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    21 Fascinating Documentaries About Famous People That'll Teach You A Thing Or Two About Your Favorite Celebrities

    If you haven't seen Tina Turner's documentary yet, PLEASE DO.

    Warning: Some documentaries include topics of drug addiction, rape, and sexual assault.

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

    Carrie Fisher explaining what a "celebrity lap dance" is: "It's sort of like going to a strip club, except they don't stuff cash down in your underwear"
    HBO

    What it's about: "The story of a family’s complicated love, Bright Lights: Starring Carrie Fisher and Debbie Reynolds, is an intimate portrait of Hollywood royalty in all its eccentricity. Fisher and her mother, Reynolds, live in the same Beverly Hills compound. The 83-year-old grand dame has a Las Vegas act, but performing is taking its toll. Carrie’s response is both hilarious and heart-rending. Featuring vintage family films that bring iconic old-world Hollywood to life, as well as extensive vérité footage, the film is directed by Alexis Bloom and Fisher Stevens and screened at the Cannes, Telluride, and New York Film Festivals in 2015."

    Where you can watch it: HBO Max

    Watch the trailer here:

    View this video on YouTube

    HBO / Via youtube.com

    2. Billie Eilish: The World's a Little Blurry (2021)

    Billie Eilish discussing her audience, saying: "I'd look into the crowd and I see all these faces. So many different feelings and heartbreak. The least I can do is make art that I make because I have the same problems"
    Neon / Apple TV+

    What it's about: "Billie Eilish: The World’s a Little Blurry tells the true coming-of-age story of the singer-songwriter and her rise to global superstardom. From award-winning filmmaker R.J. Cutler, the documentary offers a deeply intimate look at this extraordinary teenager's journey at just 17 years old, navigating life on the road, on stage, and at home with her family, while writing, recording and releasing her debut album When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go?"

    Where you can watch it: Apple TV+

    Watch the trailer here:

    View this video on YouTube

    Neon / Apple TV+ / Via youtube.com

    3. The Last Dance (2020)

    Michael Jordan during a press conference in the '90s, saying: "If you wanna look at this from a business thing, have a sense of respect for the people who have laid the groundworks so that you could be a profitable organization"
    ESPN / Netflix / Jump 23

    What it's about: "The docuseries, directed by Jason Hehir, chronicles Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls' quest for a sixth NBA Championship in 1998. In the fall of 1997, Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls began their quest to win a sixth NBA title in eight years. But despite all Jordan had achieved since his sensational debut 13 years earlier, 'The Last Dance,' as coach Phil Jackson called it, would be shadowed by tension with the club's front office and the overwhelming sense that this was the last time the world would ever see the greatest player of all time, and his extraordinary teammates, in full flight."

    Where you can watch it: Netflix

    Watch the trailer here:

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    ESPN / Netflix / Jump 23 / Via youtube.com

    4. Becoming (2020)

    Michelle Obama talking to young BIPOC women: "We can't afford to wait for the world to be equal to start feeling seen"
    Netflix

    What it's about: "Becoming is an intimate look into the life of former First Lady Michelle Obama during a moment of profound change, not only for her personally but for the country she and her husband served over eight impactful years in the White House. The film offers a rare and up-close look at her life, taking viewers behind the scenes as she embarks on a 34-city tour that highlights the power of community to bridge our divides and the spirit of connection that comes when we openly and honestly share our stories."

    Where you can watch it: Netflix

    Watch the trailer here:

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    Netflix / Via youtube.com

    5. Robin Williams: Come Inside My Mind (2018)

    Robin Williams improvising a memorable scene from "Mrs. Doubtfire" about her husband being killed by a beer truck
    HBO

    What it's about: "A funny, intimate, and heartbreaking portrait of one of the world's most beloved and inventive comedians, Robin Williams: Come Inside My Mind is told largely through Williams' own words, and celebrates what he brought to comedy and to the culture at large, from the wild days of late-1970s L.A. to his death in 2014. The film explores his extraordinary life and career, revealing what drove him to give voice to the characters in his mind. With previously unheard and unseen glimpses into his creative process through interviews with Williams, as well as home movies and onstage footage, this insightful tribute features in-depth interviews with those who knew and loved him, including Billy Crystal, Whoopi Goldberg, and his son, Zak Williams."

    Where you can watch it: HBO Max

    Watch the trailer here:

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    HBO / Via youtube.com

    6. TINA (2021)

    Tina Turner at a press conference explaining why she's never seen "What's Love Got to Do with It," saying: "Do I want to sit and watch the violence and all of the brutality? No"
    HBO

    What it's about: "With a wealth of never-before-seen footage, audio tapes, personal photos, and new interviews, including with the singer herself, TINA presents an unvarnished and dynamic account of the life and career of music icon Tina Turner. Everything changed when Tina began telling her story, a story of trauma and survival, that gave way to a rebirth as the record-breaking queen of rock ‘n’ roll. But behind closed doors, the singer struggled with the survivor narrative that meant her past was never fully behind her."

    Where you can watch it: HBO Max

    Watch the trailer here:

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    HBO / Via youtube.com

    7. Jane Fonda in Five Acts (2018)

    Jane Fonda describing how she didn't want to live in her famous father's shadow as a young woman, and going to France to discover the "real" her
    HBO

    What it's about: "Girl next door, sex kitten, activist, fitness tycoon: Oscar-winner Jane Fonda has lived a life marked by controversy, tragedy and transformation, and she's done it all in the public eye. Directed and produced by award-winning documentarian Susan Lacy, Jane Fonda in Five Acts, is an intimate look at her singular journey."

    Where you can watch it: HBO Max

    Watch the trailer here:

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    HBO / Via youtube.com

    8. Diana, Our Mother: Her Life and Legacy (2017)

    Prince Harry talking about missing his mother, Princess Diana's, hugs: "I miss that feeling, I miss that part of a family, I miss having that mother to be able to give you those hugs and give you that compassion"
    HBO / ITV

    What it's about: "Diana, Our Mother features interviews with Prince William and Prince Harry, both of whom talk openly about their mother and pay tribute to the many ways her influence has shaped their lives. The film offers a fresh and revealing insight into Princess Diana through the personal and intimate reflections of her two sons and her friends and family, many of whom have never spoken publicly before, to bring together a unique portrait of an iconic person who touched the lives of millions. Prince William and Prince Harry share some of their earliest memories of their mother, recall the final conversation they had with her before her tragic death in August 1997, and discuss their feelings in the aftermath of losing her. The documentary also celebrates the achievements of Diana's work and her sons' determination to continue the campaigns that were closest to her heart."

    Where you can watch it: HBO Max

    Watch the trailer here:

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    HBO / ITV / Via youtube.com

    9. Demi Lovato: Dancing with the Devil (2021)

    Demi Lovato talking about being raped and their Me Too story, saying: "My Me Too story is me telling somebody that someone did this to me, and they never got in trouble for it"
    YouTube: Demi Lovato

    What it's about: "Demi Lovato holds nothing back in this powerful four-part docuseries exploring every aspect that led to their nearly fatal overdose in 2018, and their awakenings in the aftermath. Director Michael D. Ratner is granted unprecedented access to the superstar’s personal and musical journey during the most trying time of their life as they unearth prior traumas and discovers the importance of physical, emotional, and mental health. Far deeper than an inside look beyond the celebrity surface, this is an intimate portrait of addiction, and the process of healing and empowerment."

    Where you can watch it: Demi Lovato's YouTube channel (Episodes 1, 2, and 3)

    Watch the trailer here:

    View this video on YouTube

    YouTube: Demi Lovato / Via youtube.com

    10. I Am Greta (2020)

    Greta Thunberg describing her frustration with politicians' activism about the climate crisis, saying: "If the solution to the climate crisis was about changing tea bags for loose-leaf tea and eating vegetarian once a week, then it wouldn't be a crisis"
    Hulu

    What it's about: "The story of teenage climate activist Greta Thunberg is told through compelling, never-before-seen footage in this intimate documentary from Swedish director Nathan Grossman. Starting with her one-person school strike for climate action outside the Swedish Parliament, Grossman follows Greta — a shy student with Asperger’s — in her rise to prominence and her galvanizing global impact as she sparks school strikes around the world. The film culminates with her extraordinary wind-powered voyage across the Atlantic Ocean to speak at the UN Climate Action Summit in New York City."

    Where you can watch it: Hulu

    Watch the trailer here:

    View this video on YouTube

    Hulu / Via youtube.com

    11. A Film About Jimi Hendrix (1973)

    Jimi Hendrix discussing his concert performances, saying: "When I feel like playing with my teeth, I do it because I feel like it. When I'm on stage, I'm completely natural, more so than talking to a group of people"
    Warner Bros. Pictures

    What it's about: "This musical documentary captures the elusive character of one of rock's greatest musicians: Rock & Roll Hall-of-Famer Jimi Hendrix. This 1973 documentary is loaded with extras, and completely remastered and remixed to provide exceptional sound and picture quality. Featuring the guitar wizard onstage and behind the scenes, classic concert footage is interspersed with interviews with friends and prominent musicians, including Pete Townshend, Mick Jagger, Eric Clapton, Little Richard, and more. The documentary includes songs from his Monterey Pop Festival, Woodstock, and Isle of Wight performances."

    Where you can watch it: Amazon Prime Video

    Watch the trailer here:

    View this video on YouTube

    Warner Bros. Pictures / Via youtube.com

    12. What's My Name: Muhammad Ali (2019)

    Muhammad Ali and Ernie Terrell having an argument during a TV broadcasting about Ali's name, and why Terrell refused to call him by it
    HBO

    What it's about: "Directed by Antoine Fuqua (Training Day and The Magnificent Seven) with LeBron James and Maverick Carter serving as executive producers, What’s My Name: Muhammad Ali explores Ali’s challenges, confrontations, comebacks, and triumphs through recordings of his own voice. The two-part documentary paints an intimate portrait of a man who was a beacon of hope for oppressed people around the world and, in his later years, was recognized as a global citizen and a symbol of humanity and understanding. Alongside using Ali himself to guide viewers through his journey, What’s My Name: Muhammad Ali features archival footage, some of it previously unseen."

    Where you can watch it: HBO Max

    Watch the trailer here:

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    HBO / Via youtube.com

    13. Joan Didion: The Center Will Not Hold (2017)

    Joan Didion in a garden, saying: "I, myself, have always found that if I examine something, it's less scary"
    Netflix

    What it's about: "Literary icon Joan Didion reflects on her remarkable career and personal struggles in this intimate documentary directed by her nephew, Griffin Dunne."

    Where you can watch it: Netflix

    Watch the trailer here:

    View this video on YouTube

    Netflix / Via youtube.com

    14. Taylor Swift: Miss Americana (2020)

    Taylor Swift discussing how it feels to speak her truth, saying: "I feel really good about not feeling...muzzled anymore. And it was my own doing. I needed to learn a lot before I spoke to two hundred million people"
    Netflix

    What it's about: "In this revealing documentary, Taylor Swift embraces her role as a songwriter and performer — and as a woman harnessing the full power of her voice."

    Where you can watch it: Netflix

    Watch the trailer here:

    View this video on YouTube

    Netflix / Via youtube.com

    15. What Happened, Miss Simone? (2015)

    Nina Simone telling an interviewer: "I'll tell you what freedom is to me, no near. I mean, really, no fear. If I could have that half of my life, no fear"
    Netflix

    What it's about: "Using never-before-heard recordings, rare archival footage, and her best-known songs, this is the story of legendary singer and activist Nina Simone."

    Where you can watch it: Netflix

    Watch the trailer here:

    View this video on YouTube

    Netflix / Via youtube.com

    16. Quincy (2018)

    Quincy Jones discussing forming his own broadcasting company and creating "The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air:" "I saw [Will Smith] from the first time he got on camera, and I saw this man grow and grow"
    Netflix

    What it's about: "Beyond his own acclaim as a trumpeter, producer, conductor, composer and arranger, Quincy Jones' inimitable gift to discover the biggest talents of the past half of the century is unprecedented. He has shaped the pop culture landscape for 70 years, mentoring and cultivating the careers of young talents, from Lesley Gore to Oprah Winfrey and Will Smith. Directed by Rashida Jones (Angie Tribeca and Hot Girls Wanted) and Alan Hicks (Keep On Keepin’ On), Quincy seamlessly threads personal vérité moments with private archival footage to reveal a legendary life like no other."

    Where you can watch it: Netflix

    Watch the trailer here:

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    Netflix / Via youtube.com

    17. Spielberg (2017)

    Cate Blanchett, Benedict Cumberbatch, and Tom Hanks describing the thrill of receiving "The Call" from Steven Spielberg to shoot a movie
    HBO

    What it's about: "One of the most famous filmmakers in the world, Steven Spielberg pulls back the curtain on his remarkable career more than ever before in the exclusive HBO presentation Spielberg. Directed and produced by award-winning documentarian Susan Lacy, this documentary examines the filmmaker's filmography in depth, revealing how his experiences fed his work and changed it over time. Spielberg has built an unrivaled catalogue of groundbreaking films over the course of his nearly 50-year career — charting the evolution of this iconic figure, Lacy draws on nearly 30 hours of exclusive interviews with the director, who opens up about his bittersweet childhood and lifelong obsession with moviemaking, his precocious early work as a TV 'wunderkind,' his rise to fame through an incredible string of blockbusters, his later forays into more serious dramatic films, and the personal and professional relationships he's cultivated through the years."

    Where you can watch it: HBO Max

    Watch the trailer here:

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    HBO / Via youtube.com

    18. Beats, Rhymes & Life: The Travels of A Tribe Called Quest (2011)

    Q-Tip discussing his disbelief in sophomore jinx, saying: "Like Stevie Wonder said, 'If you don't believe in things you don't understand, then you suffer.' Sophomore jinx, what the fuck is that? I'm going to make 'The Low End Theory'"
    Sony Pictures Classics

    What it's about: "Beats, Rhymes & Life: The Travels of A Tribe Called Quest is a documentary film directed by Michael Rapaport about one of the most influential and groundbreaking musical groups in hip-hop history. Having released five gold and platinum selling albums within eight years, A Tribe Called Quest has been one of the most commercially successful and artistically significant musical groups in recent history, and regarded as iconic pioneers of hip-hop. The band's sudden break-up in 1998 shocked the industry and saddened the scores of fans, whose appetite for the group's innovative musical stylings never seems to diminish. A hard-core fan himself, Rapaport sets out on tour with A Tribe Called Quest in 2008, when they reunited to perform sold-out concerts across the country, almost ten years after the release of their last album, The Love Movement."

    Where you can watch it: Hulu

    Watch the trailer here:

    View this video on YouTube

    Sony Pictures Classics / Via youtube.com

    19. George Harrison: Living in the Material World (2011)

    A filmmaker directing George in a field of flowers, saying: "You know, just go ahead, George. Go on and fly away, babe -- just be free and go, and we'll see you down the line"
    HBO

    What it's about: "George Harrison: Living in the Material World focuses the imaginative and inspired eye of one of cinema's most preeminent filmmakers (Martin Scorsese) on one of the world's most influential men. The film takes viewers on the musical and spiritual voyage that was George Harrison's life, much of it told in his own words. Scorsese traces Harrison's life from his musical beginnings in Liverpool through his life as a musician, a seeker, a philanthropist, and a filmmaker, weaving together interviews with Harrison and his closest friends, performances, home movies and photographs. Much of the material in the film has never been seen or heard before."

    Where you can watch it: HBO Max

    Watch the trailer here:

    View this video on YouTube

    HBO / Via youtube.com

    20. Toni Morrison: The Pieces I Am (2019)

    Toni Morrison discussing a Texas prison banning her novel "Paradise," saying: "And I thought, 'How powerful is that?' I could tear up the whole place"
    Magnolia Pictures

    What it's about: "Toni Morrison: The Pieces I Am offers an artful and intimate meditation on the life and works of the acclaimed novelist. From her childhood in the steel town of Lorain, Ohio to 1970s-era book tours with Muhammad Ali, from the front lines with Angela Davis to her own riverfront writing room, Toni Morrison leads an assembly of her peers, critics, and colleagues on an exploration of race, the US, history, and the human condition as seen through the prism of her own literature. Inspired to write because no one took a 'little black girl' seriously, Morrison reflects on her lifelong deconstruction of the master narrative. Woven together with a rich collection of art, history, literature and personality, the film includes discussions about her many critically acclaimed works, including novels The Bluest Eye, Sula, and Song of Solomon, her role as an editor of iconic Black literature, and her time teaching at Princeton University."

    Where you can watch it: Hulu

    Watch the trailer here:

    View this video on YouTube

    Magnolia Pictures / Via youtube.com

    21. And Won't You Be My Neighbor? (2018)

    Mister Rogers describing the meaning of love: "Love is at the root of everything. All learning, all parenting, all relationships. Love or the lack of it"
    Focus Features

    What it's about: "From filmmaker Morgan Neville (the Oscar-winning 20 Feet from Stardom) takes an intimate look at America's favorite neighbor: Fred Rogers. The documentary tells the story of a soft-spoken minister, puppeteer, writer, and producer whose show was beamed daily into homes across the US for more than 30 years. In his beloved television program, Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood, Rogers and his cast of puppets and friends spoke directly to young children about some of life's weightiest issues in a simple, direct fashion. There hadn’t been anything like Mister Rogers on television before, and there hasn’t been since."

    Where you can watch it: HBO Max

    Watch the trailer here:

    View this video on YouTube

    Focus Features / Via youtube.com

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