15 Best Documentaries on HBO Max to Watch Right Now

Discover the finest documentaries on HBO Max! Check out our curated selection of top picks.

Updated on Jul 14, 2023  |  12:34 AM IST |  340.3K
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Best documentaries on hbo max
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Discover the chilling reality that lies beneath. Whether you embrace or doubt their authenticity, the truth is waiting. HBO Max is captivating audiences with its curated collection of films and shows. Don't overlook their captivating documentaries! From the battle for equal pay in women's soccer to the public obsession with plush toys, these HBO Max documentaries will open your eyes to the incredible range of the genre. Don't miss out on these thought-provoking shows and movies.

 

 

1. LFG (2021)


  • Genre: Sports
  • Star Cast: Megan Rapinoe, Jessica McDonald, Becky Sauerbrunn, Kelley O'Hara, Sam Mewis and others
  • Director: Andrea Nix Fine & Sean Fine
  • Writer: Andrea Nix Fine & Sean Fine
  • Run time: 1 hr 45 min
  • Year of release: 2021
  • OTT Platform: HBO Max
  • IMDb rating: 5.6/10

"LFG" is a captivating documentary that follows the United States women's national soccer team as they fight for equal pay. Led by soccer stars Megan Rapinoe, Becky Sauerbrunn, and Jessica McDonald, these remarkable athletes take on the United States Soccer Federation in a gender-discrimination lawsuit, just three months before the 2019 FIFA Women's World Cup. The film takes us inside the courtroom of U.S. District Judge R. Gary Klausner in Los Angeles, where the players confront the unjust treatment they face at work. Despite the judge's failure to acknowledge the unequal pay aspect of the case, the documentary highlights the team's incredible achievements, including their groundbreaking victory in the 2019 World Cup. Through a blend of powerful footage, we witness their dedication, resilience, and the stark contrast between their on-field triumphs and the ongoing struggle for equal pay. "LFG" is a visually stunning and emotionally gripping documentary that exposes the strenuous efforts these athletes endure both on and off the soccer field.

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2. All the Beauty and the Bloodshed (2022)


  • Genre: Documentary
  • Star Cast: Nan Goldin, David Velasco, Megan Kapler, Patrick Radden Keefe
  • Director: Laura Poitras
  • Writer: Laura Poitras
  • Run time: 2 hrs 2 min
  • Year of release: 2022
  • OTT Platform: HBO Max
  • IMDb rating: 7.5/10

Experience the captivating journey of activism and photography through master director Laura Poitras' All the Beauty and the Bloodshed. This powerful documentary unveils the remarkable life of legendary artist Nan Goldin, showcasing her profound impact on the intersection of art and politics. With raw authenticity, Poitras delves into Goldin's relentless pursuit of justice, exposing the heinous crimes of the Sackler family and their devastating opioid epidemic. Through unfiltered interviews with David Velasco and Megan Kapler, this moving film unveils the brilliance of an iconic artist and serves as a profound revelation.



 

3. Marina Abramović: The Artist is Present (2012)


  • Genre: Documentary/Historical drama
  • Star Cast: Marina Abramović, Ulay, Klaus Biesenbach
  • Director: Matthew Akers, Jeff Dupre
  • Writer: Matthew Akers, Jeff Dupre
  • Run time: 1 hr 46 min
  • Year of release: 2012
  • OTT Platform: HBO Max
  • IMDb rating: 7.8/10

Step into the world of Marina Abramović, a groundbreaking conceptual and performance artist. In this captivating documentary, witness her intense journey as she pushes the boundaries of art. For 78 days, Abramović mesmerizes audiences at The Museum of Modern Art in New York, immersing them in her thought-provoking installations. Feel the raw emotion as she sits motionless, hour after hour, inviting anyone to join her. The director captures every moment, revealing the immense impact of Abramović's career and the power of her creativity. Brace yourself for an immersive experience like no other.

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4. Love, Lizzo (2022)


  • Genre: Documentary
  • Star Cast: Doug Pray, Stephanie Meurer, Kevin Beisler, Kevin Weaver, Ryan Kroft, Nicole Rocklin.
  • Director: Doug Pray
  • Writer: Doug Pray
  • Run time: 1 hr 30 min
  • Year of release: 2022
  • OTT Platform: HBO Max
  • IMDb rating: 6.6/10

Love, Lizzo is an inspiring documentary directed by Doug Pray. It combines musical performances, personal moments, and home videos to tell the story of the incredible superstar, Lizzo. The film showcases Lizzo's journey to becoming one of the most beloved artists in the world, with a focus on her talent as a flutist. Alongside Lizzo, Grammy Award winners Cardi B and Billie Eilish make appearances, adding to the star-studded lineup. Love, Lizzo doesn't shy away from the challenges and struggles that Lizzo has faced on her path to success. It's a beautiful journey that exposes the truth of Lizzo's story, even when it's painful. This documentary is a must-watch for any creative individual who dreams big and wants to be inspired.

 

 

5. Heaven's Gate: The Cult of Cults (2020)


  • Genre: Documentary
  • Star Cast: Marshall Applewhite, Reza Aslan, Robert Balch, Janja Lalich, Leslie Light, Frank Lyford, Bonnie Nettles, Terrie Nettles.
  • Director: Clay Tweel
  • Writer: Clay Tweel
  • Run time: 49-52 min
  • Year of release: 2020
  • OTT Platform: HBO Max
  • IMDb rating: 7.2/10

Heaven's Gate: The Cult of Cults is a miniseries that explores the infamous religious UFO cult founded in the 1970s. The group, led by Marshall Applewhite, believed that their bodies were temporary vessels for their souls. They thought they would become immortal extraterrestrial beings and ascend to heaven on a UFO. However, tragedy struck in 1997 when the cult members took part in a mass suicide, making it the largest in US history. This event changed society's perception of modern new-age religion. The documentary includes interviews with former members and their loved ones, as well as never-before-seen footage. It offers an informative and nuanced perspective on the group, explaining their teachings, complex inner systems, the cult's rise, and its eventual downfall. Discover how Applewhite transformed Heaven's Gate from a small organization to a large and ultimately deadly entity.

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6. Roadrunner: A Film About Anthony Bourdain (2021)


  • Genre: Documentary
  • Star Cast: Asia Argento, Anthony Bourdain, Ariane Bourdain, Christopher Bourdain, Ottavia Bourdain.
  • Director: Morgan Neville
  • Writer: Morgan Neville
  • Run time: 1 hr 59 min
  • Year of release: 2021
  • OTT Platform: HBO Max
  • IMDb rating: 7.7/10

When Anthony Bourdain's death was announced in 2018, it had a profound impact on the culinary world. Now, years later, "Roadrunner: A Film About Anthony Bourdain" aims to delve into the life and achievements of this remarkable chef, author, and travel documentarian. Bourdain was not only revered by fellow chefs but also captivated the general public. He gained fame through his candid book "Kitchen Confidential," which exposed the demanding realities of the restaurant industry. However, it was his travel show, "Parts Unknown," that truly propelled him into the spotlight. Through the universal language of food, Bourdain shed light on people's lives in developing countries, war zones, and disaster areas, raising awareness among viewers.

Bourdain's legacy is one of hard work, with both triumphs and challenges. However, his extensive travel for work took a toll on his personal life, a topic he never openly discussed. Now, in "Roadrunner: A Film About Anthony Bourdain," the curtain is lifted, and the truth about his life unfolds.



 

7. Tina (2021)


  • Genre: Documentary
  • Star Cast: Tina Turner, Angela Bassett, Oprah Winfrey, Katori Hall, Kurt Loder, Jimmy Thomas
  • Director: Dan Lindsay & T. J. Martin
  • Writer: Dan Lindsay & T. J. Martin
  • Run time: 1 hr 58 min
  • Year of release: 2021
  • OTT Platform: HBO Max
  • IMDb rating: 7.9/10

"Tina" is a documentary film based on Tina Turner's memoir, "Happiness Becomes You." It portrays the ups and downs of her musical career, showcasing the raw and honest account of her life. From being abandoned as a child and living in poverty to achieving stardom, the film delves into Turner's struggles, including the abusive relationship she endured in secret. Despite the challenges, audiences witness her resilience as she rises again in the demanding music industry and finds solace with her loving partner, Erwin Bach.

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It is a story of triumph over adversity. While there are many positive moments in Turner's journey, a significant part of her life is overshadowed by hardships. Nevertheless, Turner's experiences have shaped her into a strong individual, both personally and professionally. She has demonstrated her ability to overcome tragedy and thrive, emerging as a powerful figure in the music industry.


 

8. Class Action Park (2020)


  • Genre: Documentary
  • Star Cast: John Hodgman, Faith Anderson, Alison Becker, Bill Benneyan, Matthew Callan
  • Director: Seth Porges & Chris Charles Scott III
  • Writer: Seth Porges & Chris Charles Scott III
  • Run time: 1 hr 30 min
  • Year of release: 2020
  • OTT Platform: HBO Max
  • IMDb rating: 7/10

Unveiling the shocking truth behind an infamous American amusement park, "Class Action Park" delves into the treacherous reality of Action Park in Vernon Township, New Jersey. This thrilling documentary explores the park's notorious reputation as a death trap, earning nicknames like "Accident Park," "Friction Park," and "Traction Park." Prepare to be astonished as you discover the perilous conditions, intoxicated guests, underage staff, and dangerously-designed rides that claimed the lives of at least six visitors. With names like Cannonball Loop, Alpine Slides, and Tarzan Swings, these attractions pushed the boundaries of danger. Meet former employees and the mastermind behind it all, Eugene Mulvihill, a penny stockbroker who envisioned Action Park as a place with "no rules." Brace yourself for a riveting expose that exposes the dark side of amusement parks.

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9. The Inventor: Out for Blood in Silicon Valley (2019)


  • Genre: Documentary
  • Star Cast: Alex Gibney, Elizabeth Holmes, Dan Ariely, Roger Parloff, Ken Auletta · Erika Cheung · Cheryl Gafner · Dave Philippides.
  • Director: Alex Gibney
  • Writer: Alex Gibney
  • Run time: 1 hr 59 min
  • Year of release: 2019
  • OTT Platform: HBO Max
  • IMDb rating: 7.2/10

If you enjoyed Hulu's The Dropout, you'll love The Inventor: Out for Blood in Silicon Valley. This documentary explores the rise and fall of Elizabeth Holmes, a former biotech entrepreneur and her company, Theranos. Holmes, once hailed as the youngest self-made female billionaire deceived the world with her fraudulent practices. The film delves into her deceptive tactics and how she managed to orchestrate one of the biggest scams in the healthcare industry. Despite claims of a groundbreaking blood testing method, experts doubted its feasibility. Despite Holmes' attempts to dismiss criticism as sabotage, the truth caught up with her, leading to the downfall of Theranos and Holmes herself.


 

10. Fake Famous (2021)


  • Genre: Documentary
  • Star Cast: Christopher Bailey, Osiris Bashir, Justine Bateman, Shannon Dee, Dominique Druckman, Liz Eswein, Sarah Frier, Wylie Heiner.
  • Director: Nick Bilton
  • Writer: Nick Bilton
  • Run time: 1 hr 27 min
  • Year of release: 2021
  • OTT Platform: HBO Max
  • IMDb rating: 6.6/10

Fake Famous is a social experiment that transforms the lives of three regular individuals into popular social media influencers. The participants, an aspiring actress, a fashion designer, and an ordinary real estate assistant, are curious about experiencing the influencer lifestyle.

However, there's a catch. They have to "fake" their fame by buying followers and portraying a luxurious lifestyle that isn't real. This experiment highlights how social media has distorted our perception of people, reminding us that Instagram culture can be disconnected from reality.



 

11. Tony Hawk: Until the Wheels Fall Off (2022)


  • Genre: Documentary
  • Star Cast: Tony Hawk, Stacy Peralta, Rob Roy Fitzgerald, Rodney Mullen, Christian Hosoi, Steve Caballero, Rob 'Sluggo' Boyce, Lance Mountain.
  • Director: Sam Jones
  • Writer: Sam Jones
  • Run time: 2 hr 15 min
  • Year of release: 2022
  • OTT Platform: HBO Max
  • IMDb rating: 8/10

Tony Hawk: Until the Wheels Fall Off is an in-depth documentary about Tony Hawk's life as a professional skateboarder. It explores his passion for skateboarding and the valuable life lessons he has learned from the sport. The film takes viewers behind the scenes, showcasing the dedication and determination required to master challenging tricks. It's not just about Hawk's career, but also a celebration of skateboarding culture as a whole. The documentary includes interviews with other influential figures in skateboarding, never-before-seen footage, and unrestricted access to Tony Hawk himself.



 

12. The Bee Gees: How Can You Mend a Broken Heart (2020)


  • Genre: Documentary
  • Star Cast: Barry Gibb, Maurice Gibb, Robin Gibb, Peter Brown, Eric Clapton, Vince Melouney, Mark Ronson, Noel Gallagher.
  • Director: Frank Marshall
  • Writer: Frank Marshall
  • Run time: 1 hr 51 min
  • Year of release: 2020
  • OTT Platform: HBO Max
  • IMDb rating: 8.1/10

"The Bee Gees: How Can You Mend a Broken Heart" is a documentary that tells the story of the iconic family band, The Bee Gees, focusing on the three talented brothers: Barry, Maurice, and Robin Gibb. The film explores their journey from the beginning, featuring Barry Gibb prominently, along with interviews from the late Robin and Maurice Gibb. It also includes insights from various musicians like Noel Gallagher, Mark Ronson, Justin Timberlake, Eric Clapton, and Chris Martin.

During the 1960s and 1970s, The Bee Gees gained immense popularity with hits such as "Stayin' Alive" and "How Deep Is Your Love." The documentary delves into their rise to fame, their temporary separation, and their eventual reunion in the music industry. Unlike tabloid-style documentaries, this film focuses on the band's creative process, shedding light on their heartfelt songwriting abilities, often overlooked amidst their flashy performances.


 

13. Phoenix Rising (2022)


  • Genre: Documentary
  • Star Cast: Evan Rachel Wood, Sara Wood, Illma Gore, Ira David Wood IV.
  • Director: Amy J. Berg
  • Writer: Amy J. Berg
  • Run time: 1 hr 17 min
  • Year of release: 2022
  • OTT Platform: HBO Max
  • IMDb rating: 7.2/10

Phoenix Rising is a chilling documentary that follows the story of Evan Rachel Wood, who has come forward as a survivor of alleged domestic abuse. Initially, she didn't reveal the name of her abuser, but during the film's production in the summer of 2020, Wood identified Marilyn Manson as her alleged abuser. The documentary sheds light on the long-standing issue of domestic violence, showing that it can happen to anyone, regardless of fame. It exposes the signs of abuse, such as grooming, isolation, power imbalances, physical violence, gaslighting, and death threats, providing a horrifying glimpse into the real-life experiences of individuals.

In a society that often blames women, Wood, as a survivor, is in the process of healing from her trauma while taking control of her own narrative. Despite the challenges she faces with her case, she continues to tirelessly advocate for justice. Phoenix Rising also documents Wood's efforts in creating The Phoenix Act, a law that seeks to extend the time limit for prosecuting domestic violence cases, specifically in California.


 

14. Not So Pretty (2022)


  • Genre: Documentary
  • Star Cast: Keke Palmer, Dreah Marie.
  • Director: Kirby Dick, Amy Ziering
  • Writer: Kirby Dick, Amy Ziering
  • Run time: 26-35 min
  • Year of release: 2020
  • OTT Platform: HBO Max
  • IMDb rating: 6.9/10

Discover the truth behind the beauty industry in the gripping miniseries, "Not So Pretty." This eye-opening documentary explores the hidden chemicals lurking in everyday beauty products, such as shampoos, nail polish, and facial cleansers. Unveiling the industry's disregard for public health, the four episodes expose the risks of illnesses and even death. Prepare to be shocked as interviews with affected individuals reveal personal accounts of falling ill from makeup containing asbestos, while a major company denies any harm in their supposedly safe baby powder. This captivating series reveals the alarming lengths corporations go to maximize profits, leaving viewers astounded.



 

15. Norma Rae (1979)


  • Genre: Documentary/socio drama
  • Star Cast: Sally Field, Beau Bridges, Ron Leibman
  • Director: Martin Ritt
  • Writer: Martin Ritt
  • Run time: 1 hr 54 min
  • Year of release: 1979
  • OTT Platform: HBO Max
  • IMDb rating: 7.3/10

Norma Rae tells the true story of Crystal Lee Sutton, an American union organizer who fought against harsh working conditions in the 1970s textile industry. The movie highlights her struggle and how it inspired her community to unite for better treatment. Sally Field's passionate performance as Norma Rae won her an Academy Award for Best Actress in a Leading Role, leaving a lasting impact. The film exposes the dangers and life-changing consequences of union organizing, reminding us that the fight for workers' rights is ongoing. Even today, companies employ tactics like smear campaigns, threats, and dividing workers. Norma Rae stands as a significant achievement for both workers' rights and the film industry as a whole.

Also read: The 20 Best TV Shows on HBO Max; List here

FAQs

What are the best documentaries on HBO Max?
Some highly acclaimed documentaries on HBO Max include The Jinx: The Life and Deaths of Robert Durst, Leaving Neverland, I Love You, Now Die: The Commonwealth vs. Michelle Carter, McMillions, and The Inventor: Out for Blood in Silicon Valley.

Are there any award-winning documentaries on HBO Max?
Yes, HBO Max features award-winning documentaries such as Citizenfour, which won the Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature in 2015, and Amy, which won the same award in 2016.

Can I find true crime documentaries on HBO Max?
HBO Max has a fantastic collection of true crime documentaries, including The Jinx, McMillions, and I'll Be Gone in the Dark, among others.

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