10 Documentaries Every Guy Should See

Most of the time we’ll flip on a movie to relax and zone out for a bit. We’ll watch something with a sweet car chase or a sexy female lead to kill a couple of hours. There are occasions, however, when we want to learn something when we break out the popcorn. That said, it doesn’t mean the film has to be boring. These are 10 documentaries every guy should see.

1. Dogtown and Z Boys

For a history lesson on why the X Games could even exist, check out Dogtown and Z Boys. The film explores the California skating scene of the mid-70’s when it blew up. It’ll make you want to pick up a deck and hit some seaside surf town. Netflix DVD iTunes Amazon Instant

2. Hoop Dreams

Saying Hoop Dreams is about basketball is like saying Titanic is about a boat. This movie is so much bigger than a sport documentary, it is a behind the scenes look at the streets of Chicago in the early 90’s and how much a dream can really drive a man. Netflix DVD Netflix Instant iTunes Amazon Instant

3. Exit Through the Gift Shop

You can debate all you want whether this is a legit documentary or not, we’ll side with putting it on this list for the simple fact that it could be and it’s awesome. The attempt to get Banksy on camera turned into a more elaborate film than you could imagine. If you believe it. Netflix DVD Netflix Instant iTunes Amazon Instant

4. Senna

Your palms are gonna sweat like you were actually driving an F1 race car while watching Senna. The life of Ayrton Senna, which is chronicled in the film, was crazy, exciting and, at all times, insanely fast. This documentary lets you experience what it was like to live like an absolute racing king on and off the track. Netflix DVD Netflix Instant iTunes Amazon Instant

5. Brother’s Keeper

The trailer for Brother’s Keeper doesn’t do it justice. Trust us. This documentary has all the makings of a great murder mystery movie, only it’s not scripted and acted out. Netflix DVD Netflix Instant iTunes Amazon Instant

6. The King of Kong: A Fistful of Quarters

Watching your friend play video games can be insanely boring. That is exactly what makes this movie so impressive. The King of Kong depicts the fight for high score supremacy in Donkey Kong back in the early 80’s. It’s as entertaining to watch as going to the arcade back in the day. Netflix DVD iTunes Amazon Instant

7. Jiro Dreams of Sushi

This is easily the best movie about raw fish ever made. Jiro Dreams of Sushi tells the story of the world’s greatest sushi chef – A little old man with a restaurant in the basement of an office building. It’s about care for your craft and always striving to get better. Netflix DVD Netflix Instant iTunes Amazon Instant

8. Murderball

Any sport that has the word “murder” in the title is legit. This look into the world of paraplegic rugby players is both eye-opening and exciting. Don’t think it’s just some inspirational story though, Murderball is chock-full of sex, anger and grittiness. Netflix DVD

9. Something from Nothing: The Art of Rap

“We wanted to hit everyone across the head with a sledgehammer.” That’s just one of the lines from a movie featuring some of the greatest rap lyricists ever. Something from Nothing is the ultimate story of hip hop. It traces the art to its roots and, with the help of legends like Run DMC, Snoop and others, gives viewers a sense of what it’s really all about. Netflix DVD iTunes Amazon Instant

10. Paradise Lost – The Child Murders at Robin Hood Hills

If you’re looking for another murder mystery and want to seriously question the justice system after watching Brother’s Keeper, this should be your next stop. From the same filmmakers, Paradise Lost drops viewers right into the story of three murdered children and the kids found guilty for killing them. Netflix DVD


  • http://www.facebook.com/kobertrummer Happy Rob G Kummer

    Punks not dead, About a son …. …. The list of music docus is so long….

  • Nina

    Great list, however I don’t see why they should be guy-exclusive must-sees. I have a vagina and I would gladly watch all of these. Documentaries (when they’re well made) are simply cool. Maybe you should encourage dudes to expand their interests from male-coded topics such as sports and rap so that they can REALLY learn something.

  • http://about.me/mttsndrs Matt Saunders

    Good list! Here are some more suggestions:

    Champion (Danny Trejo’s story)
    Ghosts of Cité Soleil
    Hearts of Darkness
    Man On Wire
    One Day in September
    Riding Giants
    Style Wars
    The Thin Blue Line
    When We Were Kings

  • Marko

    Once Brothers should be on this list. The story of Vlade Divac & Drazen Petrovic.

  • stephen meyer

    “The Other F Word” is a good one.

  • MickD

    I would argue that some older documentaries be placed on any top 10 list. These should include “Harlan County, USA”, about the strike by the UMW in the coal mines of Kentucky. It is a fascinating look at a side of the U.S. that still exists today in the hills of Appalachia. Another Appalachian classic that shouldn’t miss is the “Holy Ghost People” filmed in 1967 in Scrabble Creek, WV. A phenomenal look at the American roots of Pentacostal-ism. My last nomination to the list would include a more recent look at religion and the military, “Constantine’s Sword” released in 2007.

  • Mike

    Closer to the edge
    Should be on the list

  • Gotopchedda

    Jiro’s documentary was amazing. Such a well educated, passionate approach towards a product that most people take for advantage. Definitely have to check out Hoop Dreams. I think another worth mention (even though it is very controversial), The Zeitgeist docs. If you have not seen them, I highly recommend a look. Just keep a VERY open mind.

  • Parker McAndrews

    I enjoyed the list and have almost seen them all (8/10) another good one is Endless Summer… can’t go wrong with that surfing documentary

  • roccenstein

    What about ‘Love the Beast’ or ‘Step into Liquid’?

  • antinina

    So a guy list isn’t cool? A = C does not exclude B=C but it’s not required to point out every time if A is your audience and B is not. Christ the people out there looking for something to cry about.

  • Todd

    restrepo should be on this list

  • olwildbill

    And somehow “The Dancing Outlaw” didn’t make it onto this list? Any movie that includes, “And I told her if you want to live to see tomorrow, you better get back in that kitchen. I ain’t eatin’ no sloppy, slimy eggs” must be noteworthy.

  • Paul Coyro

    Beyond the Mat

  • http://www.facebook.com/cortney.haggerty Cortney Haggerty

    No Man on Wire? Criminal!

  • Etchasketchist

    That movie’s mad boring.

    Also, it is about a French circus performer. No guy needs to see that nonsense.

  • Etchasketchist

    Style Wars > Exit Through The Gift Shop
    Dondi > Banksy

    When We Were Kings should be on here too. The Last Waltz would be a good add as well.

  • http://www.testshoot.com/ TestShoot


  • modern_messiah

    So many great documentaries out there. If you get the time watch “TT3D: Closer to the Edge “. It’s insanely good.

  • armante

    “West of Memphis”, the new doco about the Paradise Lost story. Directed by Peter Jackson. Amazing.

  • Dan

    Any Given Sunday

  • françois

    nice post. i’ll add for myself this one too : Crips & bloods, made in america

  • jenny


  • jenny

    hunnie this is a men’s blog. LOL no disrespect meant to women

  • theMediaman

    Nothing by Morgan Spurlock? “Mansome”? “Super-Size Me”?

  • FD

    The Year Punk Rock Broke

  • Aventadores

    you nailed it there.

  • JeffD

    What do you expect? Crying moaning whining, all the things females excel at!

  • http://twitter.com/haggard sandra haggard

    man on wire is a must see

  • Ajax

    Three not to be missed;
    American Movie – the drive of a man trying to film a horror movie
    Project Grizzly – an average man builds a modern suit of armour so he can fight a bear. Harvard gave him a special honor for this!
    Dark Days – The lives of people living under the streets of NYC

  • http://twitter.com/EatingHipHop Eating Hip Hop


  • http://twitter.com/EatingHipHop Eating Hip Hop

    Good selection…

  • Guest

    the imposter was an amazing documentary

  • tommyo

    Todd is correct. Big miss without Restrepo!!!!

  • SemperWhy

    I would also recommend:

    This Film Is Not Yet Rated – A documentary on the movie ratings process and who decides what movies get R vs which get NC-17. They hire private investigators to discover who these people are.

    Air Jaws – How is this not on a list of manly must-see documentaries? It’s about the great white sharks off the coast of South Africa and how they leap into the air while chasing seals. Flying sharks! How can you not love flying sharks?

    Super Speedway – Originally an IMAX movie and narrated by Paul Newman, it covers a season of F1 racing and the Andretti family. Incredible footage.

  • No Patience for Busybodies.

    What Jenny said. ‘Sports’ documentaries are about the struggle to succeed and even overcome. This is ingrained in the male psyche, just as nurturing is in the female psyche. They account for only 4 of the 10 docs here. The rest are a pretty well-rounded assortment of topics, so I am not sure what interests we’re supposed to ‘expand’.
    Soap Operas and Vapid reality shows like ‘Real Housewives’ & ‘Honey Boo-boo’ wouldn’t exist without their all-female audiences. You want people to ‘learn’ something? Convince your gender-mates to turn those shows off and watch something else. Men are doing just fine.
    Christ, people really DO need something to cry about.

  • Bert Cobain

    Love Punk Rock and Sonic Youth, but that move was absolutely shit. Bad camera work, dull performances, boring story, and grainy video. No redeeming qualities.

  • Rex

    Battle of Marjah and Restrepo should be on the list.

  • Julien

    “T-Shirt Stories” should also be on this list.. All you need to know about this classic item in a 58′ documentary..