Bev’s 2023 Best Documentary List


“20 Days in Mariupol”

There were 167 Oscar-qualified documentaries for 2023. I viewed about 70, using award nominations from various organizations and my own interests as a guide.

Documentaries serve as my post-graduate education. They extend my knowledge in history, geography, politics, philosophy, psychology, environment, and social justice. They keep my mind engaged as I grow older.

The following are the 12 best, in my opinion, from 2023. They are listed alphabetically because each one is so equally rich in presentation, information, and importance that it is impossible to rank one above the other. Click on the title to read my review of each documentary. I have written what I learned and how to access the film.

1. “20 Days in Mariupol”

The civilians in Mariupol do not know why they are being attacked by Russia. Putin lies to his own citizens as well as the world about blatant civilian attacks on neighborhoods, hospitals and schools. The filmmaker exposes the truth with risk to his own life.

View for free: or

2. “26.2 to Life”

American incarceration offers little rehabilitation, but when it is offered through an almost no-cost marathon training team, it can work miracles.


3. “32 Sounds”

The universe is united in sound. A sound is a vibration that goes out in perpetuity.


4. “American Symphony”

Life is a symphony with many events converging together in magnificence to tell a story. Executive-produced by the Obamas, this story is about Jon Batiste, his wife Suleika, and their odyssey in persevering through extremes, using the arts and each other to help them stay centered on who they really are.

View: Netflix

5. “Beyond Utopia”

The North Koreans are taught that they live in a Utopia and that America, in particular, cannot feed or house its citizens. A South Korean program offers escape.

View: OPB Passport, Amazon Prime, Netflix, Apple TV and YouTube

6. “Bobi Wine: The People’s President”

Uganda’s president navigated his way to dictatorship by changing Uganda’s Constitution, suppressing the opposition, and voting fraud. Wine’s story reveals the machinations that have led to one of the most oppressive countries on earth and is a warning to other democracies.

View: Hulu and Disney+

7. “Elemental: Reimagine Wildfire”

Ways to build and protect your house from wildfires include a bare space around your building. Not governmental fire-fighting efforts but science, construction engineering, and indigenous practices have the potential to save North America.


8. “Still: A Michael J. Fox Movie”

A meaningful life can grow from a debilitating disease like Parkinson’s through devotion to helping others, like Fox does through his foundation.

View: Apple TV+

9. “To Kill a Tiger”

One way to handle rape is for fathers to rise up, insisting on and leading prosecution.


10. “Total Trust”

The repercussions of living in a government-insured safe community, however well-intentioned, can lead to a Big Brother-like strait-jacket where citizens can lose even their freedom of thought.


11. “Who We Are”

Jeffery Robinson acknowledges that those of us living right now had nothing to do with the slave trade, but he shows us ways in which White Privilege has perpetuated the oppression.


12. “Wild Beauty: Mustang, Spirit of the West”

The cattle industry has been allowed to use public land, once designated for wild horses and other protected flora and fauna, for grazing at no cost. This is not only causing land degradation but also creating an industry of mustang round-ups for euthanasia.

View: Amazon, iTunes and Spectrum

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