This list and top holds 35 of the most interesting socioeconomic documentaries of the 2010’s. Scroll down to have a look, the subjects in these films run very broad. If you are looking for documentaries about conflicts in the Middle East, there is a separate list coming for those, soon.
Socioeconomic / Internet / Religion documentaries to watch out for in 2014 & 2015
After a couple of documentaries yet to be released, you will find the top 35 of the 2010’s.
CITIZENFOUR (Laura Poitras, 2014)
Topic: Government surveillance
The government is spying on us. This is the story of Edward Snowden who exposed NSA’s secret ‘surveillance’ programs and had to flee to Russia.
The Overnighters (Jesse Moss, 2014)
Topic: Oil, employment and social housing
In search for jobs and the wealth oil has to offer, a small town called Williston in North Dakota has difficulties to house all the unemployed immigrants. The local church decides to open its doors.
The Case Against 8 (Ben Cotner & Ryan White, 2014)
Topic: Gay Rights
Although I find it kind of strange that gay people who are usually very open minded and progressive, want to commit themselves into a conservative concept as marriage, I still think everybody has the right to these kind of things. It’s just ridiculous and an injustice if people are forbidden to celebrate their love in that traditional glorifying way which sometimes can be the better financial thing to do. So I definitely support gay marriage and am looking forward to see this documentary about the fight for the right to marry.
Last Days in Vietnam (Rory Kennedy, 2014)
Topic: Vietnam War
Getting out of Vietnam in 1975. Perhaps contains some tips & tricks for the Americans in Iraq today.
Top 35 Socioeconomic / Internet documentaries of the 2010’s
35. The Unbelievers (Gus Holwerda, 2013)
Topic: Religion, atheism
People like Ricky Gervais, Woody Allen and Cameron Diaz give their view on religion and atheism. Sometimes atheism seems not too far of a religion itself, and a really hyped one.
34. ?? [Walker] (??? [Tsai Ming-liang], 2012)
Topic: Religion, spiritualism
Lee Kang-sheng walks really slow.
33. ?? [Journey to the West] (??? [Tsai Ming-liang], 2014)
Topic: Religion, spiritualism
Lee Kang-sheng walks really slow. 
32. Manakamana (Stephanie Spray, 2013)
Pilgrims have to take a cableway to get to the Manakamana temple. A camera films them on their journey in the sky.
31. Louis Theroux: America’s Most Hated Family in Crisis (2011)
The Westboro Baptist Church is hated in America because they hate Americans so much. Louis Theroux visited them in 2007 and reported a crazy interesting episode about these nutcases that go protest at every soldier funeral about how he is a fag and stuff. He revisited the family four years later and it’s maybe not as interesting as the first one but still quite fascinating. Some of them have left the church after the first documentary…
30. Nostalgia de la luz [Nostalgia for the Light] (Patricio Guzmán, 2010)
First, this seems to be a documentary about astronomy and archeology but it’s actually about the horrible events under Pinochet’s leadership.
29. Mea Maxima Culpa: Silence in the House of God (Alex Gibney, 2012)
Sometimes priests are pedophiles.
28. The Pruitt-Igoe Myth (Chad Friedrichs, 2011)
Topic: Social housing
The fifties housing project called Pruitt-Igoe meant to be a fantastic solution to the immense growth of population. It turned out to be a disaster.
27. Let the Fire Burn (Jason Osder, 2013)
The police attacked a group of families living together like they were the biggest threat of society ever. They bombed it (literally) like Vietnam. Sad story that actually summarizes America’s military policy around the world.
26. A Spell to Ward Off the Darkness (Ben Russell / Ben Rivers, 2013)
Topic: Philosophical, hippies
Again a documentary partly about people living together in a social community. Interesting philosophical conversations get thrown in with atmospheric images of isolation and emotion, as usual with Ben Rivers, sometimes very slow cinema.
25. Terms and Conditions May Apply (Cullen Hoback, 2013)
Topic: The Internet
What are we actually agreeing to all the time?
24. Palabras Mágicas (Para Romper un Encantamiento) (Mercedes Moncada, 2012)
Who were exactly the bad guys in the Nicaraguan Revolution? The Clash had a reason calling one of their great albums Sandinista!
23. The Sixties (2014)
Topic: Politics, popular culture
From television, the Cold War, JFK, Vietnam, the Civil Rights Movement, the Beatles, the moon, student revolutions to ‘Sex, Drugs & Rock ‘n’ Roll’, the American sixties had it all.
22. Foute Vrienden (Roy Dames, 2010)
Topic: Socioeconomics, organized crime
Even Amsterdam has got her organized crime, which is called ‘penose’. In this film, we follow some gang members and friends in their ways and their evolution trough the years
21. Inequality for All (Jacob Kornbluth, 2013)
The very rich have more wealth than you think, and most of it is just sitting there on a bank account.
20. Downloaded (Alex Winter, 2013)
Topic: The Internet
Recognize this? Then you will like this history of downloading.
19. Citizen Koch (Tia Lessin & Carl Deal, 2013)
Topic: Politics and economics
The American free market even reaches their politics. They are literally for sale. Really sad. Their so called democracy isn’t anything but a naïve fairytale but that’s nothing new off course. We’re following a republican trying to get his voice heard.
18. Kumaré (Vikram Gandhi, 2011)
How easy it is to fool everyone you are a spiritual guru, especially if you look somewhat oriental.
17. Reagan (Eugene Jarecki, 2011)
These days, everyone seems to hate Ronald Reagan, but why is that?
16. Koch Brothers Exposed (Robert Greenwald, 2012)
Topic: Politics & socioeconomics
It’s ridiculous how the Koch brothers have their hands in everything. They simply seem to have more influence in important American facilities than president Obama himself: education, healthcare, the media, etc.
15. The Black Power Mixtape 1967–1975 (Göran Olsson, 2011)
Interesting images from the age of the Civil Rights Movement.
14. Ethos (2011)
Topic: economics, politics, environment
Woody Harrelson makes us think twice about a couple of things like who’s in power, our consumerism, Iraq, etc.
13. Inside Job (Charles Ferguson, 2010)
A clear explanation of Wall Street’s risk behavior and influence on the crisis of 2007.
12. The Parking Lot Movie (Meghan Eckman, 2010)
Topic: Socioeconomics, philosophical
Being a parking lot attendant seems not to be that bad a job at all. The stories and creativity of these dorks are very sympathetic and inspirational.
11. Law and Disorder in Lagos (2010)
Topic: Politics, organized crime
The ruling authorities in Lagos, Nigeria handle their law and order in frightening ways.
10. ????????????? [The Terrorists] (????? ????????????? [Thunska Pansittivorakul], 2011)
Interesting, confusing protest-flick about social rights, nature and being gay.
9. Whores’ Glory (Michael Glawogger, 2011)
A direct look into world’s oldest profession at three different places: Mexico, Thailand and Bangladesh.
8. Fed Up (Stephanie Soechtig, 2014)
Topic: Economics, health
Sugar addiction is becoming a western epidemic. A few years back, I was addicted as well, luckily I had a fast metabolism. We have to watch out what we feed our children with before everyone gets diabetes and obesity.
7. Twilight of the Porn Stars (2012)
Louis Theroux already visited the porn industry back in 1998. Then, it was booming and an easy way to make money. Now, these days, with the advent of internet piracy, the industry is dealing with an economic crisis. Fascinating as usual with Theroux.
6. 56 Up (Michael Apted, 2012)
An episode in the fantastic Up Series, be sure to watch them all as they are wildly interesting and entertaining.
Every seven years, filmmaker Apted revisited the same group of people and documented their lives. The starting group consisted of children of different social classes. Very fascinating to see them unfold their personalities. And the filmmakers did pick some lucky peculiar cases, believe me.
5. Rich Hill (Andrew Droz Palermo / Tracy Droz Tragos, 2014)
It follows three youngsters in a poor village in the Mid-West of the States. Sticking with their poor families, it proves to be hard to rise out of their financial state.
4. The Internet’s Own Boy: The Story of Aaron Swartz (Brian Knappenberger, 2014)
Topic: The Internet
Although sometimes a bit sentimental, this film gives a clear message about what the Internet is, how it is wonderful and how we have to carry on the fight to keep it and make it more democratic and free. Wünderkind and fascinating human Aaron Swartz died because of his struggles of spreading information and using the internet to make the world a better place. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, watch it tonight if you can! (above)
3. Samsara (Ron Fricke, 2011)
Topic: Religion, socioeconomics
Religion and culture à volontè. An almost perfect image of the beauty and deficiencies of humanity today.
2. At Berkeley (Frederick Wiseman, 2013)
Topic: The price of education
There is an economic crisis going on so there have to happen some cut-backs. A lot of the time, education is a victim and students suffer. More and more, we are going back to a time where only the more privileged can enter good study facilities. Follow interesting discussions about education and more in this fascinating new documentary by master Frederick Wiseman.
1. Catfish (Ariel Schulman / Henry Joost, 2010)
Topic: Social networking on the internet
Although the guys keep saying it’s all real, this film is a genius story about meeting online and falling in love. I will not say too much because it would spoil the fun, just watch it.