21 Amazing Documentaries On Life And Nature From The Last 5 Years

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For those who love watching movies about life and nature, here’s a collection of 21 documentaries to sharpen your mind. You’ll be amazed by their content, visual beauty, and narration!

Storylines are from IMDb, and the ranking is done according to IMDb ratings.

1. Chimpanzee (2012) | IMDb 7.2

www.thesuburbanmom.com

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1222815

Oscar, a baby chimpanzee is enjoying his life with his mother in the jungles along the Ivory Coast. Without warning, young Oscar is tragically orphaned during an attack from a rival group of chimpanzees. Afterwards, he attempts to survive on his own, and to be accepted by the other chimps. But Oscar struggles, until he is surprisingly adopted by the Alpha Male of his group.

2. Cartel Land (2015) | IMDb 7.4

www.truthdig.com

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt4126304

A physician in Michoacán, Mexico leads a citizen uprising against the drug cartel that has wreaked havoc on the region for years. Across the U.S. border, a veteran heads a paramilitary group working to prevent Mexico's drug wars from entering U.S. territory.

3. Dirty Wars (2013) | IMDb 7.5

img.fmoviesub.com

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2532528

Dirty Wars follows investigative reporter Jeremy Scahill, author of the international bestseller Blackwater, into the hidden world of America's covert wars, from Afghanistan to Yemen, Somalia, and beyond. Part action film and part detective story, Dirty Wars is a gripping journey into one of the most important and underreported stories of our time. What begins as a report on a deadly U.S. night raid in a remote corner of Afghanistan quickly turns into a global investigation of the secretive and powerful Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC). As Scahill digs deeper into the activities of JSOC, he is pulled into a world of covert operations unknown to the public and carried out across the globe by men who do not exist on paper and will never appear before Congress. In military jargon, JSOC teams "find, fix, and finish" their targets, who are selected through a secret process. No target is off limits for the "kill list," including U.S. citizens.

4. Where to Invade Next (2015) | IMDb 7.6

michaelmoore.s3.amazonaws.com

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt4897822

To show what the USA can learn from rest of the world, director Michael Moore playfully visits various nations in Europe and Africa as a one-man "invader" to take their ideas and practices for America. Whether it is Italy with its generous vacation time allotments, France with its gourmet school lunches, Germany with its industrial policy, Norway and its prison system, Tunisia and its strongly progressive women's policy, or Iceland and its strong female presence in government and business among others, Michael Moore discovers there is much that American should emulate.

5. Blackfish (2013) | IMDb 8.1

i.ytimg.com

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2545118

Notorious killer whale Tilikum is responsible for the deaths of three individuals, including a top killer whale trainer. Blackfish shows the sometimes devastating consequences of keeping such intelligent and sentient creatures in captivity.

6. Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Belief (2015) | IMDb 8.1

filmgrimoire.files.wordpress.com

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt4257858

A devastating two hour documentary based on Lawrence Wright's book of the same name. Scientology is laid bare by a film that skilfully knits together archive footage, testimonials from former high ranking officials and public, and dramatic reconstructions.

7. Citizenfour (2014) | IMDb 8.1

thebaffler.com

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt4044364

In January 2013, Laura Poitras started receiving anonymous encrypted e-mails from "CITIZENFOUR," who claimed to have evidence of illegal covert surveillance programs run by the NSA in collaboration with other intelligence agencies worldwide. Five months later, she and reporters Glenn Greenwald and Ewen MacAskill flew to Hong Kong for the first of many meetings with the man who turned out to be Edward Snowden. She brought her camera with her. The resulting film is history unfolding before our eyes.

8. Searching for Sugar Man (2012) | IMDb 8.2

kakavfilm.com

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2125608

In the early 1970s, Sixto Rodriguez was a Detroit folksinger who had a short-lived recording career with only two well received but non-selling albums. Unknown to Rodriguez, his musical story continued in South Africa where he became a pop music icon and inspiration for generations. Long rumored there to be dead by suicide, a few fans in the 1990s decided to seek out the truth of their hero's fate. What follows is a bizarrely heartening story in which they found far more in their quest than they ever hoped, while a Detroit construction laborer discovered that his lost artistic dreams came true after all.

9. Racing Extinction (2015) | IMDb 8.2

cdn.reefs.com

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1618448

Scientists predict we may lose half the species on the planet by the end of the century. They believe we have entered the sixth major extinction event in Earth's history. Number five took out the dinosaurs. This era is called the Anthropocene, or 'Age of Man', because the evidence shows that humanity has sparked this catastrophic loss. We are the only ones who can stop it as well. The Oceanic Preservation Society, the group behind the Academy Award® winning film THE COVE, is back for "Racing Extinction". Along with some new innovators, OPS will bring a voice to the thousands of species on the very edge of life. An unlikely team of activists is out to expose the two worlds endangering species across the globe. The first threat to the wild comes from the international trade of wildlife. Bogus markets are being created at the expense of creatures who have survived on this planet for millions of years. The other threat is all around us, hiding in plain sight.

10. The Act of Killing (2012) | IMDb 8.2

dl9fvu4r30qs1.cloudfront.net

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2375605

A documentary which challenges former Indonesian death-squad leaders to reenact their mass-killings in whichever cinematic genres they wish, including classic Hollywood crime scenarios and lavish musical numbers.

11. Virunga (2014) | IMDb 8.3

nairobinow.files.wordpress.com

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt3455224

In the forested depths of eastern Congo lies Virunga National Park, one of the most bio-diverse places in the world and home to the last of the mountain gorillas. In this wild, but enchanted environment, a small and embattled team of park rangers - including an ex-child soldier turned ranger, a carer of orphan gorillas and a Belgian conservationist - protect this UNESCO world heritage site from armed militia, poachers and the dark forces struggling to control Congo's rich natural resources. When the newly formed M23 rebel group declares war in May 2012, a new conflict threatens the lives and stability of everyone and everything they've worked so hard to protect.

12. The Look of Silence (2014) | IMDb 8.3

thelookofsilence.com

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt3521134

An Indonesian man with a communist background named Ramli was brutally murdered when the "Communist" purge occurred in 1965. His remaining family members lived in fear and silence until the making of this documentary. Adi, a brother of his, decided to revisit the horrific incident and visited the men who were responsible for the killings and one survivor of the purge. These meetings uncovered sadistic details of the murders and exposed raw emotions and reactions of the killers' family members about what happened in the past - much to Adi's disappointment.

13. The Salt of the Earth (2014) | IMDb 8.4

margheritamacchiati.files.wordpress.com

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt3674140

For the last 40 years, the photographer Sebastião Salgado has been travelling through the continents, in the footsteps of an ever-changing humanity. He has witnessed some of the major events of our recent history; international conflicts, starvation and exodus. He is now embarking on the discovery of pristine territories, of wild fauna and flora, and of grandiose landscapes as part of a huge photographic project which is a tribute to the planet's beauty.

14. Before the Flood (2016) | IMDb 8.4

assets.inhabitat.com

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt5929776

A look at how climate change affects our environment and what society can do to prevent the demise of endangered species, ecosystems and native communities across the planet.

15. Human (2015) | IMDb 8.7

i.ytimg.com

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt3327994

A collection of stories about and images of our world, offering an immersion to the core of what it means to be human.

16. Making a Murderer (2015) | IMDb 8.8

i0.wp.com

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt5189670

Filmed over a 10-year period, Steven Avery, a DNA exoneree who, while in the midst of exposing corruption in local law enforcement, finds himself the prime suspect in a grisly new crime. Viewers are taken inside a high-stakes criminal case where reputation is everything and things are never as they appear.

17. The Jinx: The Life and Deaths of Robert Durst (2015) | IMDb 8.9

i.ytimg.com

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt4299972

A groundbreaking six-part documentary directed and produced by Andrew Jarecki and produced and shot by Marc Smerling (the Oscar nominated behind "Canim babacigim (2003)") delves into the strange history of real estate heir Robert Durst, long suspected in the still-unsolved 1982 disappearance of his wife as well as the subsequent murders of family friend Susan Berman and neighbor Morris Black. It features an extended, revealing interview with Durst himself, with whom Jarecki developed a unique relationship following the release of "All Good Things (2010)", Jarecki's 2010 feature about Durst's life starring Ryan Gosling and Kirsten Dunst. "The Jinx" results from nearly a decade of research by the filmmakers, who expose police files, key witnesses, never-before-seen footage, private prison recordings, and thousands of pages of formerly hidden documents.

18. O.J.: Made in America (2016) | IMDb 9.0

a4.espncdn.com

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt5275892

It is the defining cultural tale of modern America - a saga of race, celebrity, media, violence, and the criminal justice system. And two decades after its unforgettable climax, it continues to fascinate, polarize, and even, yes, develop new chapters. Now, the producers of ESPN's award-winning "30 for 30" have made it the subject of their first documentary-event and most ambitious project yet. From Peabody and Emmy-award winning director Ezra Edelman, it's "O.J.: Made in America," a 10-hour multi-part production coming summer of 2016. To most observers, it's a story that began the night Nicole Brown Simpson and Ronald Goldman were brutally murdered outside her Brentwood apartment. But as "O.J." lays bare, to truly grasp the significance of what happened not just that night, but the epic chronicle to follow, one has to travel back to a much different, much earlier origin point, at not the end, but the beginning of the 20th century, when African-Americans began migrating to California...

19. Africa (2013) | IMDb 9.2

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2571774

Africa, the world's wildest continent. David Attenborough takes us on an awe-inspiring journey through one of the most diverse places in the world. We visit deserts, savannas, and jungles and meet up with some of Africa's amazing wildlife.

20. Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey (2014) | IMDb 9.3

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2395695

A documentary series that explores how we discovered the laws of nature and found our coordinates in space and time.

21. Planet Earth II (2016) | IMDb 9.7

blog.ecocompanion.com

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt5491994

Planet Earth II is a 2016 British nature documentary series produced by the BBC as a sequel to Planet Earth, which was broadcast in 2006. The series is presented and narrated by Sir David Attenborough with the main theme music composed by Hans Zimmer.

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