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Biographical Documentaries by Film Title - A to Z

A List of Documentaries About Famous and Infamous People


Some biographical documentaries investigate the inner life or underbellies of their famous subjects, others are tribute films present celebrities in a (sometimes artificial) glowing light. Here, in alphabetical order, is a list of documentaries about a wide range of celebrated personages -- some contemporary and others historical, some famous and others infamous -- whose biographies will fascinate and inspire you.

American: The Bill Hicks Story (2011)

Famed American comedian and musician Bill Hicks died of cancer in 1994. He was 32. His memory and artistry live on in this documentary featuring archival footage of his childhood. as well as of his irreverent stand up routines. There are also cleverly animated family photos, plus tributes from friends and colleagues.

Anvil! The Story of Anvil (2009)

Abramorama Filma

Anvil! The Story of Anvil is about the Toronto-based heavy metal group Anvil! and the two musicians -- Steve 'Lips' Kudlow and Robb Reiner -- who've been best friends, played together since they were in their teens and are ready for a replay of their life on the road.

The Arbor (2009)

Artangel Media

In this documentary about English playwright Andrea Dunbar, filmmaker Clio Bernard has actors lipsynch audio interviews with Dunbar's friends and family to present the short and dramatic life of the gifted and troubled dramatist who died at age 29 of an alcohol-related brain hemorrhage.

Bhutto (2010)

First Run Festures

A stirring biodoc about Benazir Bhutto, one of history's most fascinating and tragic political leaders, the first woman to head the government of a Muslim nation.

Dixie Chicks: Shut Up and Sing (2006)

Weinstein Company

When during a sold out concert, Dixie Chick Natalie Maines made an impromptu disparaging remark about then US President George W. Bush, masses of country music fans decried the singing group. This film, directed by Barbara Kopple, chronicles their come back.

Joan Rivers: A Piece of Work (2010)

IFC Films

Up close and personal with Joan Rivers, whose life is much larger than standup -- although standup is a big part of it!

John Muir In the New World (2011)


Chronicling the life of American environmentalist John Muir, and presenting his long lasting but now endangered wilderness legacy.

L'Amour Fou (2010)

IFC Films

Documenting the lasting love affair and business partnership of Yves Saint-Laurent and Pierre Berge.

Man on Wire (2008)

Discovery Films

A dramatic account of how French aerialist and stuntman Philippe Pettit suspended a tightrope wire between NYC's (now fallen) Twin Towers, walked across it and, as a consequence, faced criminal charges. 

Michael Jackson's This Is It (2009)


Compiled from footage shot of rehearsals for Michael Jackson's scheduled 'This is It' tour. the documentary presents the King of Pop's final performances before his unexpected, untimely death. 

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