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Best Documentaries on HBO Max

In this article, we’ll take a look at some of the best documentaries on HBO Max that have aired over the past several years.

HBO is famous for its high-quality, award-winning content. So it’s no surprise that their documentary programming is equally as impressive. The documentaries HBO Max is offering are unique yet mirrors the real life problems.

From their early days, HBO has been at the forefront of documentary filmmaking. The network’s first documentary series was American Family, which ran from 1973 to 1977.

1. The Zen Diaries of Garry Shandling (2018)

 The Zen Diaries of Garry Shandling is a show that is talked about always. The show has extra effort put together.

The cast of the show has put life to the characters. Witty storyline and meticulously written content in each episode has not left anyone disappointed. It is almost like watching an actual documentary about Garry Shandling!

Overall, it is highly recommended to watch.

2. When the Levees Broke (2006)

The documentary When the Levees Broke is produced by Spike Lee. It follows the events of Hurricane Katrina. Its aftermath, including the levee failures that led to flooding and destruction in New Orleans. The documentary is presented in five parts: “The History,” “The Decision,” “The Flood,” “City of Refuge,” and “What Went Wrong?”

In this documentary, Lee interviews several people who were involved with or affected by Hurricane Katrina. He also includes footage from his archive footage of previous disaster relief efforts, including those following 9/11.

This documentary has shown the world how natural disasters destroy some people’s lives. It shows how economies break and how loved ones get separated. The emotional dilemmas associated with the documentary is the thing worth watching.

3. Welcome to Chechnya (2020)

People of Chechen were just like us, ordinary people with same problems, same efforts in life and same considerations. The only difference was that they lived under severe oppression.

The documentary also made me think about how important it is for us as citizens to speak up. When we see injustice happening in other places around the world. We hold the responsibility to protect the humans against injustice. We are privileged, and yet must conform to our responsibilities towards humans of this world.

4. The War Room (1993)

 The War Room is a 1993 documentary about the Clinton campaign for president. It follows the campaign’s “war room,” the team that worked to get Bill Clinton elected, and covers the last two months of his run.!

How to help Bill Clinton win the Democratic nomination against Jerry Brown and Paul Tsongas is the main aim of the story in this documentary. Paul Begala was hired, who had been working as an attorney before then, to join in creating a strategy for doing so. They do it by focusing on the issues that are important to voters like them: healthcare reform and environmental protection. They talk about it all the time to create awareness and to make people remember them.

5. The Vow (2020)

 The Vow is a movie that will make you cry, but it’s worth it.

The film follows Paige (played by Rachel McAdams) and Leo (Channing Tatum) as they start their life together. It’s not long before Paige is hit by a car, and she loses her memory. The rest of the movie follows her journey to rediscover herself and her love for Leo.

The movie is heart breaking and follows the real love story. It tells us how to be loyal to our partners even in times of hardships and how to love them unconditionally.

6. A Dangerous Son (2018)

 It’s no secret that HBO Max has been on a roll lately. The network is churning out hit after hit, and A Dangerous Son is no exception.

The story of a young man with a dangerous mental illness and his mother, who struggles to be both supportive and protective, A Dangerous Son is an emotional rollercoaster. But it’s also uplifting: the bond between mother and son is beautifully depicted, as well as the strength of the family unit.

It’s easy to see why this show has already been picked up for season 2! It tackles the tough subject matter with compassion and empathy, adding some humor along the way.

There are many reasons why this show should be on your radar: it’s emotionally gripping, it deals with mental illness without being overly preachy or exploitative (which can happen), and it has great acting by all involved.

7. Allen V. Farrow (2021)

The movie takes place on a space station in the year 2021. The United States has been devastated by an economic crisis that’s left the country bankrupt and desperate, so they’ve sold off their space program, and citizens are sent to live on a space station while they figure out what to do next.

This isn’t just a sci-fi movie about people living in space. It’s also a character study about what happens when everything goes wrong for these characters, who were once rich and powerful but now have nothing left but each other and their memories of better times.

8. Andre the Giant (2018)

 Andre the Giant, a documentary about the life and career of professional wrestler Andre Rene Roussimoff, is not just for wrestling fans. As it turns out, this HBO Max original movie is for everyone.

The film follows the life of Andre from childhood until his death in 1993 at age 46. It explores his family history, including his mother’s father who was believed to be a giant himself. It also touches on his relationships with other wrestlers and his work ethic on set.

This documentary is an excellent way to spend two hours because it is both educational and entertaining. The filmmakers did an amazing job piecing together old footage and interviews with people who knew Andre personally to create an accurate portrayal of his life story and they did it all without making him seem like a superhero or godlike figure (which he certainly wasn’t).

9. At the Heart of Gold: Inside the USA Gymnastics Scandal (2019)

 At the Heart of Gold: Inside the USA Gymnastics Scandal (2019) is a documentary that follows the rise and fall of USA Gymnastics and their relationship with Dr. Larry Nassar, who worked as a team doctor for the organization for over 20 years.

As we follow along with this story, it becomes clear that there’s something rotten at the heart of USAG. We see how USAG tried to cover up Nassar’s abuse, even when they were presented with overwhelming evidence. The movie also shows how USAG continued to allow him access to young girls despite knowing he was a danger to them.

This film shows us how sports organizations like USAG can be so invested in their image that they will do anything—including ignoring victims of sexual assault to protect themselves from scrutiny. The film makes it clear that if we want to change this system, then we must first change our own culture.

10. Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown (2013–2018)

The show is a travel series that takes viewers around the world, exploring different cultures and their food. It’s like eating your way through a foreign country but without all the packing, booking flights, or learning a new language.

Bourdain talks with locals as they go about their daily lives while he eats in restaurants they recommend or cooks with them in their homes. He also visits markets and cultural landmarks to learn about each place’s history and traditions.

The show has won 11 Emmys since its debut in 2013, including awards for Outstanding Informational Series or Special (2013), Outstanding Cinematography for Nonfiction Programming (2014), Outstanding Picture Editing for Nonfiction Programming (2014), Outstanding Sound Mixing for Nonfiction Programming (2016) and Outstanding Writing for Nonfiction Programming (2018).

11. Baltimore Rising (2017)

 Baltimore Rising is an HBO Max original documentary film that takes a look at the city of Baltimore and its relationship with law enforcement. The film explores racial tensions that have been rising for years, and it features interviews with people from all walks of life.

Overall, we found Baltimore Rising to be very informative and eye-opening. We learned about the history of policing in America, which has always been fraught with racial tension. We also learned about current events like Freddie Gray’s death and the riots that followed; although they occurred years ago, they’re still very much relevant today.

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

The Bee Gees: How Can You Mend a Broken Heart (2020) is a documentary about the Bee Gees, who are considered to be one of the most important groups in pop music history. The band was formed in Manchester, England in 1958. They were known for their amazing harmonies and sophisticated sound, which helped to define disco music.

13. 20 Feet From Stardom (2013)

 In HBO Max’s 20 Feet From Stardom, we learn about the “background singers” who perform with some of the biggest pop stars in the world.

The film is a documentary about these talented women who often don’t get the credit they deserve. It interviews some of the best-known background singers, including Merry Clayton and Lisa Fischer.

These women sing in harmony with some of the biggest names in music—and they’ve been doing it for decades. Clayton sang backup vocals on “The Letter” by the Box Tops, as well as “Gimme Shelter” by The Rolling Stones. She also sang backup for Aretha Franklin and Tina Turner, among others. Fischer has sung backup for artists like BB King and Sting.

14. 12th & Delaware (2010)

12th & Delaware follows a group of young black men who are looking to get out of the drug game in Philadelphia.

The show has a lot of positive things going for it. It depicts the contemporary American society, how racism has affected the lives of many in American. Actors in the documentary have done justice with the character. The show is convincing and plot is perfect, overall the must watch thing.

15. Street Gang: How We Got to Sesame Street (2021)

The documentary takes you back to the times when these amazing shows started. The challenges, some real locations, exemplary situations and people this is all about. How the art of tv came into existence, how did people first rejected it and much more. The documentary is also going to show you how great artists talked about how it came into existence.

16. The Scheme (2020)

 The Scheme is a raunchy comedy that follows a group of friends who are trying to make it in the world of professional football.

The show stars Michael B. Jordan as Paul, an aspiring NFL player who hopes to eventually become a star. His roommate, Aaron (played by Harrison Gilbertson), is a computer genius who wants to use his skills to break into the world of professional sports gambling. The two come up with an idea that will let them both achieve their goals: they’ll create an app called The Scheme, which will allow people to bet on sports matches using money from their bank accounts.

The storyline is amazing and yet compelling.

17. Diana, Our Mother: Her Life and Legacy (2017)

 The HBO film ‘Diana, Our Mother: Her Life and Legacy is a must-watch for anyone who wants to learn more about the life of Princess Diana, as well as her legacy.

The film begins with a brief overview of Diana’s early years, including her childhood in Wales, as well as her time at boarding school and university. It then moves into her early adulthood, when she met Prince Charles at a polo match and began dating him. The film also explores how the couple married in 1981 and raised their two sons together. It ends just before Diana passed away in 1997.

18. Salesman (1968)

The story is about a salesman who gets caught up with a group of revolutionaries and ends up being forced to choose between his family and his new friends.

The film takes place in the 60s, so it’s got that cool vibe going on. And the soundtrack is amazing—it adds to the whole experience.

19. Paris Is Burning (1990)

Paris Is Burning was a groundbreaking documentary from 1990 that explored drag culture in New York City. It won an Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature, and its influence can still be felt today.

The film follows several young men and women who are part of the underground gay scene in mid-1980s New York City, where they compete for trophies as members of different houses (like Project X). Members of each house are judged on their ability to embody certain types of gender expression, whether it’s “butch” or “femme,” or something else entirely.

20. Gray Gardens (1975)

Gray Gardens is a documentary about Jackie Kennedy’s aunt and cousin, Big Edie, and Little Edie Bouvier Beale, who lived together in their decaying mansion in East Hampton, New York. The film follows the sisters’ lives from their childhood through to their middle age.

The film was directed by Albert and David Maysles and was released in 1975. It was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature.

21. LFG (2021)

It is about a group of kids who are playing a live-action version of Dungeons and Dragons, but they’re actually in the real world. They have to figure out what’s going on and how to get back home.

The show is really fun because it has all the nostalgia from D&D, but also lots of action and adventure, so it appeals to both adults and kids. The characters are all very relatable, even though their circumstances are different from what most people experience in real life! And it’s got some great jokes too—we were laughing pretty much the whole time we were watching it!

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

Tony Hawk: Until the Wheels Fall Off on HBO Max, is a documentary about Tony, as he travels around the world for his final tour before retiring from competitive skating. We get to see him in action as he does things like work with kids at low-income schools or play with puppies at an animal shelter in Los Angeles. In addition to getting some insight into what makes him tick as an athlete and person, we also get to see how much influence he has had on other people who skate and some of them were surprised by just how much they had taken from his example!

23. Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Belief (2015)

Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Belief (2015) is a documentary by Alex Gibney that explores the Church of Scientology, its history, and practices. It features interviews with former members of the church and those who have been affected by it. The film also includes archival footage. Going Clear was produced by HBO and premiered on March 29, 2015.

24. The Inventor: Out For Blood in Silicon Valley (2019)

If you’re a fan of Silicon Valley and all things tech, then The Inventor: Out For Blood in Silicon Valley is your next must-watch show.

The series follows Elizabeth Holmes as she attempts to launch her company, Theranos, into the world of health technology. As the show progresses, we see the company’s rise to success and subsequent fall from grace. We also get an inside look at the tech industry as a whole—from the people who work within it to those who have been impacted by it.

25. The First Monday in May (2016)

The First Monday in May (2016) is a documentary about the Met Gala, which is one of the biggest fashion events in the world. It’s hosted by Vogue magazine and is attended by celebrities, designers, editors, and other people involved in the fashion industry. The film follows several characters as they prepare for the event: Anna Wintour, editor-in-chief of Vogue; Tom Ford, designer; Zac Posen, designer; Sarah Burton, Alexander McQueen’s successor as creative director at Alexander McQueen; Donatella Versace; Kim Jones from Louis Vuitton.

26. Being Serena (2018) 

Being Serena is a drama that follows the life of tennis pro-Serena Williams. It is loosely based on her life but does not follow it exactly. The show starts with Serena as an adult and continues for 10 years. Throughout the first season, we see her struggle with the pressures of being a pro athlete, dealing with her family, and trying to keep herself together after a miscarriage.

27. Bright Lights (2016)

Bright Lights is a show about the life of the famous singer, Elizabeth Taylor. It’s a great show that shows how she lived her life and how she was able to make it to where she is today. It also shows just how hard things can be for someone who has so many fans, and how it can be difficult for them to live their life without being constantly under public scrutiny.

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