Documentaries have long been appreciated genres in the film industry. The quality and popularity of some of the documentaries have resulted in notable successes at the Academy Awards, but also at prestigious film festivals.
Here is a compilation of 10 inspirational documentaries that will change your life. The mix includes emotional and thrilling subjects, ranging from the most delicate to the most entertaining and educational.
Inspirational Documentaries Worth Watching
1. Senna (2010)
The life and struggles of a champion
Ayrton Senna was the definitive genius behind the steering wheel. The former Formula One racing driver has collected a total of 41 victories and 65 pole positions, making him the winner of the World Drivers Championships three times. But his greatest victory was beyond the race track, it was the respect coming from the people who loved him. He was adored in his native Brazil and reached superstar status in the ’80s and ’90s. His spotless career and fame was only marked by his rivalry with another race star, Alain Prost.
The documentary is a splendid outlook on his life, his achievements, his personal life and it is an inspiring example how the power of a single person can make a huge impact.
2. I am (2010)
A great story about hope, recovery and optimism
Optimism and positive thinking are key to a fast recovery. After suffering a near death accident while mountain-biking, Tom Shadyac, the director of the Ace Ventura films, has went through a period of slow, painstaking recovery. While going through the difficult moments and numerous doctor’s appointments, he understands and reflects on the different things that are going wrong in the world. This documentary is an inspiration for anyone going through tough times, who feel that they are in dire straits or have no hope. Knowing that there is hope is crucial and this film shows that through positive thinking, everything is possible.
3. Kumare (2011)
A Profound teaching wrapped in a social experiment
A provocative social experiment-turned-documentary, KUMARE follows American filmmaker Vikram Gandhi as he transforms himself into a wise Indian guru, hoping to prove the absurdity of blind faith. Instead, he finds himself forging profound connections with people from all walks of life — and wondering if and when to reveal his true self.
Will his followers accept his final teaching? Can this illusion reveal a greater spiritual truth? Winner of South by Southwest’s Audience Award, KUMARE is an insightful look at faith and belief.
4. Man on Wire (2008)
Heartening, moving, courageous and bold
1974 saw a daring act of courage from Frenchman Phillippe Petit, who performed a high-wire walk between the two World Trade Center skyscrapers in New York. This exciting documentary follows Phillippe as he prepares for his mission. It shows the planning phases, his method and training and, of course, the ultimate feat, the high-walk, done without any safety measures.
Man on wire features an enthusiastic dialogue and entertaining narration, with spectacular imagery, creating a wonderful atmosphere. Finally, the viewer is left to marvel at his courage and skill, while some may question his motives or motivations for such an endeavor. But the real lesson behind it is that you must follow your dreams, whatever they are.
5. Searching For Sugar Man (2012)
A story of a man who could have been if he never gave up
Searching For Sugar Man tells the incredible true story of Rodriguez the greatest `70s rock icon who never was. After being discovered in a Detroit bar Rodriguez’s sound struck 2 renowned producers and they signed a recording deal. But when the album bombed the singer disappeared into obscurity. A bootleg recording found its way into apartheid South Africa and over the next two decades he became a phenomenon.
The film follows the story of two South African fans who set out to find out what really happened to their hero.
6. Hungry For Change (2012)
Find inspiration to change your lifestyle
This is the perfect documentary for any health and fitness buff out there. Knowing the best recipes, foods and beverages to reach your ultimate goal of a perfect body is essential, and this film sheds light on various practices and deceptive strategies employed by large companies in the field. Interviews with health specialists and bestselling authors, as well as physicians will also help you get out of the diet trap. However, the most inspirational part of the film is the success stories of some of the people who risked and changed their lifestyles, finally overcoming obesity or other health problems.
7. Finding Joe (2011)
An Inspiring documentary that shows us all, “We Are Our Own Hero”
In the early 20th century while studying world mythology, Joseph Campbell discovered a pattern hidden in every story ever told. He called it “the hero’s journey.” Finding Joe explores how the hero’s journey is relevant and essential in today’s world. It provides a narrative for how to live a fully realized life or, as Campbell would simply state, how to “follow your bliss.”
This documentary takes us on an inspirational quest of self-discovery. As you slay dragons and uncover treasures, you just may find that the holy grail you seek is closer than you think.
8. Sans Soleil (1983)
Travel and discover your true self
Chris Marker’s exciting documentary follows the traveler through a journey from San Francisco to Africa and from Japan to Iceland, covering breathtaking scenery and exhilarating experiences. The film is narrated by a pleasant female voice and features stunning images from various parts of the world. Viewers will enjoy superb shots of Icelandic people, a Japanese temple dedicated to cats and much more.
The cinematography in this documentary is absolutely impressive and will leave you mesmerized.
9. Happy (2011)
Learning how to become a truly happy person
Happy is a thoughtful documentary which examines the cause of happiness. While depression, anxiety and other negative emotions have been studied numerous times before, what makes a person happy has remained a mystery. Featuring a collection of interviews with people from diverse cultures and communities, Happy shows the simple and basic elements that can cause happiness. From community dwellers in Denmark, to a 60-year old surfer from Brazil, or the cheerful inhabitants of Okinawa, the film is packed with positive and optimistic stories of life and will become a real inspiration for any viewer.
10. When We Were Kings (1996)
The story of a challenge and how to overcome it
Muhammad Ali was 32 in 1974, and many thought he should retire, that he was way past his prime, that he couldn’t fight anymore. His competitor is George Forman, ten years younger and the current Heavyweight champion of the world. Don King, a relatively unknown boxing promoter, decides to lure the fighters with 5 million dollars each for the match, and the only financial backer for this plan is Mobutu Sese Suko, the dictator of Zaire. This is how this famous boxing match in history started, known as “Rumble in the Jungle”. It shows the intense build up and training prior to the fight and includes interviews with the athletes and their coaches. Also, this inspirational documentary features guest appearances by James Brown, Spike Lee and Thomas Hauser among others.
When We Were Kings was critically praised and it won the Academy Award for the Best Documentary Feature in 1996.
Have you viewed any documentaries recently that have helped change your life?
Please share them with us and leave a comment about your recommended documentary.
Article By Joel Brown | Addicted2Success.com
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