I am a documentary addict – for me, they have been my window to wisdom since I can remember and I watch at least 1-2 a week. I’m always making recommendations to friends and so I thought I’d write a live page of recommendations. This list will grow over time as I watch and remember what I’ve watched over the last four decades. If you seen it listed here, it means I’ve watched it and recommend it to anyone interested in the topic.
The Long Way Round/Down (2004/07)
The original 2004 travel documentary series that started my madness. Ewan McGregor & Charley Boorman ride motorbikes around the world from London to New York & then from Scotland to South Africa.
What Charley Boorman did after Long Way Round – in many ways it’s a better documentary – he does the Paris-Dakar Rally for real: A race where people die – regularly. It took balls & it showed the best of Boorman.
The Grand Tour (2016-now)
Be it GT or the TG of old, the terrible Treo have always been a favorite – although not documentaries per-se, they show how information based formats don’t have to be dull.
I can’t remember a time where I didn’t know his voice. Quite simply he is the reason I know anything about the natural world, if I can have 10% of his impact I’ll be happy.
Bourdain was a revelation to me, a travel show that wasn’t boring and a food show that was about the culture that created the food. Bourdain was a genius and the world is a smaller place without him.
I was oblivious of Kapadia’s work util I discovered SENNA – made in an amazing style using only archival footage, I was amazed at the story he crafted from footage I remembered seeing as a child – breathtaking work.
Dirtbag: The Legend of Fred Beckey
Fred Beckey has more first ascents then any other human alive or dead. I had no idea who he was, I love doc’s that give me a completely new perspective on a subject.
I discovered the tale of Matthew VanDyke and his 35k mile trek through the middle east on a motorbike by chance – the story after the journey is mind blowing and underscores the true value of friendship.
Winning: The Racing Life of Paul Newman
I never knew Paul Newman raced cars…let alone that he was good enough to win LeMans! I love stories about second careers as I’m in that boat myself – so this story was right up my alley.
Amy Winehouse…an amazing talent, a wounded genius and like a dozen girls I can think of growing up that dreamed like her and sang like her…this one broke my heart – Asif Kapadia is a God.
Struggle: The Life and Lost Art of Szukalski
A ‘stumbled upon’ documentary that reinforced my understanding of the complex world we live in. Szulkalski is the perfect example of the complexity of art, humanity and the scale of history.
White Right: Meeting the Enemy Deeyah Khan rewrote what I thought bravery was, embedding with a bunch of neo-nazi racists? Are you kidding me? Breathtaking exploration of humanity and bravery in the face of adversity. I hero worship her.