s unfolding racial history. Trailer Watch
45 Murder In Boston: Roots, Rampage & Reckoning 2023 Documentary USA 67%
Murder In Boston: Roots, Rampage & Reckoning On October 23, 1989, Charles “Chuck” Stuart places a frantic 911 call reporting that he and his pregnant wife, Carol, a white couple, have been shot by a Black man in Boston’s Mission Hill neighborhood. The ensuing investigation proves to be a lightning rod for the city, igniting decades-old racial tensions and brutal targeting amidst a media firestorm. Trailer
46 Axios 2018 Documentary USA 66%
Axios Leading Axios journalists highlight the week ahead in politics, business and technology – and the big topics shaping the future. Each edition features coverage of a timely big issue, followed by documentary shorts, illuminating interviews with major newsmakers and trustworthy insights delivered with Axios’ signature “Smart Brevity” in a succinct, shareable format. Trailer Watch
47 Pray, Obey, Kill 2020 Documentary Sweden 66%
Pray, Obey, Kill Documentary series describing a religious group in a small town in Sweden, known for murder and attempted murder by and against members of the group. Later leaders of the group have been accused of psychic and physical violence against members. Trailer Watch
48 Small Town News: KPVM Pahrump 2021 Documentary USA 66%
Small Town News: KPVM Pahrump Pulling back the curtain on life at a privately owned TV station in the small desert town of Pahrump, Nevada, revealing a colorful cast of characters in front of and behind the cameras. Trailer Watch
49 Undercurrent: The Disappearance of Kim Wall 2022 Documentary USA 66%
Undercurrent: The Disappearance of Kim Wall A two-part documentary, examining the disappearance and murder of journalist, Kim Wall, and the subsequent trial of her killer. Trailer Watch
50 Swiping America 2023 Documentary USA 66%
Swiping America Follow a group of diverse singles from New York City on an introspective, eight-city dating app journey, as they explore personal issues around sex, relationships, love and connection. Trailer

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