HBO Documentary Film Series

The WORST episodes of HBO Documentary Film Series

Every episode ever - ranked by fan votes!

HBO presents a full spectrum of non-fiction programming by leading documentary filmmakers. Taking viewers from the hidden corners of America to the shocking reality of global issues, these powerful, uncompromising and award-winning films never fail to leave an impact. Now, with HBO Podcast, listen to interviews with many of our award-winning filmmakers - and even some of their documentary subjects!

Last Updated: 6/2/2022Network: HBO Max
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Smash His Camera
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#1 - Smash His Camera

Season 2010 - Episode 5 - Aired 6/7/2010

'Smash His Camera' profiles Ron Galella, the original American paparazzo, who took iconic photos of such celebrities as Marlon Brando, Andy Warhol and Jackie Onassis -- and offers a thoughtful examination of the nature of fame, the relationship between celebrities and their chroniclers and the delicate balance between privacy and freedom of the press.

For Neda
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#2 - For Neda

Season 2010 - Episode 6 - Aired 6/14/2010

Tells the personal story of Neda Agha-Soltan who became the iconic symbol of Iran's 2009 post-election protests, and explores the larger Iranian struggle.

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Gasland
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#3 - Gasland

Season 2010 - Episode 7 - Aired 6/21/2010

The 2010 Sundance Film Festival award-winning film exposes the possible hazards of domestic natural gas drilling.

Kevorkian
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#4 - Kevorkian

Season 2010 - Episode 8 - Aired 6/28/2010

The controversial "Dr. Death" runs for Congress after spending eight years in prison.

No One Dies in Lily Dale
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#5 - No One Dies in Lily Dale

Season 2010 - Episode 9 - Aired 7/5/2010

Visits the little Victorian-style village of Lily Dale, NY, which is home to the world's largest community of mediums.

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A Small Act
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#6 - A Small Act

Season 2010 - Episode 10 - Aired 7/12/2010

Follows Kenyan Chris Mburu on his journey to find the stranger who sponsored his childhood education.

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Lucky
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#7 - Lucky

Season 2010 - Episode 11 - Aired 7/19/2010

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Homeless: The Motel Kids of Orange County
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#8 - Homeless: The Motel Kids of Orange County

Season 2010 - Episode 12 - Aired 7/26/2010

Follows children living in California motels as their families struggle to survive in the one of the richest zip codes in the U.S.

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12th & Delaware
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#9 - 12th & Delaware

Season 2010 - Episode 14 - Aired 8/2/2010

Exposes the opposing sides of one of America's most intractable conflicts: abortion.

El Espiritu de la Salsa
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#10 - El Espiritu de la Salsa

Season 2010 - Episode 15 - Aired 8/9/2010

Follows a group of lonely hearts who come together and connect with each at a Salsa dance school in Spanish Harlem.

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My Trip To Al-Qaeda
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#11 - My Trip To Al-Qaeda

Season 2010 - Episode 16 - Aired 9/8/2010

Academy Award® winner Alex Gibney (Taxi to the Dark Side) collaborates with Pulitzer Prize winner Lawrence Wright to bring Wright’s titular one-man play to the screen. Wright made waves in 2006 with his best-selling book The Looming Tower: Al-Qaeda and the Road to 9/11, chronicling fundamentalist Islam’s rise to power, and the roots of modern religious extremism and terrorism. In contemplating how to adapt his book for the stage, Wright ultimately chose to refocus on his own experience researching and writing the book, and his struggle to maintain objectivity as a journalist investigating Islamic terror. The resulting work is less a literal adaptation and more a personal, emotional complement piece to the objectivity of his nonfiction book. It debuted to rave reviews in March 2007. With Gibney’s documentary on the performance, the layers of adaptation are taken a step further. Channelling equal parts Spalding Gray and An Inconvenient Truth, Gibney captures both the emotional power and political implication of Wright’s work in a distinctly cinematic way, making My Trip to Al-Qaeda a riveting travelogue/performance piece.

Directors: Alex Gibney
Cathouse Cat Call
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#12 - Cathouse Cat Call

Season 2010 - Episode 22 - Aired 12/16/2010

An eager new group of sexy recruits set out to become working girls at the Moonlite BunnyRanch in this sizzling 'Cathouse' special We know who we are, where we came from, and why we're here. Do you?

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Sex Crimes Unit
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#13 - Sex Crimes Unit

Season 2011 - Episode 10 - Aired 6/20/2011

SEX CRIMES UNIT (June 20) takes an unprecedented look inside the Manhattan District Attorney’s famed Sex Crimes Unit, the first unit dedicated to the prosecution of sexual assault to be established in the U.S. The film follows the day-to-day work of prosecutors as they deal with investigations, trials and plea bargains. Among other cases, it tracks The People v. Kevin Rios, in which a prostitute makes an accusation of rape, and follows one woman’s experience with the Cold Case Unit when her accused assailant, originally indicted on the basis of his DNA profile, is finally identified and brought to justice 16 years after the crime. Directed by Emmy® winner Lisa F. Jackson (HBO’s “The Greatest Silence: Rape in the Congo”).

Directors: Lisa F. Jackson
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I Can Be President: A Kids Eye View
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#14 - I Can Be President: A Kids Eye View

Season 2011 - Episode 12 - Aired 6/22/2011

Children talk about what they think it would be like to be president of the United States.

Directors: Diane Kolyer
Bobby Fischer Against The World
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#15 - Bobby Fischer Against The World

Season 2011 - Episode 9 - Aired 6/6/2011

A documentary feature that explores the tragic and bizarre life of the late chess master Bobby Fischer, from his troubled childhood, to his rock star status as a World Champion and Cold War icon, and his life as a fugitive on the run. This film explores one of the most mysterious characters of the 20th century

Directors: Liz Garbus
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Citizen USA: A 50 State Road Trip
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#16 - Citizen USA: A 50 State Road Trip

Season 2011 - Episode 14 - Aired 7/4/2011

CITIZEN U.S.A.: A 50-STATE ROAD TRIP (July 4) follows director Alexandra Pelosi (HBO’s Emmy®-winning “Journeys with George”) as she travels across the U.S. to attend naturalization ceremonies in all 50 states and meets brand-new citizens to find out why they chose America as their home. Commemorating the Fourth of July, the documentary intersperses stories of newly naturalized citizens and interviews with notable first-generation Americans, including Madeleine Albright, Arianna Huffington, Henry Kissinger and Gene Simmons.

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Theres Something Wrong With Aunt Diane
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#17 - Theres Something Wrong With Aunt Diane

Season 2011 - Episode 19 - Aired 7/25/2011

On Sunday, July 26, 2009, Diane Schuler left the campgrounds in upstate New York where she was vacationing with her family and set off towards home on Long Island, a drive she had made numerous times before. With her were five young children: her son, her daughter and three nieces. Four hours later, she drove the wrong way on the Taconic State Parkway for nearly two miles – eventually crashing into an oncoming SUV,killing herself and seven others. One of the worst motor-vehicle accidents in New York State history, the tragedy quickly became national news and her actions on that day, and in the past, were thrust under a microscope in a desperate search for answers. In the aftermath, Diane Schuler was portrayed as a reckless drunk and a mother who cracked. But was she the monster the public made her out to be? Or the perfect wife and mother described by so many who knew her?

Directors: Liz Garbus
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Triangle: Remembering The Fire
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#18 - Triangle: Remembering The Fire

Season 2011 - Episode 4 - Aired 3/21/2011

A documentary commemorating the 100th anniversary of the famous Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire in New York City, which killed 146 workers and prompted labor reform in the United States

Directors: Daphne Pinkerson
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No Contract, No Cookies
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#19 - No Contract, No Cookies

Season 2011 - Episode 15 - Aired 7/6/2011

Follows the struggle of 138 mostly immigrant workers who strike to save their jobs at a famous bakery in the Bronx when a private equity firm buys the bakery and demands wage cuts of up to 30%.

I Knew It Was You: Rediscovering John Cazale
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#20 - I Knew It Was You: Rediscovering John Cazale

Season 2010 - Episode 4 - Aired 6/1/2010

A portrait of the acting craft of John Cazale and a tour through the movies that defined a generation.

Directors: Richard Shepard
Superheroes
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#21 - Superheroes

Season 2011 - Episode 22 - Aired 8/8/2011

A favorite at this year's Slamdance Film Festival, Superheroes is a look inside the zany world of Real Life Superheroes

Directors: Michael Barnett
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A Matter Of Taste:  Serving Up Paul Liebrandt
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#22 - A Matter Of Taste: Serving Up Paul Liebrandt

Season 2011 - Episode 11 - Aired 6/13/2011

A MATTER OF TASTE: SERVING UP PAUL LIEBRANDT (June 13) documents the career of the acclaimed chef – and the cutthroat world of haute cuisine – over eight years. The film follows Liebrandt as he matures from young renegade to one of New York City’s most celebrated chefs with the opening of his renowned Michelin two-star restaurant Corton in Tribeca. Directed by Sally Rowe in her documentary directorial debut. A selection of the 2011 Tribeca Film Festival.

Directors: Sally Rowe
Gloria:  In Her Own Words
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#23 - Gloria: In Her Own Words

Season 2011 - Episode 23 - Aired 8/15/2011

GLORIA: IN HER OWN WORDS (Aug. 15) recounts how Gloria Steinem became one of the driving forces of feminism. Beginning as a reporter writing an exposé on the working conditions of Playboy Bunnies, she was transformed by learning about women’s horrifying experiences while covering a New York abortion hearing in 1969. The film includes archival footage and interviews showcasing Steinem’s sharp sense of humor, love of life and compassion for humankind. Today, she remains a feminist icon, ever-present on the frontlines of social and political activism. Filmmakers, Peter Kunhardt and Dyllan McGee (HBO’s Emmy®-winning “Teddy: In His Own Words”).

Directors: Lisa F. Jackson
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Hot Coffee
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#24 - Hot Coffee

Season 2011 - Episode 13 - Aired 6/27/2011

HOT COFFEE (June 27) examines the dangers of so-called tort reform and its threat to the civil justice system. Using the now-infamous legal battle over a spilled cup of McDonald’s coffee as a springboard, the film follows four people, including McDonald’s plaintiff Stella Liebeck, whose lives have been affected by their inability to access the courts, as well as caps on punitive damages, and examines the role of corporations and a complicit media in promoting tort reform. Directed by former trial lawyer and first-time filmmaker Susan Saladoff. A selection of the 2011 Sundance Film Festival.

Directors: Susan Saladoff
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Love Crimes of Kabul
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#25 - Love Crimes of Kabul

Season 2011 - Episode 16 - Aired 7/11/2011

They wouldn’t be there if they weren’t guilty. That’s the prevailing mindset of almost everyone in Love Crimes of Kabul, even the women who find themselves in jail in Afghanistan’s capital. In the documentary, director Tanaz Eshaghian gets out of the way to let the stories of three women in Badam Bagh Women’s Prison speak

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