Current TV's 50 Documentaries to See Before You Die

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Created by MM.

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Over the past two decades the documentary film has graduated into mainstream cinema, becoming a major box office draw and an important part of contemporary culture. To celebrate this new age of the cinematic documentary, Current TV has commissioned a brand-new series that explores the most powerful, memorable and moving documentary feature films to have hit our cinema screens in recent years.

The shows will count down from fifty to one, eventually revealing what our panel of preeminent film critics, academics and industry insiders has chosen as the most entertaining, powerful and influential modern documentary. However, this is not your average list show. Renowned documentarian Morgan Spurlock will embark on a road trip to track down the filmmakers and characters behind some of the most remarkable moments in contemporary cinema. Along the way, he'll meet maverick directors and eccentric contributors, travel to iconic locations and explore the impact that the documentaries have made on both their subjects and society, all the while counting down to number one.

The five, one-hour shows will take the viewer from the plains of Antarctica in March of the Penguins to the basketball courts of Chicago in Hoop Dreams; from early examples of the blockbuster doc like Roger and Me and The Thin Blue Line to more recent hits such as Catfish and Inside Job. The series will form part of a two-month season in which Current will air full-length presentations of many of the featured docs.

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  1. 4 -

    Vals Im Bashir

    2008 — a.k.a. Waltz with Bashir, in 11 top lists Check
  2. 10 -

    Grizzly Man

    2005, in 9 top lists Check
  3. 15 -


    1994, in 11 top lists Check
  4. 20 -

    Capturing the Friedmans

    2003, in 7 top lists Check
  5. 22 -

    Shut Up & Sing

    2006, in 0 top lists Check
  6. 23 -

    The Eyes of Tammy Faye

    2000, in 0 top lists Check
  7. 27 -


    2003, in 3 top lists Check
  8. 29 -

    Man on Wire

    2008, in 5 top lists Check
  9. 39 -

    Biggie and Tupac

    2002, in 0 top lists Check
  10. 41 -

    The King of Kong

    2007 — a.k.a. The King of Kong: A Fistful of Quarters, in 1 top list Check
  11. 46 -

    Little Dieter Needs to Fly

    1997, in 2 top lists Check
  12. 48 -

    The Kid Stays in the Picture

    2002, in 1 top list Check
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Last updated on Dec 27, 2011; source