Favorite Documentaries

State of Surveillance

2016 | Technology | 27min

As you read this, your government could be thumbing through your contacts, reviewing your text messages and uploading the photos you have stored on your phone without your knowledge. This is the new reality in a post-9/11 age. Most citizens around the globe were first made aware of this troubling phenomenon through the controversial actions of whistleblower Edward Snowden. In their new documentary titled State of Surveillance, VICE travels to Russia, where Snowden currently lives safe from persecution by the United States, to probe the depths of his particular area of expertise.

The Value of Your Personal Data

2013 | Big Data | 50min

They know who you are, the friends you keep, where you shop, and what you browse. They know your unconscious desires. They're the corporations that pay top dollar for your data, a treasure trove of personal insights that they analyze to target and manipulate you. Produced by the acclaimed VPRO documentary series, The Value of Your Personal Data exposes their secretive practices, and offers tips on how you can gain the upper hand.

Inside Job

2010 | Economy | 105min

'Inside Job' provides a comprehensive analysis of the global financial crisis of 2008, which at a cost over $20 trillion, caused millions of people to lose their jobs and homes in the worst recession since the Great Depression, and nearly resulted in a global financial collapse. Through exhaustive research and extensive interviews with key financial insiders, politicians, journalists, and academics, the film traces the rise of a rogue industry which has corrupted politics, regulation, and academia. It was made on location in the United States, Iceland, England, France, Singapore, and China.

Taxi to the Dark Side

2007 | Politics | 106min

Using the torture and death in 2002 of an innocent Afghan taxi driver as the touchstone, this film examines changes after 9/11 in U.S. policy toward suspects in the war on terror. Soldiers, their attorneys, one released detainee, U.S. Attorney John Yoo, news footage and photos tell a story of abuse at Bagram Air Base, Abu Ghraib, and Guantanamo Bay. From Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, and Gonzalez came unwritten orders to use any means necessary. The CIA and soldiers with little training used sleep deprivation, sexual assault, stress positions, waterboarding, dogs and other terror tactics to seek information from detainees.

The Fog of War

2003 | Politics | 107min

Former corporate whiz kid Robert McNamara was the controversial Secretary of Defense in the Kennedy and Johnson administrations, during the height of the Vietnam War. This Academy Award-winning documentary, augmented by archival footage, gives the conflicted McNamara a platform on which he attempts to confront his and the U.S. government's actions in Southeast Asia in light of the horrors of modern warfare, the end of ideology and the punitive judgment of history.

Requiem for the American Dream

2015 | Politics | 75min

This film is the definitive discourse with Noam Chomsky, on the defining characteristic of our time - the deliberate concentration of wealth and power in the hands of a select few. Through interviews filmed over four years, Chomsky unpacks the principles that have brought us to the crossroads of historically unprecedented inequality - tracing a half century of policies designed to favor the most wealthy at the expense of the majority - while also looking back on his own life of activism and political participation.

Waltz with Bashir

2008 | War | 90min

One night at a bar, an old friend tells director Ari about a recurring nightmare in which he is chased by 26 vicious dogs. Every night, the same number of beasts. The two men conclude that there's a connection to their Israeli Army mission in the first Lebanon War of the early eighties. Ari is surprised that he can't remember a thing anymore about that period of his life. Intrigued by this riddle, he decides to meet and interview old friends and comrades around the world. He needs to discover the truth about that time and about himself. As Ari delves deeper and deeper into the mystery, his memory begins to creep up in surreal images.

I Am Not Your Negro

2016 | Culture | 93min

In 1979, James Baldwin wrote a letter to his literary agent describing his next project, Remember This House. The book was to be a revolutionary, personal account of the lives and successive assassinations of three of his close friends-Medgar Evers, Malcolm X and Martin Luther King, Jr. At the time of Baldwin's death in 1987, he left behind only thirty completed pages of his manuscript. Now, in his incendiary new documentary, master filmmaker Raoul Peck envisions the book James Baldwin never finished. The result is a radical, up-to-the-minute examination of race in America, using Baldwin's original words and flood

13th

2016 | Culture | 100min

The film begins with the idea that 25 percent of the people in the world who are incarcerated are incarcerated in the U.S. Although the U.S. has just 5% of the world's population. "13th" charts the explosive growth in America's prison population; in 1970, there were about 200,000 prisoners; today, the prison population is more than 2 million. The documentary touches on chattel slavery; D. W. Griffith's film "The Birth of a Nation"; Emmett Till; the civil rights movement; the Civil Rights Act of 1964; Richard M. Nixon; and Ronald Reagan's declaration of the war on drugs and much more.

Buy the Ticket, Take the Ride

2006 | Literature | 76min

This film is a personal, intimate look at Hunter S. Thompson with a special emphasis on his Hollywood relationships. It captures the legacy and "gonzo" spirit of one of this century's most notorious figures - a man whose life and work regularly intersected with some of the biggest names in the world of film, politics, journalism and sports. The documentary features interviews with Hunter's inner circle of family and friends, such as Johnny Depp, Benicio Del Toro, Bill Murray, Sean Penn, John Cusack, former Senators George McGovern and Gary Hart, Tom Wolfe, William F. Buckley, Gary Busey, Harry Dean Stanton, Ralph Steadman and others.

Salinger

2013 | Literature | 128min

Mr. Salerno, a dogged researcher and tireless interviewer, assembles his documentary material (supplemented by re-enactments and propelled by a throbbing, action-movie score) into a breathless story full of hyperbole and speculation. The resulting blend of reverence and character assassination is an almost perfect distillation of the modern pathology of fame. Salinger, a talented, hard-working and very popular writer, who died in 2010, is built up into a world-historical literary genius.

Before the Music Dies

2006 | Music | 88min

With outstanding performances and revealing interviews Before the Music Dies takes a critical look at the homogenization of popular music with commentary by some of the industry's biggest talents like Eric Clapton, Dave Matthews, Elvis Costello, Erykah Badu, Branford Marsalis, Bonnie Raitt and more. Using historic footage the film looks at the evolution of American music and the artists who created it and pulls back the curtain (in a very creative way) to expose the sad truth behind today's "artificial" music stars.