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34 HBO Documentaries That Will Keep You Woke

There's more to HBO than just the shows.

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1. 3 1/2 Minutes, 10 Bullets (2015)

Why it's worth watching: The film focuses on the shooting death of Jordan Davis at a Jacksonville gas station and the events that followed. The title refers to the amount of time it took Michael Dunn to park next to the teenager and his friends, and the last shot he fired into their car.
HBO Documentary Films

Why it's worth watching: The film focuses on the shooting death of Jordan Davis at a Jacksonville gas station and the events that followed. The title refers to the amount of time it took Michael Dunn to park next to the teenager and his friends, and the last shot he fired into their car.

2. 4 Little Girls (1997)

Why it's worth watching: The film covers the 16th Street Baptist Church bombing in Birmingham, Alabama. On September 15th, the local chapter of the Ku Klux Klan set off bombs inside the church, killing four young girls in the explosion.
HBO Documentary Films

Why it's worth watching: The film covers the 16th Street Baptist Church bombing in Birmingham, Alabama. On September 15th, the local chapter of the Ku Klux Klan set off bombs inside the church, killing four young girls in the explosion.

3. 50 Children: The Rescue Mission of Mr. and Mrs. Kraus (2013)

Why it's worth watching: From planning to conception, this film covers the 1939 quest of Gilbert and Eleanor Kraus to rescue 50 Jewish children from the Nazi regime by bringing them to America.
HBO Documentary Films

Why it's worth watching: From planning to conception, this film covers the 1939 quest of Gilbert and Eleanor Kraus to rescue 50 Jewish children from the Nazi regime by bringing them to America.

4. 12th & Delaware (2010)

Why it's worth watching: A religious-affiliated crisis pregnancy center and a for-profit abortion clinic sharing a cross street are center stage in this documentary. Staff of both facilities are interviewed in this portrait of an environment shared by opposing ends of the women's rights issue.
HBO Films

Why it's worth watching: A religious-affiliated crisis pregnancy center and a for-profit abortion clinic sharing a cross street are center stage in this documentary. Staff of both facilities are interviewed in this portrait of an environment shared by opposing ends of the women's rights issue.

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5. Becoming Warren Buffett (2017)

Why it's worth watching: A portrait of the man behind the billionaire title is explored in this delightful film. The moral compass withstanding the timeline of Warren Buffett's career is inspiring enough to want to watch it.
HBO Documentary Films

Why it's worth watching: A portrait of the man behind the billionaire title is explored in this delightful film. The moral compass withstanding the timeline of Warren Buffett's career is inspiring enough to want to watch it.

6. Beware the Slenderman (2016)

Why it's worth watching: The chilling tale behind the mythical Slenderman is explained alongside a shockingly gruesome, real-life crime with roots to the internet boogeyman.
HBO Films

Why it's worth watching: The chilling tale behind the mythical Slenderman is explained alongside a shockingly gruesome, real-life crime with roots to the internet boogeyman.

7. Bright Lights: Starring Carrie Fisher and Debbie Reynolds (2016)

Why it's worth watching: Premiering just weeks after the deaths of Carrie Fisher and Debbie Reynolds, this film showcases the intimate relationship between the mother and daughter duo, and their ties to the entertainment industry.
HBO Documentary Films

Why it's worth watching: Premiering just weeks after the deaths of Carrie Fisher and Debbie Reynolds, this film showcases the intimate relationship between the mother and daughter duo, and their ties to the entertainment industry.

8. The Case Against 8 (2014)

Why it's worth watching: Shot over a period of five years, this film follows the landmark Supreme Court case that overturned California's Proposition 8, and the team it took to get there.
HBO Films

Why it's worth watching: Shot over a period of five years, this film follows the landmark Supreme Court case that overturned California's Proposition 8, and the team it took to get there.

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9. Class Divide (2016)

Why it's worth watching: Gentrification in New York City's Chelsea neighborhood serves as the backdrop to this film focusing on income inequality, and the effects it has on young people today.
HBO Documentary Films

Why it's worth watching: Gentrification in New York City's Chelsea neighborhood serves as the backdrop to this film focusing on income inequality, and the effects it has on young people today.

10. The Crash Reel (2013)

Why it's worth watching: This film follows snowboarder Kevin Pierce's journey to the 2010 Winter Olympics, his rivalry with Shaun White, and the tragic accident that permanently altered his career.
HBO Documentary Films

Why it's worth watching: This film follows snowboarder Kevin Pierce's journey to the 2010 Winter Olympics, his rivalry with Shaun White, and the tragic accident that permanently altered his career.

11. Cries From Syria (2017)

Why it's worth watching: Children, activists, and revolutionary leaders share heartbreaking stories of the crisis in Syria, and the complexities surrounding the war-torn country.
HBO Documentary Films

Why it's worth watching: Children, activists, and revolutionary leaders share heartbreaking stories of the crisis in Syria, and the complexities surrounding the war-torn country.

12. Everything Is Copy (2016)

Why it's worth watching: Assembled by her son, this biographical depiction of filmmaker Nora Ephron is told through the eyes of loved ones who share stories of both her work and character.
HBO Documentary Films

Why it's worth watching: Assembled by her son, this biographical depiction of filmmaker Nora Ephron is told through the eyes of loved ones who share stories of both her work and character.

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13. How to Dance in Ohio (2015)

Why it's worth watching: This heartwarming film follows a group of autistic teenagers in Columbus, Ohio. Over a 12-week period, the teenagers practice their social skills to prepare for their first Spring Formal dance.
HBO Documentary Films

Why it's worth watching: This heartwarming film follows a group of autistic teenagers in Columbus, Ohio. Over a 12-week period, the teenagers practice their social skills to prepare for their first Spring Formal dance.

14. If You're Not in the Obit, Eat Breakfast (2017)

Why it's worth watching: Carl Reiner challenges the stereotypes attached to ageism by sharing his own account of life after 90, and gets some famous friends to validate.
HBO Films

Why it's worth watching: Carl Reiner challenges the stereotypes attached to ageism by sharing his own account of life after 90, and gets some famous friends to validate.

15. Jim: The James Foley Story (2016)

Why it's worth watching: This film documents the life of James Foley through testimony from friends, family, and colleagues. The photojournalist was kidnapped by ISIS terrorists in 2012 and subsequently killed two years later.
HBO Documentary Films

Why it's worth watching: This film documents the life of James Foley through testimony from friends, family, and colleagues. The photojournalist was kidnapped by ISIS terrorists in 2012 and subsequently killed two years later.

16. The Jinx: The Life and Deaths of Robert Durst (2015)

Why it's worth watching: Andrew Jarecki decided to take on this project after directing its Hollywood counterpart, All Good Things. After watching the fictional account, Robert Durst contacted Jarecki himself, asking to be a part of this documentary miniseries full of bizarre turns.
HBO Documentary Films

Why it's worth watching: Andrew Jarecki decided to take on this project after directing its Hollywood counterpart, All Good Things. After watching the fictional account, Robert Durst contacted Jarecki himself, asking to be a part of this documentary miniseries full of bizarre turns.

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17. Life According to Sam (2013)

Why it's worth watching: Drs. Leslie Gordon and Scott Berns share their accounts of the efforts they have made to save their only son. Sam, who was born with progeria, a fatal premature-aging disease, gives his own refreshing testimony of leading a positive, vibrant life.
HBO Documentary Films

Why it's worth watching: Drs. Leslie Gordon and Scott Berns share their accounts of the efforts they have made to save their only son. Sam, who was born with progeria, a fatal premature-aging disease, gives his own refreshing testimony of leading a positive, vibrant life.

18. The Loving Story (2011)

Why it's worth watching: This film follows the forbidden love story of Richard and Mildred Loving. As their legal battle unfolds, it leads to the groundbreaking Supreme Court case invalidating prohibition of interracial marriage.
HBO Documentary Films

Why it's worth watching: This film follows the forbidden love story of Richard and Mildred Loving. As their legal battle unfolds, it leads to the groundbreaking Supreme Court case invalidating prohibition of interracial marriage.

19. Marathon: The Patriots Day Bombing (2016)

Why it's worth watching: The timeline surrounding the 2013 Boston Marathon bombings, and the emotional accounts of several survivors are analyzed in this powerful film.
HBO Documentary Films

Why it's worth watching: The timeline surrounding the 2013 Boston Marathon bombings, and the emotional accounts of several survivors are analyzed in this powerful film.

20. Mea Maxima Culpa: Silence in the House of God (2012)

Why it's worth watching: Four former students of St. John's School for the Deaf reveal their harrowing accounts of child sexual abuse. Lawrence Murphy, a priest at the school, is believed to have abused up to 200 boys.
HBO Films

Why it's worth watching: Four former students of St. John's School for the Deaf reveal their harrowing accounts of child sexual abuse. Lawrence Murphy, a priest at the school, is believed to have abused up to 200 boys.

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21. Mommy Dead and Dearest (2017)

Why it's worth watching: The chilling truth behind the murder of Dee Dee Blancharde is revealed in this film entailing years of deception that ultimately lead to betrayal.
HBO Documentary Films

Why it's worth watching: The chilling truth behind the murder of Dee Dee Blancharde is revealed in this film entailing years of deception that ultimately lead to betrayal.

22. One Nation Under Dog: Stories of Fear, Loss & Betrayal (2012)

Why it's worth watching: This film showcases America's devotion to dogs and the complex behaviors attached to dog ownership. The subjects range from a couple looking to clone their dog, to shelter dogs waiting for a home they might never get.
HBO Documentary Films

Why it's worth watching: This film showcases America's devotion to dogs and the complex behaviors attached to dog ownership. The subjects range from a couple looking to clone their dog, to shelter dogs waiting for a home they might never get.

23. The Paradise Lost Trilogy

Why it's worth watching: These three films unravel the gruesome details of a triple murder of three young boys, and the teenagers charged with the crimes. The third film garnered both Emmy and Academy Award nominations.
HBO Documentary Films

Why it's worth watching: These three films unravel the gruesome details of a triple murder of three young boys, and the teenagers charged with the crimes. The third film garnered both Emmy and Academy Award nominations.

24. Project Nim (2011)

Why it's worth watching: A chimpanzee named Nim Chimpsky is at the center of this film, displaying the developments of a 1970s research project. Nim is raised in a human household as part of an experiment to see whether he could help scientists break the language barrier between humans and primates.
HBO Documentary Films

Why it's worth watching: A chimpanzee named Nim Chimpsky is at the center of this film, displaying the developments of a 1970s research project. Nim is raised in a human household as part of an experiment to see whether he could help scientists break the language barrier between humans and primates.

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25. Roman Polanski: Wanted and Desired (2008)

Why it's worth watching: The director's infamous sexual abuse case, his troubled past, and the controversy of his extradition to the United States are all examined in this film.
HBO Films

Why it's worth watching: The director's infamous sexual abuse case, his troubled past, and the controversy of his extradition to the United States are all examined in this film.

26. Saving Face (2012)

Why it's worth watching: Set in Pakistan, this film follows Dr. Mohammad Jawad in his journey to help those horribly scarred by acid attacks. The film won the 2012 Academy Award for Best Documentary Short.
HBO Documentary Films

Why it's worth watching: Set in Pakistan, this film follows Dr. Mohammad Jawad in his journey to help those horribly scarred by acid attacks. The film won the 2012 Academy Award for Best Documentary Short.

27. Shouting Fire: Stories From the Edge of Free Speech (2009)

Why it's worth watching: The history and current state of the First Amendment are detailed in this ever-so relevant film, analyzing legal cases, many of them taking place in post-9/11 America.
HBO Documentary Films

Why it's worth watching: The history and current state of the First Amendment are detailed in this ever-so relevant film, analyzing legal cases, many of them taking place in post-9/11 America.

28. The Strange History of Don't Ask, Don't Tell (2011)

Why it's worth watching: This film follows the resulting outcomes of the 1993 American bill making sexual orientation an untouchable subject in the American armed forces.
HBO Films

Why it's worth watching: This film follows the resulting outcomes of the 1993 American bill making sexual orientation an untouchable subject in the American armed forces.

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29. Tashi and the Monk (2014)

Why it's worth watching: A Buddhist monk, trained by The Dalai Lama, delves into the complicated task of creating a loving environment for children under his care. The dynamic between the monk and five-year-old Tashi are at the center of the film.
HBO Documentary Films

Why it's worth watching: A Buddhist monk, trained by The Dalai Lama, delves into the complicated task of creating a loving environment for children under his care. The dynamic between the monk and five-year-old Tashi are at the center of the film.

30. There's Something Wrong With Aunt Diane (2011)

Why it's worth watching: On July 26, 2009, Diane Schuler's minivan collided with an SUV while she was driving in the wrong direction on the Taconic State Parkway. The accident claimed the lives of eight people. The puzzling case is examined through archival footage and interviews with family members.
HBO Documentary Films

Why it's worth watching: On July 26, 2009, Diane Schuler's minivan collided with an SUV while she was driving in the wrong direction on the Taconic State Parkway. The accident claimed the lives of eight people. The puzzling case is examined through archival footage and interviews with family members.

31. Thin (2006)

Why it's worth watching: The film records the recovery processes of four women in a treatment facility battling eating disorders, with ages ranging from 15 to 30.
HBO Documentary Films

Why it's worth watching: The film records the recovery processes of four women in a treatment facility battling eating disorders, with ages ranging from 15 to 30.

32. Thought Crimes: The Case of the Cannibal Cop (2015)

Why it's worth watching: The case of Gilberto Valle, a man accused of conspiring to kidnap, rape, and cannibalize women is studied in this film. The main argument of the case revolves around the legality of "thought crimes" and whether the former New York City police officer was actively planning these crimes.
HBO Documentary Films

Why it's worth watching: The case of Gilberto Valle, a man accused of conspiring to kidnap, rape, and cannibalize women is studied in this film. The main argument of the case revolves around the legality of "thought crimes" and whether the former New York City police officer was actively planning these crimes.

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33. Tickled (2016)

Why it's worth watching: The sinister world of adult competitive tickling is explored in this documentary that brings to light the legal and ethical issues attached to the obscure industry.
Magnolia Pictures

Why it's worth watching: The sinister world of adult competitive tickling is explored in this documentary that brings to light the legal and ethical issues attached to the obscure industry.

34. Warning: This Drug May Kill You (2017)

Why it's worth watching: With the U.S. opioid epidemic in full swing, this timely film documents the devastating effects of addiction in four families. The conditions leading to their personal crises are traced back to legal doctor prescriptions and 1990s pharmaceutical campaigns.
HBO Documentary Films

Why it's worth watching: With the U.S. opioid epidemic in full swing, this timely film documents the devastating effects of addiction in four families. The conditions leading to their personal crises are traced back to legal doctor prescriptions and 1990s pharmaceutical campaigns.

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