Best Documentaries For Those in Need

Katie Nichols, Sr. Editor

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In my free time (aside from writing and critiquing media), I love to watch documentaries– I try to watch at least 2 a week; I believe it is always good to learn something of some sort. All of my buddies ask for recommendations, so I decided to give them a few that I really enjoyed. Keep in mind: documentaries are informative with hints of persuasion embedded, so I’m not recommending these as a rhetorical device but as a source of entertainment and knowledge for those who may be interested.

Emotional Docs:

Child of Rage: explores the deep psychological issues of an adopted 5-year-old with homicidal tendencies towards her newfound family

Blackfish: exposes unfair treatment to Killer Whales and the corruption of SeaWorld towards animals and staff members

Too Young to Die: a series that captures the stories of impact celebrities who died young while making a difference in the world

Nazi Concentration Camps: depicts real shocking footage of horrifying concentration camps after liberation


Psychology/Health Docs:

The Stanford Prison Experiment: a movie about the real controversial experiment of Dr. Philip Zimbardo at Stanford University

The Woman with 7 Personalities: a homemade doc about a woman with MPD who suffered deep and irreversible trauma

The Experimenter: a movie that circulates around the experiments of Stanley Milgram (aka, “The Milgram Effect in psychology)

The Nightmare: explores the deep reality of night terrors and the things that most people suffering from them have in common with one another

Attacking the Devil: sheds light on the epidemic of the use of controversial drug thalidomide and its shocking effects on children born from mothers who took it

Religious or Political Docs:

Reversing Roe: discusses different viewpoints on the subject of abortion, and efforts made in courtrooms to promote/halt it.

Holy Hell: exposes the shocking and abused lives of those in the Buddhafield Cult in California, filmed by one of the members who captured hundreds of footage

Jesus Camp: explores the ideas of the Pentecostal evangelical children and the Republican party, how it is ingrained in children’s minds by adults in their church

Lake of Fire: a documentary shot in black and white that centralizes on the heated issue of abortion among Americans

Scientology: Going Clear: talks about the workings of L. Ron Hubbard as a Sci-Fi writer and the cult-like activities the corrupt Church of Scientology exposed and put its members through

Prophet’s Prey: sheds light on the followers of Warren Jeffs, a cult leader who participated in numerous forms of abuse and led the FLDS.

The Most Hated Woman in America: a movie that clearly demonstrates the story of activist Madalyn Murray O’Hair: the woman who had prayer banned from public schools.


Music Docs/Films:

Amy: the story of the life and death of Amy Winehouse shown through multiple home videos and interviews with those close to her

Janis: Little Girl Blue: highlights of the musical career of Janis Joplin in the 1960s up until her death from the struggle of alcoholism and heroin

Woodstock… The Movie: documentary that captures the musical event known as Woodstock in ways of live footage, interviews with the artists, and performances

The Doors: When You’re Strange: rare exclusive footage from the rock band, The Doors, in the 1960s and 1970s, when they were in their prime

Walk the Line: this movie circulates around the life story of Johnny Cash, through issues with June Carter, drug abuse, prison, and of course, making music