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18 Documentaries That Will Leave You With A Smile On Your Face

The real world isn't all trash.

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We asked the BuzzFeed Community to tell us their favourite uplifting documentaries. Here are the results.

1. Twinsters (2015)

Small Package Films / Netflix

"It's an uplifting story of two twins finding each other after they'd been adopted to families in different countries. An easy watch, and so heartwarming!"

Watch on: Netflix Worldwide

Submitted by Krystal Rudyk, Facebook

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2. Iris (2014)

Magnolia Pictures

"I cannot speak highly enough of this film. It’s about a fashion icon who has refused to be ordinary. Even if you’re not into fashion it’s a great story of unapologetically being yourself."

Watch on: Netflix Worldwide

Submitted by jessicas4b44f532b

3. A Hot Dog Program (1996)

PBS

"It’s a documentary about hot dog stands all over America. Rick Sebak also presented documentaries about sandwiches, pies, and ice cream, and they're all comfort food porn, but the hot dog one is blissfully amazing. If it comes on TV, I am glued to it until it’s over."

Watch on: YouTube

Submitted by rachelsporyh

4. Promises (2001)

Cowboy Pictures

"Promises is one of my all-time favourites. It follows Israeli and Palestinian kids near Jerusalem, and though the subject matter is obviously serious, it's very refreshing seeing the conflict through the eyes of children. The ending will leave you with a glimmer of hope for the future."

Watch on: YouTube

Submitted by Meredith English, Facebook

5. I Know That Voice (2013)

GoDigital

"It’s a documentary about voice actors and everything about their jobs. It was made by John DiMaggio, the voice of Bender in Futurama and Jake the Dog in Adventure Time, because he believed that the talented voice actors he works with don’t get nearly enough credit – and after watching this, I couldn’t agree more."

Watch on: Amazon rental

Submitted by juliaastevens716

6. Second Chance Dogs (2016)

ASPCA / Animal Planet

"Second Chance Dogs is an amazing documentary on Netflix about abused dogs going through therapy and given the opportunity to have normal lives filled with love."

Watch on: Netflix US

Submitted by reynam4329676dd

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7. The King of Kong: A Fistful of Quarters (2007)

Picturehouse

"The King of Kong: A Fistful of Quarters is a pretty good documentary, especially if you're a bit of an oldschool arcade game nerd."

Watch on: Amazon rental, Netflix Australia

Submitted by Liam Tipler, Facebook

8. The Topp Twins: Untouchable Girls (2009)

Argot Pictures

"If you google it you get 'a profile of lesbian twin sisters who sing country.' Never has anything been more reduced to its basic facts and missed the soul. These two are Kiwi icons and as you watch them battle homophobia, deal with cancer, and succeed despite many obstacles you'll be laughing and sobbing at the same time. Life changing."

Watch on: Buy from Amazon

Submitted by Lauren McLean, Facebook

9. The Resurrection of Jake the Snake (2015)

Slamdance Presents

"A beautiful documentary about the redemption of Jake 'the Snake' Roberts from his alcohol and drug addiction as he worked to get himself back in shape to just live life again."

Watch on: Netflix US, Netflix UK, Netflix Australia, Netflix Brazil

Submitted by jonathann4511c0495

10. Craigslist Joe

CLJ Films

"This guy goes across the US on a small budget and does jobs on Craigslist in exchange for shelter, food, and rides. It’s such a sketchy thing to do but it’s nice to see that there were good people out there who were willing to help him out."

Watch on: Amazon rental

Submitted by jocelynr4f9fbe65d

11. Jiro Dreams of Sushi (2011)

Magnolia Pictures

"I’ve never smiled so much at an old man working everyday so that his dream won’t die. His sons picked up on this hard work ethic as well and it’s nice to see them working together so much."

Watch on: Netflix US, Netflix Australia, Netflix Brazil, Netflix France

Submitted by timea2

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12. Babies (2010)

StudioCanal / Focus Features

"It doesn't get more uplifting than watching four babies from Mongolia, the US, Japan, and Namibia make their first steps in the world – the soundtrack and cinematography are beautiful."

Watch on: Amazon rental

Submitted by Maja Marcetic, Facebook

13. Happy (2011)

Wadi Rum Productions

"A documentary on Netflix called Happy had me smiling throughout the entire thing. It talks about happiness, how it can be achieved, and the patterns of it shown in the happiest places in the world. It changed my perspective quite a bit and made me realise that you don’t need a large, extravagant life to be happy."

Watch on: Netflix US, Netflix UK, Netflix Brazil, Netflix France

Submitted by cierramichelle

14. I Am (2010)

Shady Acres / Flying Eye Productions

"I Am is a documentary by Tom Shadyac who directed Ace Ventura and Bruce Almighty. After surviving cancer he interviews several philosophers, scientists, and world leaders to find out how we can improve our world. Intending to discover what’s wrong with the world, he ends up finding what’s right with the world. After watching this film you’ll come out reminded that this life is beautiful and we are all capable of beautiful things."

Watch on: Amazon rental

Submitted by jillcirill

15. Living on One Dollar (2013)

Gravitas Ventures

"Some friends move to rural Guatemala in order to practice true empathy. They live as the villagers live, down to their wages. You’ll be inspired by the Guatemalans spirit of generosity despite their situation."

Watch on: Netflix Worldwide

Submitted by sarahj408f9034a

16. Meru (2015)

Little Monster Films / Music Box Films

"It was beautifully filmed, awe-inspiring, and incredible what those people accomplished in their ascent of the Himalayas. I highly recommend it, especially for outdoors/adventure enthusiasts."

Watch on: Amazon rental

Submitted by Emily Guillermo, Facebook

17. He Named Me Malala (2015)

Participant Media / Fox Searchlight Pictures

"It touches a bit on the attack Malala Yousafzai suffered from the Taliban, but more specifically, it gets into her family life and history of her name. Honestly, the story Malala’s name derives from is absolutely beautiful and her father is a man, who from the very day she was born, was stunningly proud of her and only grew more so with all Malala has done and stood for.

"By the end of this documentary, I was beyond joyful and even more proud of Malala than I was before. She is so strong and her father’s storytelling of his own dreams for her and others is just heart-warming."

Watch on: Amazon rental

Submitted by poet

18. Maidentrip (2013)

First Run Features

"I read about it on a different BuzzFeed article, and I absolutely loved it! It’s about the youngest girl to make a solo sailing trip around the world. Very inspiring."

Watch on: Amazon rental

Submitted by delaneyannemarier

Note: Submissions have been edited for length and/or clarity.

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