About the List
For our third installment of our "Movies to See Before You Die" series, we decided to highlight the documentary. The nonfiction movie has long been given less of the limelight than its bigger-budget, more glamorous counterpart, the feature film. Yet the doc has one big advantage over its fictional brethren: it's not made up. The stories are real and that power of authenticity gives these movies a power and a weight that screenwriters can only dream of having. Documentaries have defined decades, changed governments, and even freed the wrongly accused from death row.
And lately, they've become big business. Movies like "Super Size Me," "March of the Penguins," and "Fahrenheit 9/11" have had very lucrative theatrical releases while the popularity of DVDs has extended the reach of docs that might have only been seen by a handful of hardcore film nerds in the past.
We restricted our list to just movies intended to be seen in a movie theater, if only because this site is called Yahoo! Movies. As much as we liked Ken Burns' "The Civil War," "Eyes on the Prize: America's Civil Rights Years," and "When the Levees Broke," they premiered on television.