10 Best CNN Documentaries

Friday, March 4 by Sandi Harrison

Throughout the years, CNN has been presenting documentaries on relevant topics and here are some of the best CNN documentaries. These particular documentaries deal with a broad range of subjects like education, technology, race, the Taliban, our planet, human suffering and loss from natural disasters, illegal aliens and child molestation in the Catholic church.

  1. “Exploring the Anti-Social Side of Social Media” This documentary dealt with the question of how social media has changed our way of communicating with each other. A woman closed herself up in a glass room for 30 days with no communication with the outside world other than technology. At the end of 30 days she was definitely ready for fresh air, human contact and live music.
  2. “Waiting for Superman” This documentary discusses the inequalities in the U.S. school system. Much of the blame is put on unions who protect “bad” teachers. This documentary has sparked discussions (including discussions of union affiliates) around the entire country to improve the school system for all. An educational system that used to be ranked number one is now 26th in math and 21st in science in the world.
  3. "Rescued” Soledad O’Brien’s documentary on the children of Haiti after the earthquake follows two children in an orphanage. Many children in the orphanage were given up by their parents or had been sold. The orphanage offers the only hope for these children who would have otherwise been forced to live on the streets. It describes the everyday problems that the children face.
  4. “Black in America, The Black Woman and Family” (Part 1 of 2 parts)
  5. “Black in America, The Black Man” This four-hour documentary was broadcast in two parts and took eighteen months to prepare. It discussed how black people were feeling, doing and thinking. Topics such as education, the black middle class, AIDS, single parenting and incarcerated black men were dealt with.
  6. “Trouble the Water” These amateur filmmakers, who also describe themselves as street hustlers, were trapped in the Ninth Ward as Hurricane Katrina edged closer. They were able to capture the horrors and experiences of the community that the outside was not privy to. Ten days after the storm, they were introduced to two professional filmmakers from New York who took their amateur video, mixed it with news footage and created this documentary.
  7. “Taliban” This documentary takes you behind enemy lines to the men our troops ar fighting. It shows them preparing weapons, planning for attacks and their interactions with fellow fighters and families. Refsdal shot the footage and ended up being kidnapped, but was ultimately able to escape.
  8. "Planet in Peril” For two years Anderson Cooper traveled around the world to research the issues that threaten our planet, our natural resources and the people that live here. Some of the issues addressed were deforestation in the rainforest, air pollution, how fast the ice was melting, global warming and endangered species.
  9.  “Living with Illegals” Journalist Sorious Samura takes a journey as an illegal immigrant from Africa, working his way to Britain. Conditions are harsh because illegals have little or no money and have to take menial jobs or beg in order to survive. Why? This documentary shows the other side of the issue where humans are struggling to have a better life and why they do it.
  10. “What the Pope Knew” This documentary covers the child molestation scandals from the mid-1960s to the mid-1980s in the Catholic church and implicates the Pope for using a stalling tactic and not doing enough to punish or defrock the offending priests. It is accusing, interesting, controversial and lacks evidence.