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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 that present celebrities in a (sometimes artificial) glowing light. Here, in alphabetical order, is a curated 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.

Ai Weiwei Never Sorry

Sundance Selects

Filmmaker Alison Klayman profiles Chinese activist artist Ai Weiwei, following him as he gains fame not only for his innovative art, but also for openly protesting political repressiion in contemporary China. 

American: The Bill Hicks Story

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

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

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.


IFC Films

Filmmaker Cindy Meehl follows Buck Brannaman, known as the original 'horse whisperer,' as he travels around the USA presenting workshops in which he not only trains horses, but spreading words of wisdom about every aspect of life.


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

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

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


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

L'Amour Fou

IFC Films

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

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