Casual movie fans tend to watch a movie then move on. Netflix and similar services have made so many movies available that we don’t think much about them.
If they really like it, they might see it again in the theater or buy a home version, but even that is a bit much for most people.
But film buffs and fans of classic movies are different. They tend to focus on single genres, directors, periods, or even single movies for long periods, learning everything they can about them.
If that sounds like you, these excellent documentaries about movies and cinema history are for you.
Already a classic of sorts among film buffs, Hearts of Darkness: A Filmmaker’s Apocalypse follows Francis Ford Coppola and his crew during the making of Apocalypse Now. If you love that movie, you may even own this already, as it’s included on some versions of the home release. Otherwise you can rent the streaming version.
This multi-part documentary series originally aired on Turner Classic Movies, telling the stories of various Hollywood pioneers over the years. This one isn’t available on streaming services, but you’ll find the DVD set on sale for a relatively affordable price.
Based on the book of the same name, Easy Riders, Raging Bulls focuses on Hollywood during the 1970s, a time when it was known as “New Hollywood.” Unlike the book, the movie can be tough to track down. Fortunately, you’ll find it streaming on YouTube.
As the name hints, this TV miniseries tells the story of the iconic Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios, featuring Patrick Stewart as the host. The DVD is fairly expensive, but you’ll find it available for either rent or purchase on various streaming services.
If you prefer things black and white with a hint of mystery, film noir is probably one of your favorite genres, meaning you should absolutely see Film Noir: Bringing Darkness to Light. This one can be tough to track down, unfortunately.
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An entire documentary dedicated to not just a single movie, but a single scene may sound absurd, until you realize the scene the movie is about and the effect it had on the film world as a whole.
Buster Keaton was a major force in the world of film comedy, and this documentary dives deep into both his work and his life in general. This is a cheap and easy rental on a number of different streaming services.
This 2009 documentary focuses on Disney films between the early 1980s and the mid 90s.
If names like Who Framed Roger Rabbit, Aladdin, and The Lion King bring a smile to your face, it’s worth paying for a month of Disney+ to watch this documentary and a few of the films it focuses on.
The idea of the midnight movie carries a type of excitement with it, which is why this movie focuses on them.
Bringing together movies like The Rocky Horror Picture Show, The Harder They Come, and Reefer Madness, this movie shows why these movies bring people to see them over and over.
Love him or hate him, the name Roger Corman is one familiar to many a film buff. Corman’s World: Exploits of a Hollywood Rebel focuses on not just the director, but those he worked with and his approach to movie making in general.
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Even if not every documentary on this list appeals to you, there’s still plenty to watch. Still, even though there are a few multi-part documentaries here, you’ll run out of them eventually.
What are you supposed to do then? Turn to podcasts! Check out the best podcasts for film buffs and movie junkies.